By the release of Avengers 4, likely in 2019, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will be 22 films large, and just over a decade old. That's almost as many James Bond films there have been in their 50-year history.
Now a head Marvel chief has said that the third Avengers sequel may see many of Marvel's superheroes putting on their costumes for the last time.
Kevin Feige. Credit: PA
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Marvel Studios' president Kevin Feige teased that the as-yet-untitled third Avengers sequel will "bring things you've never seen in superhero films: a finale." Say it ain't so, Marvel. Say it ain't so.
The Vanity Fair cover story featuring the conversation with Feige takes an in-depth look at the history of the MCU, from the wildly successful Thor: Ragnarok this year to the very first Iron Man film back in 2008. It may be only nine years ago but it feels like aeons already.
Currently, Marvel has several film projects on the horizon in addition to Avengers 4, including Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther, Brie Larson's Captain Marvel and the small matter of Avengers: Infinity War, which is due out in May 2018.
In their article about the Vanity Fair piece, Entertainment Weekly (EW) notes that many of the Marvel stars' contracts will finish with Avengers 4, including Chris Evans' Captain America, Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth's Thor and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow.
Credit: Marvel Studios
Does this mean that Avengers 4 is the last time that we see these iconic superheroes on screen? Will some of them even come out of the last Avengers film alive? It's all just too much.
"There will be two distinct periods," Feige said, not lessening our anxiety levels right now. "Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting."
While Avengers 4 may be a 'finale' for the MCU, it almost certainly will not be the end. Marvel has films scheduled as far ahead as 2020, including the third installment of the extremely popular Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
Feige has teased that Marvel Studios is planning films that are 'completely different from anything that's come before - intentionally', possibly including a James Gunn-directed Guardians spin-off.
So while Avengers 4 may see us saying goodbye to some of our favourite Marvel characters, it almost certainly will not be the end of the MCU. Hallelujah for that.
Featured Image Credit: Marvel Studios