The MCU’s future looks bleaker than ever due to several problems, including the potential decline of Avengers movies and the lack of iconic characters.
The introduction of the X-Men to the MCU poses a problem as they are robbed of important stories, affecting their potential in the franchise.
The MCU must take a new and potentially risky approach, embracing more violent content, to maintain the integrity of characters like Blade and Daredevil, which could have divisive consequences.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe may well be the most successful movie franchise of all time, but there are big problems lurking in its future that Marvel simply won’t admit. Since its inception in 2008, the MCU has grown into an incredibly ambitious adaptation of the stories and characters of Marvel Comics. Known primarily for its sprawling, interconnected narrative and willingness to continually expand its stories, the many movies in the MCU timeline have long had a tendency to look to the franchise’s own future. However, despite its success, the MCU’s future actually looks bleaker than ever.

Since the events of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU has undergone some significant changes which indicate the likely future of the franchise. Upcoming Marvel movies confirm that the MCU will continue to expand, with new heroes and villains introduced throughout Phases 5 and 6 of the franchise’s story. This direction for the franchise comes with plenty of pitfalls and potential problems, with several other issues already plaguing the MCU after the perceived decline in quality of many recent releases. In spite of the franchise’s past success, here are 10 problems that Marvel won’t admit about the MCU’s future.

Related: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked Worst To Best

10 Avengers Stories Will Never Work As Well As They Used To

In the early days of the MCU, its team-up movies were highly-anticipated events. Though this is still technically the case, Avengers 5 could learn several lessons from the MCU’s earlier team-ups – many of which simply wouldn’t be plausible in the franchise as it exists moving forward. The steady introduction of new characters into the MCU effectively dooms future Avengers movies: either the roster of heroes will be too large and lack focus, or will be forced to snub multiple major franchise players. Put simply, there’s no longer a good way for the MCU to approach its Avengers movie, and that’s a potentially huge problem.

9 The MCU’s Lost Heroes Are A Big Problem

The end of the MCU Phase 3 saw Steve Rogers retire as Captain America after the death of fellow Avenger Tony Stark. Combined with the MCU’s handling of Hank Pym, this creates a big issue for the MCU’s future, as many of Marvel’s most important characters are now either dead or retired within the franchise. Though it’s not an insurmountable issue (as there are other characters who could conceivably fill the void), having some of Marvel’s most iconic characters exit the franchise leaves something of a hole in the MCU that the franchise has no clear approach to filling.

8 The X-Men Will Never Live Up To Their Potential

Despite everything known about the MCU’s X-Men movie and how promising much of it is, one less stellar thing is clear: the titular team will almost certainly not live up to their potential in the MCU. Even putting aside the heroes’ turbulent big-screen past, the MCU’s adaptation of their story may well be equally ill-fated, as their late introduction to proceedings – though unavoidable – will undoubtedly cause problems for their story within the franchise. Considering key Avengers stories and arcs have been adapted and concluded, the X-Men are effectively robbed of a handful of important stories, creating a big problem for their MCU future.

7 The MCU’s Future Will Have To Risk A New Approach

Of the many MCU TV shows and movies announced for the franchise’s future, several of them hint that Marvel will need to embrace a new and potentially risky approach. Where the MCU has historically been largely family-friendly, the introduction of heroes such as Blade, Daredevil, and Black Knight indicates that the MCU will need to become more violent. Failing to deliver on the apparent promise of brutal action involved with such heroes could undermine the characters’ stories, but making content for a more mature audience could prove divisive. As there’s no clear-cut solution to the problem, it could cause big problems for the MCU.

Related: Every MCU TV Show Ranked Worst To Best

6 Too Many Heroes Risk A Big Narrative Disconnect

In its early days, the MCU’s consistent introduction of new characters was its greatest strength. However, somewhere along the timeline, the practice became counter-productive, with the MCU now rapidly approaching critical mass. Too many heroes and stories existing within a large shared universe is increasingly problematic: it creates a need to follow and understand every other connected TV show or movie in a way that becomes a more drastic undertaking with each new release. Keeping so many stories compatible with one another gets increasingly complex with each new character, and also risks dissuading more casual viewers away from the MCU.

5 The Franchise Desperately Needs A New Central Hero

The MCU may have introduced multiple important heroes, but its early days made sure to establish its central characters. These were undeniably Captain America and Iron Man: both characters were given solo trilogy arcs and led their fellow heroes in multiple Avengers movies. However, with their respective retirement and death, the MCU is lacking a true leader or main character, with the franchise seemingly somewhat directionless since the end of Avengers: Endgame. Though it’s likely that this will be resolved, much of the damage is already done, and the franchise will need to recover this fumbled opportunity to have another hero step up sooner.

4 The Multiverse Saga Could Curse The MCU’s Success

After the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the MCU’s Infinity Saga, the franchise swiftly moved on to the Multiverse Saga, a new narrative arc exploring the many alternate realities of Marvel’s Multiverse. Despite it being an interesting angle, the franchise’s introduction of stories in which possibilities are endless ultimately lowers the stakes. Death no longer needs to be permanent and roles can be recast at will – from an audience perspective, it’s a major issue as it creates a general feeling that nothing truly matters. By throwing the traditional rules of continuity out of the window, the MCU may have caused a massive problem for its future.

3 The MCU Has Failed Marvel’s Most Iconic Superhero

Prior to the creation of the MCU, Spider-Man was Marvel’s most iconic and beloved hero by far. After a lengthy rights dispute, the hero did make his way into the MCU, but the franchise’s approach to the character actually undermined the best elements of Marvel’s most bankable property. By having Spider-Man start life as an Avenger and a glorified Iron Man sidekick, the MCU lessened the character’s impact as an inspirational standalone hero. Rather than being the franchise’s greatest street-level hero, he will forever appear to be little more than a second-generation Avenger, and it’s a little-addressed problem for the MCU’s future.

Over the course of Phases 1 and 2, Thanos’ status as the big bad of the Infinity Saga was slowly seeded and teased ahead of his eventual emergence as an Avengers-level threat. Kang the Conqueror will serve as his successor in this role, although Phase 4’s introduction of the villain has ensured he will never reach the same level as the Mad Titan in the MCU. What’s more, the element of slow realization and awe that Thanos inspired will be impossible to replicate with Kang, as MCU audiences have come to hold much higher expectations of how the franchise will adapt his story.

1 Comic Accuracy Is No Longer Viable

After the MCU’s earliest changes, it’s clear that there are now many incredible Marvel storylines the MCU can’t use. The franchise’s willingness to diverge from the source material has often been considered one of its greatest attributes, but with so many departures from the comics, the MCU can no longer strive for comic accuracy. Future projects will have no option but to be less faithful to the source material, creating a ripple effect that essentially rules out direct adaptations in the franchise’s future. Though it may not be the biggest problem yet, it’s one that will only get more potent as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow.

Key Release Dates

The Marvels

Deadpool 3

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

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