Marvel has never been afraid to announce new phases before the previous has ended – just recall how they confirmed Black Panther and Captain Marvel long before we even had the full skinny on T’Challa’s involvement in Captain America: Civil War.
So the fact that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has been unusually reticent on the details surrounding the trio of 2020 MCU films is somewhat puzzling.
Feige did have this to say: “Where we go after Avengers [Infinity Wars]; what those 2020 films are, we’re pretty sure what those are going to be… But if I tell you that, we’re getting into spoilers.”
Pair that up with director Anthony Russo’s previous tease about Infinity Wars: “They will end up changing the MCU more profoundly than any movie has yet, and there will be some things that come to an end in those movies.”
Plus Feige’s claim that the events in Infinity Wars aren’t going to exactly line up with the events in the comics: “Those with knowledge of the comics may expect things that will not be happening in the movies [and may] be shocked at what we do.”
What does all of that add up to?
It’s obviously pure speculation at this point, but all of the signs are pointing to at least one major hero death — something the MCU has decidedly avoided to this point. We know that some of the actors’ contracts are almost up, and Robert Downey Jr. has intimated that it may be time for him to hang up his suit of armor soon…
My personal guess is that either Captain America or Iron Man – or perhaps even both, which would certainly be a “profound change” as implied by Russo – are going to make the ultimate sacrifice play in Infinity Wars.
Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have both worn the Cap mantle in the comics, so it wouldn’t be completely unexpected to see either of them take up the iconic shield should Steve Rogers permanently bow out.
In even more recent comic developments, Tony Stark has passed the armored super-genius torch to newcomer Riri Williams. We still have several movies before Avengers 4 (previously entitled Infinity War Part II, a change which suggests that the new subtitle itself is a spoiler for the end of the first Infinity War), so perhaps we’ll be introduced to a certain teenaged African American girl between now and then…
Whatever shakes out in 2020, we still have a ways to go before those “shocking” events Feige and Russo keep alluding to. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will hit theaters this May, followed by both Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming in July, Black Panther (February 2018), Avengers: Infinity Wars (May 2018), Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 2018), Captain Marvel (March 2019), and Avengers 4 (May 2019).
Phew! MCU fans are certainly going to be spending a lot of time in theaters. Let’s hope we all make it to those mysterious 2020 films!