Disney is dividing Marvel fans from casual viewers with its dizzying Phase Four

With the amount of content Disney has churned out this year, it’s become increasingly harder to stay up-to-date on the latest twists and turns in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For any hardcore Marvel fans, all the new content is a dream come true, but for the rest of the population, it’s an overwhelming ocean of material they can no longer keep their heads above. 

Previously, Marvel was the one to bridge the gap between the die-hard fans who had read all the comics and the casual ones who were only interested in watching one or two movies a year to get their superhero fix. In recent years, however, the greed of the corporate giant has led it to pump up profits by unleashing a flood of content, which has in turn led fans to make the ultimate decision: invest more time, or get left behind?

In just this year alone, Marvel fans were required to watch four movies and four TV series in order to keep up with the Marvel Joneses. These included Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home, WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and Hawkeye.

The total watch time required to remain immersed in the canon added up to a whopping 29 hours and 53 minutes. Plus, if you watched the What If…? series, which isn’t canon, your total time spent watching new Marvel releases this year totaled 34 hours and 42 minutes. This is a huge amount of time that the majority of the population would struggle to find unless they had access to the Time Stone.

What all of this translates to is that unless your friends are hardcore Marvel fans and have kept up with the plethora of fresh releases, they will no longer understand what’s going on in the MCU. It also means that you can say goodbye to the days of going out to the cinema as a group to watch the latest release. If you want to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home with friends, for example, then you’d better make sure that they’re Marvel fans through and through, otherwise there’s no chance they’ll understand the many cameos and crossovers that occur throughout.

This steep mountain of content strengthens the connections formed within the Marvel community and gives hardcore fans even more to talk about, but it also ostracizes those fans from ordinary viewers who just want to enjoy Marvel’s latest offerings. Will the divide grow even deeper in 2022? We’ll find out as Phase Four continues to expand and fans of all stripes decide for themselves just how Marvelous they want their lives to be.