In 2008, Marvel Studios started building something special. With the Robert Downey Jr.-led Iron Man they had a hit on their hands, and they set about constructing a cinematic universe using the film as a strong foundation.
Three years later, they would introduce Thor and Captain America by giving the characters their own solo movies, and in The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 Bruce Banner and Black Widow had joined the party. Hawkeye and Nick Fury were also being mixed into the Marvel batter, and soon the whole thing was ready to bake in 2012’s The Avengers.
For the first time, audiences got to see the Avengers teaming up on the big screen to stop their first apocalypse, and fans couldn’t get enough. Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War would follow – the latter filmed back to back with the concluding part of the Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame.
Endgame was a slam dunk, and it briefly became the highest-grossing film of all time. But in winding up the stories of most of the OG Avengers, Marvel had set itself a rather unenviable task: reimagine and partially rebuild the MCU in a fourth phase with new characters and stories in a cinematic landscape where fans still wanted to see more of their favorites.
Marvel promised to deliver that up to a point – there are new installments for Thor, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy on the way, along with numerous Disney+ shows for other familiar (and not so familiar) MCU faces. A series starring fan favorite villain Loki has already been an undisputed hit for the streamer, and given fans a taste of Marvel’s multiverse-embracing future.
But making another Avengers movie and laying the necessary groundwork for audience anticipation takes time, and Marvel boss Kevin Feige set out to explain why in a new interview.
“I think we want there to be a reasonable amount of time from Endgame to start a new saga, which is already underway and already started,” Feige told Collider. “And then you need time, as you did in Phase 1, to build that saga before you start bringing everyone together.”
But the act of “bringing everyone together” might look a little different than it did during the Infinity Saga. There have been various rumors in the last couple of years that Marvel are now planning several different scenarios in an effort to not only recapture the Avengers franchise magic, but deliver something bigger, and this would certainly make financial sense. After all, why have just one blockbuster team-up movie when you can have, well, more than one?
There are the rumors of the Thunderbolts – an antihero team that might include John Walker, Yelena Belova, Taskmaster, Ghost, The Abomination and Baron Zemo led by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine – being built in the MCU.
There’s a possible Young Avengers crew waiting in the wings that could feature the likes of Kid Loki, Cassie Lang, Wiccan, Speed and America Chavez.
Then there are the superheroes currently leading their own franchises who could absolutely front a regular Avengers movie, like Doctor Strange, Shang-Chi, Scarlet Witch, Thor and Spider-Man.
Interestingly, Marvel is also heavily-rumored be plotting another spectacular team-up movie with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Secret Wars writer Jim Shooter recently claimed he’d had a call from Marvel regarding some of the characters that he’d utilized in the iconic Marvel Comics run, including Beyonder, Titania and Spider-Woman.
If you’re not familiar with the mid-80s limited series, it was a massive crossover event that featured a huge roster of Marvel heroes and villains being thrown together on an unfamiliar world. Not only did the X-Men have to fight alongside the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, but Doctor Doom, Galactus, Kang the Conqueror and Magneto all had their parts to play.
At this point, “when will Marvel release Avengers 5?” might not be the question fans should be asking. “When will Marvel start releasing the first of their huge new team-up movies?” may well be more appropriate.