Since the debut of The Multiverse Saga in 2021, Marvel Studios has met its fair share of mixed reviews from fans as projects began to roll out. The main concerns stem from Marvel’s recent “quantity over quality” approach, constantly pushing out several projects at a time without providing ample time to work out their projects’ components adequately. This has led to subpar production values among several releases, projects with rough VFX, choppy editing, and sloppy writing.
As Marvel continues with their sights set on concluding the Multiverse Saga with the release of Avengers: Secret Wars, some have expressed concern over how exactly Marvel plans to go about this with so many variables constantly changing over the years. With the current state of affairs at Marvel Studios, many fans are ultimately worried about how this much level of uncertainty could ultimately affect the MCU. This article will shed light on what Marvel plans to do throughout the next few years, and how it will hopefully get back on track. Eventually securing a positive standing with fans once again.
Introducing more mature tones in Marvel projects
First and foremost, there are some general changes Marvel Studios intends to carry out on their productions moving forward. One measure they’ll take is adapting stories to include more mature content. Sources have stated that Marvel is looking into developing projects without necessarily limiting themselves by aiming for a PG-13 rating for movies or TV-14 for their Disney+ series. If a particular project requires a more mature tone for the story to be carried out appropriately, it will be granted.
Echo will serve as the pilot project for this new mature approach for Marvel via Disney+, while the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine film will tackle the R-rated experiences at the movies. Audience reception to these projects will be critical for other projects potentially getting the green light for a mature rating. This includes projects like Daredevil: Born Again, Blade, Thunderbolts, Marvel Zombies, and other upcoming projects.
Marvel Studios wants quality over quantity
As we have mentioned before, moving forward, Marvel seeks to carry out the “quality over quantity” approach that it had aimed to carry out in the past. One measure they plan to incorporate is allowing directors and writers to tell the stories they seek to tell, while relaxing the need for connectivity with other corners of the MCU. The goal is to develop projects that are well received and can stand out on their own, while also ensuring “rewatchability” amongst fans.
Another measure Marvel will take is developing smaller story arcs moving forward instead of more immense, epic-scale sagas that need to have a degree of interwovenness between them. While it is a shared universe and heroes are bound to interact with one another, these arcs will help establish boundaries between each level of the MCU, from Street to Cosmic and beyond. Below are just some of those story arcs Marvel has planned for the MCU moving forward.
Kingpin and Devil’s Reign
One of the story arcs fans can look forward to in the upcoming phases of The Multiverse Saga is Marvel Studios’ adaptation of the Devil’s Reign story arc from the comics. In the comics, Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, was elected the Mayor of New York City. His first act as mayor was outlawing heroes by declaring them vigilantes, using an army of supervillains at his disposal to rid the city of costumed vigilantes once and for all.
According to sources, Marvel Studios seeks to adapt this storyline in the MCU, mirroring much of the original comic’s premise. Sources have also cited the “Dark Reign” and “Gang War” storylines as references for this particular story arc. The main projects involved in this specific story arc are:
- Hawkeye season 1
- Daredevil: Born Again
- Spider-Man 4
More Hulks and World War tensions
Another story arc that will be a primary focus of the MCU will be the topic of world politics. The diplomatic solution of the Sokovia Accords was unsuccessful in maintaining world peace, as global tensions continued to rise with the gradual increase in the number of super-powered individuals and metahuman events worldwide. Therefore, governments are actively seeking ways to counteract these potential threats moving forward.
Some countries will seek materials and elements to develop weaponry capable of disarming metahumans, such as using Stark technology and exploiting elements like vibranium & adamantium. Others will turn to creating their own metahumans that are under governmental authority. The main projects involved in this specific story arc are:
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
- She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Secret Invasion
- Captain America: Brave New World
According to our sources, one of the critical elements in this story arc is Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters’ blood and their ability to synthesize Gamma Radiation that allows them to transform into a Hulk. Banner has been trying for years to keep this under wraps to ensure no one can ever become a Hulk again or use the Hulk’s ability for evil or personal gain.
Ultimately, Bruce Banner’s efforts will fail, as Marvel Studios intends to introduce more Hulks into the MCU. The first one will be introduced in Captain America: Brave New World, as President Thunderbolt Ross, played by Harrison Ford, will become the Red Hulk in the film.
According to sources, this will have dire consequences in the MCU story, potentially leading to a World War Hulk project down the road. This project has been described as a “Civil War style project”, acting as an Avengers 4.5, in which heroes will band together to take on several Hulk threats around the globe.
Armor Wars, Ironheart and the Iron-Man legacy
Fans of Tony Stark and Iron Man can expect his legacy to be explored thoroughly in projects such as Ironheart and Armor Wars. Initially set up as far back as Iron Man 2, the goal of this arc is to show fans what would happen if other people got their hands on Stark technology. This arc has slowly developed behind the scenes following Avengers: Endgame in projects such as:
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Ms. Marvel
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Secret Invasion
The common factor among these projects has been the Department of Damage Control, initially developed by Tony Stark to handle the wreckage of Avengers battles and recover any dangerous technology for storage. Following his death, new leaders have taken up positions of power within the organization, seizing all Stark Technology in their possession to counteract metahuman threats.
Ironheart and Armor Wars will serve as the final projects in this arc, wherein each will highlight people who will honor Stark’s legacy by using his technology and developing similar tech for good. In contrast, others will seek to harm his legacy by using his technology for personal gain.
We have learned from our sources that the ramifications of Iron Man’s story throughout the Infinity Saga will be a critical factor in these projects. This includes the aftermath for some of his notorious villains, such as Obadiah Stane, Justin Hammer, and Ultron.
Young Avengers and the next generation in the MCU
Something Marvel has been focused on developing is the next generation of heroes in the MCU across several titles. The goal of this arc would be to develop a Young Avengers film. This was already teased at the end of The Marvels when Kamala Khan sought out Kate Bishop and teased putting together a team of heroes of relatively the same age.
Multiple sources have already confirmed to us that Kamala Khan, Kate Bishop, Cassie Lang, America Chavez, Billy Maximoff, and Tommy Maximoff are expected to be a part of the Young Avengers lineup. Some sources have mentioned other possible members, including Theodore Altman, Axl Heimdallson, RiRi Williams, Eli Bradley, and Skaar. However, these members in particular were only confirmed by some sources, not all.
The WandaVision story continues…
WandaVision continues to make its mark among MCU fans as one of its most popular projects. Marvel Studios struck gold with Jac Schaeffer, seeking to expand the story Schaeffer started with several spinoff projects based on the events in WestView. These projects include the Agatha series and VisionQuest series. Some sources have also mentioned a possible Billy Maximoff series in development stemming from the conclusion of the Agatha series.
Wanda fans will be pleased to hear that our sources also confirmed to us that a Scarlet Witch movie is currently in development, seeking to tie together the story that started in WandaVision. There are, however, no other details about the plot of this movie at this time.
The rise of the Midnight Sons
One corner of the MCU that Marvel is keen on exploring for these next few phases is the supernatural corner of their universe. Projects like Moon Knight, Werewolf by Night, and WandaVision have already introduced some critical components for this corner of the MCU.
Projects that will continue to explore this corner of the MCU include:
- Marvel Zombies
- Moon Knight season 2
- The continuation of Werewolf by Night.
- Other unannounced projects
This arc aims to unite the heroes of this supernatural corner against a significant threat to humanity, giving rise to the Midnight Sons. Some sources have mentioned that Lilith or Mephisto villains have been considered the big bad of this arc. One source has mentioned that the potential lineup for the Midnight Sons features the current Sorcerer Supreme, Wong, as one of the leaders of the team, alongside Mahershala Ali’s Blade.
Deadpool 3 and The Age of Mutants
The mutants are finally making their way into the MCU next year, both on Disney+ and on the big screen. First on the list will be X-Men ’97, set to release sometime around April-May 2024. The project is a direct sequel to the animated series from the 90s. It is set to continue covering the events of this universe’s iteration of the X-Men following the conclusion of the original series in 1997.
While the direct connection to the larger MCU remains unclear, sources indicate that these X-Men will serve as the original reference for future iterations. Some examples include Charles Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Dr. Hank McCoy in The Marvels, both of which are inspired by the designs of the original animated series. This series is also expected to run for multiple seasons, with the second season already being developed at the time of writing this article.
Following the release of X-Men ’97, one of the most highly anticipated projects coming from Marvel Studios is the upcoming Deadpool and Wolverine film. This has been teased as a multiversal road-trip movie across several Marvel Universes, which will ultimately cross over into the main 616 universe/MCU. While we won’t directly spoil what happens in this movie, it’s an absolute certainty that the project will set the stage for what comes next for mutants in the main 616/MCU.
We can confirm from our sources that there have been discussions about mutants having a more pronounced role in the upcoming phase of the Multiverse Saga than initially anticipated. This is in hopes of establishing mutants in a more meaningful way on Earth-616 before the conclusion of the saga.
Some ideas include a Mutants series on Disney+, focusing on individual stories for several mutants (a-la What If…?) or an X-Men film under the Marvel Studios brand down the road prior to Avengers: Secret Wars.
According to one source, another idea that’s been tossed around involves an Avengers vs. X-Men film set between the members of the 616 Avengers and the X-Men. However, it’s still too early to discuss, as the X-Men have not yet made their way to the 616 universes just yet.
Fantastic Four and other stories on the way from Marvel Studios
Aside from the story arcs mentioned above, there are a handful of other stories that Marvel will seek to tell in the coming years. For starters, one of the most anticipated projects is, without a doubt, the MCU debut of Marvel’s First Family, The Fantastic Four.
According to sources, the film has been described as a cosmic adventure with multiversal implications. This will make it one of the essential films in this saga, as it will do a lot of heavy lifting regarding the concepts of the Multiverse leading into Avengers: Secret Wars. A clue? Study up on black holes.
Fans can also look forward to the upcoming Wonder Man series. We hear from sources that the show could connect to the upcoming Shang-Chi sequel. There are other sequels that fans can look forward to in the coming years, including:
- Doctor Strange
- Black Panther
Kang currently on stand-by
We could not conclude this article without addressing the elephant in the room: Kang the Conqueror. Following the guilty verdict of the trial of Jonathan Majors, Marvel Studios quickly dismissed Majors from his duties as Kang the Conqueror and his variants.
We last saw Majors in the MCU with the release of Loki Season 2, in which he reprised his role as He Who Remains and portrayed the variant Victor Timely. By the show’s end, Loki had taken control of the Multiverse and created the Multiversal Tree, which allows infinite timelines to continuously expand and grow as a giant tree.
Now, the bigger question is, as the TVA moves on is where does that leave Kang and his variants, many of which were all gathered at Limbo in a place outside of Time and Space? How does Marvel intend to address Kang’s absence?
Marvel’s plan for him is the equivalent of sweeping it under the rug. Marvel will instead focus on other storylines while they take their time to build up Kang and the Multiverse again slowly behind the scenes. Some sources have even gone beyond that, to state that Marvel doesn’t intend to address him directly until we are practically near the end of the Multiverse Saga.
Sources state that there have been discussions and plans for other multiversal villains to step up to the plate in the upcoming phases. This is, of course, in an attempt to take control of the multiversal-sized vacuum left in the absence of Kang the Conqueror and his variants. But make no mistake, for better or worse, Marvel ultimately still intends to close out the Multiverse Saga with a Kang Variant as their final villain.
What do you think of these future Marvel Studios story arcs?
What do you think of these story arcs? Which one are you most excited for Marvel to explore down the road? Let us know on our social on Facebook, X @mycosmiccircus (and most other platforms), Bluesky at @cosmiccircus.bsky.social, or in The Cosmic Circus Discord. And while you’re here, check out some of our other Marvel Studios coverage via the links below!