One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s guiding lights has explained how they decide which characters will appear in upcoming projects. The entire franchise started over a decade ago with 2008’s Iron Man, which spawned several spin-offs & sequels with films introducing other Marvel comics heroes such as Thor and Captain America, leading up to the 2012 crossover The Avengers. As the universe expanded, more phases with more heroes were created, including the Guardians of the Galaxy & Ant-Man in Phase 2, Doctor Strange & Spider-Man in Phase 3, and Shang-Chi as well as the Eternals in Phase 4, which includes every post-Avengers: Endgame project which ran from 2021 through the end of this year featuring the theatrical film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever & Disney+’s The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Nate Moore, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever producer & Marvel executive of production and development, was interviewed on the recent episode of the podcast The Town with Matthew Belloni. He revealed that every few years, the top Marvel executives “have a not-so-secret retreat” in Palm Springs. During this retreat, they brainstorm characters and storylines from comic books that they’d like to see in the MCU, usually leaving with “one or two tentpoles that occasionally move” and larger franchise movements like the Infinity Gauntlet storyline as well as the upcoming Multiverse Saga. See his full quote below:
“[Those decisions] are made in a couple different ways, to be honest. You know, we have a not-so-secret retreat every year or two, where we go away to Palm Springs, typically, and just talk about interesting characters or stories we’d love to tell, or, “Hey, if we could do anything we wanted, what would it be? Who would it be? What characters haven’t we used that we’re passionate about?’”
“And out of that week, there tends to be one or two tentpoles that sometimes move, but that we start to be able to build around. And things like the multiverse came out of there, things like building… through Phase 3 around the Infinity Gauntlet, came out of those discussions because people had a passion for the material. And, you know, if you think about Marvel, we have 50 plus years of material to pull from, so it’s not like there’s a shortage of ideas. If anything, there’s sort of an overwhelming amount of ideas. And it has to be someone being passionate about any given idea to figure out how to get it on its feet.”
Phase 5 Of The MCU Could Make Marvel’s Chastised Phase 4 Approach Worthwhile
Marvel is currently in Phase 5, which will begin to consider incorporating from an overarching Multiverse Saga storyline centered on Jonathan Majors’ villain Kang. This new phase’s theatrical branch will begin by proceeding the stories of several of the franchise’s legacy villains and heroes in films such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, The Marvels, Captain America: New World Order, & Thunderbolts, as well as the introduction of a new hero in Blade. In addition to more Loki and What If…? seasons, the television branch will deliver new seasons of The Nick Fury series Secret Invasion, the Hawkeye spinoff Echo, the Netflix reboot Daredevil: Born Again, the Riri Williams series Ironheart, as well as the WandaVision spinoff Agatha: Coven of Chaos will all be part of the lineup.
With so much on the surface, the franchise may also be poised to solve fans’ concerns about the MCU’s Phase 4 release. People have generally complained that the phase has been too focused on introducing new characters, introducing tones that don’t feel like they fit with the Infinity Saga, and failing to feel like there’s any push toward an overarching narrative goal. However, based on what Moore has revealed, it appears that this phase has been built in the same manner as Phase 1 so many years ago. Although the elements introduced in those films appeared disparate at first, they soon coalesced into the Infinity Saga, and even the most reviled entries grew into characters that fans adored.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s upcoming projects, including Avengers movies The Kang Dynasty & Secret Wars in Phase 6, obviously have more of a route map moving forward. Marvel has repeatedly demonstrated that they can weave each individual thread into a crossover tapestry that fans enjoy. There will almost certainly be skeptics who favor the storytelling of Infinity Saga to that of the Multiverse Saga, however the films of Phase 4 will almost certainly feel much more like a part of the franchise in retrospect.
Source: The Town with Matthew Belloni