Marvel: A Universe Expands

One of the highest-grossing movies of all time, and the most popular superhero movie ever created, Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” was the ultimate ending to the dynamic story told by the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Featuring 35 different named heroes in its final fight scene, every Marvel fan got to see their dream played out on screen. Although this may seem like the best possible ending for such a well-known and successful studio, the story is all but over. 

The faces of the MCU future (Credit: The Direct)

The MCU has been captivating audiences since 2008 when they released their first movie, Iron Man. Iron Man later teamed up with Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye in the first Avengers movie. Introducing characters such as the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, Doctor Stange, and Spider-Man, the MCU just continued to grow. 21 movies later, Marvel released their biggest blockbuster yet in 2019, “Avengers: Endgame”. It was here that many of the original heroes had their stories come to an end. “Avengers: Endgame” has the original five heroes team up with new characters from all across the galaxy to fight their strongest villain yet, Thanos. After fans saw many of their favorite characters leave the MCU, the question of what the future held began to emerge.

“Avengers: Endgame” was the last project included in Phase Three of the MCU. Currently in Phase Four, lots of changes have been made. 10 projects in Phase Four have been released, with two more coming out within the coming months. Of these 12 total projects, six of them are television series that are available on Disney +. The most popular of these include “WandaVision” and “Loki”. Also from these 12 projects, the MCU has introduced two new heroes (Shang-Chi and Moonknight) as well as one new group (Eternals). The television series is the biggest change to the superhero universe. 

Current and upcoming Marvel series (Credit: Comicbook.com)

The MCU’s first series, WandaVision, was released on Disney+ on January 15, 2021, and was the first Marvel content that fans had seen since “Avengers: Endgame”. While many enjoyed this new twist on the cinematic universe, many were, and still are, very hesitant. 

Freshman student at SUNY Binghamton, Porter Matthews has been a Marvel fan since Iron Man but says that the series aren’t as good as the movies.

“Personally I think that Marvel TV shows have not been as well made or as entertaining as the movies that have been previously made. There are many filler episodes that seem unnecessary. It seems like there isn’t enough content and it would be easier to cut it down to fit into a movie” says Matthews.

Others, such as SUNY Brockport freshman Evan Carpenter, believe the series will help grow the universe.

“I think the movies and TV shows will expand the universe and it will grow out from the original stories bringing in new heroes and villains,” said Carpenter. 

Many fans are finding it very difficult to connect with these new characters. Even those fans that have connected, or want to connect, may struggle to watch the new TV series. In the past, all new Marvel movies were released in theaters. For movies such as “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spiderman: No Way Home” opening day at the theater was packed full of superfans. Now, although movies are still released in theaters, all of the new series are only available on Disney+. For fans that dont have this steaming service, it can be almost impossible to watch the newest additions to the universe. 

Rochester Institute of Technology student Kellen Bell is one of these fans.

“Many of the new characters that they are pushing I just don’t care about too much and if you don’t have Disney+ it can be very difficult to keep up with the lore of the universe. I had to go to a friend’s house to watch the first two series, and now the only reason I can watch the new ones is that my roommate has Disney+,” said Bell.

Marvel is working on many upcoming projects, both movies and series. Their journey into a new phase is bringing out many new characters that have not yet been seen in the MCU. Some of the new characters being introduced through movies include Blade and the Fantastic Four. The upcoming series will also be introducing She-Hulk, the X-Men, Echo, and Ms. Marvel. The series will also introduce new concepts, such as zombies. Marvel also plans on extending older projects with their series. As an extension of “Guardians of the Galaxy”, Marvel is giving Groot his own show in “I Am Groot”. They will also make a series on the witch Agatha, a character introduced in “WandaVision”, as well as a season two of the animated series “What If?”. Two of the movies that are being worked on that contain already established characters are “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”.

Upcoming Marvel movie posters (Credit: Marvel.com)

As with anything in life, change is scary. For some things, it is necessary. For others, it can completely ruin everything already established. It will be a few years until we can determine if the choice to change the MCU was a good or bad one. Some fans are upset and have found themselves drifting away from the newer heroes, while some are excited to see what new ideas and stories will come from this change. No matter what though, Marvel will continue to bring in fans. Not because of their popular superheroes, or because of their huge fights. It will be because of their ability to take you to a different universe, a place where Earth’s Mightiest Heroes come together to fight gods, robots, and titans. It will be because of the fact that even a grown man can immerse himself in a world of unknown possibilities. A world of imagination. A world of heroes.



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