When Marvel Studios’ Phase 1 started to roll out, it was all very unprecedented in its nature. To actually have a handful of separate franchises actually build to an even bigger super-franchise? It was the stuff of dreams — the kind of stuff that moviegoers weren’t yet trained to see. As each film was released, it was clear that these movies were generally happening within the same time period.
Thor, Iron Man 2, and Incredible Hulk were all occurring around the same time. Iron Man 2 even made a point to disappear Coulson from the film to deal with something in New Mexico, which turned out to be the events in Thor. Part of the joy from watching these movies was seeing the timelines sort of criss-cross and re-contextualize certain events from previous films.
However, as great as the MCU has been in the time since then, there has been little overlapping of narratives. Perhaps the only real indication we’ve seen of that in recent memory was Doctor Strange, and even then that film’s particular timeline is still unclear. Speaking with CinemaBlend, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige discussed why we don’t see a lot of overlapping anymore.
“I think people like to talk about our long term plans, which we certainly have. But very rarely do those long term plans dictate the specificity of any individual film. It's usually the opposite. It's focusing on a story, and focusing on the individual movie that we're making to do what's best. And then, if something changes that we weren't quite expecting down the line because it was made for a better movie, then we deal with it down the line. I think that's what happened in Phase One. We were telling those stories and having the crossover of Nick Fury talking about the Southwest Region, when the hammer fell…”
It makes sense that they’ve since moved on to stories that don’t really overlap. If you think about it, Iron Man 2 was one of the weaker films, and that’s largely because it tried too hard to build that world. Now that audiences were familiar with the concept of shared universe, it made sense not to overly-convolute the timeline. They should just tell the stories they want to tell to the best of their abilities and not linger too much on the details of when.
Thus far in Phase 3, that mentality seems to have done them good.
What do you think? Do you want to see more overlapping timelines, or do you like their current approach? Let us know in the comments down below!
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