Summary

  • The MCU is experiencing its longest gap between Avengers movies which is a risky move for the once financially dominant franchise.
  • Despite past financial success of Marvel Studios, recent disappointments indicate a need for the return of the Avengers to re-energize the shared universe.
  • Lack of unity in the MCU without the Avengers, along with character absence, signals a wider problem for the franchise’s future success and continuity.



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The MCU is currently in the middle of its longest gap between Avengers movies, a move that seems odd given the franchise’s financial history and Marvel Studios’ struggles. During the MCU’s Phases 1-3, which started with Iron Man (2008) and ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), Marvel Studios bookended each phase with an epic team-up movie of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. However, after Avengers: Endgame (2019), the MCU won’t see another Avengers movie until 2025’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.


While it seemed for a while that the Marvel Studios might just be infallible at the box office, the MCU’s latest movies have shown that Marvel might just be the underdog right now. Perhaps due to general genre fatigue and perhaps due to a few disappointing movies and MCU TV shows in a row, Marvel needs to once again give audiences a reason to buy into its sprawling shared universe. As such, with the benefit of hindsight, it seems like a large misstep that Marvel’s most financially lucrative brand has taken a back seat

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Since Phase 4 of the MCU, more and more characters have been introduced to the franchise, but what happened to the original six Avengers in that time?


The Avengers Is By Far The MCU’s Most Financially Successful Franchise


It’s unlikely that Marvel Studios is in financial trouble, given that at least most of its box office disappointments have still turned a profit. However, the brand certainly isn’t making the money it once did. With that knowledge, it seems even stranger that Marvel Studios decided to sideline the Avengers after Endgame and hold them until Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. While the latter was initially scheduled to release in 2025, its current May 1, 2026 slot means it’ll have been 7 years between appearances by the time the team comes together.

Avengers movies aren’t just well-reviewed, either. Collectively, they’re the MCU’s most profitable franchise both in terms of total worldwide gross and franchise-wide average. That fact in and of itself isn’t likely too surprising, but the massive gap between the Avegners’ movies and the runners-up may be more shocking. The Avengers have pulled in a total of $7.9 billion dollars, averaging just a hair shy of $2 billion per movie. Next up is the Black Panther series with $2.2 billion total/$1.1 billion average, then the MCU Spider-Man films that have pulled $3.9 billion total/$984 million average.


Top 5 Highest-Crossing MCU Franchises (Ascending By Average Per Movie)

Global Average Per Movie (In Millions)

Global Total (In Millions

Doctor Strange (2 Movies Currently)

$817.2

$1,634.4

Guardians of the Galaxy (3 Movies Currently)

$827.6

$2,482.8

Spider-Man (3 Movies Currently)

$983.5

$3,934

Black Panther (2 Movies Currently)

$1,104.6

$2,209.1

The Avengers (4 Movies Currently)

$1,978.7

$7,914.6

The MCU’s Uncertain Box Office Could Have Used An Avengers Movie


The MCU has had some box office hits since Avengers: Endgame, notably Spider-Man: No Way Home, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. However, while No Way Home crossed $1 billion, the Black Panther and Guardians sequels both made less than their predecessors. Other projects, like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, dramatically under-performed, and The Marvels was the MCU’s worst performing movie ever despite being an enjoyable adventure. All this is to say that the brand could have used a Phase 4 and Phase 5 Avengers movie to anchor income.

It’s impossible to know if
Avengers 5
and
6
would have suffered the same fate if they had been released earlier.

It’s impossible to know if Avengers 5 and 6 would have suffered the same fate if they had been released earlier or if they would have pulled the franchise out of its rut. What’s harder to argue is that more Avengers movies would have addressed complaints about a lack of unity in the MCU. At this point, it’s completely what the Avengers have been doing – or if they actually exist as a functioning team after Endgame.


No Phase 4 Or 5 Avengers Movie Follows A Wider MCU Release Pattern Problem

Sam Wilson speaking to old Steve Rogers in Avengers Endgame

While an Avengers movie or two may have helped the MCU’s box office take, their absence is also indicative of a larger MCU problem. Simply put, the gap between appearances has been far too long for several beloved characters. As stated, the Avengers will have gone 7 years without uniting by the time The Kang Dynasty hits screens. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a breakout Phase 4 hit, but its titular hero hasn’t been seen anywhere since 2021. The Eternals are MIA, and there’s no indication of when the Black Panther cast may return.

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The Avengers Can Never Be The Same Again In The MCU

The MCU has lost several of its original Avengers, and as even more prepare to leave, it’s clear that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can never be the same.


The early MCU saw its core group of heroes show up 4+ times before Infinity War, and the same simply isn’t true for whoever is supposed to be the narrative focus now. Besides the Avengers, no characters are currently scheduled for two movies within the entire Multiverse Saga, meaning its hard to convey their ongoing character arcs. Perhaps Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will be a smash hit and justify the team’s absence, but it certainly seems like a misstep to leave them along for so long.

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