When Avengers: Endgame hits theaters in a couple of weeks (!), it will be the end of an almost 11 year journey with the characters. Once the events of that movie happen, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same. There will be some characters that we know and love back, (like Black Widow, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, and Spider-Man) but it is bound to feel different. Marvel boss Kevin Feige talked to io9 about the feel of Phase 4 and said that it will absolutely be its own thing.
“The slate that we’re building over the next five years [is] not apples to apples,” he said when asked to compare the past and the future. “It is two very distinct things and I hope they’ll feel very distinct. But there is a similar mentality going into it, which is ‘How can we continue to tell stories with some of the characters that audiences already know and love in a unique way, in a different way, in surprising way, of which we have a lot of plans and ideas and work already going into it?’ [Then] ‘How can we introduce new characters that even hardcore fans, comic fans, have barely known or barely heard of.’ That’s really exciting too.”
While we are getting movies like Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3, and Spider-Man: Far From Home, we are also getting things like Shang-Chi and The Eternals. Movies that general audiences probably wouldn’t be very receptive to if the decade worth of groundwork wasn’t laid down first.
One of the criticisms of the MCU is that they are “formulaic.” While that is not quite true on the whole, there are certain things that could lend itself to that. Doctor Strange is a great movie. It has some breathtaking visuals and a fun story, but it’s basically magic Iron Man. I love both movies, but you can definitely see the similarities between them. But “the superhero genre” is just a shell to keep the real genres in. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a political thriller. Guardians Of The Galaxy is a space epic. Ant-Man and The Wasp is a romantic comedy. Spider-Man: Homecoming is a Hughes-esque high school coming of age of flick. There is plenty of variety already to be found. If Phase 4 takes that notion to the next level, then we are in for a treat.
So Feige’s comments about “a unique way” is nice to hear. I’m sure the characters we know will be changed by the events of Endgame, and the new ones will surely have known about it. Plus, Phase 4 can begin the slow integration of the Marvel properties that Fox had a hold on- like The X-Men and Fantastic Four. While that won’t be right away, it is in the cards, and that is what we should be happy about:
“It’ll be a while. It’s all just beginning and the five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on before any of that was set. So really it’s much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.”
After Endgame enters the public lexicon, we are bound to learn more about the future of the MCU. Or maybe about the past. Phase 4 will definitely be interesting to say the least.
Later today, we’ve got a story about when we’re likely to finally hear what Marvel’s full Phase 4 plans are, so stay tuned!