How Marvel Plans to Keep Things ‘New And Refreshing’ In Phase 4 And Beyond

It’s hard to believe that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will ever be able to top Avengers: Endgame. In fact, some don’t think the studio will continue to put out the incredible content expected over the next few years. Here’s how they plan to prove they can.

There have been 22 MCU films thus far

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you know there have been a lot of MCU films thus far. Still, it’s worth noting how impressive the scale has been. Beginning with 2008’s Iron Man, there have been a total of 22 movies. But it took some time to get there.

In 2008, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk kicked things off. But we didn’t get another movie, Iron Man 2, until 2010. Then came Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger in 2011, and 2012 brought the first ensemble film, The Avengers. Phase 2 continued with two releases per year, but Phase 3 brought an impressive three movies each year, concluding with Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Here’s what’s coming in 2020

Yes, 2019 is almost over, and there aren’t any more Marvel movies left this year. Phase 4 will begin with Black Widow on May 1, 2020. Next year will also bring the first “official” MCU TV series, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, on Disney+, and The Eternals on Nov. 6, 2020.

That’s not exactly a slow year for the MCU, but it is a bit of a departure from the past. We’re starting off with a returning character to help ease us into Phase 4, and the highly anticipated team-up of Bucky and Sam will surely delight most. But The Eternals is an entirely different beast.

Things will ramp up in 2021

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Phase 4 will surpass Phase 3 levels in 2021, which is set to be a very packed year. On the big-screen front, there are four releases scheduled: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on Feb. 12, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, an as-yet-untitled Spider-Man sequel on July 16, and Thor: Love and Thunder on Nov. 5.

If that wasn’t enough (which, let’s be honest, it never is for most fans), there are four Disney+ series set to premiere throughout the year. First up is WandaVision, then Loki, followed by What If…?, and, finally, Hawkeye. These are spread out, but we don’t have exact dates just yet.

How will Marvel keep up the pace?

The fear of some is that Marvel is going to keep churning out new material and fail to reach the level of the previous films that are so beloved. The powers-that-be apparently have a plan for this.

“So we’re going through it and we’re figuring out things to make sure that we’re going to be able to deliver the same type of movies that we have in the past to make sure that it’s nothing below the best of our ability to create these narratives that are interesting and new and refreshing,” Marvel’s Trinh Tran, who executive produced Avengers: Endgame, told CinemaBlend. “But we are discussing and working out how to make sure that we’re able to do all this.”

Can anything live up to the hype of ‘Avengers: Endgame’?

It took 11 years for the Marvel fandom to reach the peak that was Endgame, which managed to shatter the record held by Avatar for the highest-grossing film of all time. So the question remains: Can they keep up that momentum?

As far as most are concerned, it’s going to take time to rebuild what once was. And while no film that’s coming out is expected to surpass Endgame, we’re hopeful for a team-up in the future that parallels it. We just have to give Marvel a few years to sort it all out.