The juggernaut of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is definitively don’t slow down anytime soon. It’s a phrase that’s sure to make comic book movie naysayers cringe, but, based on the latest from CinemaCon, it’s almost guaranteed.
Speaking at Disney’s presentation at the Las Vegas event, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed that the company’s management team is set to embark on a retirement to work on the next 10 years of Marvel movies. It’s unclear if this includes Marvel’s recently announced Phase 4 projects like Blade and Fantastic 4, or if the Disney subsidiary is just charting its Phase 5 plans.
Kevin Feige just said on stage that he’s heading to a Marvel Studios retreat at CinemaCon to work on the next 10 years of MCU movies. pic.twitter.com/TKcs27Oj0gApril 27, 2022
Either way, it’s going to be a busy and exciting time for the MCU, its creators, and Marvel’s global fan base. But, with so many rich comedic stories to draw from over the past 83 years, what might the future hold for the MCU? Will we get any new superhero team-up movies a la The Avengers? Is the Multiverse, which we’ve already seen in Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home, poised to play a bigger role in the future? Or does Marvel have something else in mind?
Marvel has plenty of options to explore, but here are four things I absolutely want to see in the next 10 years of Marvel movies.
1. Less interconnectivity
Marvel Studios has always intended to create an interconnected universe. The foundations for this were built into the MCU from the start, with 2008’s Iron Man post-credits scene laying the first bricks for multiple heroes and villains to cross paths.
The first Avengers movie, however, proved that bringing together a remarkable group of people wasn’t just possible – see what we did there? — but that there was global audience demand for superhero team-up films of this ilk. Subsequent Avengers films, as well as the arrival of the Multiverse – which is set to be explored further in Doctor Strange 2 – have only added to the MCU’s burgeoning interconnectedness.
The problem with pursuing this “everything is connected” path, however, is that it arguably prevents newcomers from fully immersing themselves in this franchise. With 27 movies and six Disney Plus shows (and counting) to catch up on, some would-be fans might even be discouraged from becoming the next MCU super fan. At this point there is only also lots of content to consume to catch up.
In my opinion, Marvel should take a cue from one of the best MCU Phase 4 projects to date – Moon Knight – and master its shared universe. For a while, at least. Allow your superhero movies and TV series to be independent of each other. Tell stand-alone stories so nobody – even the least likely Marvel fan – can watch a six-episode TV show or a two-hour feature film, knowing they don’t need to know more about previous points or characters in the movie. intrigue, and enjoy it for what it is.
Of course, there will be a time when bringing superheroes together to stop a larger multiversal threat – we’re looking at you, Kang – will be necessary. Moving forward, however, less is more. Make standalone films unrelated to previous or concurrent films, and you’ll likely attract new (and more) Marvel fans. And hey, if newcomers like what they’re seeing and want to watch more MCU content, they’ve got a whole load of productions to catch up on. Win-win, in my opinion.
2. Step away from the traditional movie trilogy format
The cinematic trilogy format is something that has become entrenched in Hollywood cinema over the past few decades. Star Wars, the MCU, DCEU, and many other franchises have been using such a plan for many years now, but with varying levels of success.
But it’s time to move away from this overused and somewhat outdated formula now – and, oddly enough, Marvel has proven it’s already ready to do just that.
We’ve had four Avengers movies. Once Thor: Love and Thunder arrives in July, Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder will have had a character arc spanning four films. The Captain America franchise – albeit with a new cap in Anthony Mackie’s Falcon/Sam Wilson – is also set to get a fourth film. So there’s a precedent for Marvel slowly moving away from the traditional cinematic trilogy format. And that’s something I’d like to see the studio look into more.
Nor does Marvel need to start creating quadrilogies instead of trilogies now. If the next entry in the Black Panther series – Wakanda Forever – completes many character arcs for its main cast, stop at two and make it a Black Panther duology. If the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise continues past Volume 3, potentially with new programming, why not make two more movies (if that’s all it takes to complete their MCU journey) instead of three? Heck, Eternals is one of the worst performing Marvel movies of all time, so while it clearly set up events to come in a potential sequel, leave it as one movie (which didn’t). resonated with the audience) and move on.
Not every Marvel movie series needs a three-movie arc, meaning a beginning, middle, and end. Some need to tell their stories on many movies, while others don’t. Hoping Marvel takes notice.
3. Introduce the X-Men
We all know they’re coming – so far there have been plenty of references to them in the MCU, including Falcon and the Winter Solider and Moon Knight (Scarlet Witch is the most obvious nod to this group, given its ties to Magneto in the comics). Outside of the Fantastic Four, they’re arguably the most requested superhero group among Marvel fans as the next major addition to the MCU.
So, Marvel, please introduce the X-Men at some point in the next decade. We’re already getting a Deadpool movie in the MCU, and we know we’re getting a multiverse variant of Professor X in Doctor Strange 2. We’re even getting a follow-up series to the original X-Men animated series on Disney Plus in the near future as well. .
All the signs are there to incorporate them into your profitable franchise. And, quite honestly, we’re tired of wondering when Wolverine and company will actually show up. So, on behalf of all Marvel fans, please bring them into the MCU. And do it as soon as possible, okay?
4. Use Disney Plus shows to your advantage
While a movie might make sense for iconic and beloved Marvel characters/teams such as the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Blade, it arguably becomes harder to introduce new superheroes into their own. standalone MCU movie.
Okay, Shang-Chi showed it was possible but, as we touched on before, Eternals was considered a waste by many fans and critics. Unless a new character is introduced as part of an established character’s film franchise – think Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, or America Chavez in the upcoming Doctor Strange 2 – nature increasingly complexity of the MCU may make it impossible to introduce superheroes into their own movie.
This is where Disney Plus comes in handy. Disney’s streaming platform has already helped Marvel introduce several new characters in lead or supporting roles, including Moon Knight, Hawkeye’s Kate Bishop, and Sylvie/Enchantress in Loki.
With shows like Ms Marvel, Secret Invasion, and She-Hulk set to introduce new superheroes to the MCU ahead of their potential appearances in MCU movies, Marvel is already using Disney Plus the right way. Introducing new titulars through a six-episode series also provides the opportunity to further develop the characters before they hit the big screen.
And it is a trend that must continue. Marvel can certainly benefit from introducing audiences to new characters, such as Ironheart in Wakanda Forever, in its films before getting a standalone TV series on Disney Plus. But Marvel movies can also benefit from its Disney Plus cousins - one example being Ms. Marvel’s co-starring role in The Marvels, which will land in theaters eight months after Ms. Marvel’s live-action debut in its own Disney Plus series.
Marvel may be planning the next 10 years of Marvel movies, but you can be sure it will also factor its slate of Disney Plus shows — announced or unannounced — into its thinking. Leveraging its small-screen offerings will go a long way to bringing new characters into the fray, even if it’s standalone entries like Moon Knight, and further enriching the MCU as a result.