Do you feel that? It's the end of an era. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, which started with "Iron Man" in 2008, is reaching a conclusion -- for now.
What started as a series of superhero movies came together in one of the highest grossing movies of all time when "The Avengers" arrived in 2012, and blossomed into one of the biggest franchises in media history. That's all set to change with the fourth "Avengers" movie, slated for 2019. Following that release, according to Marvel Studios mastermind Kevin Feige, comes a "new age."
“As you know from the comics, there are so many places to go and so many more characters, and there are a few characters hinted at in the [end] tag scenes of ["Guardians of the Galaxy"] Vol. 2," Feige told Fandango. "All of which could be potential to see and explore more in the new age following our big 'Avengers' films.”
Feige is likely referring in part the the recent revelation of the identity of Sylvester Stallone's character in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," who is set to take that particular series of films in a wildly different direction for its third and final installment. Marvel Studios started with famous Avengers like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, but with the success of "Guardians of the Galaxy," it understands that the right script and creative team can make any one of its characters work, no matter how obscure.
James Gunn, the director of the "Guardians" movies, has already confirmed the next "Guardians" sequel, though it doesn't have an official release date yet. Referring to other future movies, Feige said, "I think things are going to look very different at that point, but I think the early discussions we’ve had with James [Gunn] about 'Vol. 3' and beyond with what we’ll call the 'Cosmic Universe' and the Guardian characters is very exciting. Which is why he signed up and we announced that even before 'Guardians Vol. 2' came out."
Between teams like the New Avengers and the Young Avengers, Marvel has plenty of inspiration to draw from for future films. It could go more recent, and set future movies around a team like the Champions, or go more obscure and introduce a team of divine characters and make a movie out of Thor's God Squad. Whatever road the studio travels, one thing's for certain; it's a big universe of characters, and Feige intends to keep making Marvel movies.
Written and directed by James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” arrives in theaters May 5. “Avengers: Infinity War,” helmed by Anthony and Joe Russo, is filming now for release on May 4, 2018.