Did Marvel's Comic-Con 2022 Panel and New Schedule Fix The Major Problem with Phase 4?

Marvel Studios closed down Saturday night at Comic-Con 2022 with the sort of big Hall H panel we haven't seen in years. The Marvel panel went so far as to confirm some titles for projects we've known are in development (Captain America: New World Order, Agatha: Coven of Chaos), but Kevin Feige also surprised us by laying out Marvel's entire planned slate for Phase 5, as well as the basic framework of Phase 6, which will end with two new Avengers movies in one year: Avengers: The Dynasty of Kang and Avengers: Secret Wars. 

There was a lot more that Marvel revealed in the finer details of its Hall H panel – and additional details that weren't discussed but we know are on the table. The larger question now, is: is it enough? Does Marvel's new MCU roadmap fix the major issue with Phase 4? 

Just to clearly establish: the general consensus on Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been that it's filled with fun new characters, stories, and influences (cultural and genre); however, at the same time, fans have felt like Phase 4 has lacked the larger sense of direction, interconnectivity and general large-scale stakes that made The Inifinity Saga a massive success across twenty-three movies. Part of Phase 4 has been concerned with opening up the Marvel Multiverse; another part of it has been focused on power shifts in post-blip Earth, and another wing of the franchise has been increasing the scope of the cosmic and/or mystic powers that exist on Earth. Each entry in Phase 4 (whether theatrical movie or Disney+ series) has veered into one of those storylines or a combination of several – but to what end? 

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(Photo: Marvel Studios)

Truth be told, we've always known the endgame (pun) to Marvel's "Multiverse Saga" – a reboot of the MCU that has the potential to introduce new variants of established characters, new characters, and a literal whole new franchise world. Fans have been waiting for a Secret Wars event to come along and provide the framework for a multiverse reset – much like in Marvel Comics. So, while Kevin Feige's presentation at Comic-Con 2022 may not have actually spelled out what the larger stakes are for the Multiverse Saga – or what comes after – this new MCU roadmap does do some important work. 

First and foremost: Marvel let us know just now long it will take to get to Secret Wars, which helps alleviate some of the existential anxiety some fans have about how long this seemingly disconnected strings of films and TV series will run. On a more micro-level, Marvel Studios' new timeline for the MCU also punctuates some important subplots of the current storyline, like how some morally questionable people are slowly coming together into what will be the Thunderbolts squad – the big finale of Phase 5. 

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Right now, it's also smart to take a beat and pause, as there are still a lot of unknowns and things yet to be confirmed that could be further revealed, soon. D23 2022 is still on the horizon