Ever since Marvel Studios started upping their release strategy, first to two movies a year and then eventually three, they’ve always tried to alternate between sequels and original films. In fact, you’d have to go all the way back to Phase One to find the last time that the Marvel Cinematic Universe debuted two new standalone franchises consecutively.
Obviously that had to be the case as the upstart studio began the build towards The Avengers, but it’s nonetheless interesting to note that even after twenty-three installments, the MCU has never delivered more than two new title heroes in a row. Even if you ignore The Incredible Hulk, which it seems like they want you to do, we still got two Iron Man movies before we were introduced to Thor and Captain America within three months of each other back in 2011.
However, next year will mark the first time in ten years that two new MCU properties are scheduled to hit theaters one after the other, with The Eternals arriving in February and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings coming in May. Out of the eight movies so far that have been officially announced for Phase Four and beyond, they’re the only fresh faces on the schedule, and with Black Widow’s status as a prequel, it looks like Marvel could be sending out a statement of intent as the post-Endgame timeline begins with characters we’ve never met before.
While there’s plenty of debuting superheroes on the way to Disney Plus, outside of The Eternals and Shang-Chi, the big screen lineup is looking a little sequel-heavy, especially when you consider that the inevitable Ant-Man 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 haven’t been given release dates yet. So maybe Kevin Feige and his team are looking to shake things up by kicking off with their shiniest new toys.