Riding on the huge waves of the success of “Avengers: Infinity War,” (and the “smaller,” pun intended, success of “Ant-Man and the Wasp”) the future prospects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) look very promising. While there may not be any more MCU films coming out during 2018, fans still have much to anticipate in the coming years.
The first of three MCU films to air in 2019 will be “Captain Marvel” on March 9, 2018, starring Brie Larson in the titular role. “Captain Marvel” completely dodges the issue of dealing with the fallout of “Infinity War” by having the film set in the mid-1990s. Being the first MCU film to have a woman in the leading role, a lot of expectation is riding on this film to deliver a high-quality and financially successful film. If “Captain Marvel” is indeed successful, and from recent news and recently released photos, that seems like it will be the case, it can set a positive precedent that will hopefully lead to more female-led MCU films. Keeping the post-credits scene of “Avengers: Infinity War” in mind, Captain Marvel will most likely play a major role in the MCU film that directly follows it: “Avengers 4.”
The next, still-untitled, “Avengers” film is coming out on May 3rd, 2019 and will (hopefully) resolve all the questions and cliffhangers of “Avengers: Infinity War.” Fan theories are abounding about how our heroes will (or, if they even will) defeat Thanos and reverse the Snap that took place at the end of “Infinity War.” I will not specifically mention any here for the sake of avoiding possible spoilers, but if you are interested in what varieties of speculation are flying around the internet, sites like Tumblr and the subreddit r/FanTheories are good places to start reading. This film also signals the conclusion of Phase Three of the MCU. While I did not want to mention any explicit potential “Infinity War” theories and spoilers, the mere discussion of the other upcoming MCU Phase Four and future films following “Infinity War” could be considered to constitute as spoilers for “Avengers 4,” so read on at your own caution.
The film immediately following “Avengers 4” is the next film in the Spider-Man trilogy: “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” which is being released on July 5th, 2019. While some fans speculated that “far from home” may have interstellar implications, it will actually depict Peter Parker only going as far as Europe. The conclusion to the Guardians trilogy, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” has also been confirmed, but with the recent problems surrounding “Guardians” director James Gunn, the status of this movie has been thrown into developmental purgatory. A “Black Widow” film has been essentially confirmed, with the director, Cate Shortland, having been announced. Other commonly speculated upcoming films include a “Doctor Strange” sequel and a “Black Panther” sequel. With how financially successful and widely acclaimed the first “Black Panther” film was, Marvel would be ill-advised not to have another film featuring the King of Wakanda, regardless of the events that transpired at the end of “Infinity War.”
I find it odd to conceptualize the fact that Marvel has an entire lineup of movies planned all the way past my expected graduation date in 2022. From the first “Iron Man” film 10 years ago to the massive recent successes of the “Avengers” franchise, Marvel truly has succeeded at building a multilayered and complex cinematic universe that has fans around the world who are both clamoring for more and willing to spend the money to see it. Unless you happen to have a Time Stone, only the ordinary, linear passage of time will tell what the MCU has in store for Phase Four and beyond.