At a fan event in Shanghai ahead of the global release of Avengers: Endgame later this week, Marvel studio head Kevin Feige dropped a bombshell. He unexpectedly announced that the final film of phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be Spider-Man: Far from Home and not, as widely assumed, the three-plus-hour Avengers film.
In response to a question about Far from Home, Feige put it simply: “It’s the end of the third phase,” adding that it was the first time he’d said so in public.
There is some precedent for the move. Marvel ended phase two not with the long and bloody Avengers: Age of Ultron but the comparatively lightweight Ant-Man, something of a comedic digestif. The tone of the first Spider-Man trailer and the less ambitious scope of the film suggests that a similar dynamic could be at play here.
This reorganization of the MCU comes soon after we learned about a slew of upcoming Disney+ series that will dramatically expand it. In announcing those shows, Feige said that they’d contain “major storylines…with ramifications that will be felt both through the other Disney+ series we’ll be producing and the future on the big screen.”
That means that phase four will be the first true cross-platform phase of the MCU, and it makes sense to start it with a film that has connections to Disney+ series. That seems unlikely for Far from Home, given that filming had wrapped well before the new shows were confirmed.
But the biggest question for Marvel fans now is, with Far from Home taking its place as the closer of phase three, what will the first film of phase four be? Ant-Man had a post-credit scene that set up Captain America: Civil War, the first film of phase three. This (hopefully) means that we’ll get our first clues about phase four when Far from Home is released on July 5.