During an earnings call with shareholders today, Walt Disney Corporation ECO Bob Iger teased the idea of creating a new franchise beyond The Avengers, and rolling out a new series of films around something that has not yet been used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The response came to a question from an investor who wondered about how Disney plans to continue the unprecedented winning streak of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which by Iger's own reckoning is the highest-grossing franchise of all time with an average box office draw of almost $850 million worldwide per film.
“I’m guessing that we will try our hand at a new franchise beyond Avengers,” Iger said, adding that there are over 7,000 characters.
While Iger said the popularity of the Avengers characters means audiences should not discount the possibility of follow-up films for familiar characters, but “There are a lot more stories to tell and a lot more characters to fill those stories with.”
With many of the actors' contracts expiring at the end of Avengers 4, it has long been assumed that most of the Avengers characters might move on following the events of that film. Certain characters who are expected to have sequels appear to have died at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, leaving the studio in the position of not being able to comment specifically on certain elements of their future slate without spoiling the next film.
Shortly after the fourth Avengers movie, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 will mark the end of the line for this particular group of Guardians as well. Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn has reportedly been tapped to help Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige chart the future of the MCU.
Expect the anticipation, and the speculation, for whatever is next to be hot and heavy now that Iger has hinted at a big change to the status quo.
Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War are now playing in theaters. Ant-Man and The Wasp is set for release on July 6, 2018. Captain Marvel will follow it on March 6, 2019, with the untitled Avengers 4 set to tie everything about the Marvel Cinematic Universe into a bow on May 3, 2019. Leave your Marvel questions and thoughts in the comment section below or send them to @RussBurlingame on Twitter!