There is absolutely no denying the fact that after establishing what the MCU has in a decade worth of entertainment, they would like to keep it going. However, things are bound to be shaken up every once in a while, and we all know ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be that very shakeup. Practically too, it makes a lot of sense since the actors playing our favourite characters are not ageless and would eventually like to move on to exploring newer directions in their sizeable bodies of work. However, the show must go on, and despite most of the primarily formed Avengers reportedly retiring form their roles or being reduced to overseeing presences in the MCU, the landscape following ‘Endgame’ looks more and more interesting, given the MCU and its makers are willing to deep dive into the sea of immortal comic book wealth that the legend Stan Lee has left in his wake, close to six decades of fictional storytelling and beloved characters.
Based on what we know and hope can be lucrative Marvel properties for the MCU to cash upon, and all the information we have on upcoming films already in development, we predict what the MCU’s future could look like, and from the looks of it, it looks anything but bright. From more of the same, to a new Avengers lineup, to the inclusion of newly acquired properties, read on to find out the increasingly diverse directions that the MCU could be headed in following ‘Avengers: Endgame’.
Reshuffling of the Original Avengers
As I have already predicted previously, the core Avengers team, the one that first assembled in 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ for the first time, will more or less disband following the events of ‘Endgame’, and move on to either only overseeing roles or small cameos in future films, or to completely retiring from playing these beloved characters. Reports also state that Marvel is actually intending to shift its focus away from The Avengers as a franchise to a new central one.
From what we have here, and considering the Disney Fox merger that made waves in the news circuit some months ago, we could have the X-Men and The Fantastic Four joining the remaining Avengers, a faction I believe will be led by new frontrunners from Phase II or Phase III of the MCU. My bet would easily be among Black Panther or Captain Marvel, since their solo movies were unequivocal hits that grossed more than $1 Billion at the box office, proving the characters’ merit in actually helming the franchise. Among the surviving ones, none of the characters though have as much popularity as Spider Man, so yeah, there is still a lot of fuel left in the machinery even if the first tier Avengers decide to hang up their capes and move on.
The X-Men and The Fantastic Four
The multi-billion dollar Disney-Fox merger has been in the news for quite some time, and after settling on an amount close to $71 Billion Dollars, all of the cinematic and television properties owned by Fox have now found new ownership at the hands of Disney. For Marvel fans, this has only meant one thing from the start, which would be that Marvel studios now have full ownership of every comic book character written under its cannon, which in turn should mean that these characters can now appear in the MCU.
Two superhero factions in particular, the X-Men and The Fantastic Four that now reside with Disney and in effect, with the MCU can now be a part of the next phase of MCU movies, something that should prove to be immensely interesting. Now this would be a teamup worth witnessing, and I primarily suspect that these two factions may form a big part of the MCU’s future along with the remaining Avengers.
While it is almost obvious that with the release of ‘Dark Phoenix’ and ‘New Mutants’ lined up for release later this year, Marvel will wait for the dust to settle a bit before introducing their own versions of these characters. What I am particularly interested (and excited) about is that how the MCU will treat one of Fox’s most successful properties in years, Deadpool. The inclusion of an R-Rated superhero property that has no problem with violence and nudity pitted against the family friendly Disney, the MCU might have a task at their hands if they wish to pull this one off.
Future Films: Will There be Any Sequel?
The same MCU that announced its entire slate of films scheduled for Phase III with finalised release dates, currently has only ‘Spider Man: Far From Home’ as the one film with a finalised release date, ofcourse following ‘Endgame’ in April. Perhaps the makers are keeping mum about it owing to the uncertain fates of certain characters that the studios might be working on. However, despite the embargo on information, it is reportedly being said that a solo Black Widow origins film, a Doctor Strange film sequel, A ‘Black Panther’ sequel and a film adaptation of one of the lesser known Marvel characters, ‘The Eternals’ are in various stages of development to be released eventually.
Given that we think the team of core Avengers may retire almost completely, and that it might be a while before we get to see a fully formed Marvel team up movie, these films should hold up well, including returning fan favourites Spider Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Black Widow. Given the success of ‘Captain Marvel’, her fate following ‘Endgame’ is mostly sealed and we know that she is going to make it out of the battle, and while she might even prove instrumental in the battle against Thanos, it wouldn’t be surprising if a sequel with her returning for her cosmic adventures isn’t already being discussed.
Let’s face it. Marvel’s original slate of characters, the Tier 1 Avengers, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow aren’t exactly the most diverse bunch of characters to begin with. If there is anything that Marvel can learn from the success of ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Captain Marvel’, it would be that the world has changed in the one decade wherein three phases of the MCU have materialised, and that the audience is ready to embrace newer characters with more diverse backgrounds and backstories, including nationalities, sexualities and race.
While these distinctions shouldn’t have existed in the first place, Marvel sure seems to be acting up on that, with the announcement of the ‘Shang Chi’ solo film, and being on the lookout for their first LGBT superhero, as well as being open to representations of LGBT characters in their upcoming films. The good news work both ways: while we as an audience can certainly grow to appreciate the diversity presented to us, Marvel too gets the added advantage of the image of an all-inclusive studio, something that is definitely bound to sit well with its audience and even the critics.
The Marvel TV Verse
Apart from character representations, what has seriously changed over the years is the importance and role of streaming websites in the entertainment arena, and Disney (the primary distributor of MCU films) is all set to be a partaker in that, with the introduction of their own streaming network, Disney Plus (Disney+), which I believe will form a big part of the MCU’s fast expanding future.
Among the scarce details that we have for the streaming service, including the availability of all MCU and Disney films on the platform, we know that a number of spinoff series from the MCU films are in development, including a Scarlet Witch origins story, wherein I fully expect them to take advantage of their newly acquired mutant properties, a Loki spinoff series starring Tom Hiddleston, that still has an uncertain storyline given the character’s uncertain future in the MCU, and yet another spin off series with Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, and Sam Wilson, the Falcon, two of the most important Captain America comrades. Now given the popularity of these characters in the Avengers films as well as in smaller team up and solo films, I expect that audience to lap these shows up like anything. After all, we know what we’d all be looking for following the supposed carnage in ‘Endgame’, and that would be anything that could tie in to the characters’ fictional histories, and ofcourse, easter eggs and references, because who doesn’t love those.
The Multiverse Theory
Diversifying the character slate does more than just having new stories to tell. What it can also do is open up entirely now, hitherto unexplored possibilities and directions for the entire franchise to be headed in. The MCU currently has two such characters, Doctor Strange and Ant-Man, both having different ways to access what would be called the multiverse, one through the mystic arts and one through the quantum realm, a concept beyond interesting that has been explored by both rival factions DC and Marvel. None of them although has been currently able to produce a live action adaptation of any of their multiverse storylines. While chances are slim, it could be amazingly lucrative for the MCU to work in this direction, exploring alternate timelines, and alternate versions of our favourite characters, including Captain Britain and a Sorcerer Supreme for every dimension and parallel reality.
The Galactus Theory
Personally speaking, I would be rooting the most for this theory. The current segment of the MCU has spent eleven years beginning with 2008’s ‘Iron Man’ up until 2019’s ‘Endgame’ in expanding and culminating one of Marvel comics’ most iconic storylines related to the infinity stones, them being the most powerful objects in the universe, a mad titan hell bent on wielding them and his battle with the Avengers.
What could prove really interesting is that when the current threat is (obviously) neutralised in the finale of ‘Endgame’, the post or end credits set up the next phase of Marvel films by introducing an even bigger cosmic baddie for the heroes to fight: Galactus. The powerful planet eating villain has until now made only a single live action appearance in the second one of two ‘Fantastic Four’ films earlier bankrolled by Marvel, and was quickly put to rest following a rather dismal finale. However, for the next few phases of the MCU, they could reintroduce the character and set him up gradually but correctly, and have him face our heroes, both new and old, a la Thanos in a culminating cinematic event. One of the most sure shot ways of repeating the success that MCU has had with its first three phases.
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