Spoilers Ahead | Where can the MCU go after Avengers 4?
Now that Avengers: Infinity War has released and the dust has settled (pun intended obviously!) on our heroes’ journey until next summer’s as yet untitled Avengers 4, Stuart Kilmartin looks ahead to life post-Avengers 4, and what the MCU might look like after that movie is released.
Everything in the MCU since the release of the first Avengers film has been leading up to Infinity War. Whereas Nick Fury’s first appearance at the end of the original Iron-Man was designed to bring about the team-up of earth’s mightiest heroes, the MCU post-Avengers was intrinsically attached to the infinity stones and the inevitable coming of Thanos. We’ve known for some time now that Thanos getting his hands on the infinity stones was the end game. But this begs the question. Now that it’s happened, what comes after the end game?
Infinity War completed Thanos’ quest to assemble the infinity stones into his infinity gauntlet, and wipe out half the universe in an effort to balance it. Therefore, we can assume that Avengers 4 will re-assemble our scattered heroes as they search for a way to undo Thanos’ action, with the help of Captain Marvel, the AWOL Ant-Man and Hawkeye. Presumably, that movie will end in another game-changing moment in the MCU, as many of our original heroes are lost/killed/sacrificed/retired in a last-ditch effort to save the universe. After that battle, no one yet knows what the MCU will look like. Will it be the same as before? Will we still have the Avengers? It’s very much still up in the air. Meanwhile, Kevin Feige’s reluctance to announce movies post-Avengers 4 is a deliberate tease. It leaves fans asking: what will these movies be? What will they be like?
With all that information in mind, it’s time to get speculative over what shape the MCU could morph into post-Avengers 4.
There are many possibilities as to where the MCU could go next, particularly when the canvas of comic-book lore is so dense. Yet, I suspect much of this future is hinged upon whether or not the proposed merger with 20th Century Fox goes ahead, and the potential acquisition of the X-Men and the Fantastic 4, along with their supporting characters. Acquiring these characters, particularly villains like Galactus and Doctor Doom, would certainly give the Avengers, whatever shape they appear post-Avengers 4, a reason to reassemble, providing the next great villain for them to fight.
This theory however largely rests on the idea that the MCU will continue along the lines it’s followed thus far, where every movie is building towards a greater goal, a greater battle to be fought. But, Kevin Feige has talked recently about throwing out the idea of phases post-Avengers 4. This could mean a move away from serialised story-telling, into a more episodic format, bringing me to my next point.
No More Interconnectivity?
If the idea of phases and an end-game villain is thrown out the window post-Avengers 4, then it’s highly likely that the MCU will lose a lot of its interconnectivity; interconnectivity which it has done so well at fostering in a natural manner up until this point. I think passing references to a larger world could replace the interconnected feeling that these movies have possessed thus far. What will this look like?
Well…more standalone movies like the original Guardians of the Galaxy, or the small-scale Ant-Man. While the original Guardians of the Galaxy did possess an infinity stone, as well as Thanos, those two were largely inconsequential to the movie as a whole. They could have been switched out and the movie would still have worked just fine. It’s highly likely that the movies post-Avengers 4 will be smaller in scale, dealing with more personal stories like Black Panther or Spider-Man: Homecoming, keeping our heroes further apart from one another, and more engulfed within their own individual worlds.
It’s anyone’s guess at this moment in time, and we won’t really know until next summer after Avengers 4 is released. Until then, let the theories continue!