Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

In The MCU Phase 5 The Avengers Will Face Their Most Intimidating Foe Yet: Franchise Fatigue

It goes by many names: MCU fatigue, Marvel fatigue, Superhero fatigue, you name it. It's a phenomenon that occurs when a fan realizes that the MCU has been in a downward spiral since the conclusion of "The Infinity Saga." Some members of the fandom have been living with this fatigue for well over a year; some are just coming to accept it as a condition they live with, but a lucky bunch has been unaffected. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. 

Marvel Studios flooded viewers with more content than ever before in a very short time span. 18 projects hit the big and small screen over two years, making Phase 4 the most jam-packed yet. It wasn't the number of movies and TV series that sparked the fatigue discussion but the caliber of the projects being shoved in our faces. Phase 4 was a massive letdown after the near-perfection of Phase 3, and the powers-that-be might have been better off giving us less material that was better crafted. Nevertheless, MCU fatigue is real, whether you've felt its wrath or not, and it has everyone looking at the soon-to-kick-off Phase 5. This will be the phase that either cements the fatigue or effectively draws it out of those feeling the miserable effects. We think it's the latter, so keep your head up, folks, as Phase 5 should eliminate that moviegoing malaise.

What's coming up in Phase 5

First, let's take a gander at the 13 projects on the docket for Phase 5, which are spread over two years. Movie wise, we've got "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" (February 17, 2023), "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" (May 5, 2023), "The Marvels" (July 28, 2023), "Captain America: New World Order" (May 3, 2024), "Thunderbolts" (July 26, 2024), and "Blade" (September 26, 2024). These dates are obviously subject to change, but the massive gap between the 2023 and 2024 films is quite large. This is where the series come in.

Hitting Disney+ for Phase 5 are "What If...?" Season 2 (Early 2023), "Secret Invasion" (Early 2023), "Echo" (Mid 2023), "Loki" Season 2 (Mid 2023), "Ironheart" (Late 2023), "Agatha: Coven of Chaos" (Late 2023), and "Daredevil: Born Again" (Early 2024).

Phase 5 currently has five fewer projects than Phase 4, but no Special Presentations have been announced for the upcoming installment. With the massive success and appreciation for "Werewolf by Night" and "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," you can bet your bottom dollar at least two are coming in Phase 5. When all is said and done, we're probably looking at the same amount of content between the two. So why would Phase 5 get us out of fatigue? Because it's not about the numbers — it's about the content.

Phase 5 has serious talent leading its films

Most MCU fans are going to be hyped for any upcoming movie, fatigue or not. We just think Phase 5 is going to deliver on these movies more than Phase 4. One of the reasons for this is that Jonathan Majors is about the run the show as Kang. The character will appear in the first film of Phase 5 and set the tone for what's to come. If you're familiar with Majors, you know his overarching presence in these next two phases alone will eliminate anyone's fatigue. A good villain can solve everything, and if the season finale of "Loki" proved anything, it's that Majors is a force and can carry the MCU on his back.

The third and presumably final "Guardians" film should also be a banger, as it's James Gunn's MCU swan song. He blew us away with the holiday special, and we're confident he's handled his last Marvel Studios project with aplomb.

"Thunderbolts" is also already looking to be a blast with a stacked cast led by Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova. Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russell, David Harbour, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are some of the other big names in "Thunderbolts," and we'll get a darker superhero team with looser morals and who doesn't want to see that kind of movie? "Blade" should be a great final film in Phase 5, and we don't expect a movie with Mahershala Ali at the forefront to tank. This movie will likely get special attention behind the scenes and should be a delight.

The ones were most nervous about are "The Marvels" and "Captain America: New World Order," which seem like they can go either way. "Captain Marvel" is hailed as one of the worst MCU projects, while "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" was an abysmal showing. Hopefully, these follow-ups don't stir up the settling fatigue.

Phase 5's Disney+ series are mostly promising

If Phase 4 taught us anything, it's that we can't trust Marvel Studios with these Disney+ series. They are mediocre at best and absolutely terrible at their worst. The seasons are forgettable and unnecessary, and something we thought we wanted until we realized we didn't. Yes, there may be two good Disney+ series (you can choose your two), but most are snoozers. Can Phase 5 turn this around? This is where the fatigue was born in Phase 4, so we really need this new batch to turn it around.

We'll be bold here and say "Secret Invasion," "Loki" Season 2, and "Daredevil: Born Again" are going to excel. If they bomb, we need to scrap these series altogether. "Ironheart" is a big question mark at this point, but we're guessing it's not going to blow anyone away. Riri's (Dominique Thorne) introduction in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" was forced, but the character was likable, so we're leaning toward this being a good series, even if it's not great — and that's okay.

"What If...?" doesn't count, so we're going to just breeze past that one. "Echo" and "Agatha: House of Harkness" are the dark horses of Phase 5, with the rumor mill suggesting the former is having big problems behind the scenes. If we're being totally honest here, these are the two series no one needs or wants. Just because a secondary character is embraced in their MCU debut doesn't mean they get their own show. Is Madisynn next? Stop.

Now, our projections put this at four good-to-great series and two probably-gonna-suck shows, which should thwart the fatigue. "Daredevil: Born Again" will have an unprecedented 18 episodes, and with how much fans love Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, that series alone should be enough to satisfy viewers with the Phase 5 series.

Kevin Feige won't let us down twice

We have to put our trust in Kevin Feige when it comes to Phase 5. The man is an executive producer on everything Marvel Studios puts out, and he knows what the people want. He may or may not have given away too much creative freedom with Phase 4 projects, but after hearing the feedback and seeing the response online from fans and critics, we hope he's had more input in Phase 5 than the last.

MCU fatigue set in over a year ago, meaning most of the Phase 5 projects were filming, in pre-production, or in no stage of production. This gave Feige plenty of time to adjust anything that might seem iffy. At the time of this publication, seven of the Phase 5 projects have wrapped filming and are in post-production, while the others are in pre-production (except 'What If...?,' which is in production). We have to assume Feige wants MCU fatigue to be non-existent more than anyone, so wouldn't he do whatever it takes? Whatever it takes. We also can trust good ole Bobby Iger, who is effectively back as Disney's CEO. We've already outlined why his return is fantastic for the MCU, and we don't doubt there have already been calls between Iger and Fiege about Phase 5 and beyond.

Look, even if Phase 5 bombs with more than half of its projects being bad, we'll be back with another projection that Phase 6 will reverse MCU fatigue. Two "Avengers" movies, "Fantastic Four," and "Deadpool 3?" That type of lineup just doesn't fail.