Beyond ‘Avengers: Endgame’: What to do after the end of an era Jason Marges April 24, 2019 Life Hacks The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s massive, 22-film Infinity Saga finally reaches its epic conclusion with the much-awaited Avengers: Endgame coming out today, leaving fans pondering what to do to fill the void after the dust (*sob*) settles. Here are five ideas. Recover First off, take a seat. Gather your bearings. Look at kittens on the internet. Believe in a better tomorrow… Endgame is both the narrative and emotional culmination of an intricate, 11-year journey. Here is a story so meticulously and lovingly crafted that it redefined an entire generation’s otherwise mundane experience with blockbuster cinema. Twenty-one movies ago, we were introduced to an entire universe (nay, multiverse) where we can believe that the invincible, the mighty, the incredible, and the amazing live and walk among us. Twenty-one movies ago, Robert Downey, Jr. was no more than substance abuse and alcoholism punchline. Sixteen movies ago, our jaws dropped when we first saw lead heroes from five previous movies come together to save the world (a.k.a. New York) from impending doom. Courtesy of Marvel Studios Just three movies ago, our hearts broke as characters we met and fell in love with over the previous ten years crumbled to dust right before our eyes. We waited with bated breath over the past 12 months to know what happens next. Now, we finally get to see it. … And yeah, we’ll probably need a moment to catch our breaths afterwards. Brace yourself for what comes next But let’s face it. Avengers: Endgame won’t be the last we’ll see from the prolific Marvel Studios machine. The MCU’s Phase Three doesn’t even technically end with Endgame. Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige himself confirmed that July’s (possibly late June here on our side of the world) Spider-Man: Far from Home is the last of the Phase Three films. It will likely serve as an epilogue and a palate cleanser from the events of the Infinity Saga. Courtesy of Sony And then there’s Phase Four. Not much is known about Marvel Studios’ next chapter so far. There is word about a number of movies currently in development—sequels to the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther movies, solo adventures featuring Black Widow and new MCU addition Shang-Chi, and the cinematic debut of Thanos’ people, the Eternals. Still, nothing has been officially announced at the time of writing. What MCU fans should find most exciting is Disney’s acquisition of film and TV properties owned by 21st Century Fox. In simpler terms, this means we are bound to see the fan-favorite X-Men and superhero comics’ first family, the Fantastic Four, in the MCU—finally. It may have taken us more than a decade to see something along the lines of an earth-shaking Hulk-versus-Thing fisticuffs festival, but hey, better late than never. If you need a quicker fix to tide you over the long wait, try these: Binge, binge, binge Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The (recently canceled) Defenders mini-MCU chapter on Netflix. A few other low-profile Marvel serials on TV and streaming services. There is still plenty of content from the House of Ideas to watch out there. Courtesy of Marvel Studios By the end of the year, we’ll also get to see the launch of Disney+, the Walt Disney Company’s very own video on-demand streaming service. Already announced are four live-action limited series that will directly tie into the events of the Infinity Saga: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, and an untitled Hawkeye miniseries. There is plenty to be excited about with these upcoming shows, especially with their respective MCU stars confirmed to reprise their roles. Read more comics! One of my personal favorite outcomes of the MCU’s rise to prominence is the growth in popularity of comics. The movies—thanks to greater accessibility and more visible marketing efforts—have helped change public opinion on comic books and graphic novels as a legitimate literary medium. This isn’t a brand-new development, for sure—long-time comics readers all around the world already knew this. But where the public opinion is concerned, the success of the MCU is a huge reason why a wider audience of readers are now turning their heads toward comics. If you don’t know where to start reading, here are this writer’s recommendations: ● Free Comic Book Day – an annual global event that happens every first Saturday of May – is right around the corner. Visit a comic book shop or any of the leading specialty bookstores on May 4 and choose from a selection of titles specially created for the event. Some stores offer discounts on graphic novels and other comics-related titles, too. ● Widen your horizons with non-superhero comics and graphic novels. From inventive and compelling fiction titles to graphic novel memoirs and biographies, you can find countless other excellent titles that have nothing to do with muscle-bound, superpowered beings. All you need to do is ask a bookstore clerk or comic shop owner for a recommendation that matches your tastes. ● Dive into the local komiks scene. If you haven’t sampled any of our local creators’ works yet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Mervin Malonzo’s Tabi Po is a lushly illustrated aswang saga that looks like nothing you’ve seen before. Emiliana Kampilan’s Dead Balagtas puts history, geography, love, and modern-day realities of Philippine society in a blender and paints a gorgeous tome with the resulting mix. Manix Abrera, Hulyen, and Toto Madayag are some of the funniest story tellers about the Pinoy’s day-to-day experiences. Don’t ignore the many hidden gems in our thriving indie zine scene, either. (Re)discover the ‘superheroes’ before the age of superheroes In many ways, Marvel Studios has been creating a distinct body of modern mythology designed for the global, pop culture crowd. Barring the sudden heat death of our universe or another devastating alien attack on planet Midtown Manhattan, several generations down the line will look at the MCU as the awe-inspiring folk heroes and legends of our time. So how about revisiting the classic myths and legends that came before it? Neil Gaiman’s take on Norse Mythology is an entertaining and easily digestible read (and shines the light on Thor’s actual Norse origins). The 75th anniversary hardcover edition of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology is plain gorgeous. Oh, and there’s a rich body of Filipino folklore to explore, too. Looks like we won’t be running out of epic adventures any time soon.