The Marvel Cinematic Universe is, currently, the envy of Hollywood. Every other studio wishes they’d had the foresight to methodically plan out an entire universe and attract an army of dependable fans (they’re all trying to rush out their own, and stumbling as usual). But Marvel’s current trajectory can’t be continued forever. Eventually our current roster of superheroes, their individual storylines, and subplots about Infinity Stones will have been taken as far as it can all go. Major actors will get bored and consider retiring their roles. What happens then?
Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind the MCU, has a plan for everything, including this. He sees fatigue on the horizon and has plans to cut it off before entropy does it for him. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Feige revealed the current plans are to end the MCU as we know it with movie #22, AKA Avengers 4. The movie after that one is the sequel to Spider-Man Homecoming, which will serve as the launch point for a new arc with fresh ideas.
“The original 22-movie arc ends with the untitled Avengers in May of 2019, and then two months later it will be Peter Parker and Spider-Man that usher us into the aftermath and how things proceed from there,” Feige said.
It makes sense, but Feige has another reason to refresh the MCU in two years: many of the contracts the Avengers actors signed will be up at that point. Some of them (like Robert Downey Jr) have spoken publicly of walking away from their roles. (We better get a solo Black Widow movie before we lose Johannson; come on.)
Who will the new MCU focus on? The movies leading up to Avengers 4 answer some of that question, as they introduce several new figures to the universe. In addition to Spider-Man, Black Panther and Captain Marvel have solo movies waiting in the wings. The refreshed universe may put a greater emphasis on them.