Is it safe to admit that it was beginning to look hairy for Marvel before last week’s Comic-Con panel? Having shaped Hollywood architecture for more than a decade, the Disney-owned superhero studio has released three movies in the past nine months – Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder – that certainly didn’t reach the top of the critics’ lists.
Any film not part of the Multiverse Saga (now officially in phases four, five, and six) might as well have been subtitled “a filler you won’t want to miss”, the studio seemed to be going through a sticky period.
However, let’s put things into perspective: this is a small sample of a series that now includes 29 movies, most of which have been critically acclaimed. It was inevitable that it would happen sooner or later, just as Real Madrid fell to the occasional defeat, or the Beatles recorded Rocky Raccoon.
It was Comic-Con that turned us from doubters to believers. The release of the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November (intriguing and inspiring, but you wonder how it will all work out post-Chadwick Boseman) or the announcement of Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts for May and July 2024, it was the sense Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has some vision for the future of the studio.
Infinity Saga encompasses everything from Black Widow onwards, culminating in Spider-Man: Far from Home in 2019. It may seem like mere creative accountancy, like dividing a child’s toys into Lego and Duplo, but it helps make sense of things.
Moreover, we now know where it will end, just as we did with the first two dozen films. At the time, we were all waiting for the final climactic battle with Thanos, and wondering just how badass the giant purple Titan would prove to be. Once again, phase six (and the Multiverse Saga) will culminate with two ensemble movies: Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
This time around, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, Blade, and The Marvels will be hoping to answer the question of who will lead the ultimate superhero team. It’s still possible the Fantastic Four could have a role to play in The Kang Dynasty since the movie premieres in November 2024.
Since the Avengers films arrive just six months apart, Kang the Conqueror seems likely to be the villain in both. It’s not surprising that we’re going to see the MCU version of the time-traveling supervillain (played by Jonathan Majors) in Quantumania since it was the fluctuating time dynamics in the Quantum Realm that first inspired Tony Stark and Bruce Banner to experiment with time travel.
Does Kang also transport Marvel’s superheroes to a strange planet named Battleworld in Secret Wars (replacing The Beyonder from the comics)? As Marvel movies (and TV shows) are released between now and 2025, we can expect a gradual build-up to that final double whammy.
The evil arch-manipulator will be confronted for the first time by new superheroes such as Mahershala Ali’s Blade and Tenoch Huerta’s Namor the Sub-Mariner (Marvel’s take on Aquaman). Perhaps he will show up somewhere else.
Whatever happens, Marvel’s sense of treading water has been banished. It may not yet be possible for the studio to restore its reputation, but at least we know there is a plan – even if Kang only knows what it is.
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Robert Poirrer is a contributing author who covers Hollywood latest movie releases and web series for the MovieThop website. He has a decade of experience in writing movies based articles for numerous renowned media outlets. He is excellent at creating unique content based on emerging trends in a variety of categories especially entertainment, movies and lifestyle. When not writing articles you could find Robert enjoying mountain biking trips with his friends. He graduated in English Literature from North Carolina State University.