Marvel Producer Discusses the Main Theme of Phase Four

The release of Thor: Love and Thunder last week means we’re now six films and seven TV shows into Phase Four of the MCU. But save for a few small hints about Marvel’s plans for the future, the studio has yet to drop a Thanos-level bombshell that lets audiences know what the game plan is for the saga that ties all of these projects together. Kevin Feige has indicated that it won’t be much longer before this overarching storyline comes into focus. However, production and development head Richie Palmer believes that as varied as Phase Four’s entries are, they already share a common theme.

Palmer discussed the state of Phase Four while appearing on a recent episode of Empire’s Spoiler Specials podcast (via The Direct). Specifically, he explained how all Phase Four heroes are struggling to cope with the trauma of a post-Blip world.

“Phase Four is all a reaction – and I don’t mean on our part as filmmakers,” said Palmer. “I mean the characters. It’s a reaction to the trauma of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. We’re still feeling those effects in these movies years later.”

Much of Phase Four has examined trauma in one way or another, but the results haven’t exactly been consistent. For example, one could easily argue that Love and Thunder’s joke-a-minute pacing doesn’t reflect the urgency of a universe where half the population can suddenly be wiped out of existence. Regardless, Marvel has still managed to eke out the occasional nuanced take on the subject, especially by using Wanda Maximoff as a case study in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

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“It’s also something we spoke to Elizabeth Olsen about every step of the way,” added Palmer. “That for her, Wanda’s full journey is leading to a moment of accountability. And we think she’s gotten there. […] She’s aware now, ‘Oh, I’m supposed to be this god. I’ve always known this kinda, under the surface, but it’s now been told to me. Now, my way of dealing with my loss and trauma is just going full-in to what I am, which is the Scarlet Witch. So I’m going to be that.’ Of course, in our movie, she’s like, ‘I don’t want to be that. I want to go be with my kids. So leave me alone, but I’m just letting you know that I am the Scarlet Witch. So don’t mess with me.’”

“But it’s interesting, whether it’s Spider-Man or the Scarlet Witch or Black Widow after Civil War, this phase does feel like it’s about our heroes coming into their own,” continued Palmer. “On their own, all figuring out their places in the world, and a lot of them are lonely now because of the losses suffered during those Avengers movies.”

Do you agree with Palmer’s assessment of Marvel’s Phase Four slate? Give us your reactions in the comment section below!

Recommended Reading: Doctor Strange Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird

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