Seventeen movies and a $13 billion collective box-office take later, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its creation by heralding the end of its current iteration.
What began with Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man now spans multiple comic-book titles and features a cast of nearly 70, all of whom will reportedly do battle in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, we’ve been here before—the two previous Avengers movies brought together heroes from standalone franchises, and Captain America: Civil War broke the team up again. Though a formal trailer hasn’t been released yet, it’s safe to say there will be smart-aleck remarks, forgettable foes, and a whole lot of CGI skirmishes. But Kevin Feige, one of the MCU masterminds, swears we’ll see something new in the 19th Marvel Studios film: an ending.
Vanity Fair published a lengthy piece on the origin stories of the big-screen Avengers, Guardians, and more, as well as the future of the larger franchise. Black Panther is on the horizon for February 16, 2018, after which we’ll see Infinity War, Ant-Man And The Wasp, Captain Marvel, and finally, Avengers 4. So what comes after the 22nd installment? Feige says there are “another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before—intentionally.”
Before you fret over how many goddamn post-credits scenes that will result in, those 20 new films aren’t likely to be that tied into what’s currently playing out on screen. Avengers 4, though still officially title-less, represents the end of the current MCU era, Feige says. The Russo brother film will “bring things you’ve never seen in superhero films: a finale.” Major character deaths are a major possibility as the great schism approaches: “There will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting,” he tells Vanity Fair. This is a bit more definitive than what Feige previously teased about Avengers 4; back in April, the Marvel honcho described “a sense of a climax if not a conclusion” that the movie would bring.
As for what we know about this approaching era of Marvel superhero movies, it’s not much—Feige withheld proper details in the interview. But it’s already been established that James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 will kick things off in the “cosmic” corner of the MCU.