Given the finality implied leading up to both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, we’ve known for a while that should there be a future Avengers team, it probably wouldn’t look like the one we were introduced to back in 2012. Indeed, by the close of The Infinity Saga, multiple actors and their respective heroes had departed the MCU, many seemingly for good.
The changing of the guard has already begun. At San Diego Comic-Con, we got a look at even more fresh new faces that will be joining the cinematic universe with the introduction of the Phase Four slate. Yet, notably absent from that slate was an Avengers team-up film. However, rest assured there will be a new team, and when asked if he knows what the next Avengers team looks like, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige teased the future, saying,
Yes and it will be a very different team than we've seen before. That's what Endgame was all about. It will be a very different incarnation of the team with some people you've already met and some people we haven't met yet.
We all love the classic Avengers team we’ve grown to know and identify with over the past decade, but the idea of a “very different” team is still very exciting. Avengers: Endgame was about passing the mantle off to the next generation of heroes and as Kevin Feige told MTV News, some on the new team will be people who we’ve already met, while others will be individuals we have yet to meet on the big screen.
I think we can all make guesses about the makeup of the team and who will be on it just based on who is still in the MCU and what films are coming, but it will be interesting to see who the formal members are. Is Scarlet Witch still on board? How about Thor and Doctor Strange? Will Shang-Chi join their ranks? How would The Eternals fit in?
No matter who makes up the team, it will ultimately have a different feel to it. How it operates will be different, as will the way the team uses their respective powers together. Of course, we'll also have to wait and see the different ways personalities compliment one another and clash. What will bring that team together though and is Marvel and Phase 4 planting the seeds for some sort of crossover even in Phase 5? Addressing that query, Kevin Feige also mentioned in the interview that what was announced was really debated ahead of time.
Yes. We debated what we should announce [at Comic-Con]. Should we announce [Phase] Four and Five? We’ve planned them out. We’ve got five years down the road. And I was like, I think 11 projects in two years is plenty. Having not mentioned anything for two or three years.
We’ve heard in the past that Marvel had a five-year plan post-Phase Three and it seems that it will encompass Phases Four and Five. That’s part of what was interesting about the Comic-Con announcements, as much as was revealed, it only amounted to two years worth of projects. Be sure to contrast that with the 2014 Phase Three announcement, which covered over three years of time, although with fewer projects.
Marvel already has its Phase 5 all planned out, but chose not to reveal it just yet. I’m actually a big fan of Marvel not showing all its cards and letting us enjoy Phase 4 as it comes without knowing what’s ahead. Also, unlike that Phase Three slate announcement, Phase Four doesn’t have a clear overarching narrative arc that I can see from my vantage.
So does Phase Four lead to something in the way the previous phases have been? Luckily for fans, Kevin Feige was just a fount of knowledge and answered that too.
It's what I love about the Marvel Comics method of storytelling. That's not anything we invented. I love that things build up, they build to a crescendo, they all get together, they separate, they're changed. And now that we get to do that not just in movies but in these mega series on Disney+ just has invigorated all of us at Marvel Studios to keep going.
According to Kevin Feige, it is natural for the Marvel model, both in comics and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to build to big crossover events. So it will be true for Phase Four and Phase Five, as these new projects, both on the big screen and on Disney’s new streaming service, plant seeds to build towards some mysterious crescendo that will presumably become clear as this new series of films wears on.
Kevin Feige sounds as excited about the prospect of it all and the new storytelling opportunities as we all are. What’s so cool is we don’t yet know what Phase 4 and Phase 5 are leading to. What could possibly connect new films Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and The Eternals with what’s going to happen in Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Widow? We have no idea and that’s awesome.
We didn’t find out that Thanos was the final boss until the end of Phase One. We’re now in that same territory again, watching characters and stories that all take place in the same universe, but seem largely unconnected. Somehow though, seeds will be planted and it will all build to some sort of crossover event, where we will presumably get that new and different Avengers team (New Avengers? There are lots of cool options). That should give us plenty of clue hunting and speculation to do as the MCU moves into its next saga.