The Walt Disney Company owns arguably the largest and most successful media conglomerate in the world. And their golden goose? Their acquired Marvel Studios and their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Despite that, it’s been commonly reported by fans and theater-goers alike that they have begun experiencing a sort of “superhero fatigue” — where the media’s saturation with superhero stories has whittled down their patience and interest in the genre. Nevertheless, it seems that Marvel Studios (and Disney by extension) do not see this as an issue, and are now looking very much into the future.
What are the Marvel Phases?
San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H last year, Kevin Feige set out his detailed plan for the future of the MCU. This is not a one-off, though — as Marvel Studios has a habit of sharing their roadmaps and general plans years ahead — and his Multiverse Saga big reveal was huge… but not unexpected.
Related: Robert Downey Jr. Schools Marvel on What They Should Do to Fight Superhero Fatigue
The Marvel Cinematic Universe dramatically ended Phase Three and the Infinity Saga with Avengers: Endgame (2019) directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, bidding goodbye to Marvel heavyweights Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. This led to the beginning of Phase Four with the Disney+ Original WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision) back in 2021. Marvel went full steam ahead, releasing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) starring Simu Liu (Shang-Chi), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) with Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire all as their own separate, Multiversal version of Peter Parker, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) with Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) and most recently, Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) with Chris Hemsworth (Thor Odinson) and Natalie Portman (Jane Foster/Mighty Thor).
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wrapped the first portion of the Multiverse Saga with Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa officially sent-off in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), ending the Phase with a melancholy but bittersweet note — with Princess Shuri assuming the role of Wakanda’s protector and hero, the Black Panther. This was a signal within the MCU — that it was time for a new set of heroes going into Phase Five and Six… and perhaps crop of Young Avengers.
What is Kevin Feige’s plan for the MCU Phases?
Speaking during Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania‘s virtual press conference, Randall Park asks the Marvel Studio President about the advanced planning undertaken by Marvel Studios — and in particular, the number of phases actually “planned in advance”.
Here, Feige reveals some key information in his response, admitting that they work in “about three phases at a time”, specifying:
Three phases together, as we all know, make a saga.
All of this checks out with what we know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. The first three Phases, from Iron Man (2008), through to Joss Whedon’s The Avengers (2012) and into Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame are all earmarked as the “Infinity Saga”, while the “Multiverse Saga” is officially a third of the way through, with Phase Five kicking-off with Quantumania, but with the bulk of Phase Six featuring only the barest working titles or estimated release dates — some even being pushed after Avengers: Secret Wars — indicating that they were pushed to Phase Seven. Fantastic Four, anybody?
Therefore, it stands to reason that Feige has much more planned for the MCU. During the same panel, the Marvel Studios head indicated that the beginning of Marvel Phase Five brings “a more specific storyline” forward into future Avengers and Marvel Studios content:
We’ve made a lot of films in Phase Four, the last of which was Wakanda Forever. We introduced a lot of characters in that. And now in this film, in large part to the man sitting in front of me, kicks off what we call Phase Five, which begins a more specific storyline heading to towards some Avengers films down the line.
With Phase Seven actually on the horizon, it’s possible that we might see a Black Panther 3, even the next Tom Holland Spider-Man film, or even Eternals 2.
What do you think about Marvel planning for Phase Seven? Share your thoughts in the comments below!