Avengers: Endgame – what happens next?

We take a spoiler-free look at what’s coming up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the culmination of 11 movie franchises

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in Avengers: Endgame (Marvel)

Over a decade of superhero movies comes to a close in Avengers: Endgame, which has long been trumpeted as the (ahem) end point for the first few phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that has spanned eleven franchises since 2008’s Iron Man.

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Accordingly, the movie is a huge undertaking with massive ramifications for the brave heroes we’ve grown to know and love over the past 11 years – but despite the title it’s not actually the end of the MCU, with all sorts of plans in the works for future instalments.

There’s a Spider-Man sequel, two unknown films set to be released in 2020 and three in 2021 and much, much more – and while we won’t spoil what happens in Endgame here, it’s no secret what Marvel already have planned for afterwards…


How will Avengers: Endgame end?

The cast of Avengers: Endgame (Marvel)
The cast of Avengers: Endgame (Marvel)

If you really do want to know how Endgame concludes, we have an article that goes into the details in more depth – but if you haven’t seen the film yet and just want a general sense of where the MCU is going, we’ll just say that the movie includes some pretty big changes that are bound to have a big impact on where Marvel goes next.

It’s also no secret that we probably won’t be getting many future Iron Man or Captain America films going forward – though there should be plenty of other sequels to keep us going in their absence.


Planned sequels

Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home (Marvel)
Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home (Marvel)
Marvel

So far, the one Marvel film we DEFINITELY know is coming out is Spider-Man: Far From Home, which returns Tom Holland to the role as the wall-crawler, now travelling the world with his school friends and battling various elemental beings with the help of Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and the enigmatic Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).

We’ve already had a couple of trailers for this film as it comes out just a few months after Endgame, and it definitely gives one thing away about the earlier movie’s plot – at the least, Spidey and Fury will be alive again by story’s end. And the film’s existence also points to the one part of Marvel’s future plan that is fairly predictable – more sequels to their solo superhero movies.

For example, we already know that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 is on the cards – though after the dramatic firing and re-hiring of director James Gunn it’s been delayed from its planned 2020 release and could be a few years away – and sequels to both Black Panther and Doctor Strange are officially on their way from directors Ryan Coogler and Scott Derrickson, probably for February and November 2021 release dates.

As of yet we don’t know story details for any of these movies (though Guardians 2 did suggest an old comic-book foe could be returning), but expect to learn more over the coming weeks and months.

It also seems more than likely that the huge success of Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel will inspire a follow-up movie, possibly set in the years between her first film (which took place in the 1990s) and her Endgame appearance.

And that’s not all…


New solo movies for Black Widow and more

Black Widow
(Marvel)

The long-gestating Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson’s super-spy is FINALLY underway with director Cate Shortland, and is set to co-star Stranger Things’ David Harbour, The Little Drummer Girl’s Florence Pugh, The Handmaid’s Tale’s O-T Fagbenle and The Favourite’s Rachel Weisz – in other words, this is an appropriately killer cast.

Rumour has it that the story could be a prequel set 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, or at least some point before the Avengers, and that the film’s overall villain will be Taskmaster, a well-known mercenary in the Marvel comics with photographic reflexes – in other words, he can perform any action, fighting style or acrobatic feat that he watches someone else do first.

At the moment the film looks to be getting a November 2020 release, but this is currently unconfirmed.

But Black Widow’s not the only skilled hand-to-hand fighter getting a solo MCU entry soon, with classic comic-book martial artist Shang-Chi (formerly subtitled Master of Kung-Fu) also in line for a movie directed by Short Term 12’s Dustin Daniel Cretton.

Currently, no cast have been announced for the film, but along with Black Widow it’s expected to be one of the next Marvel movies to go into production even before the Black Panther, Guardians and Captain Marvel sequels. Either of the films may be set to film in Australia in the coming months, since we know that an unnamed Marvel project will be setting up shop in Sydney this summer.

Unless, of course, that slot is reserved for something a little more “out there”.


The Eternals

Premiere Of Disney's "Dumbo" - Arrivals
 

A few years ago Marvel boss Kevin Feige suggested that the next phase of the MCU would be going more cosmic – and aside from more spacefaring Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel sequels, the obvious step Marvel’s making in this direction is the Eternals movie, rumoured to be pencilled in for a May 2021 release.

Based on some fairly obscure characters in the Marvel canon created by legendary artist and writer Jack Kirby, the Eternals movie is set to follow a face of cosmic beings (created by the god-like Celestials) with immense strength, resilience and limited immortality, who have the potential to develop more unique abilities like super-speed, atomic manipulation, flight, super-strength and so on as well.

Locked in an endless battle with their rivals the Deviants, the Eternals have occasionally come into contact with the people of Earth – and now, this new film will introduce them to mainstream audiences for the first time, with Angelina Jolie and The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani in talks to star and Chloe Zhao directing. Expect this one pretty soon, as apparently Marvel are prepping to shoot in the coming months.


TV time!

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel, HF)
Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel)

If all this chat of new franchises is making you nostalgic for some familiar Marvel faces, never fear – plenty of the characters we already know and love are set to have their own spin-off streaming series on upcoming service Disney+, most prominently Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Hey look, another clue that not all the dead characters in Infinity War are staying dead!

Joining him on the platform are buddy series for both Falcon/Winter Soldier (Anthony Mackie/Sebastian Stan) and Vision/Scarlet Witch (Paul Bettany/Elizabeth Olsen), and according to Kevin Feige the shows will “intersect with the movies in a very big way”.

“It’s a totally new form of storytelling that we get to play with and explore,” he added, also revealing that the titles of the latter two series would be “Falcon and Winter Soldier” and “WandaVision” respectively.

An animated series based on Marvel’s classic “What-if?” comic-book line is also coming to Disney+, and will reimagine the MCU based on hypothetical changes that could have occurred during the various movies (eg what if Peggy Carter took the super-soldier serum instead of Captain America).

And that’s still not all – because apparently ANOTHER live-action spin-off series starring Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is in the works, with Variety reporting that the story could see Clint Barton mentoring a young apprentice called Kate Bishop in an adaptation of Matt Fraction’s critically-acclaimed comic-book run on the character. Who needs movies anyway?


More old favourites

Avengers Assemble (2012)

While it’s not too likely we’ll see more solo Captain America or Iron Man movies going forward we shouldn’t count out all the founding Avengers just yet. Outside of Hawkeye and Black Widow’s upcoming solo efforts, Chris Hemsworth has expressed an interest in making more Thor movies with Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, and it seems likely Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk could continue to play a role in team-up movies (complicated rights issues prevent him from having a solo movie).

It’s currently not clear whether more Avengers films themselves are coming – it seems likely in the long term, although the team make-up may have to be a little different – but if they are, expect new characters like Captain Marvel to have a more central role.


What about the X-Men and Deadpool?

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey in X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Fox)
Sophie Turner as Jean Grey in X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Fox)

While Disney has now bought 20th Century Fox, the company that makes superhero movies about sold-off Marvel properties like the X-Men and Deadpool, that doesn’t mean we’ll be seeing any merry mutants in Avengers: Endgame.

For starters, there’s still a couple of already-filmed X-Men movies to be released yet – Dark Phoenix, starring Sophie Turner, this June and spin-off New Mutants later this year – and given how recently the deal was finalised, there’s no way that Marvel would have had time to include them.

According to reports, the very earliest Marvel could release an X-Men film is 2021, and it’s likely to be a while longer than that as the studio are expected to entirely recast and reboot the franchise going forward.

In the short term, then, the X-Men are off the table – but fourth wall-breaking stablemate Deadpool may not be, with Feige confirming that Ryan Reynolds’ critically-acclaimed take on the merc’ with a mouth will be transferred over to Disney without any major changes.

“There’s no question that Deadpool is working, so why would we change it?” he told Variety, while Reynolds himself appeared to welcome the move to Disney on social media.

The Fox deal also includes rights to superheroes the Fantastic Four, whose previously-unpopular film adaptations could leave them ripe for a reboot along with attached villains like Doctor Doom.


All in all, then, Avengers 4 is far from the Endgame for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. In some ways, eleven years on, they’re just getting started.

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Avengers: Endgame is in UK cinemas now