The continuing box office dominance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe suggests that the multifilm megafranchise isn’t going anywhere for a long time – though the same obviously cannot be said for the human actors and filmmakers who have driven it so far. The third and fourth Avengers films are widely seen as being an “endpoint” to much of the narrative established over this first decade of the shared universe; something that has fans excited to see where their favorites end up and what might come next.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has been talking more and more of late about how different the MCU could look in the future. Feige continues to remain mum on exactly how Phase 4 of the MCU will differ from what has come before, though it’s been reported that Marvel and Disney have begun to finalize their MCU plans for the 2020s, behind closed doors.
In an interview with Vulture, the producer – who, along with his MCU collaborators, has helped to change how Hollywood approaches not only superhero films but the entire concept of sequels and franchises – mused about many of the unexpected new directions fans can expect going forward, particularly in the realm of character team-ups like the Thor/Hulk pairing that drives next year’s Thor: Ragnarok. Said Feige:
“There are so many, but I would say, both because of the characters and the actors who’ve created them, Doctor Strange and Tony Stark. Particularly in Infinity War and the movie after that, there are … unexpected team-ups.”
The Marvel boss was also candid about the growing worry on the minds of many fans and likely also Marvel investors: Can the studio return to smaller films – or films outside the framework of big-scale superhero team-up action epics – after delivering the biggest (in terms of scale) comic book blockbuster ever. Will the pressure being on Marvel to keep finding another level to rise up to, or can things get more intimate or offbeat in the Infinity War’s wake? Here’s what Feige said:
“I think it’s possible to have more intimate movies after that, or to have more interesting, unexpected combinations of characters after that, absolutely. It never is intentionally about ‘being even bigger.’ Arguably, one of the biggest scenes we’ve ever had in a movie was the airport battle in Civil War, and there weren’t world-ending stakes in that scene, there wasn’t an asteroid smashing into a city in that scene, but there was a conflict between the characters that made you feel something. To us, it’s less about continuing to go bigger with spectacle — although in some cases, we will — and more about continuing to go deeper with those character interactions.”