Marvel Studios guru Kevin Feige has been saying that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as we know it will draw to a close following the end of Phase Three for some time now, but that news never really seemed to sink in for fans until he said that the “continuous shared fictional narrative” told over the last decade would be concluding “in a satisfying way,” earlier this month. That statement — really no different than what he has been saying for years now — caused so much turmoil and nerd-angst that Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn felt the need to clarify Feige’s statements in a series of tweets.
The fact of the matter is, even if they were interested in doing so, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson are not going to be able to pull off their superhero roles forever, which means their characters must die or be replaced at some point. Sad, but true. The question then becomes: “Who will step up to lead the next phase of the MCU?” Will Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) pick up Cap’s shield, or perhaps Falcon (Anthony Mackie), as he did in recent comic book continuity? Will Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) leave Wakanda and take on a larger role on the global stage as the new leader of the Avengers when Iron Man retires (again)?
Whatever is going to happen, Feige has indicated that the introduction of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), into the MCU will be a major event going forward.
We’re really focusing on ‘Captain Marvel’ and the work that [directors] Anna [Boden] and Ryan [Fleck] are doing. It’s going to be a big part of heading towards this epic conclusion and epic finale of 22 movies over the course of 10 years. That is [the] focus for the next six movies we have to finish and get out.
Considering the standalone Captain Marvel movie in question takes place in the ’90s, it’s difficult to see how Carol Danvers will affect the current MCU. If she’s been around since before Iron Man made the scene, where was she when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) made his bid to rule the Earth, or when Ultron (James Spader) attacked Sokovia? Was she locked away somewhere, the prisoner of some evil mastermind, or perhaps lost in space on some grand adventure? Wherever she has been, Feige revealed that her story will be integral to “the finale of everything we’ve started thus far” and beyond.