There was an argument on a comic book message board about whether the Marvel Cinematic Universe should be rebooted, and I thought that was way too premature. The X-Men and the Fantastic Four haven’t really been introduced yet. Spider-Man’s still going strong. Daredevil just showed up. There’s a new generation of heroes ready to go.
They can easily keep going for another twelve years with three movies and four Disney+ seasons each year. And this is before we consider that we don’t know what characters are going to be breakouts the way Shuri, Agent Carter and Agatha Harkness were.
Movies that have been confirmed at this point are Thor Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Antman: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, The Marvels, Fantastic Four, Captain America 4 and Blade. Disney+ shows that have been confirmed include Loki Season 2, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Armor Wars, Ironheart, Secret Invasion, Nova, an untitled Wakanda Project, Echo, Agatha: House of Harkness and Captain Britain. There are a bunch of animated shows in the larger MCU/ multiverse including What If?, Marvel Zombies and Spider-Man: Freshman Year, which may count as a separate category of content.
For the hell of it here is a potential live-action schedule to get us to 2035, not including anything confirmed so far. We’ll start with 2025 with the assumption that everything announced so far will have been released by 2024. That is a stretch, considering how long it took to make Antman after that was announced. But it does show that they don’t need a new Tony Stark quite yet.
By this point, Shang Chi 2 and Dr Strange 3 seem like obvious sequels. Tom Holland seems to want some time off Spider-Man, but he’ll likely change his mind in two years. The first trilogy had a home theme in the titles. I think it makes sense for a new one to have a war theme for a follow-up, so a fourth MCU Spider-Man film could be Spider-Man: Gang War.
The biggest film would be X-Men VS Avengers, as that would seem like a fun way to introduce the mutants, by having the heroes of the Marvel Universe tricked into a showdown, which would fit the theme of the struggle for acceptance.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure Loki Season 3, Daredevil: Born Again, Moon Knight Season 2 and Nova Season 2.
Fantastic Four: Doomsday would be a sequel focusing on Doctor Doom, so that he could be the villain in a movie without the new origin of the Fantastic Four. Deadpool 3 would feature his entrance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Captain Marvel 3 seems inevitable. As does Blade 2.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure a Guardians spinoff, Ms. Marvel Season 2, Punisher Season 3 and Captain Britain Season 2.
Young Avengers would be a team film about the younger heroes. The X-Men would get a proper spotlight film. A new Wakanda related project seems inevitable. And let’s do the alien costume saga and a crossover with Tom Hardy’s Venom in Spider-Man/ Venom: War of the Symbiotes.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure a Human Torch solo project, a Loki spinoff, a Guardians spinoff and Daredevil: Season 5, potentially adapting the Bendis/ Maleev run when his identity goes public.
Fantastic Four: The Coming of Galactus will introduce the Silver Surfer. A Wolverine solo film would make sense. King Thor would be a Thor finale. Deadpool and the X-Force would fit at this time.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure a Thing solo project, Loki Season 4, She-Hulk Season 2 and Echo Season 2.
Blade 3 makes sense at this point, to tie up a trilogy. Steve Rogers: Supersoldier could be a standalone film set in the 1960s where Steve Rogers goes on some kind of secret mission that seeds future conflicts. Spider-Man: Sinister War would be the big Sinister Six story, and a potential finale for Tom Holland’s Spidey.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure a Daredevil finale, the second season of a Guardians spinoff, and first seasons for X-Force and New Mutants.
This would seem an appropriate time for an X-Men sequel, a Silver Surfer spinoff, Captain America 5 and Young Avengers 2, potentially setting up Miles Morales.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure a Punisher finale, Human Torch Season 2, Black Knight and New Mutants Season 2.
At this point, it seems like time for a Wolverine sequel introducing Alpha Flight, as well as the first live action Miles Morales Spider-Man solo film. For a change of pace, it could be interesting to explore the golden age with Human Torch VS Namor, focusing on the android Human Torch.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure X-Force Season 2, Great Lakes Avengers for a change of pace, Excalibur Season One (X-Men and Captain Britain spinoff) and Echo Season 3.
Fantastic Four: Into the Negative Zone seems like a Fantastic Four sequel without Doctor Doom or Galactus. Avengers VS Thunderbolts would be a way to bring back the flagship team. An arthouse Deadpool film would be fun. It seems about time for a Silver Surfer sequel.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure New Mutants Season 3, Maverick, The Vision and Squirrel Girl.
At this point, it’ll be time for X-Men 3, Miles Morales Spider-Man 2 and some kind of Wakanda project (a potential title would be Secrets of Wakanda) as we start building to an epic finale.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure X-Force Season 3, Excalibur Season 2, Werewolf By Night and Photon.
Around here, we would have Silver Surfer 3 and Wolverine 3 to finish trilogies. Avengers: Secret Wars Part One would be this generation’s version of Infinity War, setting up some kind of event where the heroes disappear.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure New Mutants Season 4, Squirrel Girl Season 2, Bishop and Nextwave.
Miles Morales Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Secret Lives of Moira X would serve to set up a big finale in Avengers: Secret Wars Part Two.
For Disney+ shows, let’s figure a New Mutants finale where they come to their own in a world where the X-Men have vanished, World Without Superheroes showing the Marvel Universe when the heroes have disappeared, Great Lakes Avengers Finale and Marvels (adapting the Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross mini-series)
This is not meant to be what Disney has to do. It’s likely that new characters will emerge, that existing characters will sometimes become much more prominent, and that some stuff will flop. For all I know She-Hulk will be a monster hit with seven seasons, launching spinoffs for Awesome Android and Wyatt Wingfoot. I have no idea how the conclusion of Guardians of the Galaxy will work or what characters will be able to have adventures afterwards. I have no idea what kind of spinoffs or follow-up there could be to the Skurll-centric Secret Invasion or Ironheart. Maybe someone will have a great take on Machine Man, the Champions, Warlock, the Crew or the Guardians of the Galaxy team led by Sylvester Stallone. America Chavez’s exploration of the multiverse or a new take on the Runaways could easily be a series. But it is fair to say we can wait some before introducing a new version of Tony Stark.