Back in 2014, Marvel Studios announced their massive plans for Phase Three of their Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a huge slate of nine films that ran all the way until 2019. While the majority of that schedule has remained intact, several films have been moved around on the schedule, and a couple have even been added to it. Apparently, Marvel decided that Phase Three was now so large that there simply wasn’t any any room in it for the Inhumans movie anymore.
When Marvel first announced their plans for the current slate of MCU movies, Inhumans was originally set for 2018, in between the two parts of Avengers: Infinity War. Then, as new movies like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man & the Wasp were added to Phase Three, Inhumans was pushed back, before being removed from the schedule entirely. Now, Kevin Feige has explained on the Empire Film Podcast that this bulking up of the slate was the ultimate reason they decided to hold off on Inhumans. Marvel wanted to be sure the story got the proper attention, and wasn’t simply another part of the overfull Phase Three.
The only situation right now is that [Inhumans] is not gonna be a part of Phase Three because Phase Three increased in a very good way since we initially announced. When and where and how it pops up remains to be seen, but it’s characters we love, it’s a storyline we love, and we just didn’t want to cram it into an already quite full Phase Three.
Marvel’s Phase Three has only just begun with the release of Captain America: Civil War. This means that, when the announcement was originally made, they were looking between two and five years ahead. While pre-planning is certainly a good thing, especially considering the continuity driven aspects of the MCU, the one thing that it doesn’t really allow for is easily reacting to success.
In 2014, Marvel had no idea that a novelty character like Ant-Man would do more than a half billion dollars in box office business. They couldn’t be sure, at that point, that they were ever going to get Spider-Man back from Sony. When those things happened, it demanded changes to the schedule. Ultimately, Inhumans ended up as the odd man out. Sitting off by itself, after the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War, it looked like it was the beginning of a Phase Four, rather than an end to Phase Three, anyway. The fact that Kevin Feige says that he doesn’t know when Inhumans will pop up implies that we may still see additional Marvel movies before Inhumans, but it certainly sounds like that film will be back at some point.
Of course, Marvel also has to play nice with the other divisions of Disney. We knew that Inhumans days were numbered when Lucasfilm announced that Indiana Jones 5 would be opening within a week of its scheduled date. Disney isn’t going to compete with itself.
In the interim, the Inhumans will continue to exist as part of the MCU on television, on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. How much are you looking forward to the Inhumans movie? How much longer do you expect to have to wait?