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Marvel Cinematic Universe logo

Earth-11584 is the official fanon designation for the alternative universe represented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Originally conceived by Kevin Fiege and Avi Arad in 2004, the MCU has grown to become one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, grossing close to 16 billion dollars worldwide since the release of the first film, Iron Man, in 2008. To date, 26 films have been released in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, along with several television shows, one-shots, and other associated materials. While many of the films in this universe share stark similarities to Earth-19999, all of them possess some degree of at least cosmetic changes and some films are completely new.

Assembling a Universe

The nascent seeds of the MCU came about following the collapse of the speculator boom in the mid-90s, leading to Marvel Comics filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1997. At that time, the film rights to several Marvel characters were auctioned off to studios to raise capital. In 1998, New Line Cinema released Blade to moderate critical and financial success, proving the financial viability of the Marvel properties. 20th Century Fox followed with a release of Bryan Singer's X-Men in the year 2000 to more critical acclaim, surpassed by its sequel in 2003. Sony Pictures through it's subsidiary, Columbia, released Spider-Man in 2002, making more money with its super-hero properties. Universal also released Ang Lee's Hulk in 2003 to mixed reviews, but a decent profit.

Seeing the potential in reacquiring its properties, Marvel employee Kevin Fiege along with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada and Executive Producer Avi Arad decided to create a subsidiary of Marvel Comics known as Marvel Studios. In spring of 2004, based on the rights they still retained, they announced a five-picture distribution deal with Paramount Pictures, which would see the release of Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders. However, behind the scenes, Marvel was only using this as a placeholder for trying to reacquire larger film rights.

Their first break came from Paramount itself, which struck the distribution deal and returned the overall film rights to Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Further negotiations with Universal allowed the Hulk's rights to be jointly owned, with Universal maintaining the right of first refusal for any future productions under the Marvel Studios banner (though Hulk would be permitted to appear in tie-in films). Following the disappointing release of Daredevil in 2003 and the mixed reviews garnered by the 2005 Fantastic Four film, 20th Century Fox sold the rights to the former back to Marvel for an undisclosed amount, while eventually striking a similar deal with the Fantastic Four characters, though the details of that deal were unknown at the time. However, efforts to reacquire Spider-Man and the X-Men were failures at the time.

In 2006, quietly, the Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Defenders movies were canceled and Doctor Strange and Black Panther were put into indefinite hiatus. News of an Iron Man movie to be released in 2008 was released in that summer, with Jon Favreau set to direct and Robert Downey Jr. attached to star as Tony Stark. Jeff Bridges was cast that fall, with Don Cheadle being brought on to replace Terrence Howard, who left in a salary dispute. At the same time contract negotiations with Edward Norton to bring the Hulk back to the big screen failed, and Marvel/Universal decided to reboot the character into the MCU, with Mark Ruffalo being cast in the role. At the San Diego Comic-Con in 2007, a film layout called Phase 1 was announced, with seven films being released from 2008-2012, culminating in the release of The Avengers in May of 2012.

Both Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were released in 2008 to success, with the former being among the top grossing films of the year. It was followed up by Iron Man 2 in 2010, as well as the spy thriller Black Widow that year.

Acquisition by Disney

In late summer 2009, Marvel Entertainment (and all properties therein) were acquired by the Walt Disney Corporation for $4 billion dollars. This resulted in a continued financing deal which allowed Paramount to retain Distribution Rights on all films through Marvel's The Avengers in 2012, with Walt Disney assuming full distribution beginning with Iron Man 3 the following year. There were also negotiations in 2009 for the return of both the X-Men and Spider-Man franchises to Marvel. Sony announced a new Spider-Man film later that year, with director Marc Webb at the helm, while Fox entered into negotiation on a similar deal as Universal had with Hulk concerning the Fantastic Four property, saying that they had plans for the X-Men film property. They did allow some use of crossover characters, for future films, however.

2010 saw the release of both Iron Man 2 and Black Widow. Though the latter was critically acclaimed, it was the first box office disappointment of the MCU. However Thor and Captain America were both successful releases the following year, setting up for the final execution of Phase 1, The Avengers. Released in 2012, The Avengers was the most successful comic book adaptation at the time, and was a huge moneymaker for the studio.

Phase 2

Phase 2 was announced at D-Con in August of 2011, which revealed a slate of five films to kick off the next stage of Marvel Studios. Iron Man 3 was announced, with Shane Black assuming control of the director's chair, as well as a sequel to Thor and Captain America. A sequel to The Incredible Hulk was also announced, but it was not dated at the time. It was also announced that the Fantastic Four, hitherto in development hell, would be joining the MCU in November of 2014. Also announced was the new release schedule beginning in 2013, which would see the release of three films a year from the studio.

Sony's Spider-Man film hit development troubles when Andrew Garfield backed out of the project at the last minute, causing the film to be indefinitely delayed from its intended 2012 release. It was quietly canceled in 2011, with Sony/Columbia agreeing to a joint distribution deal that would bring Spider-Man into the MCU after 2015 if no other film could start production until that time. Meanwhile, certain elements of the Spider-Man universe, such as the Daily Bugle, could be brought into the MCU.

With The Avengers release in 2012, the full layout of Phase 2 was set into motion, kicking off with Iron Man 3 and ending with Ant-Man in 2015. It was also announced that The Incredible Hulk 2 would be the kickoff point for Phase 3 of the MCU.

Also in late 2012, Marvel Studios struck a deal with streaming service Netflix to produce several television series based on their respective characters. The first such series, Luke Cage, would debut in 2014 following the character's introduction in 2013's Thunderbolts film. Cage would be followed by shows based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, leading to a miniseries based on the Defenders. A series based on vampire hunter Blade was also announced, with no apparent connection to the shows centered around the Defenders.

Phase 2 would prove to be far more profitable than Phase 1 had been, with all but one film reaching a worldwide gross of over $500 million dollars and two of those films (Iron Man 3 and Age of Ultron) grossing over a billion dollars each. In 2015, with no Spider-Man film on the horizon, it was announced that Spider-Man would officially join the MCU at some point in the near future, with rumors focused on the 2016 release of Civil War (later confirmed) during Phase 3. Late in the development of Phase 2, the layout for Phase 3 began to take shape as well.

Phase 3

At the San Diego Comic-con in 2015, Marvel Studios President Kevin Fiege laid out the vision for Phase 3 of the MCU, which he said would showcase our heroes "at low points in their lives and with each other." Phase 3 would be far longer than Phase 1 or 2, with 13 films in it as opposed to 7 (Phase 1) or 8 (Phase 2). To accomodate this, starting in 2016 Marvel Studios would begin releasing four films a year. Phase 3 was to begin with the 2015 release of The Incredible Hulk 2, and would also include a fourth Iron Man, third installments in the Hulk, Thor and Captain America franchises, as well as new heroes like Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. Sequels were also announced for the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Fantastic Four. All of this would build to the major release of Avengers Infinity War in 2018, the tenth anniversary of the MCU, it's 25th film, and the longest running film to date.

More to Come...

Phase 1 Films

Film Title Release Date Director RT Score Worldwide Box Office
Iron Man May 2, 2008 Jon Favreau 94% $585.2 Million
The Incredible Hulk June 13, 2008 Louis Leterrier 67% $263.4 Million
Iron Man 2 May 7, 2010 Jon Favreau 73% $623.9 Million
Black Widow August 6, 2010 Doug Liman 80% $252.1 Million
Thor May 6, 2011 Kenneth Branagh 77% $449.3 Million
Captain America: The First Avenger July 22, 2011 Joe Johnston 79% $370.6 Million
Marvel's The Avengers May 4, 2012 Joss Whedon 92% $1.519 Billion

Phase 2 Films

Film Title Release Date Director RT Score Worldwide Box Office
Iron Man 3 May 3, 2013 Shane Black 80% $1.215 Billion
Thor: The Dark World July 19, 2013 Alan Taylor 66% $644.6 Million
Thunderbolts November 8, 2013 Clark Johnson 55% $350.8 Million
Captain America: The Winter Soldier April 4, 2014 Anthony & Joe Russo 89% $714.3 Million
Guardians of the Galaxy August 1, 2014 James Gunn 91% $773.3 Million
The Fantastic Four October 31, 2014 Brad Bird 75% $650.2 Million
Avengers: Age of Ultron May 1, 2015 Joss Whedon 75% $1.405 Billion
Ant-Man July 17, 2015 Peyton Reed 82% $519.3 Million

Phase 3 Films

Film Title Release Date Director RT Score Worldwide Box Office
The Incredible Hulk 2 November 6, 2015 Justin Lin 74% $400.8 Million
Captain America: Civil War May 6, 2016 Anthony & Joe Russo 91% $1.153 Billion
Doctor Strange July 22, 2016 Scott Derrickson 89% $677.7 Million
Fantastic Four: Doomsday September 16, 2016 Brad Bird 82% $700.8 Million
Iron Man 4 November 4, 2016 Jon Favreau 81% $933.2 Million
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 May 5, 2017 James Gunn 73% $863.8 Million
Spectacular Spider-Man July 7, 2017 Jon Watts 92% $880.2 Million
World War Hulk September 15, 2017 Colin Trevorrow 85% $673.1 Million
Thor: Ragnarok November 3, 2017 Taika Watiti 92% $854 Million
Black Panther February 16, 2018 Ryan Coogler 97% $1.346 Billion
Avengers: Infinity War April 27, 2018 Anthony & Joe Russo 83% $2.046 Billion
Ant-Man and the Wasp July 6, 2018 Peyton Reed 87% $622.5 Million
Captain Marvel November 9, 2018 Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck 79% $637.9 Million

Phase 4 Films

Film Title Release Date Director RT Score Worldwide Box Office
Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet May 3, 2019 Anthony & Joe Russo N/A N/A
Spider-Man: Hunters July 5, 2019 Jon Watts N/A N/A
The New Warriors September 20, 2019 Matthew Vaughn N/A N/A
Captain Britain November 1, 2019 Danny Boyle N/A N/A
Doctor Strange: Damnation May 1, 2020 Scott Derrickson N/A N/A
She-Hulk July 10, 2020 Dee Rees N/A N/A
Black Panther: Kingdom Come September 11, 2020 Ryan Coogler N/A N/A
Fantastic Four: Galactus November 6, 2020 Greg Berlanti N/A N/A
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 TBA TBA N/A N/A
Spectacular Spider-Man 3 TBA TBA N/A N/A
Avengers: Secret Invasion TBA TBA N/A N/A

Television Series (Netflix)

Series Title Release Date
Luke Cage (Season 1) October 2014
Daredevil (Season 1) March 2015
aka, Jessica Jones (Season 1) October 2015
Blade (Season 1) January 2016
Daredevil (Season 2) May 2016
Luke Cage (Season 2) September 2016
Iron Fist (Season 1) January 2017
The Defenders May 2017
aka, Jessica Jones (Season 2) September 2017
Daredevil (Season 3) TBA
Luke Cage (Season 3) TBA
The Punisher (Season 1) TBA