There is a ton of pressure on screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Marvel Studios on Thursday announced the writing duo will be responsible for penning the third “Avengers” film, “Infinity War,” which is actually a two-parter that’s split over 2018 and 2019.
Markus and McFeely also wrote the first two “Captain America” films, which both earned positive reviews across the board. But they’re also writing next year’s “Captain America: Civil War,” which just started filming this week.
Between these three films — “Civil War” in 2016 and “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018 and 2019 — Markus and McFeely have their hands full.
No pressure, right?
With this month’s release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel now claims the most lucrative movie franchise of all time.
Even more impressive: By the time “Avengers: Infinity War” releases in 2019, Marvel’s three-phase plan for its cinematic universe will have taken a 10-year road spanning 21 different films.
Many of these films include tie-ins or subtle hints to other Marvel movies, but the “Avengers” movies are responsible for showcasing as many superheroes as humanly possible. Next year’s “Civil War” is guaranteed to have a similarly epic feel: It will star two of the series’ biggest stars — Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans as Iron Man and Captain America, respectively — and the storyline is famous for including nearly every Marvel character under the sun, including Spider-Man, who finally has the green light to appear in Marvel films.
“Civil War” will undoubtedly be a huge draw for Marvel fans, so it’s up to Markus and McFeely to pull off a film that does justice to one of the best story arcs in the comic books. In the comics, a tragedy at an elementary school forces the government to enact a law that requires all superheroes register their real identities; more than any other Marvel film, this plotline is heavily political and asks big, difficult questions. It will be up to Markus and McFeely to make sure this polarising story is both entertaining and provocative for massive audiences.
But their work doesn’t stop in 2016.
As soon as that film wraps, the writing duo will turn to the daunting task of a two-part “Avengers” movie.
Just ask Joss Whedon: People have incredibly high expectations for the “Avengers” franchise. They want big action montages, funny and clever dialogue throughout, and tons of references to past and future films. They want to see all their favourite actors get plenty of time to shine individually. A ton of money and star power goes into these “Avengers” films, and the story and dialogue needs to be equally strong.
But “Infinity War” isn’t just another “Avengers” movie. This particular two-parter is the culmination of over 10 years of nonstop story building, character arcs and tie-ins. This is the biggest moment for all these characters — maybe they will live, or maybe they will die. But it’s all about these two movies.
“Phase 3” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, according to Marvel, signifies the end of the journey that began in 2008. For the most successful film franchise of all time, this is a ginormous task for two writers. Even though Markus and McFeely have a strong pedigree of penning great films — and their work keeps getting better, it seems, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was delightful — the Marvel cinematic universe ultimately rests on the shoulders of these two men.
Of course, Markus and McFeely won’t be alone in these endeavours. They will have the help of Anthony and Joe Russo, who helmed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and will direct “Civil War” and the “Avengers” two-parter. But there’s still a ton of work to be done before Marvel’s Phase 3 wraps up, and it will be up to these two writers to weave together all of these colourful characters and story arcs introduced over the last 10 years into a cohesive tapestry for “Infinity War”: A similar task would be writing a movie that includes every person who appeared in the “Colbert Report” finale.
“Chris and Steve have been an integral part of the Marvel family since the early days of Phase 1,” Marvel president and producer Kevin Feige said in a press release. “Their work speaks for itself. We couldn’t be more excited to have them with us to help guide the Avengers through their biggest story yet.”
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