Marvel Phase 3, 4 & 5: Where it could go & Why
I have read a lot of opinions from the people out there believing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will end with the Phase 3 movies and then Disney/Marvel Studios will go on to reboot the series. I believe the opposite will happen and that the MCU will continue to move through the phases, recasting actors as and when is necessary and introducing more and more of their characters into the universe.
First to why I don’t believe the Marvel Mouse House aren’t considering rebooting the popular culture juggernaut they have created against all the odds after Phase 3. It would set them back in their attempts to unlock the full potential of their character catalogue. Until X-Men and Spidey are back where they belong, with all due respect to all the other great characters Marvel have; Iron Man, Cap, Thor and Hulk are always going to be your major earners with what's left... if you continue to reboot that is. If you just keep the whole thing rolling, your able to draw more and more of the story lines and characters that we all want to see in... and if the quality is maintained, there will be some surprising breakout stars of previously under appreciated heroes like what happened with Iron Man (2008).
Now I am not going to theorize a tight idea for each future film (announced or not) but more just a suggestion of over-arcing story lines that I’d like to see occur. So in my teaser I mention Phases 3, 4 and 5... and we haven’t even seen the first film from Phase 2 yet, so I’ll briefly touch on these first. I know that these ideas will probably turn out to be totally inaccurate and that they will annoy a load of people who love these characters as much as me but thats what this is all about right? I won’t spend too much time discussing Phase 2 as their already well documented but Ironman is in all probability going to voyage into deep space at the end of Ironman 3 (2013), presumably explaining why he wont be around to help Cap out in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). Of which I am looking forward to seeing immensely, Kevin Feige has talked of a 70’s style political thriller... so Bourne mixed with superheroes sounds like the route to me. Also look forward to seeing William Sadler’s second appearance (after Ironman 3) as the US President of the MCU. With Thor: The Dark World (2013) for me, Marvel needs to have Thanos’ presence in there somewhere, however how small. Maybe something as simple as Thor and his allies returning to Asgaard after defeating Malekith etc. only to find that the Infinity Gauntlet has been stolen... hopefully a little more though. This would just keep the audience simmering with anticipation for the Mad Titan after his appearance in the mid-credits scene in Avengers (2012) and what I assume will be bigger role’s in Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) and Avengers 2 (2015).
Phase 3 starts straight after Avengers 2 with Antman (2015), now this is where I’ll begin to give my thoughts on what I believe could end up happening. I think that this is where a ‘New Avengers’ idea could be introduced to the MCU (albeit with differing rosta’s to that of the comics). Our current crop of heroes could well run out of luck against Thanos at the conclusion of the previous phase, sure they will win and Thanos’ antagonism will be dealt with but it will probably be at the cost of some (or all of) our heroes lives... for a while at least. We have all read Whedon’s ‘Death, death and death’ prediction and while it is clearly tongue in cheek, he may simply have been ‘hiding in clear sight’. So to assembling a new roster for some new world threatening menace. Antman director Edgar Wright has long stated his desire to film the To Steal an Antman storyline. It seems the only sticking point production-wise, was the period setting as that would place the events outside of what is currently happening in the MCU. I’d imagine that it will simply be re-imagined for our current time and that would be fine by me, love the story and don’t have a problem with both Pym and Lang being exposed together, it would just progress Pym’s evolution into Giantman/Goliath/Yellow Jacket. As far as I am concerned Pym is the important facet here, not his various personae. Obviously the ‘elephant in the room’, when discussing Pym is Ultron, which will probably go on to be the ‘Big Bad’ of this or the following phase. Doctor Strange (2016 maybe?) is the only other film that has currently been announced and his introduction could involve an already supreme Strange’s attempts to contact and aid our Phase 2 heroes, who are literally ‘not in a good place’. This contact could prompt Strange to not only attempt to rescue the Earth’s (presumably Thor would have survived Avengers 2) mightiest but also to enlist new heroes that could guard the world against any potential threats.
So thats my ideas with regards to what has been announced but where could it go? There could well be a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie in Phase 3, that may centre around Bucky taking up Cap’s mantle and should introduce a possible thread for Phase 4 or 5. It would be a perfect opportunity to introduce Mar-vell and Danvers, while laying important seeds for S.W.O.R.D. and the Kree empire. Planet Hulk (2016 maybe?)... I want it! I know there is a lot of hate out there for this but I honestly don’t see the problem. People are saying ‘Oh, but they’ve only just got Hulk right.’ and ‘...but it’ll end with World War Hulk and we don’t want the Hulk to be a villain.‘ who cares as long as their not wasting the characters potential with more Hulk vs. the Army or Hulk vs. other gamma beings. And do you know what, it wouldn’t have to end with WWH anyway, nothing in the MCU has played out the same as the comics they were originally based on. Thanos could have had to transport the Hulk of the Earth (ending up on Sakaar) as he was not only the biggest threat to his designs but because no matter what he tried the Hulk would not die. There you go, Planet Hulk without WWH as he has no reasons to be angry at his former team mates. Not that I am against WWH mind you, I would love Avengers 3 to end Phase 3 with WWH. The worst thing that could be done with the Hulk is to soften him, to allow him to simply be controllable. All of the MCU, heroes and villains should ALWAYS be nervous when Hulk is around. For me he is the most important character within the MCU and he should just be Hulk and not adhere to the balance of good and bad that afflicts most characters. Black Panther (2017 maybe?) would be a perfect opportunity to prop up Ultron as the Phase 3 villain, if Marvel do not choose to go with WWH. Personally, I would prefer Ultron for Phase 4 but its all good. Ultron, or even Vision, could infiltrate Wakanda in an effort to obtain their vibranium deposits to create an indestructible chassis for his AI, just like in the A:EMH series. That way your killing two birds with one stone and building your over-arcing villain, while introducing T’Challa to the universe and maybe even alerting Doctor Strange to the presence of new potential talent. Last before Avengers 3 (2018 maybe?), I would love to see a Heroes for Hire movie and there would be no better director than Ironman 3 director Shane Black. The buddy-cop style with his intelligent but comedic interplay would be an absolute classic and diversify Marvel into a further superhero sub-genre.
Phases 4 and 5 are pretty much impossible to predict but given that I have suggested both Hulk and Ultron for the title of potential phase 3 ‘Big Bad’ I will attempt to pursue these potential threads... albeit in a looser and briefer manner. If Hulk is the Big Bad of Phase 3, Ultron for Phase 4, if Ultron is Phase 3, then I’d assume that somehow our heroes would manage to transport Hulk back from Sakaar just in time to stop him. Which would leave a ‘Big Bad’ spot available for Phase 4. By this time there should be enough of an overall MCU rogues gallery to provide some nice options for an over-arcing Masters of Evil threat. Phase 4 films could include sequels to a variety of Phase 2 & 3 films such as Thor 3, Captain America 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Doctor Strange 2, Black Panther 2 as well as maybe Ms. Marvel and Namor movies, and would again conclude with Avengers 4.
From my current standpoint, and taking into account my ideas so far, I see Phase 5 going one of two ways (or possibly both at once). At this point we would have Hulk, Strange and Namor fully established so the opportunity to go balls-out occult and get the Defenders together is an exciting one. Now it is possible that Defenders could be the Phase 5 major arc but I feel by this point, Marvel’s film output will be such that it could support two team ups per phase, one about halfway through and an Avengers to conclude. If so, it would be great to see Ronan the Accuser and the Kree empire turn up to investigate Mar-vell’s circumstances, after what could have occurred from my take on Phase 3.
Now as previously stated, things will almost definitely play out in a totally different (and way better) way but its fun to speculate on this and I look forward to reading reader comments on what they don’t like about my ideas and what they want to see themselves. Either way, hope you enjoyed the read, Excelsior.
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