Since the films were announced in 2014, Marvel Studios headman Kevin Feige has described Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Untitled Avengers as the culmination of a 22-story arc that started with Iron Man in 2018. Recently, Feige and Disney CEO Bob Iger have gone on record describing the future of the MCU as something very different and unexpected, including hints that we should expect to see more Cosmic stories and stories that take place in other times and places. Yesterday, during a phone call with Disney shareholders, Iger reiterated the studio’s plans to move in a different direction, a direction that may not focus on the Avengers for a time, saying that Untitled Avengers would “have a significant conclusion” for the ongoing narrative.
“We meet on a regular basis with our Marvel team,” Iger told shareholders, “and we’ve plotted out Marvel movies that will take us well into the next decade. I’m guessing we will try our hand at what I’ll call a new franchise beyond Avengers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see more Avengers down the road. We just haven’t made any announcements about that.” While Iger hinted that the focus of that unannounced slate of films won’t be on the Avengers, he did offer fans hope for the future, saying “Given the popularity of the characters and given the popularity of the franchise, I don’t think people should conclude there will never be another Avengers movie.”
Fans who have gotten used to Marvel Studios “Phase” model may have some adjusting to do as Feige has been careful not to call the upcoming slate of films “Phase 4” and instead been referring to it simply as “what comes next.” While little is known about about the films set after Untitled Avengers (there are 9 films currently slated between 2020 and 2022) Feige recently told reporters that he was recently in a meeting discussing films for 2024 and 2025, so while we may not know what films we’ll see, we can be sure that Feige and his team of executive producers will continue to have something big in mind. If Feige and crew do, in fact, move away from the phase model, it would represent a bold move for the studio in abandoning something familiar to fans, but it would also be consistent with the types of creative decisions the studio has been making of late. Recent reports have indicated that Nova and The Eternals could shortly be joining the MCU and director James Gunn has often talked about his desire to spin films off of Guardians of the Galaxy, including but not limited to The Ravagers. However, outside of a sequels to Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, there are no films currently slated for release despite development on a Black Widow solo film and discussions around sequels for both Black Panther and Doctor Strange. While we all have our theories, we just truly do not know what comes next!
Of course fans know that there’s something major on the horizon that could change the course of the MCU in a major way and that could factor into those plans for 2024 and beyond: the impending closure of the merger with 21st Century Fox. While recent media reports have indicated that Comcast is attempting to outbid Disney, Iger didn’t seemed concerned, telling his shareholders, “We made a good deal, actually a deal that shareholders reacted quite favorably to and we’re going to remain confident in our ability to close.” And so while Feige has been adamant that they haven’t done much thinking about how to use the characters owned by Fox if and when they eventually secure them, maybe Iger’s confidence can help fans breathe a sigh of relief. At this point, we could be seeing new Marvel Studios films for…eternity.