Where does Marvel go from Civil War?

Everything below will spoil the franchise to date. If you’ve seen Civil War, the only spoilers will be speculation I might get correct. Also, spoilers for a comic book here or there.

Now that Doctor Strange is nearly upon us, it is time to do a quick update on my  original examination of  where the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes from here.
If Civil War is anything to go by, every film has the potential to be an Avengers movie from here on out.
The Line up

In the films to date, the MacGuffin devices have been “the Infinity Gems.” We started with the Tesseract / Cosmic Cube of Captain America and The Avengers.

The “mind gem” was in Loki’s staff in The Avengers, and was responsible for creating Ultron.

The “Aether” of Thor: The Dark World turns into a third gen.

Guardians of the Galaxy was driven by a fourth (which is now held on the planet of the Nova corps).

There are two other gems out there. And there’s a reason Why Avengers 3 is Infinity War, part one and two.

Phase 3 is the build up to Avengers: Infinity War. Why? Because it has to. Right now, the villain, Thanos, has been barely in three films: Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Age of Ultron. Thanos he provided Loki an army, unleashed a crazed Kree, and …. he showed up for a second after the credits of Age of Ultron.

That’s it.

On screen, we know nothing about his character, his goals, or why he wants the gems.

From where I’m sitting, Thanos must appear in several of the upcoming films. Why? Because by the time Inifinity War comes up, we will have been building towards him for a decade. (Iron Man came out in 2008).

The lineup thus far is

  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part I (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part II (2019)
  • Inhumans (TBA)

If you’re wondering what happened to the Inhumans movie, Agents of SHIELD happened, that’s what. Using the Inhumans as a proxy for Mutants has probably killed the potential for a film.

And yes, Spider-Man, even though he’s shared by Sony, will be part of the MCU from here on in.

We also know that there are two Infinity gems left in play.

They’re all still running.

Civil War split the Avengers team, and odds are that Captain America won’t be seen on screen until 2018, because he and his people will be on the run. Ant-Man is a fugitive on a good day anyway. Hawkeye will probably go back to retirement. Bucky is on ice.

In short, none of these people will be able to pop their heads up without getting it shot off.

Now imagine the next Avengers film. That’s a lot to overcome, considering the events of Civil War. But from what I know of Thanos and the Infinity Gems, they’re going to need all hands on deck. And then they’ll need even more.

Which leads us to ….

Doctor Strange


With the infinity gems, supposition is that one of them is the “Eye of Agamotto,” a talisman that Doctor Strange uses. He’ll have gem #5 of 6.

Gotta catch them all.

I suspect there will be little tie-in to the rest of the series, outside of having an infinity gem. Commercials have already discussed Strange working on “A spinal injury from a power armor experiment,” so that probably starts us before Iron Man 2, with Hammer Tech. Strange might be spending the majority of the MCU films thus far in training.

Other data is TBD.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

We’re now at the point where Thanos must be explored as a character. Why? Because this is the Marvel Cosmic Universe, where Thanos mainly exists, and he’s barely been in this franchise.  Despite his appearances, he’s had a handful of lines in the three films we’ve seen him in. At best, he’s a consulting supervillain.

GotG 2 would give him his moment to shine, and show off just how much of a badass he is…. Oh, hell, one of the last lines in the GotG movie was about Thanos. We should at least get a CV on this guy.

Personally, I think at least part of the plot should have Thanos attacking the Nova Corps to get the MacGuffin gem from GotG, if not getting his hands on gem #6.  However, if they’re following the original 1991 Infinity Gauntlet storyline, I expect a man named Adam Warlock to appear here. Then they’re really going to get strange … Stranger, anyway.

In short, Thanos really should appear here. If he doesn’t, I know know what the Gunn brothers are smoking.

Other elements of GotG 2 might hook into another Marvel film, TBD below.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

… Pass. I have nothing.

  1. Peter Parker had his intro in Civil War. If I’m lucky, I’ll never have to see another Uncle Ben be murdered.
  2. Now that we’re avoiding the origin story, we might be able to leap right into the plot.
  3. I will be interested to see if they have this film without extensive MCU tie-ins.
  4. I’m trying to imagine this kid up against Thanos and company. It boggles the mind.



Dollars to doughnuts, Thor: Ragnarok will serve the same purpose as Civil War did: while Civil War scattered members of the team, this will be scattering Hulk and Thor as well. In the comic, it was a cheap move to get rid of both characters before the Civil War event. In this case, we’re already disassembling the avengers.

Yes, I know Natalie Portman won’t be back for the next film. And? When we last saw Thor, he was going to investigate his visions in Age of Ultron, with the Infinity Gems and the potential end of Asgard. Fitting Jane Foster in would be shoe horning her character into the plot.

Why would they use Bruce Banner? At a guess, the “Tesseract” (the Cosmic Cube of the comics) emitted gamma radiation (Avengers), so I expect the other gems to have something similar.

Also, if I were doing this series of films, I would have at least a part of Ragnarok will feature Thanos. With the Tesseract being sheltered in Asgard, it’s going to be on Thanos’ hit list. And since the last time we saw Thanos was him getting his hand into the Infinity Gauntlet (the user interface for all six Infinity Gems), which, last time anyone saw it, was in the vaults of Asgard.

This means that Ragnarok will either have Thanos attacking Asgard, or will have Thanos in a final, post-credit scene in which he goes through the wreckage of Asgard, coming up with the gauntlet, and probably the Tesseract as well.

By the end of Ragnarok, Thanos should end up with the Cosmic Rubics Cube. Also expect Asgard falling apart under the rule of fake-Odin. If GotG 2 just talks about Thanos, this must be the movie that shows off what a threat level he truly is.  If an entire civilization of aliens who are all on the level of Thor are going to get trounced by Thanos, what hope does everyone else in the universe have?

Black Panther

This will be … interesting, depending on how they want to play it. There are a few ways I can see this going.

  1. Civil War 1.5.  Captain America’s Avenger team (Secret Avengers, if you will) hide out in Wakanda. Since Wakanda is basically an entire country running on Stark-level technology, anyone who wants to get their hands on it will want a piece. This could be Hydra, AIM, or any other sinister organization.

Option 1a: People discover Bucky, on ice, in Wakanda, and they would like him dead or alive.

2) There is no connection to Civil War, and has T’Challa dealing a) the theft of Wakandan technology or b) peddling Wakandan tech on the black market. Expect Andy Serkis from Age of Ultron making an appearance, probably with a cybernetic hand. After all, he was a Mister Klaue (pronounced “Claw”). Insert your own joke here.

Obviously, there will definitely be issues of “I am a new King, and have to rule after my father died.” So, insert some angst.

(Side note: In Age of Ultron, when Serkis has to deal with Ultron, you have to wonder if he thought So this is what it feels like to be the real character when the other is a green screen effect. He and James Spader must have an some interesting conversations.)

My money is on some variation on #2. If Serkis isn’t in the film at all, I’ll be a little disappointed.


Option #3 (a joke post): Black Panther moves to Hell’s Kitchen to take over for Charlie Cox’s Daredevil.


(PS: If it does happen, I was only making a joke based off of Black Panther doing the same thing in the comics. Because it was stupid there too)

We could find Infinity Gem #6 here. Wakanda has to run on something  as a power source.

Avengers: Infinity War, Part I

If my previous guesses hit the mark, Thanos will have 2 out of 6 gems before the film starts.

Thanos will either be coming to Earth, or on his way. Earth has the Mind Gem (Vision). Doctor Strange (probably) also has a gem.  If Thanos wants to collect the whole set, he has to go through the wielder of at least one, if not two gems.

As suggested last time, this movie will pick up the pieces of Civil War, and Ragnarok. This should be the gathering of the seven … or probably seventeen. Or 27.


  1. Stephen Strange meets the Avengers (whatever may or may not be left of them). For additional fun factor, expect Strange to meet Everett Ross (played by Martin Freeman)
  2. Expect the final shot of the movie to have an image of every last superhero gathered in one space with the obligatory “Let’s get to work” or even, maybe,just maybe, “Avengers, ASSEMBLE!” Yes, that would be one crowded room.
  3. If I took Marvel seriously when they insisted that Coulson would be back for Avengers 3, right after “Avengers Assemble,” Coulson should appear out of nowhere and answer “Whatever you say Captain.” But I don’t have have that much confidence in them.
  4. In short: this one should open with someone, be it the Guardians, or Captain Marvel, or Thor crashing into Earth and playing Paul Revere: Thanos is coming, Thanos is coming! It’s time to mount up.

At the end of the day, part one will be about getting the band back together.  The Russo brothers (in charge of the franchise right now) have already said that more characters will be coming in with this one. That would make a certain level of sense.



Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Will this feature Ant-Man on the run? No idea. Seriously, no idea. Though Scott Lang has been a fugitive so long, being wanted by the government might not be a deterrent.

But the fact that this sequel takes place in between films makes me think that, no, Thanos will not be on Earth by the end of Infinity War Part I. Otherwise, nothing else would be going on.

Scott Lang will probably be off doing something else of minimal importance in the middle of all of this.

No, Ant-Man doesn’t impress me. Civil War was the first time I really liked him.

Though the end of this one will probably be an Avenger knocking on his door saying “Suit up. We have work to do.”

Captain Marvel

Air Force Captain Carol Danvers, aka: Captain Marvel, is an Inhuman, sort of: an alien weapons program that tried to turn other races into living weapons of death.  In the AoS franchise, the official Inhumans license is due to the Kree … in the comic books, the Skrulls created Captain Marvel, but we haven’t seen them (or we have seen them in Avengers, depending on who you listen to).

How to play this, though? Well…
1) Full origin story. We see Carol Danvers being abducted by aliens. They experimente on her, and her powers let her to break loose and wreak havoc upon her captors. She then fights her way back to Earth, uniting Marvel Earth and Marvel Cosmic.
2) She’s a bit player freed by the Guardians of the Galaxy in their sequel. If the GotG aren’t already in Infinity War part 1, this is a way to bring them to Earth: that Carol Danvers hitches a ride with them (in a post-credit scene).
3) She’s already got her powers at the start of the film, we do a few flashbacks, we stick to Earth.
4) They give her powers some other way.
Too many ways to play this, so this is a ton of guess work.
Infinity War Part II

Welcome to the End of All Things.

This should be the most epic shootout ever.  I’m told that by the end of Infinity War #1, Thanos will have all of the gems. But that could be a rumor or misinformation.

If I were doing this, it would have the Avengers in a beat-the-clock chase to collect all the Infinity Gems before Thanos can get them. Or, perhaps defending the last gem standing, either Strange’s or Vision’s. Though that this point, just taking the gems away from Strange or Vision would be a small war in itself

If Thanos does get all the gems by the end of part one, expect casualties. A lot of them. This might be their excuse to start recasting certain actors, or retiring characters from the franchise.

And yes, there is the thought that Infinity War #1 could end with Thanos getting the final gem. Except I read the original comic book: any one of these gems destroy a planet, if not the universe. Now collect all six.

In the comic, when Thanos had all six gems, he won. Against everybody. He only lost because he did something truly stupid.

If Earth is lucky, this battle will take place in outer space, and not on the planet.

If the battle for Vision and Strange’s gems happens on Earth, let’s hope it takes place in Death Valley or the Sahara, or some other location that doesn’t have a lot of people.

Now, if Marvel really wanted to pretend that their world is connected, this is the movie to do it. Remember in The Avengers, how Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow kept the minions busy in the street? With The Defenders showing up in 2017, if someone were smart, they should be dealing with the street-level, “Save the civilians” work while the heavy hitters stop the main threat. However, given how little interaction there has been, I’m not holding my breath.

If done well, this will be epic, with each Infinity War film being 3 hours or so.

If done poorly, expect a train wreck. But after Civil War, my money is on epic.


I’m betting this won’t happen. I suspect Agents of SHIELDhas probably killed that franchise, since the ratings keep dropping each season.

And let’s face it, after the Agents of SHIELD and Infinity War, who will care?

And that’s … all the guesswork I can come up with.


Anyway, if you found this interesting, you might want to try out my Dragon Award Nominated novel for best horror: Honor at Stake.


About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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