According to Marvel's Kevin Feige, the hype over the as-yet-unrevealed title of Avengers 4 has "gotten entirely out of hand."
When Marvel first announced their Phase 3 slate, Avengers: Infinity War was envisioned as a two-part movie. That slate changed a lot over the years, though; some key dates were shuffled around, Spider-Man: Homecoming entered the mix, and The Inhumans was dropped completely. But the most intriguing twist was Marvel's decision to give Infinity War Part II a different title. In a surprising twist, Marvel then refused to reveal it. Feige suggested that it would be something of a spoiler.
Speaking to IGN, Marvel visionary Kevin Feige explained why the studio decided to hold back on revealing the name - and admitted the approach had "backfired." As he ruefully reflected:
"I've said before, it's gotten entirely out of hand. And now will have no chance to living up to any expectations of what it's gonna be. And it sort of backfired, if I'm honest with you, because the notion was to not talk about it so the focus was to be on [Infinity War]."
Feige's explanation was fascinating, and gives an insight into the way Marvel approach their movies. Back in 2014, Feige took the unprecedented step of announcing Marvel's entire Phase 3 slate. While that was a massive PR success in the short term, in the long term it added a number of complications. Shortly after the Phase 3 announcement, Marvel reached an unprecedented deal with Sony that allowed Spider-Man to join the heroes of the MCU. That naturally meant that the slate was adjusted, but every subtle change had to be done out in the open.
According to Feige, though, there was another issue; he felt that Infinity War actually stole the spotlight a little from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Audiences knew the long-term journey Marvel were taking them on; rather than be focused on the next stop, their attention kept wandering over to the final destination. When Marvel decided to retitle Avengers 4, they decided to keep the new title under wraps so as to prevent that happening again. Unfortunately, Feige noted that this has "backfired." It's left fans all the more excited about Avengers 4, with the internet flooding with speculation as to how Infinity War will set it up.
All this makes it extremely unlikely that Marvel will ever make a major "Phase 4" announcement. Until now, Feige had hinted that doing so would risk spoiling Infinity War and Avengers 4. The more likely reason, though, is from a marketing perspective; that announcing movies so far down the line had subtly reshaped the narrative, and made marketing for the next movie a little trickier. Marvel is well past the point where ambitious announcements for a 5-year slate are needed to catch the public eye, so it seems likely the studio will ditch that approach.
As for when we'll finally get that mysterious Avengers 4 title? Kevin Feige said he's "not sure," because the Marvel team "haven't decided exactly" when it should be revealed. It seems most likely Marvel will choose to make that announcement shortly after the release of Infinity War. That way it adds to the hype, rather than detracts from it.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019