For the first time in the MCU’s long and decorated history, 2017 marked the year when Marvel Studios upped its output to three movies per annum.
The result? Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and the really rather excellent Thor: Ragnarok all releasing within the space of 12 months. It’s a strategy that the company carried over into 2018, too, what with Peyton Reed’s imminent Ant-Man and the Wasp set to cap off another stellar year for everyone at Marvel Studios.
As for why Marvel tends to honor that three-movies-per-year quota, studio president Kevin Feige recently went on record to explain the deft balance between sequels to established franchises (read: Avengers 4) and those films like Captain Marvel that help launch a relatively new character into the limelight.
Here’s what Feige told CinemaBlend:
It’s one of the reasons we’ve expanded to three films a year, is so that we could do the sequels to films that people have responded to — because we love to make continuing stories with characters people have responded to — but also keep doing the stuff that nobody’s ever heard of, and people go, ‘Why are you doing that?’ That’s fun. And that’s what Phase One was built on, Phase Two was built on, Phase Three was built on, is having that… Whenever we announce the next year, two years, three years, five years, whatever we’re going to announce, there will be plenty of those that, maybe people in the know like yourself will know what they are, but the world at large will go, ‘What is it? Why are they doing that?’ That’s exciting, for sure.
So far, so good, then, as Ant-Man and the Wasp recently became the 20th MCU movie to be rated ‘fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes (our review). However, Feige’s more concerned with maintaining some semblance of originality even after a full decade of blockbuster action.
When you’ve got, what is it now, six, seven separate franchises? It’s part of the scheduling process. Sometimes when people ask, ‘What about this character, what about that character?’ I go, ‘Well, it’s scheduling.’ And they go, ‘What’s he talking about?’ Scheduling. How many years between movies can you have? You know, [Thor:] Ragnarok was four years. There’s four years between, right? He had an appearance in between there. So that seems to be maybe okay – sometimes, though, you want it to be less. Sometimes it can be more.
Looking into 2019, Marvel Studios is quietly preparing for the launch of Captain Marvel on March 8th, before Avengers 4 tends to unfinished business eight weeks later.