The MCU is still relying on Thanos as a central figure four years after his death, preventing the franchise from moving forward. The inclusion of Thanos footage in The Marvels trailer highlights the MCU’s continued dependence on the audience’s connection to the villain. Many MCU projects, including in Phases 4 and 5, are still tied to Thanos and his aftermath, hindering the exploration of new storylines and characters like Kang.

The MCU has a Thanos problem, as it can’t escape the notorious villain, even four years after his death in Avengers: Endgame. The Infinity Saga revolved entirely around the Mad Titan. From the moment audiences caught a peek at him at the end of The Avengers, each Marvel film built up to the Avengers’ inevitable confrontation with him in Avengers: Infinity War. After they lost and half of all life in the universe was destroyed, the remaining Avengers found a way to bring everyone back and defeat Thanos. However, after his demise, it was unclear where the universe would go from there without its central villain.

The MCU Phase 5 is well underway, and the franchise still can’t escape Thanos. While Kang appears to be the central antagonist for the Multiverse Saga, many movies still deal with life in a post-Thanos world. If the MCU wants to move forward without being stuck in the past, then it needs to establish a fresh story that doesn’t rely on fragments of what came before. Thanos is a great character, but his time is done.

Why The Marvels Includes Thanos Footage

The Marvels is the next film in the MCU and is both a sequel to Captain Marvel and a showcase for Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan, two new heroes introduced in WandaVision and Ms. Marvel. As the release date gets close, new footage is emerging, and a Chinese trailer featured shots involving a familiar villain. The teaser begins with Nick Fury reminding viewers that Captain Marvel is mighty and one of the few Avengers members who could go toe-to-toe with Thanos. Then, it shows the fight between Carol Danvers and Thanos from Endgame, in which she had him on the ropes until he used the Power Stone against her.

It’s not a scene many have forgotten within the last four years, but it’s a great reminder of how powerful Captain Marvel is. However, the flashback to their fight is a reminder that the MCU is still banking on the audience’s connection to Thanos. He is arguably the best villain in the franchise, and many are still waiting for the universe to reach the peaks that it hit when everything revolved around the purple titan. The Marvels isn’t the only film that is leaning on the past, as many other MCU projects have dealt with the lasting effects of Thanos.

Too Many MCU Stories Are Still Tied To Thanos

The MCU Phase 4 established the beginning of the Multiverse Saga, but it was also a Thanos epilogue in many ways. Projects like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Eternals had conflicts that directly connected to Thanos’ actions and how the world changed once everyone came back post-blip. Even in Phase 5, the MCU still hasn’t fully moved on from him. Secret Invasion leaned heavily on Nick Fury’s five-year absence from Earth due to the blip and his recent mission, and it included a serum called the “Harvest,” which had DNA from the Avengers collected from the battleground of the Battle of Earth.

Related: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Thanos was a phenomenal villain, but these stories should no longer be so obsessed with the fallout from his defeat. Kang is here, and if he is to become an iconic character like Thanos before him, he needs more focus. It’s time for the MCU to embrace this new universe and its escalating narrative and leave the Mad Titan’s conquest behind.

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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