Episode 473: The Marvel Cinematic Universes Phase 4 and Phase 5 Look Rather Boring

Hiya!

Well, Comic-Con 2022 is over and, like for most years, the biggest panel had to be the one Marvel hosted. What was really surprising was Kevin Feige went on stage and pretty much gave away the entire kit and kaboodle for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s upcoming slate of movies and television shows. I will say it was surprising they not only actually finalized what was going to be a part of Phase 4, but also gave the entire roadmap for Phase 5. Even more shocking was the fact Kevin Feige also revealed the bookends for Phase 6!

Even with all the hoopla revolving around what Kevin Feige revealed and what Marvel has in store for fans all over the world, I wasn’t that excited as I should have been. I remember the feeling of electricity when the same guy was on stage detailing the roadmap for Phase 3. Even though there is still a lot to be excited with what Marvel has in store for us in the next few upcoming years, I just wasn’t feeling the same level of giddiness. I would go as far as saying Marvel’s Phase 4 and Phase 5 actually feel disappointing.

To be fair, there are definitely some announcements from Marvel’s Comic-Con panel which did tickle my fancy. Phase 4 does have She-Hulk and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Phase 5 also will have Secret Invasion, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and a whole new Daredevil series, which seems to be carrying over what was done in the Netflix series. Phase 6 is definitely the most interesting as it’ll have the reboot of the Fantastic Four and two brand spanking new Avengers movies. What’s left in the middle is totally blank so let the speculating begin!

However, Phase 6 is still a ways off. In fact, the first thing slated will be coming in the Fall of 2024! So, right now Marvel’s Phase 4 and Phase 5 has to do a lot of the heavy lifting right now when it comes to ensuring they can hold our interest. Right now, it’s not doing a very good job.

One of the biggest issues I have is how a lot of the upcoming entries for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general is on Disney+. For a lot of countries, that’s not even a problem; they might even say it’s more of an ideal situation for them. They don’t have to leave the comfort of their own home to see the latest Marvel project and they have something to watch each week for the next couple of months. It doesn’t work for me and the Marvel fans for other countries, though, as Disney+ is still not available in our locations! Seriously, Disney? It’s been a whole 2 years since the service was launched in the United States and the biggest entertainment conglomerate still doesn’t have their service here! Discovery+, which I did subscribe to, managed to get here at the start of the year! Discovery+ got here first and Disney, with all their bags of money, couldn’t? If I sound upset, you bet I am!

My gripe with Disney+ not being available in my area is still a pretty minor gripe, though. The bigger issue is how Phase 4 and Phase 5 feel like it’s not going anywhere. There’s a roadmap, detailing what route to take, but there doesn’t seem to be a destination. The last entry of Phase 5 is going to be The Thunderbolts, which, based on my rudimentary research, is basically a lamer version of The Avengers. Maybe they can pull it off if they pick the right members to join but, based on the current roster of heroes they have left, I’m not exactly holding my breath. Phase 4 is going to end with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which, based on looking at the cast of characters, is just there to introduce characters like Ironheart and Namor, who may have more prominent roles in Phase 5! That’s looking at things backwards, isn’t it?

It certainly doesn’t help that most movies and television shows are going to be featuring the more unknown heroes. I’m not talking about heroes like Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight and She-Hulk who have a cult following. I’m talking about characters like Echo (who was introduced in Hawkeye), Ironheart (who’ll be introduced in the aforementioned Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and Agatha (the villain from WandaVision). While I’m guessing they now have their fans or, in the case of Ironheart, will get their own new fanbase, based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and television shows, I don’t really think comic book fans really care for them all that much.

This does lead to my issue with Phase 4 and Phase 5 seemingly having no point to them, though. It’s almost like the purpose of this and the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe Phases are to set the foundation for Phase 6. With the old Avengers roster either dead or retired, Marvel has to fill up the Avengers roll call with other heroes… which they haven’t built up during Phases 1 to 3! They need Phase 4 and Phase 5 to create the new characters who’ll eventually be a part of the Avengers movies in Phase 6!

The irony is this is how the Marvel Cinematic Universe amassed the humungous fanbase it has. Introduce new characters slowly by giving them their own features and, once we fall in love with them, put them all in one blockbuster event. This is how Phase 1, Phase 2 and, most evidently, Phase 3 went about their business. The biggest difference, however, is each Phase had their own Avengers event! Phase 4 has Wakanda Forever, which is more of a standalone film and Phase 5 will have the Thunderbolts, which just might be their Avengers-like film… but without the name recognition. Like I said, I had to look up who the Thunderbolts are!

I don’t like to poo-poo on the Marvel Cinematic Universe as I’m still a huge fan of the brand. However, it’s just much harder to love when it looks like they keep in introducing new characters and stories without really having a clearly defined endpoint in the near future. Right now, the endgame (pardon the pun) seems to be way, way into the future in Phase 6 and they’re just going to be building on that throughout Phase 4 and Phase 5. It just feels like they’re stalling for time instead of really working on a grand plan right now. I hope Marvel proves me wrong and they make it worth the wait to that big Avengers film way into 2024.

Oh, and Disney… hurry up and make Disney+ available in the Philippines! I’ll be waiting!

Byee!

What’s your take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s direction with Phase 4 and Phase 5? Let me know in the comments section below!

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