Marvel Studios has become one of the biggest powerhouses of the movie industry. The Infinity Saga has become the most financially successful movie franchise in history since its inception in 2008, with nine movies that passed $1 billion at the box office including 2019's Avengers: Endgame, which finished its theatrical run as the highest grossing movie of all time. One of the staples of the movie industry for the past few years is the guaranteed summer release of a new installment of the Avengers franchise every few years, usually resulting in the biggest movie of any given year. Taking this routine into consideration, the MCU's upcoming Phase 4 has more uncertainty to its future content than normal, and recent quotes from one of the franchise's biggest stars will keep the return timeframe for Earth's Mightiest Heroes up in the air.
In a recent interview with Variety on Instagram live via Heroic Hollywood, Captain America trilogy star Sebastian Stan said it would be a while before a fifth Avengers movie would release in theatres. Along with some jabs at co-star Anthony Mackie, the actor behind Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier gave these quotes in the interview:
Oh I know nothing. You know I know nothing about that. You know, I’m just…I’m just a man. No, I’m trying to…We’ve got to figure out a couple of other missions first before we even get there
WHAT THIS MEANS
This isn't a shocking revelation considering how incredibly crowded the MCU's slate will be over the next few years, but it will still be a slight change of pace from how recent release schedules have gone. The first three phases of the MCU have each been highlighted with major crossover events in 2012 (The Avengers) and 2015 (Avengers: Age of Ultron), with mega-events back to back in 2018 and '19 (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame). These of course came during a time with six movies in both Phase 1 and 2, followed up with 11 titles in Phase 3, all before the most crowded release slate in Marvel Studios' history.
Phase 4 of the MCU already has more content than any MCU phase before it, with at least eight new movies set for theatrical release and eight mini-series set for release on Disney+ over the next three years. There is also no set end to the upcoming phase, which leaves room for multiple titles with unconfirmed release dates like Blade and the third installments of Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy to take their place in the release schedule. Phase 4 will begin in November with the theatrical release of Black Widow and on Disney+ with Sebastain Stan himself in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier once filming resumes. With no set end to the new release schedule, the fifth Avengers movie seemingly will not arrive in theatres until 2023 at the earliest.