Sometimes in this industry you just get it wrong. That's exactly what happened on Thursday morning when a supposed leak regarding details of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 slate surfaced online. Said leak appeared to come from a legitimate source, with a second legitimate source backing things up. This wasn't actually the case, and many folks -- myself included -- made the mistake of doing our homework after the fact, not digging thoroughly enough on the front end. Thanks to some folks on Twitter, I gave the story a second look, and learned that not only was it not from the source initially cited, but it may not be from anywhere at all.
The original story came from The Independent, which claimed that the mysterious Roger Wardell Twitter account, who has become known for accurate information about the MCU, revealed a bunch of information about the Phase 4 slate. The language used in that initial piece made it seem as though the publication had actually spoken with Wardell directly. Another site noted that it was an interview as well, so I (incorrectly) proceeded as if it was information relayed directly to The Independent from Wardell. However, that wasn't the case.
The Independent never mentioned where this leak came from, and used phrases like "he says," making it seem as though Wardell had been directly quoted. The first time his name is mentioned in the article, it's hyperlinked, one would assume to his Twitter account. But that isn't so. The link doesn't go to Wardell's Twitter at all, but instead to a random GameFAQs forum post that contains all of the information. This not-so-reliable source contains all of the leak information, claiming it came from Wardell. Things get deeper, and even less reliable from here.
This first forum post contains a link to a second GameFAQs page, which is where I discovered how everything got misconstrued. This post contains information found on a Reddit thread, gathering all of the recent Phase 4 leaks and rumors from every corner of the Internet. Most are probably completely bogus, but they're compiled here for fans. At the beginning of the post, the writer notes that some of these things have been consistent with other leaks, "including what the mysterious Roger Wardell has said."
So almost none of this information actually came from Wardell in the first place. His tweets were used as research for this one post, but that's it. His name being included in the opening statement didn't translate well, like a bad game of Telephone, as the second post said that all of the information was from Wardell. The Independent didn't dig far enough to see that it wasn't Wardell's info and just went ahead and attributed it to him, trusting the initial post. I did the same thing, trusting another publication without doing my due diligence.
If Wardell didn't provide the leak, who did? As it turns out, the original source can't even be found. The original post on GameFAQs was taken from a Reddit thread on the same topic, which you can see here. At the top of the Reddit post is a bold link to the source of the information. If you follow that link, you go to 4chan, which is already known to be a hub for misinformation. Not only does the link lead to 4chan, but it leads to a 4chan post that no longer exists. The source itself is no longer available.
The Independent's initial story was completely wrong, but that's not an excuse for myself and others to not do our jobs. And perhaps most disappointingly, this Phase 4 leak is totally bogus. Unless it comes from Wardell's Twitter account, or from the mouth of Kevin Feige himself, it's best not to trust the majority of what you read about the future of the MCU. In short, we regret the error.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.