Marvel Phase 4 Has a Big Issue With the Blip, and James Gunn Knows It

The MCU’s five-year gap continues to pose a challenge to future Marvel projects.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 02: James Gunn attends the Warner Bros. Premiere of "The Suicide Sq...
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With James Gunn working hard to shape a new world of gods and monsters at DC, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will likely be the writer-director’s last contribution to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hopefully, it will serve as a fitting sendoff for both Gunn and the characters fans have come to love, but Gunn still has a vested interest in the MCU’s success.

“To be frank, I think the better Marvel movies do, it’s better for DC, and the better DC movies do, it’s better for Marvel,” Gunn told Rolling Stone. “I really want Marvel to keep making good movies.” That said, Gunn believes writing around the Blip will make that “really hard” moving forward.

The Blip, for the uninitiated, refers to the five-year period where Thanos snapped away half the universe. In the MCU, there is before the Blip and after, and Marvel projects have been struggling with the latter. The five years that passed between Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame — where the Avengers managed to bring everyone back to life — are mostly treated as an inconvenience, not as a traumatic event that affected billions of beings.

Thanos’ snap affected billions, but few Marvel projects have addressed the fallout.

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“There’s this worldwide, universe-wide event that happened. And in truth, everybody would be stark raving mad at this point,” Gunn said. “So it’s hard to write stories in the wake of that. Which is why the Guardians movies have been easier, because they’re set outside of that a little bit.”

It’s interesting the Guardians are somehow removed from the events of the Blip, considering how integral they were to the build-up to it. But Gunn does have a point: the Blip is much more significant than Marvel is willing to acknowledge post-Endgame. Half the universe lost half a decade, and as mentioned in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, many worry it could happen again.

To be fair, a few projects have touched on the effects of the Blip. A daughter lost her mother in WandaVision, and whole communities were displaced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It created pockets of discord, violent nationalism, and major blind spots world powers can’t address. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier came the closest to addressing the fallout, especially in how it affected ordinary people, but the MCU at large seems too eager to move on from the Blip, rather than embracing the new normal.

The general opinion of Marvel’s Phase 4 is that it feels aimless. To a degree, that makes sense: with the Avengers in shambles, current projects have to work overtime to set up new players and build towards a looming multiversal war. But it all feels like too much, too fast, especially since no one’s recovered from the last major event. Giving the aftermath of the Blip a more prominent role would have given Phase 4 and 5 the connective tissue they needed. The entire universe was united by one massive, traumatic event that could have provided a wealth of fresh ideas for the MCU.

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