Why the Marvel Cinematic Universe will likely be no more after 2019
With the releases of Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, Marvel officially transitioned into the third and climactic phase of its interconnected superhero films, known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). And while Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has dropped breadcrumbs about possibly adding another decade of MCU films onto the slate, whether audiences will continue to be enamoured past the current cycle - which dates back to 2008’s Iron Man - remains to be seen. Because every movie in the series released so far has a trajectory set to culminate with 2019’s Avengers: Infinity War Part II.
So, with two years and eight films left in the historic franchise as we know it, let’s see what they’ve got on tap to keep us entertained as the upcoming MCU movies crescendo into the largest superhero film ever made.
The first Guardians of the Galaxy proved Marvel’s seeming infallibility by scraping the bottom of the comic book barrel and still emerging with a hit movie. While this film has yet to make any promises about playing a significant role in the MCU storyline, based off the wildly popular first installment and the warm reaction to the trailers, expect fans to show up to the box office with alacrity for this sequel.
A titled and true homecoming for the centerpiece fixture of the Marvel brand, Spider-Man will finally fall under the dominion of the MCU, and fanboys are eager to see Marvel’s fingerprints on the character. Also scintillating moviegoers is Iron Man’s inclusion in the flick, as well as Michael Keaton’s return into the superhero genre, this time as a villain.
Here’s where things get big. After reception to the sequels of Iron Man and Thor paled in comparison to the favored Captain America sequels, execs cottoned on to the idea that these solo films shouldn’t be solo at all. Thor’s third feature will include notable MCU alumni Hulk, Doctor Strange, and Loki, as well as introducing new characters played by Hollywood darlings Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill. And for the nerds, this film will draw major inspiration from Planet Hulk, the most popular comic book series for the green rage-monster. This will surely be the densest, most sprawling superhero film of the year.
While the story is almost entirely unknown, Black Panther is luring in fans with an incredible cast of multiple Academy Award winners and a young director with a critically reputable pedigree. The team associated with the feature - Michael B. Jordan, Martin Freeman and Angela Bassett to name but a few - is enough to turn heads, but this film is also groundbreaking in its investment of black talent both behind and in front of the camera.
Marvel teased that the third Avengers movie could feature their ultimate villain Thanos as the lead character, most likely being based on a heralded comic book storyline called “The Thanos Quest”. An intergalactic tyrant’s accumulation of power will be an exciting storyline for the family-friendly franchise to explore, and will ramp up the momentum for the impending finale.
What to be excited about for Ant-Man & Wasp? Um, Paul Rudd’s in it? That’s about it right now…
Brie Larson had barely decided where to place her Best Actress Oscar on her mantle before agreeing to lead Marvel’s first (and long overdue) female-driven solo film, Captain Marvel. Hopefully this movie can help disperse long-held and feckless doubts movie studios have had about the potential earning power of female superhero movies. And although not a household name, Captain Marvel is becoming increasingly popular within the comic book realm and it will be intriguing to see how large her role will be in the final Avengers film.
The finale and the fulcrum of the entire MCU, it all leads to this. It should be stated that it is unclear how exactly this film will gel with its 2018 predecessor. Which film will feature more action, which one will feature what characters, is still a mystery. Rather than being told in two parts, the second film will be a stand alone project . So it’s a safe bet that this film will be an immensely grandiose conclusion to a franchise more than 10 years in the making. The film’s directors did confirm plans to pepper 67 characters into the second film and noted it will lead to a big shakeup of the Avengers lineup if/when they’re to continue making MCU movies. Regardless, this film marks the finish line for a 22-part series, the scope and scale of which we may possibly never see on screen again. For that, this is certainly a comic book movie to be excited about.