The cameras haven’t even cooled down from filming Avengers: Infinity War, but the Russo brothers have already announced that filming has begun for the untitled Avengers 4 film. And they’ve also stirred the pot with a bit of mystery to commemorate the first day of production.
Earlier this afternoon the Russo brothers took to social media and posted a bluish-purple gloved hand holding up four fingers, to signify this being the fourth Avengers film. What’s got everyone buzzing? Who does the glove belong to? There are no clear markings that would clue someone in on who is being pictured. Could it be Kang? Could it be Hawkeye? Could it be Thanos sans Infinity Gauntlet? Could it be High Evolutionary? The theories are mounting, and surely the Russos are sitting back in their director chairs grinning, because they know they broke the internet.
Avengers 4 also marks the beginning of what Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is calling something "new." He recently spoke to Collider and told them that the 22 films funneling into Infinity War will have encompassed the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “What happens after that will be very different,” Feige said. “I don’t know if it’s Phase 4, it might be a new thing.”
“We’re not actively discussing anything past untitled Avengers, other than we’ve dated Spider-Man: Homecoming 2—which that would not be the title but that’s what we would call it—because that’s the agreement we made with Sony for the inclusion of Spidey in the Avengers films, and James Gunn doing a third Guardians of the Galaxy at some point. But really the whole focus of Marvel Studios is, counting Guardians 2, the next eight films that are gonna take up all of our time.”
“We have an idea [of what the MCU looks like post-Infinity War], and it’s gonna be very, very different.”
So beyond Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy 3, there is no commitment to any other sequel or feature starring a new character. All that’s been hinted at is that, counting Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and presumably Spider-Man: Homecoming, the ongoing Marvel productions -- Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Ant Man and the Wasp (2018), and Captain Marvel (2019) -- will all be building toward Avengers 4 (2019).
No Phase 4? That could start even more theorizing by fans. Could this mean the Marvel films will focus on new characters instead of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor? It’s possible. Currently in Marvel Comics, these three mantles are held by Riri Williams, Sam Wilson, and Jane Foster. It's all speculation, but it is food for thought, as we have no idea how bad the battle with Thanos is going to be or how many casualties, if any, will occur.
Without any phase structure, the films that follow Avengers 4 could be more independent of each other. Then there’s what comes of Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Ant-Man and the Wasp and how well they do at the box office. Perhaps they could warrant sequels and change the structure of who is featured going forward.
Even though things are foggy right now, things will get clearer once we get through Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War. But just to add to guesswork, whose glove do you think the Russos shared above?