In further proof that no genre entails more insider lingo than comic-book movies, it’s been confirmed to io9 that “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” will be the first chapter of Marvel’s Post-Thanos Phase 4. That’s a lot to unpack for anyone not in the know, so a brief glossary for the uninitiated: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, of course, the name given to the shared world in which the Captain America, Iron Man and Avengers movies (to name but a few) take place. Said world’s chronology is broken into phases, of which we’re about to enter the third on May 6 with “Captain America: Civil War.” Thanos (Josh Brolin) is emerging as these superheroes’ ultimate nemesis, and his prominence will only increase over the next few years.
If the rumors are true that one of Marvel’s still-untitled 2020 releases will indeed be the third “Guardians of the Galaxy” installment, that means we’re still years away from Phase 4 officially beginning. There are other developments to ponder in the meantime, however, namely the increased role that indie filmmakers are being given in the MCU: Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”) is set to direct “Black Panther,” “Cop Car” director Jon Watts is helming the next “Spider-Man” film and the forthcoming “Thor: Ragnarok” will be helmed by Taika Waititi (“Eagle vs Shark”). Apparently there’s a pretty clear trajectory from Sundance to Stark Tower. All three filmmakers have premiered work in Park City, most recently Waititi with “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” this January.
As this massive fictional universe continues to expand, it’s significant that an entity that is in no way “independent” would hand over at least a few of the keys to the kingdom to directors of more low-key fare. These movies show no sign of slowing down, but there are signs that they’ll be changing as they take shape.
In the meantime, remember the halcyon days of Phase 1, when Iron Man was but a Black Sabbath–loving billionaire and Captain America had yet to be unfrozen by the government. Ah, youth!
To get a sense of the MCU in its current form, watch the “Daredevil” season-two trailer: