The Marvel Cinematic Universe has quickly become one of the most successful franchises in the history of Hollywood, collectively grossing $10.2 billion worldwide at the box office. Thanks to their plethora of well-received films, the series is showing no signs of slowing down and moviegoers can't wait to see the future of Phase 3 take shape. Projects like Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Spider-Man: Homecoming are all highly anticipated and look to take the MCU in exciting new directions.
Everything is building up to Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, where just about every living hero in the Marvel universe will square off against the Mad Titan Thanos. Despite being a culmination, the next Avengers movies will also serve as a new beginning for the MCU. Phase 4 will be here before you know it, and Disney is already in the process of plotting out the longterm game plan for their prized cash cow.
While at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference (hat tip Comic Book), Mouse House boss Bob Iger was on hand to discuss the future of Disney's film slate. After dropping some tidbits about Star Wars (including the third anthology film pitch and plans for beyond 2021), he then revealed he's having similar talks with Marvel:
“We had a similar meeting with Marvel a week-and-a-half ago to plot [those films] out, where we’ve got movies in either development or production — some nearing completion — through the end of this decade. [There], we too are beginning to talk about what do we do the next decade, and so on?”
At first glance, it arguably seems overly ambitious to be thinking that far ahead, since it's impossible to tell what the pop culture landscape will look like in the next decade. However, Marvel has every reason to be confident that they can continue to be one of the premier providers of tentpole content. Their movies have only grown in popularity since the MCU started back in 2008 and they have ways to keep their content feeling fresh each time out. Recently, they've started to blend multiple genres to make different kinds of projects in superhero clothing (i.e. Ant-Man was a heist film; The Winter Soldier was a political thriller). It's been established that "comic book movie" is merely a classification, and if the studio can keep mixing things up, they'll be in great shape.
Marvel has also been smart about continuously introducing new characters over their last handful of films, such as Black Panther and Spider-Man. The thought is that as the contracts for the original Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc.) expire, the newcomers will carry the torch and keep the franchise alive. Fortunately, audiences have quickly become enamored with these heroes and want to see more of them down the line. This gives the studio a great amount of leeway; they don't have to constantly rely on Tony Stark or Steve Rogers to make a substantial amount of money. The rotating roster of Earth's Mightiest is the key to prolonged viability, and so far Marvel has struck the jackpot.
It will be interesting to see which movies are part of Marvel's Phase 4 (and possibly 5). It's all but a guarantee that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be green lit, and one has to think that sequels for Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel are in order - as long as they're all hits. Of course, some new IPs will likely be part of the equation as well. Perhaps the Inhumans will finally get the spotlight on the big screen. There are many ways for Marvel to go, and fans will be lined up to see what they have in store.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.
Source: Comic Book