The sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming will kickstart a new chapter for the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the events of Avengers 4, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed.
Feige told the Toronto Sun that Avengers 4, which currently does not have a working title, would be the last installment in the current MCU. After that movie, Feige explained, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming will represent a new period for Marvel. It will help to kickstart a new MCU future with new superheroes for audiences to get to know.
“The original 22-movie arc ends with the untitled Avengers in May of 2019, and then two months later it will be Peter Parker and Spider-Man that usher us into the aftermath and how things proceed from there,” Feige said.
What does this really mean though? Despite Feige using the term “end,” Avengers 4 won’t mark the conclusion of a canonical universe. This seems like a logistical decision more than anything else. The contracts for Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) are coming to an end.
Certain actors like Hemsworth, Renner and Downey Jr. have all expressed an interest in leaving the series at some point, with the latter most recently admitting that he wanted to end his time in the MCU without any kind of major embarrassment.
Downey Jr. told Australia’s News that he was getting ready to hang up his jersey, so to speak, and retire from the Marvel universe he’s called home since 2008.
“I just never want to blow it for the last six or seven [MCU movies] I have done by dropping the ball because I decided to do it one more time,” he said. “I just want to hang up my jersey before it’s embarrassing.”
The sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming will usher in a new period for Marvel, allowing the studio to focus on newer characters just making their debuts. Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange and Black Panther all seem to be strong bets for the company, and they will likely continue into the fourth phase of the MCU.
Still, there’s quite some time before fans need to start preparing to say goodbye. Avengers 4 will be released on May 3, 2019. Before then, however, Marvel will release Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Captain Marvel.