Avengers Movies are Now the Endgame for MCU Sagas

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The Avengers sub-franchise of the MCU occupies a strange spot in the larger series. Though the original 2012 film was where that first batch of movies was building up to, and ended Phase One, the same couldn’t be said of its sequels. 2015’s Age of Ultron released mid-Phase Two, and though the duology of Infinity War and Endgame were the final chapters of what was later dubbed the “Infinity Saga,” they didn’t actually close things out. That duty went to Spider-Man: Far From Home a few months post-Endgame.

But going forward, expect Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to bring future sagas—aka, the newly branded “Multiverse Saga” and whatever else is waiting in the wings—to a close. Kevin Feige spoke to MTV News about how Marvel Studios now looks at Avengers films. “After Infinity War and Endgame, we thought that Avengers movies aren’t cappers,” he admitted. But what changed the studio’s tune is the many groupings in these incoming phases: from this year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to next year’s Captain Marvel and Ant-Man sequels and the recently announced Thunderbolts film, big team ups are helping to widen the MCU’s scope and lay the groundwork for the multiverse.

“Avengers films really should be the capper to a saga,” continued Feige. “Which is really all we wanted to lay the groundwork for today. We are currently in the midst in the Multiverse Saga, which will culminate in two Avengers films.” Both films are due in 2025, and earlier this week, it was revealed that Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton would take the helm on the first of the duology, The Kang Dynasty set to release in May of that year. Both it and November 2025’s Secret Wars will close out Phase 6 and the Multiverse Saga as a whole.

Right now, there are the seeds of a new Avengers team out there, with some fairly obvious candidates, and likely some unexpected wildcards waiting to make themselves known. Waiting six years to bring the Avengers franchise back gives its return some weight, and lets Kang to feel like a real Big Deal…well, more of a big deal than Marvel films usually are.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Earlier today, Marvel fans around the world were treated to some exciting news: months after the developing Fantastic Four movie lost director Jon Watts, it is now being reported that WandaVision’s Matt Shakman has come aboard to helm the project. That’s obviously huge news for the highly anticipated MCU movie, but what’s good news for that production is bad news for another, as the move has resulted in Shakman stepping away from the upcoming Star Trek film to which he has been attached since July 2021.

The Hollywood Reporter is saying that “scheduling issues” are the cause of Matt Shakman stepping away from the next Star Trek movie, and the trade points directly at the news from this morning about Fantastic Four. Paramount Pictures has released an official statement about the development, which reads,

While the next Star Trek movie is still in the early stages of development, Paramount has announced their plans to have the film ready for a December 22, 2023 release date. Fantastic Four isn’t scheduled to be released until November 8, 2024, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe project is expected to be a major part of the franchise’s developing plans, and Matt Shakman would have been forced to work on the two massive blockbusters simultaneously had he not dropped one. When you consider the fact that Shakman has only directed one feature before – the 2014 crime thriller Cut Back – it’s understandable that he didn’t want to be in that position.

This is definitely a setback to the production of the next Star Trek film, which is being planned as a sequel to Star Trek Beyond that will reunite the Enterprise crew including Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldaña, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, and John Cho. The trade report says that Paramount Pictures will immediately start the search for a director to replace Matt Shakman, and at present it is unclear if the project will have to push back its release plans. As of right now, late December 2023 is a busy time for blockbusters, with James Wan’s Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom recently moving to that month and the developing Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel set for December 20, 2023.

The good news for Star Trek fans is that there isn’t exactly a content drought happening right now. Paramount+ has become a huge home for the franchise, with multiple shows airing throughout the calendar year now – including Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and Picard. You can keep track of everything on the way with our Upcoming Star Trek TV guide.