When Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced earlier this month that Avengers 4 would be the end to a 22-movie arc the studio had been working toward for close to a decade, people began theorizing.
Did that mean that the current MCU as we know it was about to come to an end? Were all of the characters we know about to disappear?
James Gunn, the director of both Guardians of the Galaxy movies, has quite blatantly addressed the theory online. As far as Gunn knows, a reboot as drastic as fans have imagined isn’t in the works. The Guardians, Gunn added, will appear in more films.
Not true. The Guardians, at least, will continue on. https://t.co/pbFpUKXM8i— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 18, 2017
Even with Gunn’s perspective, this leads to other questions about the MCU’s continuity. To an extent, we knew that the Guardians were going to live on past Avengers 4 because Gunn confirmed he would return to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. We also know that Spider-Man is going to continue beyond Avengers 4 because it’s also receiving its own sequel.
It also seems pretty likely that Doctor Strange, Black Panther and even Captain Marvel are going to receive their own sequels, which will continue their story arcs through Avengers 4 and into the 2020s.
What is less likely to occur, and this is what we believe Feige was getting at, is the continuation of Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye and Captain America franchises. There are a number of logistical reasons as to why these six heroes won’t continue to exist in the universe after Avengers 4, including contract negotiations. It seems unlikely that the original Avengers squad will continue into the 2020s alongside the new superheroes that Marvel has brought in over the past few years.
Marvel also wants to focus on its Cosmic Universe, which the Guardians of the Galaxy play a big role in. Whether the Guardians will continue after its third film is undetermined, but Gunn has said he’ll be working closely with Avengers 4 directors Anthony and Joe Russo to ensure the Guardians are well represented as they head into Phase 4.
Avengers: Infinity War, the first part of the upcoming two Avengers movies slated to be released, will debut on May 4, 2018. We saw our first trailer for the movie this past weekend at D23 and it looks very promising.