The first 23 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which have become known as the “Infinity Saga,” spent over a decade building up to the war with Thanos over the Infinity Stones. Avengers: Endgame concluded that arc, and Spider-Man: Far From Home showed us a bit of the aftermath of said war. However, the MCU continues and has no signs of stopping anytime soon. There have been a handful of movies and TV series released since the end of the Infinity Saga, including Shang-Chi, WandaVision, and Black Widow, and countless others are on the way. However, now that the main story that was being built up is done with, what’s next? What is the next big finale Kevin Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios are working toward?
Phase One of the Infinity Saga introduced the main heroes and eventually led to them teaming up in Avengers, which is where we were given our first hints of Thanos coming. Now with the first phase of this new saga, it appears as though there are multiple team-ups beginning to form. Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, has appeared in Black Widow and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier looking to recruit powerful individuals. So far, she has recruited John Walker, a.k.a U.S.Agent, and Yelena Belova. It seems as though she wishes to form a team of Dark Avengers. For who else may be on her list and what her plans are with them, we’ll have to wait and see. Either way, this does appear to be quite the threat being built up to.
With the introduction of Kate Bishop, Ms. Marvel, America Chavez, and whatever’s going on with Scarlet Witch’s kids, it seems as though the MCU is on track to form the Young Avengers. It’ll be fun to see what they do with Marvel’s take on a Teen Titans-type story. Will they duke it out with the Dark Avengers, or do they have other plans for them?
Moon Knight has finally entered the MCU, and Black Knight was hinted at in Eternals. Plus, we know for sure that Blade is on his way, and Doctor Strange is taking more of the spotlight. This could potentially mean the Midnight Sons, Marvel Comics’ team of occult-based heroes, will be formed some time in the near future. Seeing a big-budget film covering multiple characters using dark magic will be an absolute blast.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness brings attention to the Illuminati, which will likely be formed in the main MCU universe eventually. Speculating as to who will be involved in it will undoubtedly be interesting.
With all these different teams possibly coming to the MCU, what will happen once they’re finally formed? Will there be a gigantic, multi-sided war, or will they be treated as separate teams with their own story arcs? Phase One made it clear that we were going to see everyone come together to form the Avengers. Things aren’t quite as obvious this time around.
The post credits scene in Shang-Chi shows that something from afar is being summoned that will “change everything.” Perhaps this is the next big-bad coming. If they’re from space, we could be introduced to them in The Marvels or Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. If they’re from a different universe or timeline, whoever they are may be tied to the events of Loki, Doctor Strange, or even Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Regardless, some unknown, cosmic threat is on the way and even Wong seems to be worried about it.
There are many possibilities for the next big-bad to fill the Thanos position for this next saga. An obvious choice would be Galactus the Devourer of Worlds, especially since Disney and Marvel Studios are finally able to use Fantastic Four characters. Speaking of the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom could very well be the next primary antagonist of the MCU, but Galactus fits the answer to that Shang-Chi post credits scene much better. There’s also, of course, the likes of Mephisto, MODOK, Apocalypse, Beyonder, one of the Celestials, or someone entirely different. It all depends on the kind of story they want to tell, but it’s tough to know what that is since there seems to be several stories being built up to at the moment.
Plus, they’ll be finding a way to bring the Fantastic Four and X-Men into the main MCU universe since FOX was acquired by Disney. That may put some things on hold depending on how they want to introduce them to the already-existing canon.
With the multiverse expanding, multiple teams being formed, a new big-bad on the way, Valentina Allegra de Fontaine recruiting some powerful people, and plenty of more heroes like the X-Men, Blade, and Fantastic Four on their way, there’s certainly a lot being built up to. The biggest question, though, is how will it all connect? How will these multiple teams interact and how will that be affected by whatever’s happening with the multiverse? It’ll unfortunately be some time before we find that out.