Movie fans had become accustomed to trilogies lasting five years or so, whether it was the original Star Wars trilogy from 1977 to 1983, the Back to the Future trilogy from 1985 to 1990 or the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy from 2002 to 2007. Just a year later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe changed the whole ballgame.
The so-called “Infinity Saga” lasted from 2008 to 2019, spanning 11 years and 23 years. Now Marvel has begun a new round of stories with WandaVision that is being called the “Multiverse Saga” – and some fans actually don’t want that to last another decade.
What has Marvel done so far?
When the MCU began with Iron Man in 2008, the initial goal was to build up to the ultimate hero crossover known as The Avengers. Phase One was all about building the team, from Iron Man to The Incredible Hulk to Iron Man 2 to Thor and Captain America: The First Avengers. Marvel started out with a relatively modest release schedule, usually releasing one or two films a year.
That pace continued in Phase 2, which stretched from Iron Man 3 in 2013 to Ant-Man in 2015, with the phase also including Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Infinity Stones took a larger role here.
Then phase 3 significantly picked up the pace, starting with Captain America: Civil War, followed by Doctor Strange in 2016. Now there were as many as three films a year. In 2017, the MCU served up Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok.
The following year brought Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant Man and the Wasp.
The last year that Marvel’s movie machine was fully up and running, 2019, brought Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Your average studio would be happy to have a handful of these hits. Marvel had all of them, including Endgame, the biggest worldwide box office hit of all time.
What do fans say about the ‘Multiverse saga?’
So how does a studio follow a run that was that phenomenal? With the multiverse, apparently. The animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, not made by Marvel Studios, showed audiences the concept of parallel universes where more than one version of a character can get together. Then Marvel Studios teased the concept with Far From Home, without seeming to show it at work.
Now, WandaVision may or may not be toying with the concept but Marvel is on record as saying the show will lead into the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2022. Marvel isn’t officially calling the next group of movies and shows “the multiverse saga,” but that’s the name fans on Reddit have given it – and some of them actually don’t want it to stretch out over another 11 years.
One fan theorized (joked?) “The Infinity Saga ended with the population getting halved, and our heroes having to bring everyone back from being dusted and getting the population back to normal. The Multiverse Saga will end with the population getting doubled (with everyone from the different multiverses), and our heroes having to send them back to their own universes and getting the population back to normal.”
Multiverses may be too much to absorb
Whether that fan was being serious or not, other fans think the multiverse won’t take as long to play out, simply because of the sheer volume of Marvel movies and TV shows that are coming out. Marvel can now cover a large amount of ground in a shorter amount of time.
The risk that Marvel runs is confusing its audience. Some casual fans are confused by the storytelling as is. A multiverse could make Marvel harder to follow and less fun.
As another fan said, “I’m hoping the Multi-Verse is mostly used to tie in new characters and develop existing characters quickly. There definitely needs to be something to explain all the new characters that they now have the rights too, but Multi-Verse stuff can get VERY convoluted. It’s already dangerous enough (narrative-wise) that they have time machines now.”