We’ve kicked off the week with a rather curious reveal. May 2nd is the anniversary of when the first Iron Man was was released back in 2008. In addition, recent films like Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat have helped continue the revival of cinemas. So, in a way, Marvel Studios wanted to use this chance to highlight the future of the franchise alongside the silver screen’s return. In it, we got the release dates and titles for the Black Panther and Captain Marvel sequels. We even got the confirmation that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will release in 2023. Now, these continuous reveals make us wonder how the classic “Phases” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will work without any information on it. Is this perhaps the end of their classic format?
The world may change and evolve. But the one thing that will never change, we’re all part of one big family. pic.twitter.com/TUU5848QYR
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) May 3, 2021
Let’s start with the noteworthy absentees. Of course, the cinema celebration trailer did not reference any of the Disney+ series. Yet, it didn’t showcase every single film. The upcoming Blade film, which stars Mahershala Ali, wasn’t mentioned at all. The film had a prominent role during Disney’s Investors Day among the line-up. Yet, it somehow was not referenced as Marvel Studios builds up into its 2023 slate. They even included the same teaser for Fantastic Four that got revealed during the December event. Even the Sony-owned Spider-Man: No Way Home had a teaser. So, it would imply that the film may have gotten pushed back. Stacy Osei-Kuffour has joined the project to pen the script. So, it definitely has entered a form of pre-production. We also have no sign of Deadpool 3, which also was confirmed to be part of the MCU moving forward. Now, this move may hint at these projects not releasing until after May 2023, but we’ve seen their scheduled shift before. There is also that mysterious slate for a Marvel project in October 2022, which had many wondering if it might be a placeholder for Blade.
We’ve seen things change frequently. At one point, it was planned for Phase 4 to end with Thor: Love and Thunder. Suddenly, we’re talking about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 being part of the slate in May 2023. It could be part of Phase 4, but there is a possibility they’ve already teased their fifth phase. Marvel Studios’ new strategy might have made the phases a thing of the past. We no longer have a strict slate but an ever-changing development cycle. Especially since the pandemic hit, they’ve had to adjust their focus with Disney+ growing in importance. So, we might not see the phases we are used to. There is no overarching saga for now, even if some points are hinting at a Multiverse arc. Yet, we’ve also seen many different storylines getting set up. WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier have offered many new avenues for the franchise to explore. It won’t be as straightforward as the Infinity Saga moving forward. So, we may be talking in Arcs rather than Phases as the MCU continues to expand.