Over the last decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a fixture of the cinematic landscape. I know, I’m stating the obvious, but when you think about just how quickly a single studio managed to remake the film industry in its image. Make no mistake, it’s an incredible achievement, and with the MCU’s tenth anniversary fast approaching, Vanity Fair has honored that impending milestone with a profile in their latest issue. In the course of the feature, the magazine was able to speak with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Disney CEO Bob Iger, among others. And as befits a ten year anniversary, the conversations were as much about the MCU’s past as its future.
Feige, for one, teases the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though he does so in ominous terms, describing ‘Avengers 4’ as “a finale.” He elaborates, still ominous and cryptic as ever, noting that “There will be two distinct periods. Everything before ‘Avengers 4’ and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting.” Adopting a less nerve-wracking tone, the producer reminds readers that even though they’ll be twenty-two movies in by the end of Phase Three, they’re just getting warmed up. According to Feige, Marvel already has “another twenty movies on the docket,” and those twenty, he promises, will be “completely different from anything that’s come before – intentionally.”
As Bob Iger puts it, Marvel Studios currently holds the rights to some seven thousand characters and an entire universe in which to work with them. This oft-overlooked fact will be key to the studio’s future, as he further explains, “We’re looking for worlds that are completely separate – geographically or in time – from the worlds that we’ve already visited.”
That, it seems, is where James Gunn comes in. Though the profile offers little in the way of solid information, Iger and Feige both seem to imply that the cosmic side of the MCU (thus far exemplified by ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’) may be expanded considerably, perhaps becoming a franchise unto itself. The two men have apparently been working with Gunn to develop a number of potential ‘Guardians’ spinoffs.
While we know little more than “James Gunn is brainstorming some ‘Guardians’ spinoffs that may or may not happen,” that should be more than enough to set all of our minds racing with the possibilities. After all, not only has Gunn managed to turn ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ into a blockbuster film series (a feat that was considered unlikely – to put it mildly – just a few years ago), but he has already provided fertile setup for movies (be they spinoffs or sequels) featuring the Nova Corps, the Celestials, and Adam Warlock, among others. Such a filmmaking initiative could also open the door to everything from Darkhawk to Captain Universe, to say nothing of the possibilities that might present themselves if Marvel were to regain even partial rights to concepts associated with the Fantastic Four or the X-Men. There is, after all, precedent in the deal Marvel struck with Fox to allow the use of Ego in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’. And not to put too fine a point on it, but if the powers that be at Fox had an interest in, for example, featuring the Brood in an ‘X-Men’ film, they’ve had plenty of time to do so.
What cosmic properties would you like to see Marvel bring to the big screen? Is there a director you think would be perfectly suited to the task? Let us know in the comments, and as always, check back with ScienceFiction.com for more as it becomes available!