Marvel May Not Have an MCU Phase 4 at All

With plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four disrupted, it could possibly be time for the MCU to go away phases behind altogether.

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe having wrapped up “The Infinity Saga” with the conclusion of its Phase Three in 2019, there won't even be a Phase Four. Marvel Studios hasn’t even confirmed whether or not or not or not there is usually a multi-phase successor to “Infinity Saga” (though in reality, that saga wasn't formally named until it was nearly over), and the MCU may very well depart the concept of phases behind.

As first introduced, Phase Four would have consisted of 5 core Marvel Studios movies (plus the Sony-owned Spider-Man 3), three Sony Pictures Spidey spinoffs (that will or won't signify official tie-ins to the MCU), and a minimum of 5 television miniseries that will title Disney+ home. All of this regarded to have been squished into merely two calendar years, starting from May 2020 to (a minimum of) November 2021, starting with Black Widow and ending with Thor: Love and Thunder.

But with the present reshuffling of the Phase Four launch calendar because of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, followers can’t – as of this second, at least – be sure what the MCU's future will seem like. Some movies nonetheless don’t have new releases dates however, it’s solely unknown merely how affected the docket of Disney+ content material might be, and it’s truly attainable that a couple of of those installments could have gotten pushed once more to Phase Five – or, conversely, that a couple of of those Five entries might need been moved forward to Four.

It’s loads to unpack, and it naturally leads to the question: does it even matter anymore what’s in a single a part of one different, notably after “The Infinity Saga”? Or might Marvel switch on from phases altogether?

Thanks to the novel coronavirus that affects lots of Hollywood correct now, the initially-announced launch date of May 2020 for Black Widow was struck from the calendar, and that film has been pushed once more to the following already-established opening day (November 6, 2020). This ripple affect has continued all the easiest way all by the following calendar yr, making Thor: Love and Thunder (which, as soon as extra, was the originally-declared end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four) delayed to February 18, 2022 – a date that wasn’t formally related to a problem merely however, nevertheless which was nonetheless earmarked for the beginning of Phase Five.

Does the fourth Thor movie nonetheless formally signify the tip of this current half? If the reply is bound, then this is ready to be the very first time

in what might be the MCU’s 13-year historic previous that this case would occur, with two phases sitting within the similar yr (Black Panther 2 will land in theaters three months after Love and Thunder, with Captain Marvel 2 following two months after that). Both of the sooner situations that Marvel tried to tug off such a feat, following one new half nearly immediately after its predecessor’s finale, the studio ended up altering its ideas. Ant-Man grew to grow to be Phase Two’s remaining installment in 2015, and Spider-Man: Far from Home did the similar for Three in 2019. (It might be argued that every of these movies works increased as a denouement fairly than due to the grand kick-off to a model new chapter, which may have carried out a process in Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige altering his ideas.)

If then once more, July 2022’s Captain Marvel 2 is now the ending of Phase Four as a substitute of Thor: Love and Thunder, it nearly totally overturns the model new steadiness that Marvel was searching for to arrange with this very first post-“Infinity Saga” assortment of tales: gone have been the occasions of cramming every single MCU franchise into each single half; proper right here (presumably to stay) was the model new methodology of roughly dividing all properties, every pre-existing and model-new, amongst numerous phases. This is why the one sequels the studio had meant to include throughout the authentic mannequin of Phase Four have been Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Thor; Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Ant-Man have been all to be reserved for Phase Five.

If Marvel is actually reverting this assortment of flicks to the distinctive “Infinity Saga” methodology, then all these completely different remaining movies would possibly very correctly be included in Phase Four as correctly, making it very just like the three-year-, 11-picture-long Phase Three. This might indicate that audiences would possibly even be able to depend on a grand Avengers climax to come back again on the end as quickly as as soon as extra. (It’s unknown whether or not or not this is ready to affect the potential plans of getting a number of Avengers teams in all probability starring in numerous sequels, along with the potential of an all-female A-Force.)

But why stop there? There’s a thriller Marvel film nonetheless set for October 7, 2022, which is bigger than seemingly Blade and which then opens up the door for all the extra initiatives that Marvel had revealed all through last yr’s San Diego Comic-Con, akin to Fantastic Four and, merely in all probability, the X-Men. And then there’s all the glut of Disney+ productions, which have continued to develop with such additions as Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and, most excitingly, Moon Knight, and which have all been declared to reside throughout the Phase Four pantheon. At this payment, it feels as if Phase Four won't ever end – which, satirically, was kind of initially the aim.

Even sooner than the two-part grand finale to “The Infinity Saga” bought right here out in 2018 and '19, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was dropping hints as to what the post-Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame panorama would seem like. Feige talked about that, fairly than persevering with the half building, the long term would possibly preserve a “new issue,” perhaps hinting at a continuously-unspooling story that can not have the should be broken up into season-like chunks.

This preliminary post-Phase Three methodology sounds very like what Warner Bros. had tried to do with its ultimately-short-lived DC Expanded Universe: whereas earlier movies would foreshadow and repay in subsequent installments or franchises, it would merely be one straightforward, consistently growing story that had no explicit climaxes to assemble as a lot as, even when they've been further together with the smaller, season finale choice (exactly what the Avengers installments are). In this way, “Infinity Saga” was higher than solely a specific story that united the first few phases collectively right into a further cohesive narrative – it was completely utterly completely different, albeit momentary, sort out the Marvel mythology whose ending abrogated the need for extra phases. (In this format, one can’t help nevertheless get the impression that Feige and Marvel would have merely continued to supply new sequels and spinoffs until the enterprise had kind of sputtered out, and the MCU would’ve merely coasted to a fragile end – precisely what ended up occurring to the DCEU appropriate.)

By slicing up all the utterly completely different properties and distributing them amongst every Phases Four and Five, it confirmed that Marvel was ready to take care of experimenting with its storytelling methodology, even when it was nonetheless all through the moniker of phases. With this now apparently gone, followers are immediately going through the prospect of Phase Four turning into nearly utterly indistinguishable from Five, regardless of kind its roster ends up lastly taking – which means, in a means, Phase Four might nonetheless end up being that flattened, elongated storytelling panorama that Feige was toying with all the easiest way once more in 2017.

Then as soon as extra, given this prospect – and given the mounted stream of adjustments which have buffeted it, particularly in these suddenly-disrupting situations of the coronavirus pandemic – it wouldn’t the least bit be shocking to see Feige change his ideas (as soon as extra) and in the end return to dropping the Phase Four title altogether.

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