Fans Share Their Theories About What the MCU Could Look Like 40 Years From Now

Marvel fans are wondering how the MCU might look in 40-odd years, with Star Wars having just wrapped a story that took 42 years to tell. That’s tough to forecast, with the near future looking so uncertain under the cloud of the pandemic. 

The comparison seems lopsided. In many ways, because the franchises were made under very different circumstances. Star Wars cemented the blockbuster mentality that has ruled Hollywood for four decades now – a mentality of which Marvel was very much the beneficiary. 

Star Wars vs. Marvel – the origins

Kevin Feige speaks onstage
Kevin Feige | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

While Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe are both the ultimate in corporate moviemaking, they began from very different places. In the mid-1970s, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws and Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver represented two different poles.

The former was mass appeal entertainment, the latter was the sort of personal, gritty cinema that defined the early 1970s.  Star Wars actually floated somewhere between those two 

As much of a pop culture phenomenon as Star Wars became, no one saw it that way in the beginning, least of all George Lucas. His movie was a fusion of his favorite things: sci-fi serials like Flash Gordon, Japanese cinema in the look of Darth Vader’s samurai-style helmet, World War II dogfighting movies and more. It was a weird personal story that became a corporate behemoth over the years.

Marvel, for all its accomplishments, seemed to invent less. Even the shared universe had been done by Quentin Tarantino before the MCU got going. Marvel was more like the culmination of 30 years of superhero movies before it, starting with 1978’s Superman.

Kevin Feige and his team built worlds into an unprecedented achievement of 23 interconnected movies, most of them well liked – and it ended in the biggest worldwide box office hit of all time, Avengers: Endgame.  Marvel, like Thanos was and is inevitable. 

What do fans see from Marvel in 40 years?

Star Wars’ finish, The Rise of Skywalker, was thought by many to be choppy and uneven, compared to Avengers: Endgame, which deftly spun a lot of plates. Still, Episode IX got Marvel fans thinking about how the MCU might look around 2060, complete with a Star Wars-style opening crawl on Reddit. Riffing off  Rise of Skywalker’s “The Dead Speak”  opening, the crawl imagines Rocket Raccoon intercepting a message from the departed Thanos.

This crawl makes mention of a villain even more powerful than Thanos – the as yet unseen in the MCU Galactus. Thanos only wipes out half the life in the universe. Galactus devours entire worlds. Could Galactus be the Palpatine of the MCU? One fan cracked, “What, you never saw Fantastic Four: The Rise of Silver Surfer? (dodges tomatoes)”

Galactus is part of a Marvel comic story called Annihilation, and fans would like to see something like that. One said, “I would hope they wouldn’t try to fit the entire Annihilation saga into one film. That s*** is like at least 3 seasons of an HBO show.”

Or maybe a Disney+ show. Who knows what kind of stories Marvell  could tell with visual effects in 20 years, considering all the advances made already?

Coronavirus clouds both Marvel and Star Wars’ futures 

As much fun as it might be to imagine a future 40 years down the line, it’s arguably harder to imagine a future a few months down the line with the coronavirus crisis. Marvel had to delay Black Widow from its May 1 release date, which could create a domino effect if Black Widow is connected to future movies or shows. It’s possible the whole MCU slate might have to shift.

Star Wars’ future was already somewhat uncertain, with no definite next movie in the offing. The movie from the Game of Thrones masterminds was not to be, and the announced trilogy by Rian Johnson seems to be in limbo. The Mandalorian has season 2 coming up, although the date for that is not set. 

Hopes that we could have a quick recovery dimmed with the government recommending social distancing at least through the end of April. In an ominous sign, Sony took a few of its marquee titles, including Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the Spider-Man related  Morbius. and moved them all to next year, according to Variety.

Uncharted with Tom Holland, already plagued by delays, caught another bad break, moving to more than a year from now, in October 2021. With this pandemic, Hollywood is suddenly very nearsighted.