After Kevin Feige and maybe Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr., the key creative figures in the first dozen years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were Joe and Anthony Russo, who directed more MCU movies than anyone else (4), including three of the most consequential in the entire saga: Captain America: Civil WarAvengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. From 2013 to 2019, they basically never stopped working on something for Marvel.

That time is over. And while the Russos have previously said they would welcome a Marvel return — and even hinted at possibly making another Avengers movie down the line — they are now giving a very different answer to questions regarding when they will direct another MCU project. As part of a large profile in Variety, Joe Russo stated plainly “we won’t be ready to do anything with Marvel until the end of the decade.”

That’s because the Russos are now working on their own projects through their production company, AGBO. They’ve already released three films, all with various Marvel alums: Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth, Cherry starring Tom Holland, and The Grey Man starring Chris Evans. They’re also producing a sequel to Extraction and an assortment of other projects, including a sci-fi film titled The Electric State starring yet another Marvel actor, Chris Pratt.

The Russos told Variety that part of their interest in creating their own company was the struggle to develop material that they found interesting beyond the control of the big studios...

‘We had done deals with studios for years, but we were constantly calling our agents a year later and saying, ‘Get us out of this deal and do another,’ Joe says. ‘Because what happens is you’re stuck with whatever material that studio collected.’ ‘And you’re also subject to their whims,’ Anthony adds.

If they’re true to their word, the Russos wouldn’t be back at Marvel for at least another eight years. That is well beyond the timeline of any projects Marvel has officially announced. (The furthest out, Avengers: Secret Wars, is supposed to open in theaters in the spring of 2026.) So it’s almost impossible to speculate what sorts of films they might even potentially work on, or what the MCU would look like at that point. It’s probably best not to even think about it again for, oh I don’t know, at least five years.

The next MCU movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, opens in theaters on November 11.

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