The MCU has a reputation for being pretty good at picking directors. Elf and Zathura: A Space Adventure were Jon Favreau’s biggest movies before he got the MCU party started with Iron Man. Jon Watts, The Russo Bros, James Gunn, Peyton Reed, and Ryan Coogler are among the directors who saw their profile and bankability significantly boosted by the MCU. They also like to work with directors again and again. So it is for the upcoming Avengers 5: The Kang Dynasty.
The director of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been picked for the biggest upcoming job in the MCU. Destin Daniel Cretton will helm the first of two Avengers films due for release in 2025. The second is Avengers: Secret Wars.
Shang-Chi made over $430 million worldwide in a depressed box office, post COVID and with streaming options all over various channels. It was well-reviewed. To me, it had the disadvantage of being part of Phase 4, which has so far seemed like a beige epilogue to Avengers: Endgame and has failed to truly grab me as a viewer the way the Infinity Saga did.
With a potentially decent villain in the form of Kang, and the chance to build to something again, will Phase 5 shake off the MCU funk and get them back in the groove in time for Phase 6, which is technically where the two new Avengers movies will sit?
Phase 4 ends with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November and then Phase 5 starts with Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February 2023 where evil Kang will make his full entrance. We saw a not so evil Kang as He Who Remains in the series finale of Loki. A Comic Con exclusive trailer for Ant-Man was shown at SDCC but will not be released online. Versions have leaked out, but they are cell phone cam versions and not really worth your time unless you are an MCU fanatic.
Cretton was due to make a live-action Wonder Man and a Shang-Chi sequel. There have not been mentioned in the plans. The slate is filling with directors set. Bassam Tariq for Blade, Julius Onah for Captain America: New World Order, and Jake Schreier for Thunderbolts.
The question is, with no Tony Stark or Steve Rogers, and Thor away across the galaxy, who will the roster be? Will anyone turn out for the B-team?
One superhero combo we know won’t be appearing any time soon is the X-Men. They have been defeated. Not by Magneto or Sentinels, but by lawyers.
When Disney acquired Fox the contracts that were in place for the current actors in the X-Men franchise were ported over to Disney so they remain in place. These contracts state the actors are in the roles through to 2025 and the roles cannot be recast without a significant payout to all of them. So Marvel Studio can’t reboot or recast until after Phase 5 and 6.
This means the Fantastic Four are likely the premier ticket over these next phases.