The MCU is a grand tapestry of storytelling, with diverse threads weaving in and out to create an expansive shared universe. However, lately, many have claimed that Marvel Studios isn’t giving enough focus to one single storyline and instead offering “filler.”
Something else that Marvel has been feeding audiences lately is sequels. All three of their 2022 films were follow-ups to earlier entries with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and the forthcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
In fact, following Disney's most recent shift of Marvel Studios' upcoming theatrical slate, all three of the studio’s 2023 movies will also be sequels. And this even extends partially into 2024. Indeed, the MCU is currently in the middle of its longest stretch of sequels since Phase 2 almost a decade ago when they released Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier all in succession...
Sequels, Sequels, Sequels
With Disney delaying Blade to 2024, Marvel Studios' record-long chain of consecutive sequels has been extended by one movie.
With Blade (an introductory solo movie) no longer releasing in 2023, Captain America 4 will succeed The Marvels as another MCU sequel and Marvel Studios' anticipated sequel streak will extend to eight movies, as shown below:
- Spider-Man: No Way Home - December 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - May 6 - 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder - July 8, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - November 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - May 5, 2023
- The Marvels - July 28, 2023
- Captain America: New World Order - May 3, 2024
Thunderbolts, a team-up movie featuring returning MCU anti-heroes and ex-villains, will release later in Summer 2024 following Cap 4 to end the follow-up streak.
How Marvel Has a Method for Its Sequel Madness
Eight sequels in a row?! Now, some groups might pounce upon this data and complain that “Marvel isn’t doing anything original,” but one must keep in mind that they are indeed doing all sorts of work with new-to-the-MCU characters over on Disney+.
Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk all received at least six episodes devoted to them this year and Kamala, at the very least, is already confirmed to be appearing again in The Marvels.
Not to mention that Multiverse of Madness was anything but filler. The film introduced the concept of incursions to the MCU and further explored the Multiverse - two elements that are going to be hugely important heading into the next two Avengers films, particularly Secret Wars.
And honestly, so what if this is a record breaking streak of MCU sequels? The numbers don’t lie, Marvel Studios is still releasing content that people enjoy and are very willing to see. No Way Home was a runaway success and Multiverse of Madness was no slouch at the box office, either. Fans are also loving the Disney+ content. One needn’t look any further than last week’s Special Presentation, Werewolf by Night, which got people raving.
Something that many viewers don’t understand is that the MCU is in the midst of a rebuilding phase. After Avengers: Endgame and the removal of icons like Steve Rogers and Tony Stark from the board, Marvel needs to introduce a whole host of compelling new characters to carry on the story while simultaneously moving the established heroes forward. This is precisely what Phase 4 is doing.
And as far as things are concerned, it’s doing a pretty darn good job.