Beyond Endgame: the Future of the MCU
*cosmic-sized spoilers ahead*
Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios are keeping their post-Endgame plans close to their chest and official details about the future are sparse...for now. But, has that ever stopped us from speculating? Not at all. These are our thoughts on the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward.
Asgardians of the Galaxy
One of the few things we know is coming soon is the third Guardians movie. Endgame left a couple of dangling threads that James Gunn will have a blast exploring. Past-Gamora appears to have gone rogue, so a part of the plot will focus on locating her. Not only that, the dynamic of her and the rest of the gang has changed drastically, now that she has been essentially “reset”. Most interestingly, however, Thor has joined the family. You get the feeling that Chris Hemsworth has a point to prove since Ragnarok brought new life to the character. Probably why he isn’t winding down like the other OGs. Guardians Vol. 3 gives him the opportunity to continue his transition into a more comedic character, away from the shackles of Asgard. This shows signs of a creative redemption arc where he finds purpose again. Perhaps in saving the galaxy from Adam Warlock.
While it’s easy to focus on Marvel’s A-list superhero team, the seeds are planted for a younger spin-off. Courtesy of Endgame’s five-year time-jump, Cassie Lang is now at the age where she could take up the Stature alias. We’ve already heard her mention that she wants to be just like her dad. She’d fit right in around a fresh-faced group of Avengers. Plus, let’s not forget that Harley Keener has made his return to the fold. Otherwise known as “the kid from Iron-Man 3”, Harley had a brief but close relationship with Tony. In this time, Stark left his mark on the him. It wouldn’t be a leap for him to want to follow in the inventor’s footsteps and be a hero. Even more excitingly, a Young Avengers movie would be the perfect place for Peter Parker to test his leadership skills. The team is in dire need of a frontman now that RDJ and Chris Evans are out to pasture, and his solo sequel will see him begin to step-up. Throw in Iron-Man’s daughter Morgan as the successor to the mantle and I’d say you have a film.
Into the Cosmic
When it all started way back in 2008, no one could have imagined the sheer size of the universe we have now. The introduction of the Guardians and Captain Marvel has shown that there’s an infinite number of stories to be told out there. And a huge roster of characters to tell them with. We already know we’re getting an Eternals movie, which will explore cosmic beings like the celestials. It’s also likely it will introduce the deviants, the mutated enemies of the Eternals. Who could prove more pivotal than they sound. The deviants, much like their counterparts, are immensely powerful. If you need evidence, we’ve already seen one on-screen deviant – Thanos, and he’s not even the strongest one. The threat of the deviants could re-occur further down the line and make up the universes next big-bad.
But that isn’t the only massive story they could explore. In a universe harbouring this many beloved characters, good and bad, secret wars could be a slam-dunk. The franchises most powerful heroes and villains being transported to a mysterious planet. Doing battle for a mysterious figure. It's almost bigger than Endgame. Last but not least, there’s the small matter of Adam Warlock’s arrival. Comic-lovers will need no explanation of the importance of his character and the narratives he’s apart of. Once he’s a more heroic character after the third Guardians is done, his storyline is far from over. His now iconic conflict with his future-self, Magus, is a perfect fit for its own film. The tale offers the chance to fully explore the craziness of the wider universe in a way unique to Marvel.
Sometimes it’s just meant to be. While this article was still being written, Sony dropped a new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. In it, Nick Fury explains that Quentin Beck (Mysterio) is from Earth, but not our Earth which confirms the existence of a multiverse in the MCU. As you can imagine, this is a pretty big deal because it takes what is possible to another level. Establishing a multiverse allows them to bring in versions of characters that would be difficult in the current continuity. I’m taking this proclamation at face value. We’ll see where it stands after Far From Home. There’s a shedload of variations of the characters we’ve already seen, all with there own backstories and gimmicks. Spider-Man in particular has plenty of iterations; Spider-Gwen, Ben Riley and Miles Morales to name a few. Seeing a Spider-Verse-esque meeting of them all in a live-action setting would be, dare I say, amazing.
This reveal offers the studio a fresh canvas. A place to start anew without erasing what came before. It opens-up doors to experiment with storylines that don’t fit in the main timeline of the movies. Allowing for seeds to be planted across the varying timelines in solo films - before a multiverse spanning crossover.
The Fox properties
Ever since Disney broke the bank to buy Fox, fans have been craving the Fantastic Four and X-Men in the MCU. Well we’re in luck, because it appears that the announced line-up of movies is working towards their debut. The Eternals couldn’t feel further away from Wolverine and co. if they tried. But their introduction could give us a hint of how the mutants will make their long-awaited entrance. The Celestials experimented on our ancestors and wound up creating the Eternals and the Deviants, if they stick to the comics. They also sped-up the evolution of humans, causing some mutated genes along the way. This includes the infamous x-gene which spawns many of our favourite characters. So, while on the face of it the Eternals movie seems like its own contained adventure, with little connection to the greater universe. All it takes is a sly mention of that mutant gene and, just like that, we have X-Men.
Pinpointing how the Fantastic Four will make their way in was a little tougher. Or at least it was until the Far From Home trailer landed. It was always going to be difficult to find a creative way to get those characters into the fold and make it feel right. After all, a third go-round of the same origin would be hard to sit through. But the multiverse is a perfect opportunity to drag them in from a different universe, but still root them in the one we know and love. If a large part of the next few years focuses on a rift in our dimension, someone smart enough could manipulate that to their advantage. And there aren’t many smarter that Doctor Doom. If Victor caught wind of another Earth for him to cause chaos in, you know he’d take that chance. That would force his arch-enemies to follow-suit and chase him into the alternate reality. Then everyone can be a big, happy, Disney-owned family.
We won’t know for sure what’s on the horizon until Marvel unveils its master plan this summer. Where do you think the future will take us? Let us know in the comments and on our social media.