Last year about this time, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were settling in for a long wait for the next movie. Spider-Man: Far From Home put a nice coda on the Infinity Saga with a look at the world without Iron Man (but still plenty of heroes). At the 2019 Comic-Con, Kevin Feige announced Phase 4, including their entrance into the television space on Disney+. However, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been very little MCU news about upcoming Marvel Studios’ projects for fans to get excited about. In fact, by taking what amounts to a year off, Marvel Studios has ceded some of their ground to DC Comics and Warner Bros. From Crisis On Infinite Earths to the revelations at DC FanDome, all the buzz is about DC.
Coming off of Avengers: Endgame, the most successful film of all time, it made a kind of sense for Marvel Studios to take a step back. They left some space for fans to process the culmination of a ten-year series of movies. Effectively, they were trying to leave us all wanting more. They wanted new Marvel films to feel special again. Yet, the complete lack of MCU news since the Super Bowl (when the trailer for the Disney+ shows dropped) may end up hurting Marvel Studios more than helping.
Why News About the MCU Is Important to Keep Fans Excited About Marvel Studios
David Harbour as Red Guardian, via screengrab
Much of the problems facing Marvel Studios are beyond their control, of course. Had things gone as planned, we’d be talking about the impending release of Eternals and readying to see WandaVision debut. We would have already seen Black Widow and known the fates of Sam and Bucky in the first season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. However, unlike The Mandalorian season 2, production on these series remained incomplete at the time everything shut down. Things are getting back to filming, but even those projects are being hit with delays. Marvel Studios likes to keep things quiet and surprise their audience. Yet, they may merely be losing it by not keeping up a steady stream of MCU news to excite fans about what’s to come.
For example, even though the Flash movie is poised to miss its third release date, people remain very excited about the film. Sure, it would have been great to reveal that Michael Keaton’s Batman or Ben Affleck’s Batman both returned to their roles in a trailer. However, the revelation that they are indeed coming back is enough to make fans very excited about what could be described as a ‘troubled’ film. Instead of folks talking about the awesome potential of new (to film) characters like the Eternals, they’re wondering if Robert Downey Jr. or Chris Evans will ever return to their MCU roles. Fans are looking backwards (and going to be disappointed) instead of looking forward with excitement about what’s next.
Disney’s Gamble Could Still Pay Off
Image via Marvel Studios
Realistically, Marvel Studios is going to be fine, lack of MCU news or not. When a new Marvel Studios project finally does hit theaters or streaming services, people will be excited. Fans may just react the way Disney hopes, grateful to have something new after so long. However, it is a gamble. Fans may turn out in droves to see Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow one last time. However, they may also just wait for it to show up on Disney+, especially if COVID-19 is still a concern. Another wrinkle is that this is, essentially, the start of a new story rather than a continuation of one that fans invested in over time.
Ultimately, the problem facing Marvel Studios is one they’ve conquered before. When Iron Man first debuted, people suggested the end of the era of comic book films. However, they defied those expectations by telling good stories about great characters. They take their movies seriously, but not so much that the films aren’t fun. With great casts, dynamic filmmakers, and consistent story progression, they did the impossible by creating a series of two dozen inter-connected films. My money is on them being able to do it again.
Still, it would be nice if they threw the fans a bone once in a while. The lack of MCU News in a year full of big news about comic book and genre stories is frustrating if not troubling.
What’s the bit of MCU news you most want to hear from Marvel Studios? Do you want a rumor confirmed or something new entirely?
Featured image via Marvel Studios
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.