The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most impressive and expansive film franchises known to man. Disney and Marvel, even without the X-Men or Spider-Man (at first), burst onto the scene with a plan to do superhero films right and the characters within the films justice. With 14 movies in the can and the MCU firmly into “Phase 3,” Marvel Studios knows what steps it has to take in order to tell the stories needed so a natural evolution can take place, and possibly shake up the MCU massively once Phase 4 hits, because nothing lasts forever.
Right now (big list incoming), we still have Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War coming in the next 18 months, with Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers 4, and Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 coming in 2019 to wrap up Phase 3. That’s a massive amount of movies that will likely bridge the gap into Phase 4, which will possibly signify a big shakeup for the MCU. In fact, those movies could be the beginning of the end of the MCU as we know it. Characters we love will likely die in Infinity War. Get mentally prepared for that now.
The natural replacement of stars and characters is what has to happen if Marvel will stay fresh and interesting. It’s been nearly ten years since Iron Man and the MCU kicked off, and thankfully contracts and other paperwork hasn’t gotten in the way of the stories that need to be told. But, we also know that some of the principal actors involved are ready to move on (until the next massive check is slipped in front of them). They know they need to keep the stories moving until the whole shebang is rebooted for the next generation. (Isn’t it crazy how the movies are just like the comics?)
So what will Phase 4 be? Collider spoke to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige about what we have in store in the coming years:
“We’ve been lucky that [contract expirations] haven’t factored in too much. We’ve had people under contract for certain films, then we’ve had new ideas and new directions like Civil War like we wanted to do, and we’ve been lucky enough to make new contracts. Or Spider-Man: Homecoming, the cast has been awesome in their enthusiasm for the direction and the storylines that we’ve been telling. So it really does, right now, all start with where we wanna take the stories. Certainly as we get to Infinity War there is a sense of a climax if not a conclusion to, by the time we’re at untitled Avengers 4, the 22 movies that will have encompassed the first three phases of the MCU. And what happens after that will be very different. I don’t know if it’s Phase 4, it might be a new thing.”
So if it’s not “Phase 4” and it “might be a new thing” this could be a reboot of sorts or a whole new series of films in which we don’t depend on the main Avengers cast to constantly be saving/pissing off the world. What we do know is that it will involve Chris Pratt. He will survive.
And who knows if the “new thing” will pay tribute to the first three phases by not giving Black Widow a solo movie. That can’t happen no matter what. This is a streak now, like the Cubs losing the world series. Maybe our grandchildren can have a Black Widow movie, or maybe something else. A new thing.
Maybe Black Widow dies in Infinity War and her last wish is for someone to make a movie of her story?