Now that Marvel Studios has wrapped up 11 years of superhero storytelling with Avengers: Endgame, which has made more money than any other movie in the history of cinema, the company finally felt comfortable telling people what’s next. At last week’s San Diego Comic-Con, the studio announced and/or confirmed its next nine movies, including new heroes, expected sequels, and a few surprises. But the biggest surprise is that the new, Avenger-less Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t make much sense.
To be fair, Marvel Studios is in a bit of a trap, even if it’s one of its own making. Two of its three founding characters are gone, thanks to the exits of Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans — which also means the Avengers movies are done, at least for the time being. These are shoes that require several billion dollars to fill, so it makes sense that the studio would need to try some creative ways to do so. But that said, the choices Marvel has made for its upcoming slate are… unexpected. Here are the three biggest questions raised by the next phase of the biggest superhero movies in the world.
1) Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe really becoming a multiverse?
Apparently so, since the Doctor Strange sequel is titled Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. A multiverse seemed kind of inevitable when the Avengers smashed the normal MCU timeline with hammers in Endgame, despite the movie (very strangely) going out of its way to point out it was an enormous problem. Still, when the existence of the multiverse was seemingly confirmed in Spider-Man: Far From Home, I sighed with relief when Mysterio’s parallel Earth origins were revealed as a lie. Obviously, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.
Here’s the problem with a multiverse: It means some of the stories we’re going to see don’t count. If Doctor Strange visits a new universe and helps save the day there, it’s not nearly as compelling as him saving the universe audiences have already been invested in for over a decade. This is an enormous problem for the Marvel…