With production set to begin in January on the third Avengers movie, Avengers: Infinity War, many are wondering how this, and the currently-untitled Avengers Sequel, set for a summer 2019 release, will close out Phase 3. It has been said that these movies will mark the "culmination" of Phase 3, and with upwards of 67 characters possibly appearing in the movie, some speculate that a few of these popular heroes may get killed off. While nothing has been confirmed as of yet, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased the studio's potential approach to finding new actors if these characters don't make it to Phase 4, or if the actors part ways with the MCU.
Almost every actor who signs on for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie is required to sign on for a multi-picture deal. While those deals can vary, most of the original Avengers' contracts are about to expire, leaving many to wonder who things will play out heading into the future and Phase 4. Variety caught up with Kevin Feige, who was asked if they would re-cast some of their biggest characters like Iron Man and Captain America, if stars Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans were to move on. Here's what the Marvel Studios president and producer had to say below.
"Luckily we don't have to make that decision anytime soon. There are a lot of movies that everyone is signed on for, and we get to enjoy them for a long time. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man, and right now I can't envision anyone else. Chris Evans has embodied Captain America as well as any actor has ever embodied an iconic pop-culture figure like that. I go back to Chris Reeve as Superman as the gold standard, and I think Evans is right there. I couldn't imagine anybody else. But you also look to history: We have a new Spider-Man right now who was in our "Civil War" film and is in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the audience has embraced it. And you can look to Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Batman as characters that last longer than any one actor playing them. There's a precedent for it in other franchises that suggests it's possible. But right now I don't want to think about it and don't need to think about it."
As of now, Marvel has only issued release dates for the first three Phase 4 movies, which will arrive on May 1, 2020, July 10, 2020 and November 6, 2020. The only thing that Kevin Feige would confirm about these projects is that the titles themselves are considered to be spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, so it seems possible that some major changes could be in store for the MCU lineup. When asked about how much freedom the MCU actors are given to craft their characters, Kevin Feige had this to say.
"They have a lot of freedom to take what has made the characters as popular [as they've been] for as long as they've appeared in the comics, and evolve it and grow it. Think about what you saw Benedict Cumberbatch do in Doctor Strange - he embodied that character and made it his own. That's similar to what Robert Downey Jr. did by molding and shaping and turning [Iron Man] into something even more contemporary and relatable."
The Russo Brothers are directing both Avengers: Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4, which are both set for release on May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019, respectively. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely will write the scripts for both movies, which will close out Phase 3. Filming is expected to begin on Avengers: Infinity War in January, so hopefully we'll have more details soon.