Change is in the wind for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The blockbuster franchise’s output has remained fairly consistent since it launched in 2008 with “Iron Man,” but the head of Marvel Studios teases a major change is coming.
Marvel Studios has released its films in phases, each of which has a theme of sorts: Phase One culminated with Earth's Mightiest Heroes coming together in "The Avengers," while the second and third phases expanded into the cosmic and supernatural corners of the universe. While perhaps a little predictable, that structure has resulted in big numbers at the box office. It would stand to reason, then, that Phase Four would simply repeat what's worked. However, according to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, that's not a sure bet.
Following a report that "Doctor Strange" director Scott Derrickson is likely to return for a sequel, Feige made it clear the studio's Phase Four plans so far only include "Avengers 4" and "Captain Marvel."
“Truthfully, other than knowing that we're going to work with Sony on another Spider-Man film for that year and that James [Gunn] is committed to continuing with the 'Guardians' at some point, it's all about Phase Three,” he told CinemaBlend. “I don't even know if it will be called Phase Four. Things will be very different after 2019. After May of 2019.”
Feige didn't elaborate on what might be different after May 2019, but it’s certainly possible Marvel is contemplating a clean slate after its fourth "Avengers" film, which will presumably bring to a close the Thanos/Infinity Stones storyline that began in 2012.
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.