Avengers: Endgame — A look at where the Marvel Cinematic Universe could go after The Infinity Saga
Avengers Endgame feels like it should be the last film of Phase 3, and usually, an Avengers film is always the capstone to each phase of MCU films
Avengers: Endgame is finally in theatres and bringing much-needed catharsis to movie-goers worldwide. With this final instalment in what Marvel has christened The Infinity Saga, an epic spanning nearly 11 years and comprised twice as many interconnected films, Avengers: Endgame brings one of the most technically impressive undertakings in cinematic history to a grand and (by almost all accounts) satisfying conclusion.
While there will be plenty of time to look back fondly on what Kevin Feige and his associates at Marvel and Disney were able to accomplish and let’s be clear, it’s a feat that is worth applauding, I’ve always preferred to look forward. There is precious little that we know for a fact about where phase 4 and beyond despite unannounced projects fully filling Marvel’s, now standard, three-releases-per-year format all the way to the end of 2022 at least.
So today I want to discuss Marvel’s upcoming projects and speculate a little about where the Marvel Cinematic Universe could take us next. We’ll look and what we know, what we think we know and what we definitely don’t know but could perhaps be hopeful for (ie wild speculation). Since Endgame is still in its opening weekend, I’ll be avoiding all spoilers apart from mentioning some projects that are already known to be either planned or pre-production.
So, here’s what is already confirmed
These films are already in production and in some cases almost finished. With the new Avengers now in theatres, we will likely start seeing much more about these projects very soon.
Avengers:Endgame feels like it should be the last film of Phase 3, and usually, an Avengers film is always the capstone to each phase of MCU films. However, this time the Spiderman sequel Far From Home will be the one to close out the phase. Following the comparatively lower stakes adventures of the youngest Avenger should be a welcome palate cleanser after the massive conclusion of the Infinity War storyline.
Looking at the trailer he appears switched back to his old suit from the Iron Spider armour in Infinity War despite Kevin Feige confirming the film takes place after Endgame. With a five-film deal between Marvel and Sony (Who still owns the Spiderman film rights) complete with this upcoming film, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether a new deal will be on the cards or if Sony, fresh off the commercial if not critical success of Venom, will decide to go it alone.
Spiderman could find himself fading away from the MCU once again.
After becoming the first female hero to sign on with the Avengers back in 2012, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff would have to wait a whole decade after her debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2 before getting a shot at her own solo film. The timing is extremely curious, not least of all because, despite making her 7th appearance in the MCU with Avengers: Endgame, the 2020 Black Widow film we are finally getting will be a prequel origin story. Looks like we’ll have a chance to see how Black Widow got all that ‘red’ in her ‘ledger’
As the expected opener for Phase 4 of the MCU, the origin story will likely provide critical plot connections to set up the stakes for the following films.
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3
We don’t know much about the next Guardians film save for development woes that the production was suffering as a result of Disney taking the decision to fire the film’s director/ screenwriter, James Gunn. Gunn was fired last year over a controversy regarding some tweets that the filmmaker had made several years prior. His firing caused cast members to come out in support with at least one, Dave Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer, saying that he would quit the film if Gunn wasn’t reinstated.
As of writing, Disney has decided to bring Gunn back on board as both the writer and director for Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
We’ll Probably Get A Few Other Expected Sequels Soon Too
While most of the films on this part of the list are either confirmed to be in pre-production or are extremely safe bets since they are sequels to major characters who had successful debuts, their actual release schedule has not been confirmed.
Doctor Strange 2
It’s been a few years since we saw caught up with the good doctor in a solo film. For many viewers, the memory Baron Mordo and his planned crusade on the magic users are starting to fade, so hopefully, we don’t need to wait too long until Strange starts getting his house in order.
Black Panther 2
After the massive success of Black Panther, there’s no doubt that we will be seeing more of the adventures of the itinerant Wakandan Sovereign in the future… we just don’t know where or when.
Ant-man and the Wasp 2/Ant-Man 3
Another unannounced but expected sequel would be the next outing for Antman and the Wasp. Their previous adventure together had the unenviable task of following up Marvel’s other 2018 releases, Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. Definitely, a hard act to follow but Ant-Man and the Wasp was nonetheless both a commercial and critical success so there’s no reason to think we’ve seen the last of their films just yet.
Captain Marvel 2
Carol Danvers just had her first solo movie, so don’t expect the follow up any time soon, but a sequel is pretty inevitable and will give viewers the chance to see the more expansive world that Captain Marvel operates in since she still seems to spend most of her time in space.
New Heroes Will Rise
With so many contracts coming to an end with Avengers: Endgame, the MCU’s superhero roster is going to be losing some of the heavy hitters that have been the anchors for the ever-expanding universe. Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr and Chris Hemsworth have stated that they won’t be reprising their roles as Captain America, Iron Man and Thor respectively, so we can definitely expect Marvel to start introducing a few fresh-faced heroes for us to cheer for.
Recently Marvel has made an effort to start including a bit more diversity in its superhero films, a move that has already been rewarded by the success of Black Panther. Looking to expand on this, Marvel has apparently fast-tracked a film for the character Shang-Chi, a kung-fu master and street-level hero. An Asia-based kung-fu action film with a Marvel budget would make for a fun change of pace from the usual technology or magic heavy superhero fare in the rest of the MCU.
Another possible win for those who would want more diverse superheroes would be the shape-shifting Pakistani-American Kamala Khan, who fights crime under the name Ms. Marvel. Hopefully, they’ll wait a while on this one as Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel, whom Kamala idolised and named herself after, is relatively unknown on Earth at the moment. Of course, they could always just change her reasons for choosing the name, I guess.
Along with a lot more from the cosmic branch of Marvel Comic’s catalogue, there are rumours that a film featuring the Eternals, a group of humans altered by the celestials and given superpowers. There’s not much more we know about this movie at the moment, but if celestials are finally making their debut in the MCU (apart from on the collector’s TV), that’s quite a revelation in itself. Technically, Ego the living planet was a celestial but he was quite unique compared to the others.
Universes could merge
These are the big ones. No plans have been made public, but now that Disney owns Fox and these characters, once cut off from their parent company are finally coming home, it’s safe to assume that someone at Marvel is working hard to figure out how to introduce these pillars of Marvel comics into the MCU. It’ll probably take a while though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvel waited till 2023 to start merging existing universes.
With Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch already making their entry into (and in the case of the former, out of) the films, the stage is already set to give these beloved characters a home in the MCU. It will be interesting to see their long and complicated history with the Avengers play out on the big screen for the first time.
That said, I’m not sure if Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, who just started getting cosy with the X-Men himself, would be a good fit for the MCU. His R-rated adventures wouldn’t fly in the strictly PG-13 MCU and toning him down would be a disservice to both franchises. Although a running gag that leaves him constantly excluded from MCU films would probably work.
The Fantastic Four
With three films (which totals up to about 0.25 good films) already featuring the fantastic four, Fox never really managed to make the formula work. The original comic superhero team was reduced to a joke in the eyes of film-goers. Unlike Spiderman or the X-Men, who have already found success as free-standing franchises, the Fantastic Four have never really been able to get off the ground on the big screen.
But if it will get us Dr Doom and Galactus, it’s probably worth trying. And if there’s anyone who can make the first family of Marvel relevant, relatable and enjoyable again it’s probably the guys and girls over at Marvel that helped Sony make Spiderman: Homecoming such a success.
For some, however, their time may never come
I suppose you can never count them out entirely, but at the moment it does look like some characters, even those that are well-liked are not going to be invited to the MCU party any time soon. Such is the fate of the Incredible Hulk, despite Mark Ruffalo’s performance and a few stand out appearances making the hulk both more popular and more capable of carrying a solo movie.However, partly because of a failed early attempt at making a Hulk film, plus the fact that the character is actually ‘on loan’ from Universal pictures, means the strongest Avenger may never get a second chance to make a first impression.
The same can be said for Marvel’s TV show characters like the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Daredevil who together even managed their own little superhero team up on the small screen. Despite their popularity and how perfectly the street level New York heroes would work with Spiderman (who would suddenly be the most powerful in a group too), we’ll probably never hear from them in the MCU.
What do you see in the MCU’s future? Exploration of the multi-verse? A visit from Galactus? An Inhumans reboot? (okay, may that one was too far-fetched) We won’t have to wait too long though, now that the Infinity Saga is complete, Marvel, which was being extremely cagey regarding future projects, doesn’t have any reason to hold back for much longer and we can expect to get more details during San Diego Comic Con which is coming up in just a few months.
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