Believe it or not, it’s been about a decade since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with the first Iron Man film, eventually spawning an empire of big-name actors, multi-million dollar movies and massive crossovers that dominate cinemas to this day.
Latest release Captain America: Civil War alone features around 12 heroes battling it out for ideological supremacy, and that’s nothing compared to what’s coming in the two-part superhero smorgasbord Avengers: Infinity War, due to hit cinemas in 2018 and 2019 and include just about every character we’ve met since Robert Downey Jr first tried on the metal suit.
Sibling director team Joe and Anthony Russo are the men behind this overwhelming future project as well as Civil War, so we asked them – after Infinity War, what’s next? Where can Marvel go after uniting absolutely everyone at once? And how will it manage to maintain such a massive roster of big-name stars?
The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that it’ll need to do a bit of spring cleaning.
“It’s gotta recycle itself,” Joe explained. “There will be new characters to follow, I think. There will certainly be some endings and some new beginnings in Infinity War. That’s the point, it’s culmination.”
“Things will be different after that,” Anthony agreed.
“There’ll be new stars emerging,” Joe went on. “Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange – they’re making a Captain Marvel film.
“I think there’s going to be a new series of characters, or a new set of mythologies to explore.”
Big changes? “Endings”? New characters coming to the fore? Could the brothers be hinting that we’ll be seeing the end of some of the heroes we’ve spent almost a decade with?
After all, we know that the contracts for original stars Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans will expire after Infinity War, with Evans recently hinting that he wouldn’t mind another actor picking up Captain America’s shield. Is it such a stretch to imagine that this could result in some or all of them being killed off in Infinity War’s intergalactic conflict, passing the torch onto the next generation of heroes?
When we pressed them on this, the brothers only shrugged mischievously.
“What I’ll say to that is, you know, we’re committed to real stakes in the storytelling,” Joe teased.
“Civil War is establishing a very specific tone. And in fact as dark as some moments may be, I think they’re really just the calm before the storm of the future movies.”
Joe and Anthony Russo
Sounds like we’ll be shedding enough tears to rust Tony Stark’s entire wardrobe – but the brothers also assured us that there’s plenty to look forward to in Infinity War, which they claim is just about the biggest film project in cinematic history.
“The scale of it is as ambitious as I think anything that’s ever been tried,” Joe said, “only because of the amount of movie stars that exist in these franchises. The concept of these movies is that they’re culmination films for everything that’s preceded them. The Marvel Cinematic Universe joins together to face a single threat.
“So I think that it’s going to push the movies into a multi-perspective narrative that’s unique for superhero films and unique for big commercial properties. I mean, I think the closest thing we could compare it to is something like Nashville where you’re moving from perspective to perspective and it’s all working towards a unified narrative.”
And as Anthony concluded, it’s going to be one hell of a unification.
“By the time the first Infinity War movie comes out, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have existed for 12 years, since the first Iron Man movie,” he said.
“So to do these movies that are intended to be a climax of those 12 years and who knows how many movies of storytelling, is a pretty profound thing I think.”
We can’t wait; though to be honest, we’re getting more and more intrigued by this Nashville/Marvel crossover idea. Superheroics never sounded so soulful.
Captain America: Civil War is released in cinemas this Friday 29th April