The Multiverse Is The "Next Step In The Evolution Of The MCU," Says Marvel's Kevin Feige

I remember walking out of the theater after a screening of The Avengers, shaking my head in awe at how Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and his team of collaborators managed to weave seemingly disparate worlds together into a coherent story. But that was back in the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the scope and ambition of Marvel movies have expanded exponentially since then.

So how will Feige and Co. continue to keep things fresh as they surpass 25 movies in the same universe? The answer, it seems, is to take the action beyond a single universe. Read Feige's latest quote on the future of the MCU below.

In an interview with from this past weekend's CCXP19, Feige talked about taking gradually larger steps throughout the history of the MCU and revealed what that next big step will be:

"When we first started the MCU, it was all about Tony Stark. Introduce the world to Tony Stark and that Iron Man armor. Then [we] went on to teach people what Asgardians were and learn about super soldiers then bring them together in Avengers. I've always loved space movies and I've always loved big intergalactic tales, which is why we did Guardians and the audience came with us so we could do a movie like Endgame.

I always wanted to do time travel, which we finally got to do in Endgame. The multiverse is the next step in the evolution of the MCU and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is going to crack it open in ways that will have repercussions for a Disney+ series before it that's not WandaVision and for movies after it in a big fun way."

The show he's alluding to there is the new Tom Hiddleston-starring Disney+ series Loki, which Feige previously confirmed will tie into the events of the Doctor Strange sequel. (Doctor Strange 2 hits theaters on May 7, 2021, and both Loki and WandaVision arrive on Disney+ sometime before that in Spring 2021.) How exactly Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be able to "have repercussions" for a series that debuts before it remains to be seen, but as anyone who's been keeping up with HBO's Watchmen knows, it's not unprecedented for characters to experience multiple events simultaneously across time. I could imagine a scenario in which a character experiences a vision or an interaction in those Disney+ shows that's then clarified or recontextualized later in the movie.

The movies that have been officially announced after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther 2. Could the multiverse aspect potentially factor in to how Jane Foster ends up wielding Mjolnir? (Maybe that film takes place in a universe in which she became the Goddess of Thunder instead of Thor taking the mantle?) The possibilities for Black Panther 2 are equally fascinating: could Michael B. Jordan come back as Erik Killmonger if that movie also takes place in a different universe?