Is the Marvel Universe Ever Going to Grow Old?

The MCU continues to expand its franchise even after 14 years of blockbuster movies, but can they realistically keep growing?

The MCU has been a cultural and commercial juggernaut since its inception.


The MCU has been a cultural and commercial juggernaut since its inception.

Hope Bolibruck, Staff Writer

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began unsuspectingly in 2008 when its first film, Iron Man, was released.

Iron Man was the first official film of the company, but that was just the beginning of one of the most popular film series to date. The MCU continued to release highly intense and graphically advanced movies. Once the fan base began to grow, it never stopped.

The movies gradually became more and more famous. The highest-grossing movie of the MCU is Avengers: Endgame which was released back in 2019. It then made $2.79 billion after the re-release in theaters in July 2019. The most recent release from the MCU, Spider-Man: No Way Home, has already grossed more than $1.5 billion globally. Even in times of a pandemic when theatre releases have been struggling to bring audiences, the MCU still manages to sell out theaters with their newer films.

The enterprise somehow still never fails to satisfy their fanbase. The movies are originally based on the comics written by Stanley Martin Lieber, also known as Stan Lee. This allowed for the films to attract the original audience of comics, but the movies also began to attract new audiences due to the CGI and running storylines of the newly growing series.

Other things like famous actors also contribute to the popularity and attraction. For example, Robert Downey Jr has been in at least 80 movies in his career. He is viewed as Iron Man in the MCU, and continues to show in movies even after his on-screen death. Tom Holland has also grown to be a well-known superstar who gained the title of Spider-Man in 2016. The films themselves also allow for audiences to just enjoy them from the love stories to the intense battle scenes.

…the movies build on each other, and keep the audience wanting to come back for more and see what happens next.

— Josephine Yokim

“Sometimes when you are just sitting there watching the movies, it can feel like you’re there, and they describe the characters so well that you feel like you have a personal connection to them,” says freshman Lauren Keyser. Josephine Yokim also says, “…the movies build on each other, and keep the audience wanting to come back for more and see what happens next.” From these two fans’ perspectives, they can both obviously connect to the series. They also both mention that the series has continuous subplots that are consistent and intrigue the audiences to want to watch more and more.

The specialty of the series is that it keeps drawing more people by going in-depth to all the little details of the universe. Yokim says, “The worldbuilding, characters, and plotlines…” are consistent in contributing to the intriguing part of the franchise. Years between cliffhangers at the endings of movies/series are left to encourage viewers to return to the next release from the company too. Marvel, in fact, is famous for its well-known post-credit scenes which could reveal facts that won’t mean anything until years in the future for those returning fans.

Disney bought the MCU back in 2009 after they realized that the MCU had real potential to be the next big thing. The MCU officially incorporated itself with The Walt Disney Studios in August of 2015.

This was a huge step for the cooperation because now, “…most of their movies and shows [are] on Disney+ bringing in anyone and everyone,” says Satrio Kusuma, a freshman at NAI. The marketing for the franchise skyrocketed and continues to grow. TV series are now released on Disney+ too which just means more entertainment for fans, and more money for the two companies.

Although the MCU does not appear to be vulnerable to losing popularity soon, it is always a possibility. “But eventually…something will happen to divert everyone’s attention… there is only so much that can be created without starting to feel repetitive,” Yokim says.

As of now, the MCU does not appear to be concerned about damaging its first-tier films, but as Yokim points out, things may grow predictable at some point. The storylines of the movies right now are still insanely detailed with many different easter eggs to entertain audiences across the world, but specific elements will have to be repeated at some point. As this repetition becomes inevitable, so too might be the decline of Marvel’s box office dominance.