“Dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same. And now it’s here. Or should I say…I am.” ~ Thanos (Infinity War, 2018)
On January 15, 2021, two very special moments happened for me. The first occurrence was at 3AM EST. Marvel Studios (via the Disney+ streaming service) will begin Phase 4 of its magnum opus in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the release of the first two episodes of WandaVision. A creative ode to family friendly TV shows of yesteryear, that will transmute into a full on Marvel Studios cinematic adventure by season’s end.
The second moment is a sentimental one. It was my 37th anniversary as a Marvel Comics collector. (Thanks for my first comic book Mom! ♥️) Needless to say, the serendipitous providence of these two events is not lost on me. The “Marvel Manchild” in me would say it was my destiny to celebrate my anniversary watching WandaVision drinking beer, Amoretto and eating orange slices. (Thanos voice lol)
So what is Destiny?
In this case, it’s the culmination of prior events creating the sense of a predetermined outcome. Using my Marvel sensibilities, the concept of destiny should make it easier to abstract probable Phase 4 plot points from Kevin Feige’s Investor Day 2020 Marvel presentation on December 10, 2020 (or at least have fun imagining what could be).
It was destiny for Marvel Studios to become what it is today: a phenomenon built with 23 feature films (and counting) based on the comic book mythology that is the Marvel Comics universe. If you are new to this culture (some of the best fiction or non-fiction storytelling in the world) you should know the most invested and truest fans are the ones that actually consume the source material, the comics & cartoons.
The other subgroup, from casual to Marvel Studios proper fans, are no less important though. The source of any successful brand begins with its foundation in culture, and the Marvel culture is predicated on comic book stories becoming as close to real life as possible.
It’s no coincidence that the two most important characters in the entire Infinity Saga were “blessed with knowledge” (see Tony Stark/Iron Man & Thanos). The more knowledge you have, the more aware and able you are to increasingly enjoy your favorite stories from different points of view. Which is ultimately the reason that Marvel Studios is using the Multiverse storytelling device in Phase 4 in the first place. Granted for many, ignorance is bliss. But not for me.
This type of article isn’t for Marvel fans that don’t want to read, think, or imagine.
Things get boring; even more quickly in the age of constant self-gratification, social media snobs & pandemic quarantines. So how has the “cult of Marvel” maintained its core integrity, while continuing to grow exponentially?
By keeping things fun!
Entertainment for highly intelligent lifeforms such as ourselves has become a science. Marvel Comics’ vast catalog gives its owner (Disney) a supreme advantage when it comes to modern day brand loyalty. Without releasing anything except a few trailers, trade leaks, & previews from merchandise in 2020, Marvel has managed to increase excitement for its upcoming schedule.