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It’s been approximately a month since it was announced that Disney and Sony would not only continue working together on Spider-Man, but that Tom Holland’s version of the Web-Slinger will lead a third standalone film, which will come out in 2021. With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder having already been scheduled for that year, that means there will be four Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to look forward to in two years time.

When I recently asked Avengers: Endgame executive producer Trinh Tran, who’s been working on the MCU in one form or another since the beginning, if four movies feels like the most the studio can release per year, she noted that the Spider-Man of it all, as well as the forthcoming Disney+ shows, mean there’s structural expansion, but don’t think that means quality is being sacrificed for quantity. As Tran put it:

And so we’re going through it and we’re figuring out things to make sure that we’re going to be able to deliver the same type of movies that we have in the past, to make sure that it’s nothing below the best of our ability to create these narratives that are interesting and new and refreshing. But we are discussing and working out how to make sure that we’re able to do all this.

In other words, just because there will be four MCU movies in 2021 doesn’t mean you should count on that being a regular occurrence. Yes, the MCU is not only expanding with its various movies, but with the Disney+ shows, which have been said to be just as important to this mythology as the cinematic tales. But Trinh Tran and the rest of the MCU leadership are still chiefly concerned with making sure that they can keep things different and unique for the fans, regardless of how many projects it takes.

Nevertheless, 2021 is definitely a big year for the MCU, as in addition to those four movies, Disney+ will premiere WandaVision, Loki and Hawkeye, as well as the animated What If… ?, which explores what would happen if major events in this franchise happened differently. Once Thor: Love and Thunder is out, that will wrap up Phase 4, and so far the only movie that’s on the calendar for Phase 5 is Black Panther II.

Conversely, 2020 is a quieter MCU year. Only two movies are coming out (the first time that’s happened since 2016), Black Widow and The Eternals, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the only Disney+ series debuting. Following the climactic conclusion to The Infinity Saga this year and all the success Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home experienced, I don’t blame Marvel for wanting to scale back a little bit before jumping into the deep end of the proverbial pool.

It will be interesting to see if another year comes when Marvel feels that it’s ready to give the public four movies, especially if all of them are full Marvel Studios productions. Because remember, the company partners with Sony on Spider-Man’s live-action silver screen adventures.

We may not be getting another Infinity Saga-level story for a long time, but Marvel shows no signs of slowing down with continually expanding this franchise, whether it does so with three movies a year, four movies or even somehow hits five. Whatever the number is, keep checking back with CinemaBlend for all the latest updates concerning the MCU.

Keep track of what the franchise has coming up with our handy Marvel movies guide, and plan the rest of your visits to the theater this year with our 2019 release schedule.

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