The MCU Will Make One Major Sacrifice in Phase 4: The Disney+ Drawback

The MCU has been gracing comic book enthusiasts, and action flick fans alike, with super (pun intended) cinematic spectacles for over a decade. Marvel Studios built an intricate narrative —one that spans years and depends on various interlocking installments — across a 22-film saga that, at last, ended with Avenger: Endgame in April. However, the MCU, with major plans in motion for Phase 4 films and Disney+ series, is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. 

MCU Marvel Studios Black Widow
‘Black Widow’ | Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

While most of Marvel’s most highly-anticipated content, up to this point, has occurred on the silver screen, that’s all about to change in Phase 4. While Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will grace theaters as part of Phase 4 (among many other films), fans are equally excited for WandaVision, Hawkeye, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and more. However, there’s one, possibly unforeseeable consequence, to all this soon-to-be-fulfilled excitement. 

As part of Phase 4, Marvel will release five different movies between the span of 2020 and 2021; according to Tom’s Guide, Black Widow is set for a May 2020 release, while the Eternals is set to premiere in November 2020. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Thor: Love and thunder, and Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness will all premiere in 2021. That’s two movies in 2020 and three in 2021, and we have yet to account for Disney+ shows. 

Several Disney+ Marvel shows will hit small screens as part of phase 4, and they will have influence over future cinematic takings; if done correctly, Marvel Studios will create one of the best conversations between the small and silver screen ever scene. However, fans will be inundated with content. 

As part of Phase 4, Disney+ will release Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, What If…?, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight. While the latter three have yet to receive release dates, the rest are slated for 2021. Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight will likely premiere sometime in 2022. So, what’s the problem? It’s too much content; part of Marvel’s appeal has always been in the wait  — in the anticipation; with so much content available, the average Marvel fan is bound to change their viewing habits.

The MCU will sacrifice the art of anticipation in Phase 4; fans are bound to become more selective

From 2020 to 2022, there will always be new Marvel content at your disposal. While this may sound exciting, multiple, interweaving TV shows and movies will beg ordinary fans to become die-hards. 

If you have to watch the entire WandaVision series to understand Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, and must watch Hawkeye if you’re hoping to understand the ultimate New Avengers, you have to follow the franchise like a hawk (pun-intended); otherwise, you will lose sight of the narrative, and all the interconnected and subtle allusions. 

The MCU has always managed to build a great deal of hype, for there is always at least a year between major Avengers installments, and, typically, months between standalone films (with some exceptions). If there is always Marvel content to choose from, what will fans look forward to? The worst outcome: the hype-factor takes a severe hit, and fans begin picking and choosing the cream of the crop, which, if Marvel plans to use TV to influence film and vice versa, may result in an overall loss of enthusiasm and understanding. 

When you aren’t waiting for something — when there’s always something to watch in the interim — the time between major installments grows less significant, reducing a major franchise to a factory-like assembly line of content, as opposed to an array of creative endeavors.