Arts

What’s to Come for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Photo Credit: Marvel

Fans embrace a new generation of diverse Marvel characters

Kushagrata Goel, The Mike Contributor

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) fame and fortune grew exponentially over the last decade and shows no sign of stopping. The franchise split its work over this time into four phases. The movies in the first phase alone, including Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers, made approximately $3,811,244,494‬ (over $5 billion CAD) in the box office worldwide, and only one of these, The Avengers, made it to the top 10 highest grossing MCU films. Disney has made over $18 billion in the global box office from the Marvel films after buying the franchise in 2009 for $4 billion. 

Even though Endgame, the last movie in the fourth phase of the MCU, made almost $3 billion worldwide, Marvel shows no sign of slowing down. The film’s intense storyline and $356-million production cost makes for no surprise that fans are left wondering where the new phase is headed and how the MCU plans to top the booming success of Endgame. However, both the franchise and the fans seem to have nothing to worry about. Spider-Man: Far From Home, the only film to have come out in this post-Endgame era, was a success in the fans’ eyes and the box office globally. While nothing can compare to the emotional turmoil the death of the iconic Iron Man caused, or the passing of the mantle of Captain America, it is exciting to see the younger generation start to fill these big shoes. Furthermore, the fans were finally given a female lead with Captain Marvel, and the raging success of the movie was indication enough that fans are ready for a far more diverse Universe. 

In 2020, we will also see the return of the famous anti-hero Venom, Jared Leto in Morbius, and Angelina Jolie playing a character part of the new race called the Eternals in The Eternals. In this phase of the MCU, the fans can watch out for other female-driven movies such as Black Widow, set to release in May this year, and Natalie Portman taking on Thor’s hammer in Thor: Love and Thunder, which will be released in the second half of 2021. There is also an all-female Spider-Verse spinoff in the making, but the producers are still to announce more details about this project. Marvel has also announced its first Asian superhero solo film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and the sequel to the popular Black Panther movie. We can also be excited about another Deadpool and Captain Marvel movie, but there have been no concrete details about either from the studios as of now. 

Even with the increase in diverse casting, Marvel has been criticized for “straight-washing” characters. Luckily, we see Marvel trying to rectify this with Endgame producer Joe Russo playing the MCU’s first openly gay character. Tessa Thompson, who plays the character Valkyrie, has also clarified that her character is openly queer stating that, “As new king [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen.” 

Seeing these characters that the fans know and love up on the big screen embracing individuality is exactly the edge the Universe needed. Hopefully the MCU will continue on this path of acceptance and walk into the new decade with pride flags flaring.