Today is a big day. Well, the day this thing is going to be published is going to be a big day, anyways. Although I’m writing this post over the weekend, I’m scheduling this episode to be published on a Wednesday, which is my usual day. This Wednesday, however, is a very special Wednesday as this is the day when the much anticipated next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to be released: Avengers: Endgame!
After the shocking events of Infinity War (and the rather disappointing Ant-Man and The Wasp as well as Captain Marvel), everyone has been holding their collective breath until now. Avengers: Endgame will finally show us how Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and the rest of the survivors will take on Thanos and how they’ll get the ones who suffered The Snappening (That’s how I call the event) to return to life. There are so many theories and so many spoilers out there regarding what will happen in this year’s biggest movie… but I’m more concerned about what’s going to happen after Avengers: Endgame.
It’s because Avengers: Endgame feels like, well, the end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At least, as it stands now.
Oh, I may sound rather crazy, thinking that Marvel will just close down shop after Avengers: Endgame. They already have a whole bunch of movies planned out for the next couple of years. There are the sequels to Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy. We’re also getting a solo Black Widow film, which I hope is much better than the skit that Saturday Night Live did.
Marvel’s also introducing a couple of new movie series with Phase 4. There are the Eternals and Shang Chi, two comic book franchises I have no idea about. This doesn’t leave me a lot of hope but then again, I didn’t know a lick about Guardians of the Galaxy and look how that turned out!
But there is something curious about the films that have been announced for Phase 4. There aren’t any films featuring any “legacy” heroes. No new Iron Man movie. No sequel to Captain America or Thor. That’s to be expected. But what is unexpected is there isn’t an announcement for a new Avengers movie.
That struck me as weird since I always thought the Avengers would kind of bookend the Phases. So what if they’re not bringing another Avengers film? That doesn’t mean that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is dead, right? You’re correct there. But, to me, this means that they’re not really building to anything anymore. It’s almost like Phase 4 will come and go without something explosive to signal the end of the series of films. That’s what the Avengers movies did and it seems that’s not the direction they’re going for with Phase 4.
It could be that Marvel is just biding their time and waiting to announce their big guns. After all, Disney, the company that owns Marvel, just bought out Fox and they now have regained the rights to make X-Men and Fantastic Four films. However, I don’t think that’ll happen. Kevin Feige, Marvel’s head honcho, made it clear that they don’t have any plans for the X-Men and the Fantastic Four in the near future. While that still remains to be seen and they still could announce things in the future, I don’t think it’s in the cards as of yet. These things will take time to plan out and I don’t think Disney will risk rushing out those movies after all the backlash they got from Star Wars. They’re going to take their sweet time and work things out first.
The biggest reason why I think Avengers: Endgame feels like the end of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe is the film’s villain: Thanos. I’m not the biggest comic book fan but I am at least familiar with the story that made the character ultra-popular: Infinity Gauntlet. Infinity War definitely takes a lot of beats from Infinity War. From Thanos assembling the Gems/Stones to him wiping out half of the universe’s life and killing a lot of the Marvel heroes, Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War feel almost the same but adjusted to fit the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Oh, and Infinity Gauntlet is supposed to be Marvel’s best comic anthology ever.
That was the main selling point of Infinity War. When comic book fans knew that we were getting a big movie adaption of Infinity Gauntlet, expectations were high. What’s incredibly impressive, however, is that those expectations were not only met, but exceeded! To say that Infinity War blew everyone’s mind is kind of an understatement!
There’s no denying that Avengers: Endgame will make a lot of money because we all want to see Earth’s Mightiest Heroes take down Thanos and save everyone. But after that? What else can they do? What can Marvel pull out of their sleeve that’ll amaze comic book fans? They already put their biggest and best story, Infinity Gauntlet, on the big screen! Anything else will just come off as unimpressive!
Like I said, I’m not the biggest comic book fan so I’m not particularly knowledgeable about what are Marvel’s biggest storylines but doing a Google search, it does look like they’ve covered most of them. Civil War? Done. Demon in a Bottle. Kinda… but they’re not doing a new Iron Man movie so it doesn’t matter. Planet Hulk? Yeah, with Thor: Ragnarok. House of M, Dark Phoenix and Days of Future Past? Those are X-Men stories and, yes, they’ve been done by Fox already.
There are only two stories that can possibly match up with the epic scale of Thanos wiping out half of the universe. That would be anything that’s involving Galactus, but he’s tied up with The Fantastic Four franchise so we’ll have to wait a while for him to be brought into the fold. The other one is Secret Wars, both the old 1985 and 2015 miniserieses. Granted, the idea of having heroes and villains battle it out against each other in a glorified free-for-all is exciting. But I’m betting Marvel is saving that for when they need to fold in the Fox Marvel franchises, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Maybe that’ll be an explanation why these teams never appeared in their universe before?
But even Secret Wars seems small in scale compared to half the galaxy’s life being snapped out of existence! Basically, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame is Marvel’s best story. It’s going to be almost impossible to top it! In fact, there’s a part of me that feels that nothing is going to top it! So, while Marvel will chug along and still make good superhero films in the future after Avengers: Endgame, it seems like the best has already past and everything will feel second rate by comparison.
In fact, we’re already feeling it’s effects now. Like I said earlier, both Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel definitely felt lame by comparison to Avengers: Infinity War. Okay, they weren’t the best Marvel has to offer. But by this point, we already expect much more than those sophomoric outings. They both felt small in scale and felt like fillers to the main event.
Will Marvel continue to make good superhero movies? All signs lead to “yes.” But it won’t be the same anymore after Avengers: Endgame. Iron Man, Captain America and Thor will probably not be featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and we may be saying farewell to them. It may not be officially ending but Endgame feels like, at the very least, this chapter is over with. I won’t be quitting on the Marvel Cinematic Universe but I’m not going to be surprised if Phase 4 and future Phases will have the same cultural impact as the earlier ones.
What do you think is next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Avengers: Endgame? Let me know in the comments section below!