When the first Iron Man film hit theaters back in 2008, nobody ever suspected the rise of the "Avengers Initiative" nor how great Marvel would become when it came to movies. Now we can look forward to a few movies and shows per year further delving us into the world of superheroes, New York, and Stan Lee cameos. The MCU has since then become one of the most beloved franchises in cinematic history.
Because of this, Marvel doesn't look to be stopping anytime soon, having a slated release date up until 2020 as far as we know. As of right now, everything is building to the great Avengers: Infinity War which will be the culmination of everything we've seen up until that point. And the wait won't be so bad either with Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange on the way soon.
Part of what makes the MCU such an amazing franchise is because it feels real and alive, with actual events taking place to really flip it on its head. Not only that, but the introduction of new characters also changes the whole world. As we're beginning to see, Marvel isn't afraid to rearrange the chess pieces in their movies. Because it's been such a long established universe, they're going to have to do something different to keep audiences coming to their films.
Whether it's a character, film, event, or behind the scenes happening, here are 15 things that will drastically shake up the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
15 The Civil War
The first and most obvious event that's going to shake up the MCU is Civil War. Taking inspiration from a comic where superheroes have to register with the government to be able to operate, putting Captain America and Iron Man at odds, this looks to be amazing. From the inclusion of Black Panther and Spider-Man all the way down to heartbreak that is Steve Rogers and Tony Stark having to take punches at each other. The MCU will surely feel this one for many years to come.
14 Black Panther
Black Panther is the opening of a new door for the MCU. He's not from America, rather from a fictional country in Africa called Wakanda. By introducing him, they not only draw the connection to that place, but they leave the door open for heroes from all over the world to join in the fray, as well as other governments outside of the U.S. To add to that, Black Panther will be getting his own solo film, and he's had a big rivalry with Namor, so it wouldn't be too hard to think that he'll be showing up at some point.
13 Quantum Realm
At the very end of Ant-Man, we see Scott Lang going subatomic to be able to stop Yellowjacket from hurting Cassie. As he continuously shrinks, he enters what Hank Pym calls the Quantum Realm, where "all concepts of time and space become irrelevant." Asgard brought a layer of depth to the MCU, but the Quantum Realm really takes it to new levels. Now that we know it exists, it's not too far off to assume that we'll learn more about it in the future; and with Ant-Man and the Wasp on the way, perhaps they'll have to venture into it once more.
12 Doctor Strange
Take everything I said about the Quantum Realm, multiply it by 10, and apply it here. Doctor Strange is mysticism incarnate. The Quantum Realm may have cracked the door open a bit for more... ahem... strange adventures, but Doctor Strange will fling it wide open. After all, there's no way you could do a movie about the Sorcerer Supreme and not have all kinds of bizarre and trippy things going on at once. The MCU has gone to space before, but now it's going to travel between different dimensions.
11 Future of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. was one of the most intense and exciting thriller plot twists in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, as we saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been reborn as a respectable organization once more. Due to the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely going to see some more changes. In the comics, Tony Stark ended up taking Nick Fury's place as director. Could we see that happen on the big screen? Whatever happens, it's not going to be pretty.
Thor: Ragnarok is one of the most speculated films that's coming to the MCU. Ragnarok could mean one of two things: a robotic clone of Thor created by Tony Stark after Thor was killed, or the Norse legend about a great battle resulting in the death of many beloved individuals and potentially Asgard itself. Personally I'm betting on the latter, and if that's the case, oh man, is that going to change things in the MCU for a long time to come. Even if it's just a clone, Thor would have to die, and fans will feel that one as well.
9 Hulk in Space
It's been years since the Incredible Hulk has appeared in a Marvel film outside of something Avengers related. Apparently, he is scheduled to appear alongside Thor in Thor: Ragnarok. This is the first time we'll see the Hulk in space on the big screen. I know everybody is pinning for a movie based on Planet Hulk, and I think this is a good sign that could become a reality. Regardless, that'll really stretch what the writers are willing to do with the character, and I'd love to see the green giant in some battle armor.
When Marvel finally got the rights back to its prodigal son, fans were both pleased and disappointed. I mean, another reboot already? Tom Holland better be the best Spider-Man we've ever seen on screen, or we're going to lose our minds. Criticism aside, this opens the MCU to a whole new roster and cast of characters. Spider-Man has some of the best villains ever seen in comic history, so it would be amazing to see Mysterio fighting Doctor Strange, or the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming up with a form of Agent Venom. One can only hope.
7 The Wasp and Captain Marvel
There has been a big complaint since the first Avengers film that there are not enough female superheroes in the MCU. Age of Ultron gave us Scarlet Witch, but it still didn't quite cut it. Now Marvel is headlining two movies with female superheroes, and they're going to change the status quo of what a superhero is. If these films work, we could potentially see others in the future such as She-Hulk or even Spider Gwen. All the little girls in the audience will have someone to look up to.
6 The Inhumans
The Inhumans is going to be unique in that it's the first Marvel film that's going to have big ties to a TV property (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). This bodes well for the lovers of the Netflix shows as well as those who just want to see the continuity streamlined a bit better. Not only could we see Daisy and her comrades appearing in the film, but it might just kick off a new motto for Phase 4, where we could see even more crossovers between Marvel movies and television shows. Please let the Defenders team up with the Avengers.
5 Ending Contracts
Chris Evans. Chris Hemsworth. Robert Downey Jr. Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man respectively. They've been there since the beginning. However, every actor has to move on at some point, and all of these guys are about to reach the end of their contracts. Marvel has no intentions of recasting these characters, and will likely send them off either by killing them or giving some reason for them to never appear on the big screen again. It'll be heartbreaking to most of the founding Avengers leaving, but nothing lasts forever.
4 Infinity War
Uh, duh! Marvel has been building up to Infinity War since Robert Downey Jr. first put on the Iron Man suit. This will be the payoff of every hero, every event, every victory, every loss we've seen in the MCU up until that point. It's going to big, epic, but most of all, it's going to be the end of a lot of things we've come to know and love. With Thanos being the overarching conflict behind the scenes since day one, Marvel is going to need to grab a new villain when Phase 4 finally comes full circle. That'll be the day, folks. If there's one Marvel movie you don't want to miss, it's this one.
3 No More Infinity Stones
Because of the buildup to Infinity War, naturally we're going to see Thanos in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet with all of the stones in hand. After he's defeated though (we know he's going to be), then that's it for the stones. We're not sure what's going to happen to them, but like getting a new bad guy, Marvel is going to have pull something else from their comics to give us a tease of what's to come. What intrigues me the most is what that means for the Vision. One of the Infinity Stones is what gives him life, and if they don't exist, will he be gone, too?
2 Phase 4
There's a big question regarding the MCUs life after Infinity War. Well, Marvel has planned for this, and has a Phase 4 already on their charts. We don't know a whole lot about it other than that it will include The Inhumans. It will also feature a newer cast of characters that we'll have to get to know, as well as more characters we could potentially see. It's also rumored that Marvel might get the rights back for the Fantastic Four, and if that's the case, Phase 4 would definitely see them on it.
1 The New Avengers
Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Wasp, Black Panther. These are the heroes who are going to be headlining a new cast of Avengers after Cap, Iron Man, and Thor finally spend their due time in the MCU. This will not only shake up the MCU but also what fans will have to look forward to when these movies get announced. The Avengers in the comics, featured a constantly changing roster, and now that it'll be a reality in the films, it feels like the MCU will really embrace their comic origins going forward.