Now, with the #MarvelCinematicUniverse having spent much of the past eight years expanding at a frantic and seemingly limitless pace, we could be forgiven for suspecting that #MarvelStudios' inter-connected mega-franchise has no intention of slowing down this side of catastrophic box office failure. After all, with this year's #CaptainAmericaCivilWar seemingly laying down the gauntlet for all big-budget superhero spectacle, and two more #Avengers movies heading our way before 2019 is out, there seems every reason to suspect that #Marvel's movies are only going to get bigger as they blow through the current Phase 3 into whatever comes next in Phase 4.
That, though, may not actually be quite what the studio has planned, though. Y'see...
According To Marvel's President, Avengers: Infinity War May Be Marvel's Last 'Big' Movie
Indeed, as Marvel Studios head honcho #KevinFeige recently revealed in an interview with Vulture, the company's plans for the years following #AvengersInfinityWar are a whole lot less grandiose than we tend to imagine. Asked where the studio goes after the MCU's apparent culmination in Infinity War, Feige's answer was straightforward... and unexpected: Things are getting smaller.
As Feige himself put it:
"I think it's possible to have more intimate movies after that, or to have more interesting, unexpected combinations of characters after [Infinity War], absolutely... It never is intentionally about 'being even bigger.' Arguably, one of the biggest scenes we've ever had in a movie was the airport battle in 'Civil War,' and there weren't world-ending stakes in that scene, there wasn't an asteroid smashing into a city in that scene, but there was a conflict between the characters that made you feel something."
And so, the plan going forward for Marvel? Well, as Feige suggested:
"To us, it's less about continuing to go bigger with spectacle — although in some cases, we will — and more about continuing to go deeper with those character interactions."
The big question that raises, though?
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What Does That Actually Mean For The MCU?
After all, while Civil War certainly works as a fine example of Feige's point regarding big scenes being able to take place alongside comparatively low stakes, it's also a movie about the actions of a handful of heroes altering the very nature of global geopolitics. Where the likes of Ant-Man could get away with substantially lowered stakes through the relative lack of fan interest, it'll be interesting to see whether such an approach would work with, say, 2018 #AntManandTheWasp, in which audiences are likely to expect far more bang for their buck. Heck, even the newly released #DoctorStrange — a film that is, in large part, a pretty small-scale origin story — has some of the MCU's highest stakes to date.
Meanwhile, while many fans would be sure to welcome a more toned-down, character-driven Avengers movie, it remains to be seen whether such a film would be able to comfortably vault the billion dollar mark at the box office. If it didn't, would Marvel Studios be happy with creatively fulfilling lower returns, or would the MCU quickly revert to ever-increasing levels of scale and spectacle, in an attempt to recapture past glories? Alternatively, is it possible to strike a happy medium, in which the movies still make vast sums of money, but offer writers and directors greater creative freedom, thus keeping the franchise fresh for far longer than the current path may allow?
We might have to wait a while to find out, but here's hoping!
Want more on Doctor Strange, and its high, high stakes, though? Never fear, we've got you covered right here.
And, in the meantime, what do you think? Will Marvel Studios really lower the stakes in Phase 4 — and if so, how? Let us know below!