What to expect when Marvel Cinematic Universe rolls out its Phase IV and V after the 2019 Avengers movie?
In the post-Infinity War times, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is shaken, stirred and ready for a major overhaul!
For the first time in years, the comic book franchise took a risk of epic proportion in the form of a grand anti-hero, Thanos, who not only swiped clean half of the Earth's population but also sent shockwaves through the galaxy with just a snap of his fingers. At the end of it all, though, almost every Marvel fan left the theaters with moist eyes and anticipation over what transpires in the much-awaited sequel to Avengers: Infinity War - that arrives in 2019 - as well as in the MCU that is, right now, strenuously laying the groundwork for it's next phase IV and V.
If the death of some of the biggest, Marvel heroes left you teary-eyed, then as a loyalist, you should also know the franchise always brings back its fan-favorite characters. And in keeping with this practice, it's almost inevitable that MCU, despite the cosmic turn of events at the end of Infinity War, is not about to lose some of the finest heroes in its arsenal.
So where does this leave us with the mounting casualties that have, undoubtedly, set a change in motion; especially with the way the narrative is headed? To answer all of these, in a nutshell, is to say that MCU is up for some major refurbishing; the conclusion of which results in the culmination of a storyline that creative bosses have been building towards for nearly 10 years and across 18 movies.
Meaning, out with the old and in with the new. So far, the inter-connected, shared universe has endured some major losses and looks like the scene won't be much different in Avengers 4 either - the final installment in the phase III saga.
When does Phase IV kick off in the MCU?
Until now and May 2019, Marvel has a jam-packed pipeline with blockbuster releases, to say the least. Kick-starting the post-Infinity War pipeline will be 'Ant-Man and the Wasp', which also happens to be the final MCU release of 2018. However, it must be noted the movie has no bearing on the aftermath of Thanos successful quest and is predominantly set between the events of 'Captain America: Civil War' and Avengers 3.
Next in line is Brie Larson-starring highly anticipated origin story of Captain Marvel, which basically deals with Carol Denvers' adventures in the 90s and establishes the relationship between the superheroine and Nick Fury; something that obviously has significant implication following the face-off with the mad Titan.
Finally, on May 3, 2019, the untitled Avengers movie will make it's way to the screens, setting the stage for the beginning of a new era in the cinematic universe. Given the guarded stance directors Anthony and Joe Russo have maintained over the fourth film, plot details/spoilers are right now a thing of fiction. What's known for sure is that Avengers 4 ties up all the loose ends (hopefully), and leads us into Marvel's Phase IV.
Which movies are slated for Phase Four?
Thanks to Spiderman: Homecoming producer Amy Pascal, who has knowledge of both Disney and Sony's forthcoming Marvel projects, we have what can be considered the first insight into the fourth phase.
As it turns out, just two months after Avengers 4, comes the much-talked-about sequel of the Jon Watts-directed Spider-Man movie. And interestingly enough, the Tom Holland-starring film picks up right after the events of the untitled Avengers movie.
"What I think we should focus on is this Spider-Man who started in Civil War and then has this movie, and then will be in the Avengers movie," Pascal had earlier dished to Fandom adding, "And we are starting now the next one which will start a few minutes after Avengers 4 wraps as a story."
While this confirms at least one movie in the upcoming-phase-four-list for Marvel, the third installment to Guardians of the Galaxy saga has also been confirmed. It is expected to take place "after the next two Avengers movies and it will help to set up the next 10, 20 years of Marvel movies," as per James Gunn. Besides these two films, there will be a slew of other releases in the MCU pipeline and it's won't require rocket science for fans to make an educated guess about the line-up.
From Black Panther 2 to Doctor Strange 2 (a character made famous on screen by Benedict Cumberbatch), the list is long and exciting. Just like the future of the MCU, which moving forward will inculcate some "massively different" elements, in the words of director Joe Russo himself.
"I think that this is if Marvel has been writing a book for ten years, it's the end of the book and someone is going to write a new book. Who knows what that new book will be but this is an ending and that'll be a new beginning," the Marvel filmmaker had teased.
All of this makes Avengers 4 crucial - here's why!
Interestingly, at the end of this year's Infinity War, fans had to bid adieu to the rather newer introductions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while the original five - including Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Black Widow - were left intact with not more than some mere scratches here and there.
As far as popular theories are concerned, Marvel is all about embracing a brand new line-up of comic book heroes in phase four. Add to this the fact that the contracts of most OG stars currently associated with the franchise - Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. - either ends or is nearing an end after Infinity War - all of this together surely cast a foreboding shadow of doubt surrounding the future of some of the beloved Marvel heroes.
Chances are when MCU moves into its fourth phase, there might be a shift of focus from the older breed to the newer crop of characters, meaning a rather permanent farewell to the OGs. The ones left will not only be tasked with leading the change but also with setting the tone for Marvel's refurbished movie universe.
An increased emphasis will certainly be on embracing diversity - both in terms of the characters and their origins and the genre of movies that the studios want to make in the coming future. So far, with King T'Challa and his Wakandan origins, Marvel has already gained a head start on the issue lack of color in the superhero universe. And this idea of inclusion will only be further explored in female-fronted projects like Captain Marvel and the rumored Black Widow solo film.
In fact, there has been a recurring chatter about Marvel taking on the slightly different horror genre as well. After all, the comic book franchise has intense characters like Blade and Man-Thing, who are yet to make a big-screen appearance.
Where does this leave us with Marvel's Phase Five?
Honestly speaking, even after crawling through a multitude of rabbit holes on the Internet, the barrage of information about Phase V still remains highly speculative. Marvel bosses are clearly holding their long-shot cards close to their chest and in this case, we will be doing what we do best - lay our best bets.
It's still a long wait until MCU rolls out its fifth phase, and when it does, the franchise would, unfailingly, have axed some of the old characters. This means a fresh start is inevitable in the upcoming chapters of the shared universe, both for the plot and the characters. So does this mean no more Captain America in the future? Perhaps not. If things work out, someone from the team, Bucky Barnes or Sam Wilson could be taking up the mantle.
Also, in the future, Marvel could be bringing back home a slew of its comic book characters - Deadpool, X-Men - of course, if the megadeal between Disney and Fox works out well.
Does this mean the studio is about to give their fans a taste of the x-rated? Only time can tell. Until then all eyes are glued to Avengers 4 and the upcoming slew of blockbusters.