What is the “Endgame” post Avengers Endgame for Marvel?
Three weeks on from Disney and Marvel Studios release of Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film in their epic Marvel Cinematic Universe beginning back in 2008 with Robert Downey Junior’s Iron Man. Over the course of just over decade the Marvel Cinematic Universe has made global stars of its actors and directors, brought little known comic book characters and storylines into the mainstream, and collectively made over $18 Billion dollars worldwide. Before Marvel, the idea of a cinematic shared universe was mostly unheard of outside of small, unimpressive crossover films like Alien Vs Predator (2004) and Freddy Vs Jason (2003) Since its massive success many studios have scrambled to create their own cinematic universes to rival the behemoth that Disney and Marvel have created, to various degrees of success. DC’s universe beginning with Man of Steel and including Batman Vs Superman and Justice League has mostly floundered critically and with audiences despite making large grosses at the box office. Since the large scale failure of Justice League has found more success both critically and commercially with individually focused efforts like Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam!. Universal also attempted a Monster based universe with its roster of famous characters including The Mummy, Frankenstein, the Invisible Man and more. This came to an abrupt halt after the release of the Tom Cruise led The Mummy (2017) failed critically and commercially.
But enough of those left in the cultural wake of the Marvel Universe. What of its future? For the past ten years, Marvel has clearly outlined its cinematic future years in advance. But currently it stands that only the sequel to Spiderman Homecoming,(2017) Spiderman: Far From Home in July 2019 is the only feature film that has been confirmed. The rest is purely speculative at this time, with potential sequels for Dr Strange,(2016) Black Panther (2018), Captain Marvel (2019) and new coming films like Ava De Vernays The Eternals all announced yet not plotted in the timeline of the Marvel Universe. As well as this, with the recent dissolution of Netflix's Marvel Shows (The Punisher, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage) and Disney acquisition of all Fox’s assets and Intellectual Properties, Disney is in a strong position to reorganise and prepare decades worth of potential stories for cinematic release and also in their upcoming streaming service Disney+ due to go live in October of this year. Already announced to launch on the service is several shows centering on key characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, inlcuding: WandaVision following Scarlett Witch and Vison, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki and an Untitled Hawkeye Series focusing on Hawkeye training a protege to take over his mantle. Kevin Feige, Marvel’ Studio Head has said “These episodes will intersect with the movies in a very big way. It’s a totally new form of storytelling that we get to play with and explore”.
Now with this statement it can be understood that the next wave of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s stories will take place both on the big screen, as well as the small screen of their streaming services. This is a big step on Marvels part in regards to their faith in their audience following these stories concurrently at home and in the cinema. Before, Marvel’s T.V shows like the previously mentioned Netflix iterations and Agent Carter, Agents of Shield, Inhumans, The Runaways, Cloak and Dagger all are understood to be within the same universe as the films, but were considered to be non essential viewing for the casual movie going audience of the big screen iterations. If Marvel’s next stage now intends for the audiences to follow multiple ongoing stories across two separate viewing platforms it could have the potential to derail the ongoing and continued success of its cinematic universe. It is a huge gamble to assume, with the ongoing onslaught of Television shows on streaming services and standard networks, that audiences will be willing to dedicate hours upon hours to multiple shows before paying a seperate charge for multiple films. It is a
If you’ve been paying attention to the internet in anyway since its release, Avengers Endgame has been widely touted as the “end of an epic journey” and the closing of “this chapter in the avengers history”. Many of the actors contracts are up, feeling their characters story has been told and want to move onto other things. No doubt this Endgame will continue to be a massive commercial and critical success. But will it’s success continue on into Infinity across multiple platforms? Or fall victim to the rising streaming wars? Only time will tell.