When the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched in 2008, nobody expected it to be a Star Wars-level success. Since then, the franchise has grossed over $5 billion at the box office; by the time of 2019's Avengers 4 we'll have watched a whopping 22 movies set in this remarkable shared universe.
But Marvel is looking beyond Avengers 4 now, preparing something fresh and innovative. Astoundingly, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has revealed that they have nothing less than another 20 movie ideas they're toying with.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Feige revealed:
"[Marvel is] 22 movies in, and we’ve got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before—intentionally."
To give a sense of scale to this, it essentially means that Marvel is partway through planning the next decade of superhero blockbusters.
Marvel Is Playing The Long Game Again
Marvel has always tended to play the long game, with Disney assuring readers it's planning at least another 20 years of Marvel movies. In October 2014, Marvel startled fans across the world when they announced a thrilling film slate that ran all the way through May 2019. At the time, this kind of announcement was absolutely unprecedented.
It's true that Marvel's slate changed a lot over the years. The Spider-Man deal with Sony forced Marvel to dramatically adjust their plans, with Tom Holland becoming the latest incarnation of everybody's favorite webhead. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of a business restructure, Feige wasted no time in dropping Inhumans. It's generally believed he was never too interested in the property, which he passed on to Marvel Television.
You'll notice that Feige doesn't imply these 20 movies are fixed in any way. He refers to them loosely as "on the docket," implying they're being discussed but may well change. We can assume he's building a degree of flexibility into his plans, just as he had to adapt the Phase 3 slate in light of changing circumstances and new opportunities.
Still, the fact that Feige and his team are literally planning out the next decade of films, a slate almost equal in length to everything we've seen in the MCU to date, is staggering.
What Ideas Can We Expect?
There are only a handful of these films that we can call with any degree of certainty. The first is that we know there's a Spider-Man trilogy in the works. Whatever follows Phase 3, it will be launched by the Homecoming sequel. That positions Spider-Man at the absolute forefront of the MCU's future, and Holland's already indicated he's signed up for a third solo film. We can assume Marvel wouldn't position Spider-Man so strategically if they weren't attempting to extend their deal with Sony, in order to retain access to the character once the trilogy is over.
We can also assume that there are some sequels in the mix. Marvel seem to like doing trilogies based around their characters, so it's possible we'll see several films centered around characters like Black Panther and Captain Marvel. We certainly know Doctor Strange 2 is in the works.
Finally, James Gunn is already working on the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn is becoming increasingly important in Marvel Studios, responsible for exploring the final frontier of the MCU. He's already indicated there are plans for the cosmic characters beyond Vol. 3:
"Those scripts are already in the works. Kevin and I talk about it all the time; we just had a meeting today. Discussing what is the next iteration of cosmic characters and where are the characters that we’ve already created going to go in the next batch of films."
Disney CEO Bob Iger reinforced this sense of the future MCU. He noted that Marvel is looking at "worlds that are completely separate — geographically or in time — from the worlds that we've already visited." This comment opens up the possibility of alternate dimensions or future timelines, such as the 2099 range.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teased the introduction of Adam Warlock, a cosmic hero who Gunn has stressed won't appear in Avengers: Infinity War. Although most fans have assumed Warlock will appear in Vol. 3, Gunn has recently warned that we should be wary of that assumption:
Given that Gunn is one of Feige's architects, working on the next decade of Marvel movies, Warlock could conceivably appear at any time.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven to be a remarkable success. What's more, #Marvel is determined to ensure that success continues. While Feige's focus may be on making sure the next few films land well, not least the all-important Infinity War and Avengers 4, he's also looking to the next decade of pulse-pounding superhero movies. It's a great time to be a superhero fan!
Which Marvel characters do you think need their own films? Let me know in the comments!
[Source: Vanity Fair]