If you can believe it, it’s already been two years since Marvel Studios first laid out their plans for Phase 3 of their acclaimed Cinematic Universe. Whereas the first two phases thus far had consisted of six films apiece, this third phase sported an ambitious nine-film run, consisting of not one, but two Avengers films.
Of course, since that time, things have changed. Inhumans has since been pulled from the list, and the likes of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp were added to account for the deal with Sony and the success of the first Ant-Man film. But on the whole, the general structure has remained, and the phase’s run has been slated to end with the release of the fourth, currently-untitled, Avengers film on May 3, 2019.
That has always been sort of the endgame for us. Ever since the first Avengers hit theaters, it seemed like the films were pointing to the Infinity War endgame.
Given that Disney and Marvel Studios both enjoy making a buck at the box office, however, it was assumed that the MCU would extend beyond this film, but given how ambitious the storytelling is in Phase 3, it was unclear when we’d hear any details.
At the recent Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference (via Comicbook.com), Disney CEO Bob Iger had some things to say about Marvel and its progress beyond the current phase of films:
“We had a similar meeting with Marvel a week-and-a-half ago to plot [those films] out, where we’ve got movies in either development or production — some nearing completion — through the end of this decade. [There], we too are beginning to talk about what do we do the next decade, and so on?”
That’s right, despite the fact that we’re only one film in the current phase (meaning we still have nine films left to go), Marvel Studios is already beginning the plans for the upcoming 2020 decade. Of course, this brings all sorts of things into question. Where are things going to stand by the end of Phase 3, and how will that affect the films going into Phase 4? Will Marvel start to push out some of our current staple heroes, like Iron Man and Cap?
Well, with the arrival of Spider-Man, they’ll finally be the in the position to do so. I know I don’t stand alone when I say that the Avengers lineup at the end of Age of Ultron was a bit underwhelming. It wasn’t that these characters were any less badass. No, in the time since then, I’ve grown to appreciate the likes of Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Vision, but the fact remains that none of these guys have had their own films. As such, we’ve only got to see them in supporting roles.
This meant that no matter how hard Marvel Studios tried, we wouldn’t be able to those characters as true Avengers. In Phase 3, however, Marvel Studios is having brand new standalone franchises like Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man, in addition to the continuation of Thor, Ant-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Once we get a load of these guys in their own films, Marvel will be able to finally start successfully filling them in as true Avengers, which is something they’ll have to do so the franchise doesn’t get stale.
With that in mind, I’d imagine that those previously-mentioned franchises will likely get sequels in Phase 4, and it could make for a solidification of the roster for the first half of the 2020s before things get shaken up again in the second half of the decade, wherein we'll likely get introduced to even more franchises and even more obscure characters.
But, of course, Marvel Studios is currently in the planning stages, and given we still don’t know how the rest of Phase 3 will perform, it’s a bit too early for them to start counting their chickens just yet. Regardless, I’m very much looking forward to seeing just what kind of roadmap we’ll be getting in the very near future with this franchise.
What about you? What kind of films do you think we’ll be getting in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Let us know in the comments down below!