Warning: SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War are ahead!
A lot of the times in superhero stories, the good guys triumph in the end. Not so in Avengers: Infinity War. After collecting all six Infinity Stones, Thanos wiped out half of all life in the universe with the snap of his fingers, and the surviving half was left wondering what had just happened. It was a shocking conclusion, but it also posed an interesting issue, as Marvel has already confirmed that characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy will be back during the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Four. This subsequently poses an interesting marketing challenge for the folks at Marvel Studios, but Infinity War writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely didn't worry about these sequels when penning the latest MCU movie. When specifically asked about how Marvel will promote Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, the duo responded:
Christopher Markus: Look, two hours of Aunt May crying, it could be great.
Stephen McFeely: It's a good question and it certainly leads to bigger questions about audience expectation and if you know too much about how Hollywood works or release schedules, things like that. Does it hurt your enjoyment of the movie?
Christopher Markus: Clearly if there are people crying and articles about how to console your children at the end of it, it doesn't matter what you know.
Stephen McFeely: And we can't make movies for people who read Variety, you know what I mean?
It's an interesting dilemma, to be sure. Spider-Man, a.k.a. Peter Parker, was one of the MCU heroes who vanished when Thanos became all-powerful, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that his demise was the most heartbreaking of all. To the people watching Avengers: Infinity War who aren't familiar with death's frequent impermanence in the comics and don't keep up with the latest movie news, they might wonder if Spider-Man and those other heroes are truly dead. For everyone else, they know that most, if not all, of those characters will eventually be back, but that still doesn't solve the problem of how Marvel can market some of these upcoming movies, particularly Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, since it's coming out only two months after Avengers 4.
However, as Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely said during their interview with Collider, it's not their job to worry about anything outside of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. They're writing these stories to be as compelling and interesting to both casual viewers and longtime fans, and it's up to people in other departments to worry about advertisement. The MCU has become so popular and Spider-Man is still one of pop culture's most recognizable superheroes that part of me wonders if Marvel and Sony actually would wait until after Avengers 4's release before releasing any Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 previews. But I doubt that'll happen, and the first trailer for the Web-Slinger's next standalone movie will likely drop a few months before Avengers 4 comes out. So anyone who watches trailers will know going into Avengers 4 that at least Spider-Man will be back, and then they'll soon realize he won't be the only one who isn't gone for good.
We'll find out how Avengers 4 follows up on the events of Avengers: Infinity War (which is still playing in theaters) and conclude the MCU's Phase Three when it's released on May 3, 2019.