What will be the MCU's next Infinity War? Marvel Studios is currently wrapping up their first saga with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4, a two-part culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this point. But, with Marvel's shared universe model, another major event is all but guaranteed to come - but what should it be?
Over the last ten years, the MCU has been building towards a single major event. The movies have been largely been centered around the original six Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye. From their first team-up in The Avengers, it was clear the ultimate end-game was Mad Titan Thanos, teased in the post-credits scene. Dozens of other characters have been introduced since, but the original Avengers and Thanos are still the cornerstone pieces of the MCU.
For the purposes of the long-awaited clash, there are two comic stories that appear to have had the most influence. Jim Starlin's Infinity Gauntlet event from the early 1990s has several similarities and has the original Thanos snap. But, Jonathan Hickman's Infinity run from 2013 is also confirmed the be a major source of inspiration for the story. But once this story comes to a close, the MCU will need to chart course for a new event.
- This Page: The MCU Needs A New Event
- Page 2: Secret Invasion & X-Men War
The MCU's Phase 4 Needs To Start A New Event Story
With Avengers 4 serving as the conclusion of the eleven-year story that will span 22 movies, MCU Phase 4 and beyond will look very different. Most of the original Avengers will likely not be around anymore and new properties like The Eternals will be introduced with the possibility of being new, major MCU franchises. This doesn't even account for the impending additions of the X-Men and Fantastic Four, who should become staples of the MCU. Plus, characters like Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange will continue to rise to prominence.
Since all of these characters will still live in the same universe, it keeps the doors open for future crossovers, both big and small. Despite any scheduling headaches that the scope of production on Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 caused Marvel, they are seeing enormous returns financially. Infinity War made over $2 billion worldwide and expectations are high for Avengers 4's box office performance. There's no way the MCU won't eventually have another major crossover event, and thankfully there are quite a few events from the comics that can be adapted next.
One potential fit could be the MCU's take on Annihilation Conquest. This crossover event came from Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning in 2007 as a sequel event to 2006's Annihilation. The story puts the cybernetic species known as Phalanx at the center of the conflict as their infection enslaves the Kree and use their homeworld of Hala as their base of operation. It is revealed that Ultron has taken over the species and ruling Hala is just the beginning. In order to try and stop Ultron's galactic overtaking, Phyla-Vell aka Quasar and Moondragon set out to find a "savior" - only to discover a reborn Adam Warlock. From there the story focuses on a team of mercenaries run by Ronan the Accuser, a new Guardians of the Galaxy team, and many other cosmic characters all attempting to foil Ultron.
The MCU has yet to really establish most of the biggest aspects of Conquest to this point, so it would take some time to properly build to such an event. The introductions of Phyla-Vell and Moondragon are important, especially considering how integral they are to the story's emotional beats. Adam Warlock also still needs to be introduced and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could make that happen, but that movie may still be several years away. Captain Marvel will truly introduce the Kree and Hala next year, so the set up for one of Conquest's main locations will then be available. Ultron's involvement wouldn't be too difficult to make work in canon either, as his fate in Avengers: Age of Ultron was extremely vague; they could explain that he was stalling in conversation with Vision as he uploaded his A.I. to a distant technological race like the Phalanx. And, since Ronan died in Guardians of the Galaxy, Jude Law's mysterious Captain Marvel character could potentially serve as Ronan's replacement, if he survives.
The future of the MCU may be very cosmic oriented, so a truly cosmic event for their next saga makes sense. This would potentially eliminate the participation of some major Earth-based heroes, but that same thought process didn't stop Spider-Man from going to Titan in Avengers: Infinity War. Major heroes like Captain Marvel and Black Panther could take inspiration from the Ultimates to go cosmic, while the MCU's take on this story could also include The Eternals and other future cosmic characters like Nova (who is part of the comic story) or soon to be additions in the Fantastic Four and X-Men. The threat of Ultron and the Phalanx taking over the galaxy would be worthy of calling all of the MCU's heroes together, while also allowing for the event to leave Earth behind. And even if Avengers 4 is titled Avengers: Annihilation, simply subtitling this new event Conquest can get the job done while eliminating the risk of confusing casual audiences.
Page 2: Secret Invasion & X-Men Takeover
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019