Joe and Anthony Russo have been working with Marvel for a long time and the directors just revealed that the MCU doesn’t have a master plan after all.
The Russo brothers first worked on Chris Evans’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) which was released 8 years ago. The directors then went forward to work on Captain America: Civil War (2016) which introduced Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to the MCU. At this point, fans were very happy with the Russo brothers as the two Captain America movies changed the MCU in a big way and made it exciting to see how much the world changed after those movies.
The Winter Soldier managed to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. and Civil War made most of the Avengers outlaws due to the Sokovia Accords. With the Infinity Stones being teased in several movies, fans were excited when it was revealed that the Russo brothers were directing the next two Avengers movies — Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). After those pivotal movies, the directors haven’t returned to work with Marvel just yet, but fans are hoping the directors will return if Marvel decides to go with the Secret Wars storyline from the comics.
Even though the Russo brothers have been working on different projects, the directors have spoken up about their experiences with Marvel and what they know about the MCU. Joe Russo had mentioned not that long ago that he was concerned with the Multiverse being a cheap method for Marvel to make a lot of money without worrying about good storytelling. While this can easily happen, Marvel has been cautious to explore the Multiverse, but this will all change in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).
In a recent interview with Deadline, Joe Russo revealed that the MCU’s “brilliance” isn’t due to some crazy master plan that Kevin Feige has created. Most of it stems from the success of certain movies and going off of what fans want. The Russo brother makes it clear that Marvel “really doesn’t have a plan” for which movie will be made next:
“No, the way it works at Marvel is… I’m sure at some point somebody will talk in detail about this, but part of Kevin [Feige]’s brilliance is that there isn’t really a plan. There’s an idea, but you can’t have a plan if the movie you’re making tanks. There’s no plan after that, right?”
While this does make sense to a certain extent, most fans would argue that Marvel still would have a general plan that has some flexibility, but Russo does continue sharing what the process is like for a movie that is very successful:
“So it’s really about, as the movie succeeded, then there was sort of enthusiasm about, ‘Well, what else could we do?’ And then that’s when new ideas would come out, right? And there were hopes, we hope one day we can get to the story if you keep doing this, right? Maybe we can all get there, you know, like Infinity War and Endgame, but a lot of the stuff was made up in between the movies, right?”
One of the problems with this type of storytelling is that some moments become retconned or are repurposed into becoming a “callback” but Russo confirms these moments are unplanned:
And… I think [those] call-forwards or callbacks were thought of after the fact, right? Like we didn’t have Civil War [broken down] and we didn’t know that by showing you the scene with Zola as this old Hydra villain in Winter Soldier… [and he’s] telling him about the Winter Soldier and there’s an image of Stark’s parents, right? He had them killed… And it’s implied that it’s connected. That was happenstance. Then, after the movie came out, and we had to make Civil War, we’re like, ‘Hey, that’s a crazy idea… that’s how Tony could get so angry at Cap that he’d want to kill him, is if Cap’s buddy had killed his parents.’
This is definitely noticeable in the earlier years of the MCU as the first Thor (2011) had the Infinity Gauntlet with all of the Infinity Stones in the movie and was later retconned to be a fake. Another example would be with fans hearing Doctor Strange’s name from a HYDRA agent in The Winter Soldier. Marvel didn’t expect to explore the magical side of the Marvel universe back then, but it doesn’t make sense now why HYDRA would be aware of Strange back then.
Now the MCU doesn’t have as many retcons, but it’s bizarre to think that Marvel doesn’t have a master plan for what will happen next. Fans may start to wonder if the Eternals will actually return as the movie didn’t fare too well at the box office so does that mean that Eternals (2019) won’t receive a sequel? It’s hard to say what Marvel is planning next for Phase Four as they have been very tight-lipped about announcing any more projects that are in the works except for certain occasions.
Now, the MCU is just beginning to add more superhero teams into the Marvel universe because the Avengers need all the help they can get. It is only a matter of time before we see the Young Avengers, Illuminati, Defenders, Midnight Sons, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and the Thunderbolts enter the MCU.
Do you think Marvel has a plan for Phase Five? Let us know what you are thinking in the comments section below!
Phase Four has started off with a lot of content for Marvel fans to look forward to in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On Disney+ you can expect more episodes of Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel on June 8, and She-Hulk to debut this year. For movies, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness comes out on May 6, followed by Thor: Love and Thunder on July 8, and of course, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on November 11.