While Marvel Cinematic Universe projects have become extremely commonplace in recent years, it takes years before those seeds start to sprout. Before a Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters or a Moon Knight begins streaming on Disney+, they go through an extensive production and marketing process. Before that, they get a title card and a release date at a “phase” announcement.
And that's just what fans see.
The years leading up to those slate reveals are littered with extensive patience and planning. The Marvel Studios Parliament, a creative team captained by Marvel President Kevin Feige and various veteran MCU producers, assembles every couple of years to lay out the blueprint for where the entire franchise will venture next.
Even with 14 years of stories already under his belt, Feige still notes he is "as excited now as [he] was on day one" as fan investment has helped "keep the creative fires burning brightly."
When this calendar year concludes, Marvel Studios will have debuted just about every project that they announced at 2019's San Diego Comic-Con and D23 Expo. That next slate is imminently approaching, and the Parliament are already envisioning what Phase 5 and beyond will bring.
Marvel Studios' Ten-Year Plan
If you told me ten years ago that we weren't alone, let alone, you know, to this extent, I mean, I wouldn't have been surprised, but come on.
Tony Stark's final words in Avengers: Endgame have never been more relevant. Speaking at CinemaCon (via: @WGreatPowerBook and The Hollywood Reporter), Marvel President Kevin Feige revealed himself and other studio figureheads have just returned from "the first in-person Marvel Creative Retreat in three years."
This particular retreat included a giant board that details the "next decade" of Marvel films.
“That [board] takes us through the next decade and [those films] are unique and special and they are meant for your theaters.”
Feige continued by praising Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler for "working very hard" on the upcoming November sequel. The Marvel mastermind also noted that this past December's Spider-Man: No Way Home has restored his full confidence in the MCU's box office potential.
"Are we back? Yes, I know we’re back."
Beyond 2022, Feige added that the "next 10 years" will be spotlighted by three leading factors.
"In the next 10 years with existing characters and new characters and new storytelling tools with the multiverse, anything can happen."
The MCU's Phase 5 and Beyond
It's easy to overlook just how involved a "decade" of projects is. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first 10 years, fans watched full trilogies for Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor, and flocked to the theaters for three billion-dollar Avengers team-ups. Within that decade also came a gap year in 2009, one-film years in 2010 and 2012, and not a single streaming series.
In 2021 alone, the MCU dropped nine total projects.
All that is to say that this "next decade" for Marvel Studios could very well have double the population of its first ten years. Mix in the acquisition of all of 20th Century Fox's assets, and the Parliament has enough fresh story recipes to keep the 27-film franchise as innovative as ever.
The biggest takeaway from this "creative retreat" is that threads are beginning to be connected. Phase 4 has featured mostly reactionary tales to the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, but seeds are being planted for massive crossover events in all branches of the MCU. This retreat is likely where Feige and company are beginning to tie everything together. Whether that means one giant Avengers 5 or smaller event projects like Secret Invasion remains to be seen.
Until then, Marvel fans can rest easy knowing their next 3,650 days of content is in active development.