Marvel Cinematic Universe: Will There Be Another Epic Crossover in Phase 4?

Things are about to change in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Upon its release, Avengers: Endgame shattered box office records back in April. Ultimately, the film wound up with the highest worldwide box office gross of all time. As such, Avengers: Endgame is the crowning achievement to date for Marvel Studios.

So all eyes were on the company’s panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige unveiled the full line-up of film and television projects that constitute Phase 4. But fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe noticed one glaring omission in the titles announced.

President of Marvel Studios/Producer Kevin Feige and the cast of 'Avengers: Endgame'
President of Marvel Studios/Producer Kevin Feige and the cast of ‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

What films are a part of Phase 4?

Across 2020 and 2021, Marvel will release a decent balance of sequels and new properties. Fans will finally get the long-awaited Black Widow next year, followed by The Eternals. Then, in 2021, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will follow.

Of course, this isn’t even counting the several Marvel series arriving on Disney+ in that same period. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set for 2020, followed by WandaVision, Loki, the animated What If…?, and Hawkeye the following year. Despite that embarrassment of riches, fans noted the glaring absence of an Avengers film. At least for now.

The next Marvel Studios event

Even before the Phase 4 announcement, rumors were swirling that Marvel Studios is developing Avengers 5. However, this might not look anything like what fans are expecting in the wake of Avengers: Endgame. Producer Trinh Tran recently spoke to Cinemablend about Marvel Studios’ plans to reset.

Our focus right now is … the titles that we’ve released in Phase 4… Over 10 years ago, it’s always been our dream to get to Infinity War and Endgame level. … And now with obviously our Disney+ side … and their connective tissue to the rest of the MCU, it would be amazing to do something like this 10 years later.

You can read Tran’s full quote at the link above. But the bottom line is that Marvel Studios intends on waiting a few years to build up to another epic event. That could take the shape of a big-screen adaptation of the comics’ Secret Wars. Or perhaps it will involve the long-rumored Avengers vs. X-Men project.

The problem with ‘Avengers: Endgame’

At this point, it’s anyone’s guess where the next few years of Marvel storytelling may lead us. And that’s ultimately an exciting place for the MCU to be. The trouble with going as massive in scope as something like Avengers: Endgame is knowing what to do next. Once the fate of the universe is at stake, there isn’t much more room to grow.

Yet, taking the time to carefully interweave the film and television sides of the MCU — for, really, the first time ever — is probably a wise move. After the Thanos-heavy two-parter, the MCU has left a lot of unanswered questions. But the Phase 4 slate looks to be setting up an exciting future of all-new possibilities.

Could Feige and company sneak in another movie or two in the near future? Absolutely. After all, Ant-Man 3 might already be in the works. And Sony is itching to get a third Spider-Man film into the world.

Still, rather than keeping expectations at Endgame-level heights, fans should relish in the relatively smaller productions in the pipeline. Marvel may be undercutting this hype a tad, but it’s in service of maintaining the MCU’s longevity.

Remember, just because you can’t see the big drop on the rollercoaster doesn’t make the trip up any less thrilling.