In July at the San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios announced their plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) through the end of 2025. As part of their announcement, they introduced the Multiverse Saga which spans Phases 4-6 of the MCU.
For anyone new to the MCU, there are six phases that Marvel Studios uses to organize its movies (and TV shows). The MCU is also split into two sagas with Phases 1-3 composing the Infinity Saga and Phases 4-6 composing the Multiverse Saga. Phase 1 lasted from 2008-2012, beginning with the first “Iron Man” movie and ending with the first “Avengers” movie. Phase 2 lasted from 2013-2015, beginning with “Iron Man 3” and ending with the second Avengers movie, “Age of Ultron.” Phase 3 spanned 2016-2019, beginning with the third Captain America movie, “Civil War,” and ending with “Avengers: Endgame.”
Phase 4 kicked off with “Spider Man: Far From Home” in 2019 and is set to end this year. For the remainder of 2022, Marvel has announced the Disney+ series “She-Hulk” which began streaming on Aug. 18 and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” which will be in theaters on Nov. 11. The second installment of Black Panther will round out Phase 4 of the MCU.
Phase 5 is expected to span 2023-2024. In 2023 the MCU has the following lineup of Disney+ TV shows and movies:
- “What If…? Season 2” (Disney+, early 2023)
- “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” (in theaters Feb. 17, 2023)
- “Secret Invasion” (Disney+, spring 2023)
- “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” (in theaters May 5, 2023)
- “Echo” (Disney+, summer 2023)
- “Loki: Season 2” (Disney+, summer 2023)
- “The Marvels” (in theaters July 28, 2023)
- “Blade” (in theaters Nov. 3, 2023)
- “Ironheart” (Disney+, fall 2023)
- “Agatha: Coven of Chaos” (Disney+, winter 2023)
- In 2024 the MCU has the following lineup of Disney+ TV shows and movies:
- “Daredevil: Born Again” (Disney+, spring 2024)
- “Captain America: New World Order” (in theaters May 3, 2024)
- “Thunderbolts” (in theaters July 26, 2024)
- “X-Men ‘97” (Disney+, fall 2023)
- “Spider-Man: Freshman Year” (Disney+, 2024)
- “Fantastic Four” (in theaters Nov. 8, 2024)
“Fantastic Four” is expected to kick off Phase 6. 2025 is currently set to feature just two movies starting with “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” (in theaters May 2, 2025) and ending with “Avengers: Secret Wars” (in theaters Nov. 7, 2025).
With all of these films and TV shows scheduled for the next three years, many fans have begun to ask the question: is Marvel attempting to do too much? Since the inception of the MCU in 2008 with the first “Iron Man” movie, Marvel Studios has steadily gained a large and dedicated fan base. Even casual watchers of the MCU have appreciated the storytelling, characters and interwoven plotlines across the myriad of movies and franchises. Praise for the MCU reached a fever pitch in 2019 when “Avengers: Endgame” was released, capping an 11-year story arc that introduced to the big screen many superheroes from Marvel comics, some known before and others new to the vast majority of the public.
In the three years since “Endgame,” interest in the MCU has begun to wane. For fans who have been watching the MCU since 2008, there may have been disappointment that their favorite superheroes, such as Iron Man and Captain America are no longer around, or a sense of superhero fatigue that has come with seeing similar plotlines and no real risk involved for characters in the MCU as main characters deaths are few and far between.
Overall, the MCU has also seen a drop in ratings for more movies in the past three years and recent accounts from Marvel Studios employees include unrealistic deadlines for graphic designers as the MCU relies more heavily on computer-generated
imagery (CGI). However even with these trends there is hope for fans of the MCU. With a number of new faces to the MCU, there are more characters to learn about, more storylines to explore and more to await when it comes to the overarching storyline of the Multiverse Saga that has yet to reveal itself.