Avengers: Infinity War is less than a year away, but where do Marvel go beyond Infinity War?
The MCU started way back in 2008 with Iron Man and since then Marvel have re-invented the superhero genre. Nine years and sixteen films later we are very close to the culmination of the MCU: Avengers: Infinity War.
However, question marks remain over Marvels plans post Infinity War. Everything Marvel has built has been leading up to this film. It is set be a cataclysmic event whose aftermath will change what the Marvel Cinematic Universe will look like.
But where exactly do Marvel go post-Infinity War? Here are some theories.
1 – Recast & Reboot
Many of the actors who play iconic Marvel roles are getting old and can’t keep playing their characters forever (Downey Jr. is 52). Others like Chris Evans wish to do other non-superhero film projects in the future. The easiest solution for both the studio and the actors is to recast the parts and start afresh.
The main problem with this is that it is way too early to reboot. The reason the Spider-Man reboots were successful was that there was ample time between Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-man. Of course, not much time passed between The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) and Spider-man: Homecoming (2017) but that was one novel character.
Recasting Iron Man or Captain America would be very difficult as the entire MCU was built around them. While it is not impossible it is very unlikely Marvel will reboot the MCU this early. Five to ten years down the line however, a reboot would be the best option.
2 – Phase 4
Avengers: Infinity War marks the end of Phase 3 of the MCU films. The most obvious and likely situation for the MCU is to head into Phase 4, keep existing characters, add new ones and incorporate them into future storylines.
This would involve tying down current actors to long term multi-picture contracts, which would be tricky but would be the best situation for everyone – including the fans!
What would the story-line be after Infinity War? Well there is an enormous library of story-lines just waiting to be explored.
The next baddie they introduce would have to be a match for Thanos! However there are only a few beings in the Marvel universe that can go toe to toe with the mad titan. Finding a suitable villain who would pose a threat to the Avengers would be challenging but not impossible.
Potential villains could include the Celestials, or Dormammu who we saw briefly in Doctor Strange. Marvel could also introduce new powerful villains like Mephisto (who is basically Satan of the Marvel Universe) or strike a deal with Fox to bring Galactus into the MCU!
Whoever they choose to bring in would need to be set up with so much care and effort like Thanos has been.
3 – The New Avengers
The second most likely situation: The Avengers roster would be changed up to include the newer MCU characters such as Doctor Strange and Spider-Man, who would be the new focal point of the MCU.
The OG team members like Iron Man and Captain America could take a hiatus or perhaps form a separate superhero team (Like The Illuminati!).
Marvel is very likely to go this route and then change the roster to keep things fresh, and hey, it worked out great for the comics!
4 – Alternate Universe
The most exciting but improbable scenario: Marvel introduces the Multiverse! In the comics there are a number of Marvel Universes all under one big Multi-universe or Multiverse. The main universe is titled Earth-616, which is the original Marvel Universe and contains all the characters we know and love.
Apart from that there are numerous other universes, a popular one being Marvel’s Ultimate Universe or Earth-1610 – which included the Ultimate Spider-man and Ultimate X-Men comic lines.
An alternate universe would allow the MCU to reboot the franchise without actually rebooting it (if that makes sense). Marvel could keep their current actors and re-tell their movies in new ways.
Of course, this could set up a potential film where different universes collide! (This happened in Marvel Secret Wars storyline!). Now that would be something that I’d pay to watch!
5 – MCU Ends with Infinity War
The most unlikely scenario: Marvel ends with Infinity War Part 2. There are a number of reasons this seems unlikely.
Firstly, Marvel are making WAY too much money to stop now. Even if Kevin Feige (Marvel Studios President) feels like they should quit while they’re ahead, there is no way in hell Disney would let him. There is frankly way to much money to be made.
Another reason Marvel will continue post 2019 is that there are so many Marvel stories waiting to be told! Marvel Studios have access to hundreds of story-lines from the past 50+ years that have yet to be adapted to the big screen.
The reason a lot of franchises become stale is because they fail to consistently tell compelling stories. They lack the variety of source material comic-books have.
The fact that there is so much source material may be why the general audience has yet to feel the dreaded “superhero fatigue”. World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Secret Wars and so many other story-lines are just waiting to be adapted! (If you haven’t heard of any of them that’s okay Marvel will inevitably translate them to film).
While it’s fun to speculate about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we should have faith in Marvel Studios to take the best decision. Marvel will probably keep their future plans under wraps until Infinity War hits theaters, but whatever the direction they choose take it would only be a massive win for the fans.