Lilian Min
Updated Jul 30, 2016 @ 10:39 am
Credit: Marvel

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps getting deeper and deeper into the comics lore and keeps adding more and more characters to its bulging ensembles, each film in the franchise gets packed with more and more plot. So when we first learned that the next Avengers films after Age of Ultron were going to be the two-parter Infinity Wars, we thought that was a natural fit: They’d need that extra time to fill out that storyline. But Marvel’s just announced that Infinity Wars is now just going to be one film, an announcement that has repercussions for every other film in the MCU.

To be clear, both Infinity Wars and whatever film that comes next will arrive on schedule; May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019 respectively. (Geez, Marvel plans their film slate ahead.) But the Infinity Warsplot, centered around the Infinity Stones that have been planted throughout the MCU films, was originally going to take up the length of both of these films. Now that it’s only being confined to one, we have to consider 1) what will make up the second film, and 2) how will this effect the pacing of all of the character-centered films that make up the meat of the MCU franchise?

Take, for example, Captain America: Civil War. That film couldn’t have existed without both the setup of Age of Ultron and the knowledge that Black Panther and Spider-Man were getting their own franchises, and thus needed intros. The films that are scheduled to come out at or around the same time as the next Avengers films are Ant Man and the Wasp and the much-hyped Captain Marvel — what’s going to happen with the plot points of these films? The tracks that Marvel has laid out are ingenious, and represent a new industry norm for setting up sequels. But, has their strategy now come to bite them in the butt as they attempt to follow it through?

The worries are real, but we have faith that they’ll figure it out. After all, if you’d told us a decade ago what the Marvel movie landscape would be like now, we’d have told you that’s impossible. Regardless, we can’t wait to hear more about what’s next after Infinity Wars, and of course, have our eye on the MCU’s next generation of inspiring superheroes.