While promoting Thor: Ragnarok this week, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige was asked by Uproxx what the future holds for the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the two upcoming Avengers movies conclude the ongoing plot threads that have been built up ever since Iron Man. And judging by his answer, it would seem that there may not be an MCU for much longer.
Previously, we’ve heard that the franchise would plow ahead fairly unchanged, with Phase 3 giving way to Phase 4 and so on. However, this reply from Feige hints that there could be a much bigger shift on the horizon, one that would signal the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it.
“Well, all I’ll say is the films we are working on now, which take us through to the Avengers Untitled in May of 19, that’s really all we are focusing on. And we are focusing on bringing, by that point, an unprecedented, 22-movie, continuous shared fictional narrative to a conclusion in a satisfying way. And where we go beyond that? Of course we will go places beyond that. And, of course, we have ideas of where we go beyond that.
But, really, it is all good stories. And as the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation said, ‘All good things must come to an end.’ And part of what makes them special, there is a finite quality to the best of fictional stories through history. And we wanted to do that at the end of our first three phases and 22 movies. How we start anew and wherever we go beyond that is a story for another time. This is really about 10 years on, bringing something to a head in a satisfying and unexpected way.”
Due to Feige’s carefully controlled comments here, it’s difficult to figure out exactly what the producer is suggesting. He could just be saying that, from 2020 onwards, the MCU will start work on a new overarching story. What with the threat of Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet finally having been dealt with in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, that would make sense. However, Feige does seem to be emphasizing that these movies will mark the end of everything that’s been building up since 2008. Which suggests that there might not actually be a Phase 4 at all. But instead, something entirely different.
This leaves several options open. We’ll quickly disregard the notion that the MCU would finish completely, as Marvel Studios are unlikely to call it quits when they’re on such a high. Alternatively, then, they could hit the reset button and start from scratch. That’s possible, but it would be a bit of a disappointment after all the effort that’s been put into making the MCU by far the most cohesive movie universe we’ve ever seen. Whatever Feige and his team have got planned, then, it sounds like it’ll be a dramatic shift away from what’s come before and almost certainly won’t be billed as Phase 4.
Thor: Ragnarok will be the next Marvel effort to land, as it’s due out in theatres on November 3rd. After that, we then have four movies – Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel – before we reach the grand finale of the MCU as we know it: Avengers 4, arriving May 3rd, 2019.
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