Disney CEO says the future of Marvel movies includes 'a new franchise' beyond 'Avengers' -- here's what that could mean

Marvel Comics‘Avengers vs. X-Men.’
  • While discussing the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe during an earnings call on Tuesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said Disney and Marvel would “try our hand at what I’ll call a new franchise beyond ‘Avengers.'”
  • That could mean many different things, but the most logical answers lie in the Disney-Fox deal, which would give Disney access to a bevy of new characters like the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
  • With these characters, the MCU could easily build up to “event” movies like “Infinity War” that don’t necessarily revolve around the Avengers.

The fourth “Avengers” movie next year might be a conclusion of sorts for the status quo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the franchise doesn’t have any plans to slow down.

While discussing the future of the MCU on an earnings call on Tuesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger indicated Disney and Marvel Studios were thinking about life after “Avengers,” including a new franchise to carry the MCU.

“We meet on a regular basis with our Marvel team, and we’ve plotted out Marvel movies that will take us well into the next decade,” Iger said, adding: “I’m guessing that we will try our hand at what I’ll call a new franchise beyond ‘Avengers.'”

Since the MCU debuted in 2008 with “Iron Man,” each “phase” has culminated in a different “Avengers” movie: “The Avengers” in 2012, “Age of Ultron” in 2015, and the two-part finale beginning this year with “Infinity War” and ending next year with its sequel.

“A new franchise beyond ‘Avengers'” could mean many things, but when taking this into consideration, it could mean that the next phases of the MCU will build to “event” movies that don’t necessarily revolve around the Avengers.

There are plenty of comic-book characters who would make worthy additions to the MCU – but how would they fit into the grand scheme of things?

The most logical answer lies in the Disney-Fox deal, which, should it be finalised, would give Disney and Marvel access to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, characters whose film rights Fox owns.

If Marvel were to decide it wants to use those characters, it would open up huge possibilities for the MCU. The characters and storylines from the comic books that would be in Disney’s possession span decades.

Iger also said this “doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t see more ‘Avengers’ down the road,” so perhaps the MCU could loosely adapt a comic mini-series called “Avengers vs. X-Men” in the future.

It could also mean that the current version of “Avengers” will end but a new one will rise from it. That’s what happens in the comics, after all.

In 2005, the original Avengers were torn apart, and a team formed that consisted of newcomers like Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine (there’s your “X-Men” connection). They were appropriately called the New Avengers.

The Fox deal would also allow the MCU to explore cosmic ideas seen in the comic books. With the rights to the Fantastic Four, the MCU could introduce the Silver Surfer and villains like Galactus and Annihilus. That could lead to something similar to a 2006 event comic book called “Annihilation,” which involved a war among Marvel’s space-related characters.

The storyline also included Nova, the last remaining member of the Nova Corps. In “Infinity War,” Thor mentions that Thanos destroyed the Nova Corps – introduced in “Guardians of the Galaxy” – to retrieve one of the Infinity Stones. So Nova’s origin story has already been established, and it would be easy to expand upon it if Marvel wanted to go in that direction.

There are storylines in Marvel’s comic books that the MCU hasn’t touched. If the “Infinity War” sequel really is an end to this era of the MCU, then it’s not a stretch for it to follow a path like this.

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