Infinity Questions1 of 8
We're just six months away from the release of Avengers: Infinity War, and with the final leg of Marvel's Phase 3 in sight, it's time to start thinking about what comes after.
The simple answer is, more movies. But who will they be about? Who will they star? How much of the MCU we know and love will still be there on the other side?
We don't have all the answers, but we've got plenty of lingering questions about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What Will JAMES GUNN's Role Be?2 of 8
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is definitely a big part of Marvel Studios’ future, but where will the filmmaker take the MCU?
We know he’s got big plans for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which will help set the stage for the MCU’s next epoch, but will he pull a Russo Bros. move and graduate from a single franchise to overseeing a bigger chunk of Marvel’s film slate?
Gunn has made no bones about wanting to stick around; he’s even pitched a few ideas, such as Thunderbolts and Moon Knight, as potential future Marvel projects he’d at least help write and produce. Could Gunn’s ideas form one of the cornerstones of a post-Avengers 4 Marvel Universe expansion?
Is BANNER Trapped as THE HULK?3 of 8
In Thor: Ragnarok, it’s established that Bruce Banner has been trapped as the Hulk for two years. And, when he finally reverts to his human form, he reveals that one more change into the Hulk could prevent him from ever turning back into Banner.
In the film’s climax, Banner transforms into the Hulk to help save the day – and we never see him turn back. He’s still the Hulk later in the film.
So where does that leave ol’ Jade Jaws (and more importantly Banner) as of Avengers: Infinity War? Will Banner become human again – or is he trapped as the Hulk forever?
Will HELA Return as THANOS' Consort?4 of 8
In comic books, Thanos’ drive to collect the Infinity Stones and attack Earth is partially driven by his romantic obsession with the embodiment of Death. This is even alluded to in his first MCU appearance in the post-credits scene from Avengers in which his minion tells him attack Earth would be “courting Death.”
So far though, this hasn’t played much of a factor in Thanos’ admittedly limited film appearances. But could Hela – who spent much of Thor: Ragnarok reminding everyone that she is the Goddess of Death – take the role of Thanos’ consort in Avengers: Infinity War or beyond?
This isn’t as far-fetched as one might think - Mighty Thor #700 recently showed that the pair have forged a relationship in comic books, possibly setting the stage for Hela’s return on film at the Mad Titan’s side.
What's After PHASE 3?5 of 8
Marvel has made very little about what comes after Phase 3 clear, except for one thing: whatever it is, it won’t simply be “Phase 4.”
With the Avengers story concluding with Phase 3, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 said to be one of the first building blocks of what’s next, almost anything could happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – even drastic shifts.
Looking at what’s on the horizon for the studio, a new wave of heroes in Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel may take the top spots in Marvel’s line-up as characters such as Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man potentially take a step back (the events of Thor: Ragnarok certainly suggest Marvel sees this as a possibility).
Like we said, no predictions, but it’s not impossible that Marvel could use the Infinity Gems to completely change the onscreen landscape of its universe – and make room for changes in the real world model as well.
Will MARVEL Recast, Retire or Reboot Its Heroes?6 of 8
Let’s face it – some of the stars of the Marvel films are getting a little long in the tooth to count on them playing their characters for the entire next decade or more. So whatever comes after Avengers 4, it’s a safe bet that we’ll be a few core Avengers lighter at some point.
But what happens when the stars retire? We can guess that someone like Tony Stark – the elder statesman of the MCU – would get an in-universe ending. But could the idea of killing Tony Stark leave too much money on the table in terms of potential future appearances?
With the thought of recasting key roles on the table, the question becomes whether Disney is willing to gamble on audiences loving Tony Stark (or Steve Rogers, or Black Widow, and so on) more than the actors who play them.
Of course – we’re gonna use this word again, with a grain of salt – there’s the chance of a full on reboot that restarts someone like Tony Stark’s timeline (and plays into the comic book ideal of a shifting timeline of events), potentially allowing new adventures with a new actor in the driver’s seat.
What Happens If DISNEY Buys FOX?7 of 8
Though reported negotiations for Disney to buy most of 21st Century Fox are currently said to be in the “off” phase of the deal’s “on-again-off-again” status, the idea that the extant film rights to Marvel’s Fantastic Four and X-Men could wind up with the House of Mouse would be a seismic shift for Marvel Studios – and potentially for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Beyond the obvious implication of potentially seeing things like Wolverine fighting the Hulk, an Avengers Vs. X-Men story, or a more comic book faithful Fantastic Four movie, having this entirely new avenue to explore would certainly lend some heavy impact to whatever follows the current Phase 3 (more on that later).
If the FF and X-Men come back home, Marvel could conceivably follow their decade-plus-long Avengers saga with a whole new universe of X-Men centric content, while bringing the FF closer to the core Marvel Universe.
Oh, and, as longtime Fantastic Four and Avengers writer Jonathan Hickman told Newsarama, we’d pretty much be guaranteed to see a Fantastic Four comic book resurgence in the wake of such a deal.
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