While Marvel Studios certainly has plenty of new entries planned for Phase 4 of the MCU and beyond, a number of series are bringing around characters that have been around for years already. Black Widow is the first example of this taking place while the next couple of years will also see a fourth Thor film and a second Doctor Strange movie amongst others.
With these kinds of movies come actors that have seen plenty of action in the MCU, both in terms of solo movies and team-up adventures. Fans have already seen the likely retirements for Iron Man star Robert Downey, Jr. and Captain America star Chris Evans, and it seems only logical that more franchise stars will come to the end of their time with Marvel as well soon.
According to one of Phase 4's returning heroes, this may not be as big of an issue as people would imagine.
DAVE BAUTISTA LOOKS TO THE MCU'S FUTURE
Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista spoke with Vulture about the Marvel Cinematic Universe's future. Specifically, Bautista was asked about what he thinks will happen "as the MCU continues and crucial actors age our or step back from roles."
Interestingly, the Drax actor doesn't see this as a problem since "the Marvel library is so extensive." He commented on how Marvel is "gonna have material to draw from" for a long time after his own exit and that he doesn't think the studio will ever "run out of material or actors or superheroes:"
"I don’t think it’s a problem, because the Marvel library is so extensive. They’re gonna have material to draw from for well after I’m dead and gone. I know Disney has purchased Fox, and the X-Men have a whole extensive life ahead of them. That’s going to be a whole new universe. Their library is just too extensive. There’s so much there that they’ll never run out of material or actors or superheroes. When they’re past that, people will look back and just reboot stuff."
AN OPEN (COMIC) BOOK FOR YEARS TO COME
Bautista himself is slated for three appearances as Drax the Destroyer in Phase 4 of the MCU with a role in Thor: Love and Thunder, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the galactic team's holiday special. He has spoken on numerous occasions about this likely being the end of his own run in the MCU, although he appears confident that the story will continue for years to come.
Marvel already has plans set for Jon Watts' Fantastic Four movie later on, and the X-Men are rumored to be joining the fray in the undated The Mutants. There are other properties coming with first movies as well such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Blade, which is only the tip of the iceberg.
The MCU has grown so extensive that as long as Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and his team have characters to introduce, the franchise may not have a definitive end date in sight. This is certainly the hope for fans who are already anxious to see the MCU's return to theaters in July, kicking off a run of nearly two dozen entries confirmed for the next two years.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will debut in theaters on May 5, 2023.