It is a fact of life that when you are at the top, people are going to try and take you down. Human nature dictates this. For Marvel and the MCU, it was as inevitable as Thanos and his big glove. After building an unstoppable juggernaut of a franchise across multiple channels that became the biggest beast in the entertainment jungle, they were always going to be a target.
The thing is, lately they have been making it easy to take swings at them. Marvel’s Phase One through Phase Three had a pretty clear arc. Once the main characters were introduced it built towards the final showdown with Thanos. A plan was made and then executed.
The one major criticism of Marvel and the MCU since then, with Phase 4, is that it all seems a bit directionless. Nobody is quite sure what it is building, and what direction it is heading in, other than it involves some vague multiverse hokum.
Loki, Spider-Man 3 and Doctor Strange 2 have all been multiverse movies. Yet in the background we have Julia Louis-Dreyfuss as the Contessa seemingly recruiting. Thor: Love and Thunder is out in just days. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is later in the year. There is Ms Marvel unfolding on Disney+ right now and She-Hulk: Attorney At Law coming in H2 along with two holiday specials.
2023 gives us Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels, Secret Invasion, and Ironheart. There are also slots for as-yet-unnamed releases.
But where is all this going? And why? Well, the man with the plan says not to worry and that all will become clear soon. In an interview with Total Film promoting Thor: Love and Thunder the studio chief, Kevin Feige, had this to say:
“As we’re nearing the end of Phase 4, I think people will start to see where this next saga is going. I think there have been many clues already, that are at least apparent to me, of where this whole saga is going. But we’ll be a little more direct about that in the coming months, to set a plan, so audiences who want to see the bigger picture can see a tiny, tiny, tiny bit more of the roadmap.”
Multiverse Kang is expected by fans to be the big-bad, bringing The Fantastic Four into the MCU as the next big team, now that the Avengers are seemingly defunct for the time being.