What does the future of Marvel look like?



The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been one of the most ambitious, exciting, heart-breaking and epic stories ever unfolded on silver and black screens across the world, welcoming the public to the cosmic wonder and reality-bending terror of Marvel Comics. The MCU has brought many beloved and unknown characters to life through their films, enriching the cities of New York and Wakanda and the planets of Xandar and Asgard with colorful charm and orchestral exhilaration, along with enticing stories, treasured characters and a universe rich in lore, callbacks, easter eggs and fanfare. 

The universe has had it’s ups and downs with some of the films, some like “Thor: The Dark World” and “Iron Man 2” mostly flopping while others, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Thor: Ragnarok” rocked the box office, skyrocketing in both popularity and financial success. Journeying to Twitter or YouTube, you’ll find post after post, video after video, surrounding the many worlds and characters of the MCU, theories galore and speculation regarding what the future has in store.

But with the recent release and success of “Avengers: Endgame”, bringing a climatic finale to ‘The Infinity Saga’, many fans are left asking themselves: ‘what’s next?’ for the MCU. Disney and Marvel Studios have been pretty open with the next chapters of the cinematic universe, divulging enough information to get the fans hooked and pumped without giving too much away. The future of the MCU is in full swing, everyday bringing us closer and closer to the next chapter of this ever-expanding universe of comic-greatness.

In July of 2019, Marvel Studios held a panel at San Diego Comic-Con where Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, announced the details of Phase 4, the next chapter of Marvel films. There, they revealed their next movie, “Black Widow”, along with a trailer announcing it for release on May 1st, 2020. Alongside with the prequel story for our late Natasha Romanoff, Marvel disclosed other films like “The Eternals”, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and “Thor: Love and Thunder” as well as five new series being added to Disney+ during that span of time including “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Wandavision” “Loki”, the animated “What If…?” series and “Hawkeye”. Feige also revealed that events in “Wandavision” and “Loki” would tie into “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, helping to set up the foundation for the next saga in the MCU.

Later on, during D23, Feige returned to announce three more future Disney+ shows, “Ms. Marvel”, “Moonknight” and “She-Hulk” and then continued in September along with Sony Pictures to confirm the production of a third Spider-Man film, following the webslinger’s story after the cliffhanger of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Since then, a teaser for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Wandavision” and “Loki” was broadcasted during Super Bowl LIV, giving us a glimpse of what is to come with these series.

“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will follow the titular characters (played by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan respectfully) on world-wide adventures, chasing down terrorist, Helmut Zemo, while dealing with the problems of maintaining the mantle of Captain America after his retirement at the end of “Avengers: Endgame”. “Wandavision” delves into the perfect suburban life of Wanda Maximoff and Vision, dealing with marriage, pregnancy and children through different sitcom styles and time periods, though not everything appears to be as it seems. “Loki” is the most unknown of the three, as rarely any information has been divulged about the series. Though we do know that the show will revolve around an alternate timeline version of Loki travelling through time and space, manipulating human history while being chased by the Time Variance Authority, an organization of time travelers tasked with monitoring and maintaining the space-time continuum.

A new trailer for “Black Widow” was also shown during Super Bowl LIV, giving audiences more details on Natasha’s past with Russian spies, trained assassins and, the movie’s main villain, a mysterious super soldier with photographic reflexes, allowing them to copy the physical movements of other people based solely off muscle memory and sight. 2020 will cap off with Marvel’s “The Eternals” on November 6th, followed by “Shang-Chi” on February 12th, “Doctor Strange 2” on May 7th, an untitled “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sequel for July 16th and “Thor: Love and Thunder” on November 5th, all these movies planned for 2021 and open for change, depending on how Marvel’s calendar works out over the next two years.

“The Eternals” (2020) follows a race of immortal aliens created by god-like beings named ‘The Celestials’, who have been living on Earth for over 7,000 years, reuniting to stop the ‘The Deviants’ after the unexpected tragedy of “Avengers: Endgame”. The film will see a popular ensemble of actors and actresses, including Gemma Chan as the main character ‘Sersi’, along with Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Don Lee, Salma Hayek, Brain Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh and others. 

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (2021) isn’t as detailed plot-wise but has had a “fast-ticking” development, giving us the first Asian-led Marvel film, Simu Liu playing the title role and Tony Leung portraying the film’s villain, ‘The Mandarin’. The movie has also been helmed by a Chinese-American screenwriter, David Callaham, and a Japanese/Polynesian-American director, Destin Daniel Cretton. 

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (2021) will see Benedict Cumberbatch reprising the role of ‘Stephen Strange’ along with Elizabeth Olsen as ‘Wanda Maximoff’ a.k.a. ‘Scarlet Witch’, tying both her show “Wandavision” and the “Loki” series to the film, officially connecting the film side of the MCU with the television side. The title of ‘director’ has also been passed around, changing from Scott Derickson, who pushed for a “gothic horror” style for the film, to Sam Raimi, famous for directing the beloved Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy. 

The untitled “Spider-Man: Far From Home” Sequel (2021) was announced in April of 2017, stating that the film would revolve around Peter Parker’s senior year in high school. Later on in July of 2019, Fiege added that the third story in the web-slinger’s journey would feature a “Peter Parker story that has never been done before on film” following the end credit scene showcased at the end of “Far From Home”. The film hit rocky shores in August of that same year as Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures started to have arguments regarding the rights of Spider-Man in the cinematic sphere, but the following month a new agreement was met, with Fiege producing the third installment and Tom Holland continuing his role as the web-slinger. 

“Thor: Love And Thunder” (2021) has also kept most of it’s details under wraps. Announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2019, only the title was revealed along with Natalie Portman, who played Jane Foster in “Thor” and “Thor: The Dark World”, taking on the role of ‘Mighty Thor’, a female version of a ‘new age’ Thor first showcased in the comics. Starring, of course,  Chris Hemsworth as ‘Thor’, the movie is set for filming in August of 2020, Takia Waititi (Director of Thor: Ragnarok) is signed on to direct again along with Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, who will co-write the screenplay with Waititi.

Beyond that, Fiege also confirmed other projects such as “Captain Marvel 2”, “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3”, “Black Panther 2”, “Ant-Man 3” and future “Avenger” films along with other movies such as “Blade” and the introduction of ‘The Fantastic Four’, ‘Deadpool’ and ‘The X-Men’ into the MCU, though details on how exactly these characters and corners of the Marvel world will be integrated is still unknown, though we do know that Phase 5 of the MCU has already been planned out now that Disney now completely owns those properties. 

This has left many fans and viewers speculating the details, theories after theories springing up with every trinket of news revealed. Theories regarding why The Eternals never popped up during ‘The Battle of New York’ or ‘The Snap’, or even during Thanos’s conquest for The Infinity Stones. Other theories tackle the introduction of a female Thor, debating on what the fate of our beloved Thor might be, and whether or not The Guardians of The Galaxy will have any involvement in his fourth installment. Regarding The Guardians, many are left scratching their heads at where ‘2014 Gamora’ is, and what will happen to her in “Vol 3”. Others bring up how exactly characters like ‘The Mutants’ are going to be introduced into the MCU since most of the famous ‘X-Men’ stories and comics take place during the 80s through the early 2000s time period. You can find something on pretty much anything, theories after theories covering the details of The Red Rooms, to what happened in Budapest, to how the Quantum Realm will be strung into the plots of future stories like “Fantastic Four” to how the destruction of The Infinity Stones might affect the universe and to what greater threat roams just beyond the galaxy, waiting to strike. Till the answers are divulged, fans are left with nothing but ideas, good or bad, on what is going to happen and how it’ll all fit together, only time will tell though. 

The future of the MCU is a bright and exciting one, teeming with potential to even rival the craze and hype that was the end of The Infinity Saga. The universe is about to get much bigger, and much more chaotic, now that nearly the whole of Marvel’s sandbox of superheroes and supervillains has been unlocked and returned to the company. Only time knows what is in store for the ever-spanning boundaries of the MCU, and Marvel has no plans of slowing down now.