The plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe are reported to reach 2028. With Iron Man in 2008, that’s twenty years. Terminator, though, has been over thirty years. Marvel’s other cine-verse, over at Fox, has been lasting over fifteen years, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. James Bond’s been around about half a century. And who can forget Star Wars? But what sets the MCU apart, is that it has perpetually continued from the beginning.
Phase 2 wrapped up this year with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. We just saw the Captain America: Civil War trailer. From there, Phase 3 will end with Avengers: Infinity War Part Two. Then, the three unnamed movies of 2020 will start Phase 4. Also in Phase 3, we’ll be treated with The Defenders, and more Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter.
What will Phase 4 have in store for us? If they have it mapped out that far, will there be a Phase 5 or 6? To talk about the future, we must go to the past. So get brushed up (otherwise, prepared to be spoiled), and let’s take a ride in the MCU time machine.
8. Spider-Man To Venom
Spider-Man will make his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War. The following year, we’ll see him in his own movie. Now that Marvel has the real star of their universe, will they promote him to such? Before, they had to use Iron Man, and then Captain America. With Spidey in the picture, and Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans almost out the door, will Tom Holland be in the driver’s seat?
Sony was planning their own shared universe to compete with Marvel and Fox. A Venom spin-off would pit him against Carnage. Amazing Spider-Man 2 set up Sinister Six. Glass Ceilings was to feature an all-female team of Silver Sable, Black Cat, and Spider-Gwen. Their answer to Captain America: The First Avenger taking us to the past, was with Spider-Man 2099 in the future. I couldn’t be happier that Spidey has joined the MCU, but it’s a shame we’ll miss out on all that. Hopefully, these new plans will include those characters.
In Spider-Man 3 and Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Venom symbiote fell out of the sky. In the first Secret Wars, Spidey went to space to snatch the symbiote, himself. Flash Thompson, as Agent Venom, recently joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, and discovered a planet full of symbiotes. There will be plenty out there in the MCU to fill in the space between Spidey and the symbiote. Could we see him or another host go out there and get it?
7. Sequels of New and Comebacks of Old
The villain of Doctor Strange looks to be Baron Mordo. But people are already talking about Benedict Cumberbatch battling Dormammu and Mephisto. Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man took on Yellow Jacket. Now we’re wondering when he’ll take on Egghead and MODOK. We also want to know what happened to Janet Van Dyne in the Quantum Realm.
But with these new heroes emerging, will we leave our old ones in the dust? Many are still holding out for more Hulk. There’s also clamor for an Iron Man 4. Word is that Robert Downey Jr’s contract will end with Avengers 3. But he already expanded that with Captain America: Civil War. And rumor is he’ll make an appearance in Spider-Man. There’s still villains waiting to battle ol’ “Shell Head.” They could get thrown into other features, like Blizzard on Agents of SHIELD. But what about Titanium Man or Living Laser?
6. X-Men and Fantastic Four
Since Spider-Man, many are wondering about Marvel’s first family. Fantastic Four may have flopped, but nobody hacked Fox. The 2017 slate for Fantastic Four 2 has dissipated. With X-Men’s success rate, it seems a crossover would be the logical thing to do. Over in the DC world, Constantine was canceled, but Matt Ryan was able to reprise his role on Arrow. Now, with Supergirl in trouble, there’s talk of a crossover with The Flash.
I’m still anxious to see a Silver Surfer movie. He could be a good chance to introduce the Shi’Ar and the Starjammers. With the X-Men time line reset, Queen Lilandra could be a love interest for Professor X, like in the comics.
X-Men: Apocalypse will reportedly end the X-Men series. From there will be spin-offs. Deadpool will undoubtedly become its own franchise. Then there’s Gambit. And hopefully, New Mutants will blend into X-Force. But will those spin-offs be enough to last the next decade?
5. The Next Generation
Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced us to new Avengers. I’m sure Avengers: Infinity War will introduce us to more. Will we see Wonder Man, Hercules, or Tigra? With another decade, we might even see the Young Avengers. The first Ant-Man movie wasn’t until this year, so they caught up by giving us an elderly Hank Pym, and skipped to Scott Lang. The first time Steve Rogers handed over his shield, it was to John Walker, who eventually became U.S. Agent. Miles Morales became Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe. But Peter Parker actually had a second generation; he and Mary Jane had a daughter named May, who eventually became Spider-Girl.
4. Guardians of the Universe
Before Guardians of the Galaxy, not a whole lot of people heard of these space heroes. I only knew of Drax from the Silver Surfer cartoon. Now, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we’ll learn the mystery of Star Lord’s father. Writer/Director, James Gunn, said he won’t be his dad from the comics: J’son of Spartax. I’m sure he wants this chance to introduce Adam Warlock or Mar’Vell.
The cosmic side will culminate into the grand showdown with Thanos, in Avengers: Infinity War. But after that, many will still crave for more Guardians. As the team journeys farther into space, meeting new characters, shaking up the team, could we see spin-offs? Thor and Hulk might have their own cosmic journey in Thor: Ragnarok. Hopefully they’ll meet Beta Ray Bill. The original Howard the Duck stayed Earthbound. Maybe we can actually visit Duckworld? There’s also that planet of Venom symbiotes.
3. Small Screen
As they’re moving farther and farther into movies, Marvel is also digging deep into TV. With Daredevil and Jessica Jones, we’ve experienced the partnership with Netflix. Jessica’s boyfriend, Luke Cage, will have his own show. Daredevil will have a second season, featuring Elektra and Pushisher. Will Punisher get his own spin-off? There’s talk of a Moon Knight show. Also, with Ms. Marvel promoted to Captain, there are rumors that her replacement, Kamala Khan, will get her own show.
Agents of SHIELD will have a spin-off. Bobbi and Hunter will have their own adventures called Marvel’s Most Wanted. Bobbi, or Mockingbird, became a member of the West Coast Avengers. The Thunderbolts were the ones called Marvel’s Most Wanted in the comics. Perhaps the MCU will mesh West Coast Avengers with the Thunderbolts.
Fox has thrown its hat in the ring with their Marvel properties. Hellfire will be about the Hellfire Club. Will it star Kevin Bacon and January Jones from X-Men: First Class? They’re no strangers to TV, with The Following and Last Man on Earth. Or will it be like Agents of SHIELD,involving low-ranking members? Their other show will be called Legion. It will feature the mutant of the same name. In the comics, he’s the son of Professor X and Moira MacTaggart. It’s unknown if either of these shows will share a universe with the movies. If the character on the show shares any of his DNA with his comic counterpart, then surely, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Rose Bynre, or Olivia Williams would have to make an appearance.
2. Return of Marvel One-Shots
The benefit of buying a Blu-Ray over the DVD was the Marvel One-Shot. Originally, Agent Coulson would make his way to and from his appearances in the movies, helping Nick Fury recruit the Avengers. Since the Avengers were finally formed, the One-Shots needed something new. On The Avengers Blu-Ray, Agents Sitwell and Blake recruited a couple who found a Chitauri gun from the aftermath of the “Battle of New York.” In the next One-Shot, Peggy Carter received a mission against the villain organization known as the Zodiac. There’s still background to be dug up on Nick Fury. In the comics, he masquerades as Scorpio and infiltrates the Zodiac. Hopefully, with Marvel’s way of tying up loose ends, the Zodiac from the Agent Carter One-Shot can be used to showcase Fury’s origin.
The last Marvel One-Shot went away from SHIELD altogether. In “All Hail the King,” Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3 was living quite comfortably in prison. Jackson Norris pretended to film a documentary on the actor. His boss, the real Mandarin, was pissed off that a mockery was made of his name. Will we see this true Mandarin, now that we know there is one? Perhaps he could be the antagonist of the wishful Iron Man 4. There are rumors he’ll make his appearance on Agents of SHIELD, but with a gender-bend.
Sadly, there hasn’t been a Marvel One-Shot since “All Hail the King.” Did Marvel abandon them in lieu of their television projects? After all, most of the One-Shots turned into TV shows. Ant-Man director, Peyton Reed, talked about doing a flashback of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Such talk involved maybe doing it as a One-Shot for the Ant-Man Blu-Ray.
1. Bookend with Tony Stark
Twenty years will be a good run. Some say it might be a little much. But with the Marvel Universe as massive as it is, that should be just enough. After all is said and done, it should have a peaceful note to end on. How about a scene to mirror the very first moment in the MCU? In 2028, the actor who played the very first hero of the MCU will be pushing 70, and his contract will be well expired. In the animated feature, Next Avengers, an elderly Tony Stark raises a new generation of Avengers offspring. He has white hair, and looks how Robert Downey, Jr probably will at that time. Stark could be vibing to his golden oldie, “Back in Black,” by AC/DC. Instead of holding a glass of scotch, maybe a bottle of water, or some prune juice. Riding in the jeep with him could be the different heroes from the years: Spider-Man to the left, Cyclops or Johnny Storm in front of him, Ant-Man to the right, and Patriot or Dagger driving.
Whatever they have in store for us in the years to come, I’ll be right there. Hopefully, others will be too. There’s the off-chance that viewers will get bored of this MCU. But as Bob Dylan wrote:
“Let us not talk falsely, now.”
Where would you like to see Marvel take the Cinematic Universe? Sound off below!