Since Spider-Man: Far From Home was released as a direct follow-up to Avengers: Endgame, there has been much speculation about the point of the Phase 4 Marvel slate. While Kevin Feige has previously commented that the last two years have been about new beginnings, and that seems to fit with many new characters being introduced and well-established characters appearing to be going along new paths. Now Marvel producer Richie Palmer has added another level to the purpose of Phase 4, and it will likely make 2022 and 2023’s releases make a little more sense.
It was assumed that Avengers: Endgame would be the closing of the Infinity Saga, and while Spider-Man: Far From Home acted as a coda to the movie, with Peter Parker struggling to come to terms with the loss of Tony Stark, it seemed that those stories were over. However, Endgame was not the kind of event that could just be brushed aside as long as many of those involved remained in active service in the MCU. For that reason, Phase 4, according to Palmer, is really Spider-Man: Far From Home for the rest of the Avengers. Speaking to Empire’s Spoiler Special podcast, he said:
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“Phase Four is all a reaction – and I don’t mean on our part as filmmakers, I mean the characters…It’s a reaction to the trauma of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. We’re still feeling those effects in these movies years later.”
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Of course, it seems like a lifetime since the events of Avengers: Endgame, but just like all Marvel projects, everything fits eventually. While new characters such as Shang-Chi and the Eternals have been introduced, much of Phase 4 has or will involve older characters, and Palmer’s comments explain why that is. There was a five-year time jump in Avengers: Endgame, which pushed the Marvel timeline to 2024. Most of the movies currently being released take place that year, as do many of the Disney+ shows such as WandaVision.
While audiences have a long wait between movies, the timeline of the MCU is currently standing still, with numerous stories all taking place simultaneously. This includes last weekend’s newest arrival of Thor: Love and Thunder, which catches up with the God of Thunder and the Guardians of the Galaxy in the events directly after Avengers: Endgame. With other movies like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels also falling into this time period, it seems that Phase 4 has not been quite as disjointed as many believe.
Of course, with so many different characters in play, it is harder for Kevin Feige and his team to add to the story of individuals without it taking three, four, or more years to get there. It took six years for Doctor Strange to get his second solo film; with many new additions like Blade, Fantastic Four and X-Men to come, as well as sequels for the likes of Shang-Chi, it is going to be a busy few years for Marvel Studios.