What is MCU Marvel Cinematic Universe

Explanation: What is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)?

First off, one fact is important: while all MCU films are adaptations of comic book stories published by Marvel, not every Marvel film adaptation is also a part of the MCU.

What sounds confusing is actually quite simple: Long before the comic book publisher Marvel founded its own production studio and independently produced its own film adaptations of its superhero stories, the rights for individual characters were sold to other film studios. For example, Constantin Film acquired the rights to the "Fantastic Four" (and later licensed the brand to Fox), while Twentieth Century Fox secured the film rights for the "X-Men". The previous films with these characters therefore do not belong in the MCU.

X-Men rights now also at Disney

However, the recent purchase of 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Twentieth Century Fox, by Disney, the parent company of Marvel, could lead to the addition of X-Men and Fantastic Four characters in future MCU films occur because the licenses are now all under one roof again. There have been no official announcements yet, just a lot of rumors and speculations, often combined with plenty of clickbait.

Should there be a cinema crossover of the Avengers and X-Men, from the viewer's point of view it would be desirable that a completely new line-up be chosen for the MCU-X-Men in order to avoid confusion. Because the events from the Fox X Men series contradict the previous events from the MCU world. The character of the super-fast Quicksilver even exists in both film universes due to legal quibbles, each embodied by a different actor. A connection between the two worlds would therefore result in a lot of chaos.

You can also read below what effects the upcoming launch of the Disney + streaming portal will have on the granting of Marvel licenses to other studios.

Special case: Spider-Man

The thing with the character "Spider-Man" is a little different than with the X-Men: Here Sony had single-handedly published an extremely successful trilogy with the superhero in the early 2000s (in the lead role: Tobey Maguire). The subsequent reboot (two films with Andrew Garfield) did not bring the desired success.

Read more:The correct order of all Spider-Man films

As a result, they quickly reached an agreement with Marvel / Disney that the next Spider-Man film ("Spider-Man: Homecoming") should be part of the MCU and that the character may appear in other MCU films for the time being (first happened in " The First Avenger: Civil War "and then again in the following Avengers films).

The Spider-Man rights still belong to Sony, but they worked benevolently with Marvel Studios and Disney - at least until 2019. In August, a dispute between Sony and Disney escalated, which almost resulted in Spider-Man's final departure from the MCU resulted in. Due to different ideas about participation in production costs and profit, the collaboration was officially over for a few weeks. Only after loud fan protests did the studios come to a new agreement.

It is interesting that the original deal actually only included the character Spider-Man and some of the main supporting characters and only seemed to apply to real-life adaptations. Other characters known from the Spider-Man comics were probably not one of them, as the film "Venom" produced by Sony alone shows: Originally Venom is an opponent of Spider-Man, but the "Venom" film from 2018 plays completely clearly not in the MCU and Spider-Man does not appear in it, is not even mentioned.

In addition, Sony released the Oscar-winning production "Spider-Man: A New Universe" without Disney at the end of 2018. Several incarnations of Spider-Man appear in it - but all of this is completely independent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The future will show to what extent this procedure will change as a result of the new cooperation agreement. So it is conceivable that the MCU Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) will meet the non-MCU villain Venom (played by Tom Hardy) in an upcoming film.

The first teaser trailer for the film "Morbius" caused confusion in January 2020. The main character (played by Jared Leto) is also a villain from the Spider-Man universe. So far, the rumor mill had assumed that Sony would handle this film like "Venom" as a production that was independent of the MCU, i.e. that it would dispense with references to Spidey and the Avengers world. But the trailer now shows a picture of Spider-Man and a character from "Spider-Man: Homecoming".

We'll find out what this is all about at the latest when "Morbius" hits theaters, which has been postponed to March 18, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the…

But back to the original Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU):

What is the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The films in this cinematic universe are all more or less strongly connected to one another. The stories all take place on the same earth or in the same universe, at the same time or at different times within the same timeline.

If something happens in one MCU movie, it also happened in the world of another MCU movie (or will happen if the action takes place before). The characters and events of one film can therefore be hinted at in the background in another film at any time or they can be discussed directly in dialogues - but they do not have to be if they do not play a role in the current situation.

Sometimes a character even appears personally as a cameo, allusion or important supporting role in another hero's film. Sometimes, however, the connection only shows up in a special scene after the credits.

Spider-Man: Homecoming, Trailer 1 (German)

Source: 2017 Sony Pictures Releasing GmbH
Tom Holland is the third cast member of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man since 2002.

And despite all the connections and an overall development of the world shown, the individual main characters, such as Iron Man, Captain America or Spider-Man, always experience their own story in their individual films and there are usually no prerequisites for their own adventure to understand the other films is (the only exception: "The First Avenger: Civil War").

It is different with the joint films, in which all the important characters meet and save the world as a superhero team called "Avengers" (four films so far: "Marvel's The Avengers", "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Avengers: Infinity." Was "as well as the newest part" Avengers: Endgame ").

Buy Now Iron Man - Trilogy [Blu-ray] [Collector's…
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In terms of content, these team-ups require that almost all characters have already been established in their own films, so that they can appear again here without a major introduction. Interesting: The makers laid the foundation for this collaboration in the closing credits of the first MCU film "Iron Man", without knowing whether the project would ever work out.

Fortunately, the film was a huge success and Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige, who is the producer behind all MCU films, has been able to expand his vision of a unified film universe for more than 10 years. And although the so-called Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with "Avengers: Infinity War" is not yet over, the third Avengers film felt a lot like the climax and supposed end of all previous MCU stories. Whether this premonition will come true in "Endgame" should not be revealed at this point.

Because how things will go on for the Avengers is still a secret - even in the face of expiring acting contracts. With some sequels like "Black Panther 2" and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" as well as new solo films like "Black Widow" the next MCU titles have already been announced. But many fans are sure that not all previous heroes will be in these films.

The MCU on the TV screen

In addition to the big movies, there have also been numerous TV and Netflix productions that are supposed to take place in the same universe. However, the connection between series like "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.", "Daredevil" and "Agent Carter" to the main plot of the movies is rather one-sided and less strong.

The films only provided the basic structure of the world in which the series episodes are set. Every now and then, individual TV episodes took up the events of the films more specifically, guest stars from the cinema appeared or characters commented on the events very explicitly. But mostly there were only hints (if at all) in the background.

Things that happened in the old TV series have so far not been explicitly mentioned in any movie. Overall, the connection with it was kept so loose that a viewer who only knows the movies would not have noticed the absence of the television series.

This changes with the MCU series, which Disney announced at the start of the in-house Streramingdienst Disney Plus. Starting with the series "WandaVision", the first season of which starts on January 15, 2021, it is not only the series that have a significant influence on the MCU's films. The stars of the films themselves also appear in the series in their well-known roles. So in "Loki" or "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" we will meet the faces of the named Avengers known from the big screen.

Tip: You can also read when each Marvel TV series is embedded in the plot of the bigger picture.

Off for the Netflix series

Similar to the collaboration between Sony and Marvel / Disney on "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Spider-Man: Far From Home", the streaming service Netflix was also allowed to officially contribute to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All Marvel real series on Netflix were an official part of the MCU canon, although the content is only hinted at. Anyone who has not seen the series can therefore easily understand the MCU films. It is still unclear whether the Netflix series will be deleted from the canon with the start of the shows at Disney Plus. However, there is some evidence to suggest it.

The Marvel series published exclusively on Netflix ("Daredevil", "Jessica Jones", "Luke Cage", "Iron Fist", "The Punisher" and "The Defenders") were not granted any particular longevity. All titles have since ended again. The final season yet to be released is Season 3 of "Jessica Jones"; after that it's over.

Read more:Out for the Marvel series "Jessica Jones" and "The Punisher"

Short Films: Marvel One-Shots

Finally, for the sake of completeness, we would like to point out the short films that are included exclusively on some Marvel Blu-rays as an extra and show smaller events in the MCU. These events have no influence on the big plot, but only show the background and fill in smaller story gaps.

So far there are 5 such films that have been released in German under the unreasonable surtitle "Marvel attitude":

  • The Consultant (2011)
  • Something Funny Happened on the Road to Thor's Hammer (2011)
  • Object 47 (2012)
  • Agent Carter (2013)
  • The Mandarin (2014)
Chronology of the Fast Films up to "Hobbs & Shaw"

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