I know most people are insanely, giddily happy about Spiderman coming home to Marvel and finally being incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but I know there are some of us, that are intrigued, and a bit worried about how this will affect the MCU, so this is my way of providing a voice.
First off, right off the bat, I have to say, I like the fact that Spidey's come home. This isn't about any dislike of him coming back, because when I originally found out I jumped for joy, and screamed "YES! YES! YES!" for a good solid 5 minutes, at 8 in the morning. So, I'm not unhappy about him being back. I'm just sceptical and worried about how it affects the story Marvel's been weaving for so long.
I want to take you guys back to the 28th of October, 2014. Marvel's just released their Phase 3 lineup, and fans have gone giddy with joy. Black Panther and Inhumans films have finally been announced, Captain Marvel is joining the team of heroes as is Doctor Strange and Marvel's finally got some prominent diverse heroes. It seemed epic, and it was.
Over the course of the next 5 months we would analyse, re-analyse and explore every possibility of Phase 3 and I think, we as fans, have some pretty good basic ideas of how Phase 3 is going to work in terms of the new characters; Dr Strange introduces new planes, universes and magic, Inhumans and Captain Marvel are the turning points in the fight against Thanos and Black Panther becomes a major character, who possibly leads the New Avengers in the early defence of Planet Earth.
This is how for months, we’ve been pretty sure the rest of the current MCU is going to go down. Now, obviously most of these films are three, four years away and Phase 3 isn’t starting until next year, nor has it’s first film even gone into proper production yet (I’m not counting pre-production, only filming and post), so things can change. We’re comic book fans, things change all the time, we know that and we’re accepting of that, but we thought this was set relatively in stone. That was, we were up until 3 days ago.
I’m gonna have to say it again, because it’s important you recognise this. I was INSANELY EXCITED about Spidey coming home, the moment I read about it. I cannot deny it, because it’s fact. It’s what I’ve been crying out for, for months, it’s what I’ve been praying and begging for. I should have been over the moon for years, however by the end of the day I was cheesed off and ready to ditch Marvel. Here’s why.
As a comic book fan, I don’t take things at face value. I analyse. We all do. You hear a superhero is going to be in a certain issue, you don’t just go “oh, cool” and get on with your life, you think “how will this affect the current universe?”, “how will it affect the other characters”, “what will this lead to??”. So I analysed the Sony and Marvel deal, as I’m sure all of us fans did, and I found out that some phase 3 dates had been changed.
I was fine about that, I figured, that obviously some dates would have to be changed to accommodate a Spiderman film, and in fact I started wondering, excitedly, how he might be able to fit and how it would be pulled off. Then, I saw what the dates were, and then I, for a day and a half, lost all faith in Marvel and Phase 3.
Like I said, we had Phase 3 pretty much figured out. We thought we knew what would happen, but just when we thought we’d sussed out Marvel, we had been thrown a humungous spanner. Some dates don’t’ matter, because they don’t affect anything chronologically, but two moved dates do, because now, Black Panther isn’t before Avengers Infinity War: Part 1 and worse, Inhumans isn’t before the supposed finale Avengers Infinity War: Part 2.
As far as, at the very least, I knew, and most of my Marvel-fan friends knew Black Panther helps set up IWP1. As far as we knew, Inhumans would be a major factor in turning the tide in IWP2, in fact, we thought that the Inhumans and their introduction into the film would provide the right amount of super powered beings to stop Thanos, because we thought that there would be, for a long time, just not enough superheroes to fight Thanos and what would likely be his army.
This, changes that dramatically. If Black Panther doesn’t introduce IWP1 then why was he before it in the original line-up? Especially if he could be shifted so easily, he might as well have been just moved until after IWP1, and if Inhumans sets up Phase 4 as it now looks like, why put them before IWP2? And if Spidey is appearing in one pre-2017 Marvel film (and all the evidence points to it being in his comic book role in Civil War) where does that leave Black Panther and Chadwick Boseman? Is his role reduced now? And what about the four year early reveal of the Inhumans in the Agents of Shield? Will casual viewers be confused? Will AoS not get to reveal anything truly major about the Inhumans??
The whole situation becomes confusing. Not only that, it throws doubt onto the whole reason the MCU is famous; it’s unwavering, super-long-term-planned, continuity. If things can be changed so easily, is the MCU really as connected as we first thought? If it isn’t then what makes it any different to any other film franchise? Not only that, but how does this affect previous Easter Eggs from films that have already been made, that were meant for the original Phase 3 line-up and not this new alternative line-up?
For me, it became too much and I lost faith in Marvel, because I felt it had lost what made it special. I have since gained my belief back, because I trust Marvel and they haven’t done me wrong yet (even if I’m not a fan of Iron Man 3’s Mandarin reveal, thank the comic book gods they retconned that!). However, we are yet to hear anything from them about the casualness in which they simply changed the dates in such a major way, and this is worrying, because if they can change things so easily, then very soon, they will lose what made them special and famous and that can throw the whole plan in jeopardy.
To be honest all I want is a simple “Trust us, we have a plan, it seems a bit nuts right now, but we have a plan, nothings changed/everything’s changed, but we know what we’re doing and this won’t affect the continuity of the last 10 films” and I’ll be happy, but at the moment we aren't getting that.
So, guys and gals and comic book nerds. If Marvel won’t let us know everything will be fine, it’s up to us to reassure ourselves, and the easiest way is to get excited again, so leave your jobs, ditch your essays, drop your kids off at their grandmas and dust off the comic books because we’ve got to figure out this brand new Phase 3 and how it’s gonna work out.