For the first decade of its existence, Marvel Studios rolled out an Avengers film every three years or so to signal the end of a Phase. Fans were treated to The Avengers in 2012, Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015 and then double-dipped with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in 2018 and 2019. Endgame, of course, was the final film in what’s now known as The Infinity Saga, a long-form narrative told over the course of 23 films.
Three years removed from the release of Endgame, Marvel Studios’ next phase is off and running and, in less than two years, has seen the release of more than half of what the studio did in the first eleven years. Thanks to the addition of in-universe streaming series on Disney Plus, Phase 4 is already 13 projects deep with two more coming in 2022 (She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and 26 more scheduled from 2023 through 2025. As it stands, when Daredevil: Born Again releases on Disney Plus in the Spring of 2024, Marvel Studios’ post-Infinity Saga output will surpass what the studio released in its first 10 years, with 25 total projects released in just over 3 years (2021-24). None of those projects, however, will have been Avengers projects.
At SDCC ’22, Marvel Studios head cheese Kevin Feige revealed the studio’s upcoming slate, which includes two upcoming Avengers films. With both of those films slated to hit theaters in 2025, fans are staring down a six-year stretch in between Avengers films, double what they’ve been accustomed to. Feige explained why the studio has broken free from the pattern they once set for themselves:
The truth is, when we were doing Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3, there were less projects over more years. They were smaller projects and individual character stories, and it felt appropriate at that point, that after every two or three years that it took for a phase, we would do an ‘Avengers’ film. As [Phase] 4, 5 and 6 were coming together, there are more projects in less years – because of all the amazing stuff we’re now allowed to do on Disney+, and getting characters from Fox, Fantastic Four and Deadpool — that it felt like, certainly after ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame,’ that we thought ‘Avengers’ movies aren’t cappers. So many of our movies now — ‘Multiverse of Madness’ and what you’re about to see in [‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’], all are big team-up films introducing big parts of the mythology… ‘Avengers’ films really should be the capper to a saga.Kevin Feige
Feige left a lot to unpack there, but the key points are that the increase in the number of productions, the ability to tell stories on Disney Plus, the addition of new properties via the Fox merger and the fact that the studio can use the already existing wealth of characters in team-up style films all helped the studio rethink what an Avengers film might need to be. Part of the allure of an Avengers film is seeing multiple heroes working together and that’s something that the studio can do in nearly every project they roll out these days, given that they have dozens of already established characters at their disposal. And so, at the end of the day, what it really means is that the Avengers films will feel like even bigger events than they did before with the ability for them to all include something on the scale of the final battle in Avengers: Endgame. For fans of Marvel Studios, that’s a prospect worth waiting to see on the screen.