It's been a while since fans were able to look forward to the announcement of new phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considering the silent treatment Marvel Studios usually gave everyone after the build to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
However, now that the "Infinity Saga" has concluded and the MCU is moving forward, we can start looking ahead towards potential new phases that now include films and Disney+ streaming series. Today, we are going to examine a few Marvel storylines that could help prepare fans for the next phases of the MCU. Whether you've never read them before or you're just refreshing your memory, let's dive in!
Scarlet Witch has suffered quite a bit since she first appeared in the post-credit scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She's lost her brother, been held responsible for the deaths that led to the Sokovia Accords, and then lost her love, Vision.
Wanda is set to star in the Disney+ series WandaVision, which will lead directly into the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which has many fans fearful of Wanda's potential dark future in the MCU. Wanda's threat really takes form with the House of M crossover between the New Avengers and the X-Men, which fans have been dying to see on the big screen for years.
There have been rumors for a while that Marvel Studios had plans for the Young Avengers, but it was only in the last few films of the MCU that a few of the seeds for their live-action appearance were planted.
With rumors that Billy/Wiccan will appear in WandaVision and Teddy/Hulkling could appear in the unannounced Captain Marvel sequel, the time is right to catch up on the origins of the Young Avengers and see why they might be the next big thing in the MCU.
We've seen the MCU heroes at the highest and lowest points of their careers, with Infinity War and Endgame taking fans on a roller-coaster ride of character development to tie up the Infinity Saga. However, some of the heroes of the MCU that we've seen (and some we have yet to see) have a secret dark side.
This dark side was explored in New Avengers: Illuminati, which revealed a secret group of Marvel's leaders (Iron Man, Prof. X, Namor, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, and Dr. Strange) who had been manipulating the course of Marvel's events with sometimes disastrous results. The big bad of the MCU's next phases could be the heroes themselves.
One of the consequences of the Illuminati's meddling in global affairs was an event known as the Secret Invasion, where the shape-shifting alien Skrulls used information and abilities stolen from the Illuminati to assist their invasion of Earth.
We've seen the Skrulls introduced to the MCU in Captain Marvel, and we've seen they are working with Nick Fury at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, showing some Skrulls are friendly. However, relationships can change, and catching up on Secret Invasion could help prepare fans for the Skrulls' inevitable twist.
It's likely we'll see the return of the Avengers to the MCU, though after Far From Home, it's clear there isn't really an established team yet after the events of Endgame. When Jonathan Hickman took over the Avengers line of comics, he launched a New Avengers series that featured the return of Marvel's Illuminati (with a few replaced members) as they dealt with new Earth-threatening events known as incursions.
These incursions were parallel Earths that began to occupy the same dimensional space, meaning both would be destroyed unless one was sacrificed first so the other would live. The incursion provided a tense situation full of morally questionable decisions that taxed the Illuminati to the breaking point, but could make for a great new phase arc in the MCU.
The MCU has introduced the idea of the Marvel Multiverse already, though we have yet to really explore the potential parallel worlds that exist in the comics. The Doctor Strange sequel is set to introduce it more fully, and if the phases introduce either of the two previous storylines we just discussed, then the MCU could be meeting the Multiverse head-on sooner than we think.
Secret Wars followed the aftermath of the incursions which left reality apparently destroyed, save for the last bastion of humanity, the alternate reality patchwork known as Battleworld. Why dabble in the Multiverse when fans can explore the best ones all at once? Secret Wars could also serve to introduce new heroes like the Fantastic Four, though there are other routes the MCU could take for that.
There has been a lot of discussions lately about how the Fantastic four will be introduced to the MCU, with MCU head honcho Kevin Feige revealing that plans for the First Family of Marvel are definitely underway. There are a number of interesting storylines that could help introduce the FF into the MCU, however, we'd like to aim a little bit bigger than that.
While the FF's origin is important to adapt properly, if it could be combined with the introduction of Galactus to the MCU that could help set up another universe-threatening villain. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's "The Galactus Trilogy" perfectly introduces the Devourer of Worlds, as well as the Silver Surfer, who should have a large role to play in future phases of the MCU.
When Galactus is inevitably introduced to the MCU, it's likely he will be the next big baddie, or as a stepping stone of sorts on the way to another big bad that we'll get to shortly. Usually, the Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer are able to repel any attempts by Galactus to feed on Earth, however, in Galactus: The Devourer, it takes almost every Marvel hero around.
The Devourer features a Galactus who is intentionally seeking out inhabited planets to consume, which inspires the heroes of the Marvel Universe to act when he comes calling for Earth. The mini-series not only featured epic battles between Galactus and the assembled heroes of Earth but heavily weighed the role Galactus played in the balance of the universe, a topic the MCU has been known to explore.
While we are certain there are likely more teams of Avengers on the way to the MCU, there are a few other teams who could take center stage in the new MCU. With new powerful heroes like Captain Marvel and Black Panther taking center stage, we have to suggest fans take a look at The Ultimates during their preparatory reading.
While the team name originated in the Ultimate comics universe, the mainstream version of the team featured Carol and T'Challa, along with heroes Monica Rambeau/Spectrum, Miss America Chavez, and the Blue Marvel, as they tried to protect the world from cosmic threats. The Ultimates seem like just the team the MCU needs in the wake of the Infinity Saga.
Fans were joyfully shocked by the post-credit scene of The Avengers that revealed Thanos would be making a future appearance in the MCU. This meant that Earth's Mightiest Heroes would be entering the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, which was further explored with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor franchises, to an extent.
With Thanos and the Infinity saga behind the MCU, there is another cosmic event looming that could shape the next few years of Marvel Studios' announcements. Annihilation features an overwhelming threat from another dimension called the Annihilation Wave, which unites cosmic heroes like Silver Surfer, Nova, and the Guardians of the Galaxy.