Marvel Studios president and chief creative officer Kevin Feige elaborates on the next phases of the MCU, Kang’s role as the next big bad, and why the Russo brothers are not returning.
After a whirlwind of announcements during the recently concluded San Diego Comic-Con, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe now have a clear roadmap of the upcoming projects. From the rebirth of Daredevil to the two big event Avengers movies in 2025, there is a lot of content to take in. And no one is happier about that than Kevin Feige, who has steered the MCU into the most dominating force in the entertainment industry, including films, games, tv, and streaming shows.
What did the Marvel Studios head honcho have to say about where the next phases will take the MCU? How important will Kang be in these phases? And why are the Russo brothers not returning for the big Marvel projects? Read on for more.
Post-credits lead to Phases
Interviewed by Comicbook.com after the Hall H presentation, the Marvel Studios head hinted at how the MCU’s now-familiar post-credit scenes will build up towards Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars:
The truth is, all of the tags are never just about the future. There are tags that are eating shwarma, Captain America saying you know you gotta learn patience, sometimes, you know, you wait for something that's not worth it. So they are always fun for us.
Feige further expanded on how the current and next Phases of the MCU’s post-credit tags will lead to the saga being told:
We don't want everything to feel the same. So some of the tags will connect and some of them won't. Some of the films and shows will connect; some of them won't. I think it's just as important that we can have standalone introductory stories like Ms. Marvel, like Moon Knight, in addition to things that interconnect and build towards the larger story.
A lot of what we've been doing has been building to this larger story, obviously with The Kang Dynasty and the Multiverse Saga, and now I think people will, I hope, come along for the ride. Both where it's you're on the express train to the finale, also when it's fun, as many of our Phase 1, 2, and 3 films were.
Marvel’s post-credit scenes have become a hallmark of the MCU projects. And they are no longer limited to the films. Fans pretty much expect a post-credit to be included in every release that is directly connected to the MCU.
With Feige’s description, it is guaranteed the post-credits tradition will continue. However, there seems to be a shift for these to serve as the roadmap leading into the next big events.
All on Kang’s shoulders
The previous Phases of the MCU had been building toward Thanos as the main villain. However, the Mad Titan’s quest for the Infinity Stones were really only marginally explored in each MCU entry.
On the other hand, Feige seems to imply that Kang (Jonathan Majors) will be more involved and appear more often:
It comes down to the cast and with Jonathan Majors, who I think took over the Hall H stage, you know, in the three minutes he was up there. It's amazing, and I said to him there's nobody's shoulders I'd rather be putting the multiverse saga on than his. It's really impressive what Jonathan Majors is able to do and all the different incarnations, variants, if you will, of Kang that we will see him do. It's really pretty cool.
Feige also added what made Kang different from his predecessor Thanos, as the big villain of the Multiverse Saga:
What I love is that he's totally different from Thanos. That he is completely different. That it's not just how about there's a bigger purple guy with a helmet? That's not what Kang is. Kang is a very different type of villain and the fact that he is many, many different characters is what's most exciting and most differentiates him.
In the comics, Kang would be a recurring thorn on the side of the Avengers. He would also appear in different guises, from Rama-Tut to Immortus, as different alternate versions of himself that splintered due to his frequent time travel exploits. It should be noted that Kang also has a close connection with the Fantastic Four, being an apparent descendant of Reed Richards aka Mister Fantastic.
Another interesting point is there is at least one version of Kang that was heroic called Iron Lad. Iron Lad was pivotal in bringing together the Young Avengers. Although not one of the projects announced at the SDCC, the Marvel panel did show 8 unspecified projects that would be part of Phase 5 and 6. Some fans have speculated that one of these would be Young Avengers or Avengers Academy.
Majors had already previously appeared as the Immortus variant in the finale of Loki on Disney+.
Russo brothers not returning… for now
One surprising detail about the current and upcoming Phases for the MCU is that the Russo brothers will not be part of it. After their success with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, the news that they will not return to direct Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or Avengers: Secret Wars seems perplexing.
However, Kevin Feige provided some clarification as to why this is the case. Addressing the question posed by Deadline, the Marvel boss had this to share:
They’re not connected to it. They’ve been very direct about that. We love them, they love us. We want to find something to do together, it’s not this.
This statement appears to confirm that the Russos are open to returning, but not for the big finale films of the Multiverse Saga.
In the meantime, the Russo brothers have recently joined the filmmakers finding success on Netflix with The Gray Man. Perhaps the Russos could be interested in doing a Midnight Sons project, as The Gray Man star Ryan Gosling expressed interest in playing Ghost Rider? Or maybe the X-Men film that the pair have stated they might work on?
Marvel Studios' next big screen release will be Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The film is scheduled for a November 11, 2022 theatrical debut.