Ever since they were hired to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Joe and Anthony Russo have been two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most important behind-the-scenes talent. The brothers returned to helm Phase 3 launcher Captain America: Civil War, and then they transitioned to the Avengers film series to oversee Infinity War and Endgame. While the Russos said back in April 2019 that Avengers: Endgame would be their last Marvel outing “for now,” word’s come in that the studio tried to court them back for another movie recently, so let’s start speculating about what it could be.
Actually, it’s important to set up some context first. As those who follow Marvel movie news closely know, Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney for simultaneously releasing Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+’s Premier Access tier, which resulted in the actress losing out on box office bonuses she was reportedly entitled to. As a consequence of this legal messiness, The Wall Street Journal reports that Joe and Anthony Russo “hit an impasse” in negotiations to direct another Marvel movie, as they became “unsure” about how this project would be distributed and how much they would be paid. The outlet also noted that the outcome of Johansson’s lawsuit could “help set new compensation benchmarks for digital releases” at Disney.
So right off the bat, it’s far from a sure thing at this moment that Joe and Anthony Russo will sign on for a fifth Marvel movie. If they can’t reach an understanding with Marvel Studios, the directing duo could just step away from the negotiating table and stay gone from the MCU. After all, it’s not like they’re lacking in projects right now. The Russos currently in postproduction on Netflix’s The Gray Man, as well as developing on the Amazon series Citadel and producing Disney’s live-action Hercules remake, among others things.
Whether Joe and Anthony Russo direct this mysterious Marvel movie or Marvel Studios brings aboard a different filmmaker (perhaps even another duo), the question remains: what is this movie? I imagine it would be something similar in scale to the last two Avengers movies, rather than the Russos handling a “solo” MCU movie. So in that regard, another Avengers movie seems to be the likeliest option, and that would undoubtedly be another major crossover event. Rumor has it a Secret Wars movie is in the works, and that could easily be adapted within an Avengers 5 framework.
But another possibility is that Joe and Anthony Russo were being looked at to direct a movie featuring a Marvel superhero group that’s just as famous as the Avengers, if not more so. We’ve known for years now that eventually the X-Men will be rebooted within the MCU, and with Marvel heading already hired Jon Watts, the man behind all the Tom Holland-led Spider-Man movies, to helm its Fantastic Four reboot, it’s easy to imagine the studio also wanting to look in-house director to handle introducing the team of mutants. Earlier this year, Joe Russo even addressed how difficult it will be to recast Wolverine following Hugh Jackman’s nearly two decades in the role.
Rest assured, if it’s officially announced that Joe and Anthony Russo will direct another Marvel movie, we’ll let you know. For now, you’re welcome to look through the upcoming Marvel movies guide to discover what the MCU is lining up for theaters in the coming years.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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