We all know and have enjoyed movies and tv shows from the Marvel universe, where they brought legendary comic book characters to the big screen. Of course this has been happening for many years, from the original Batman series and the Amazing Spiderman of the 70's all the way to the current movies and shows we see now!
But what Marvel has done in the past decade is something new for movies. The idea of having a universe where their entire movie catalog exists, opens up to so much potential as far as crossovers and new movies are concerned. Where whatever happens in one movie affects the outcome of all other movies. Who remembers the post credit scene of the Antman where the events of Avengers : Infinity War affected the entire second movie of the Antman..where none of these characters have met anyone from the Avengers...yet!
We all know the famous "phases" of the MCU and how it all culminated in Avengers : Endgame! This idea of a universe isn't really new...this is how comic books worked. Anyone who read Marvel comic books knows that each superhero had their own comic book, but we all knew they were in the same universe, where you'd see all the characters appearing in all the other characters' series of comic! We all knew that since..ever!
So Marvel brought this philosophy into their movies and it probably introduced the idea of universes in movies. Well...not exactly, the idea of characters such as E.T and Star Wars sharing the same universe did exist from before but more in the form as an Easter egg or rumours. Marvel was the first to mainstream it, solidify it, and package it!.
Will this mentality of "Universes" be the new Trilogies? Well, not exactly. Considering they both need different approaches completely since they are 2 different schools of thought. They both depend on different things and have a different level of preparedness. For example the Lord of the Rings was a Trilogy because the book was a trilogy, where as Die Hard became a trilogy because of its initial success...Star Wars on the other hand was prepared as a trilogy but had 3 more movies that George Lucas was waiting for the right time to complete the story. So as you can see what will constitute a movie as a trilogy depends on various factors. Let's not leave out the idea of "prequels" too, which came to add to the idea of crafting a better understanding of the world of a well known character. But all these work on a linear timeline.
A universe on the other hand, at least the way Marvel achieved it required an ambitious multi-year plan and already knew to a vast extent what movies they'd be filming in the next 10 years, breaking them down to Phases!
The success of this "thought" could be a catalyst to trigger more franchises leaving the linear mode of movies and entering a more holistic approach to how movies, and sequels are made..which really aren't sequels, but more of parallel stories of seemingly independent characters where the outcomes of all the movies affect the outcomes of all the other movies in the universe. This requires some serious screenwriting skills!
We are now entering the age where cinematic and tv universes start to blend, again as one offs or as easter eggs.
But, Marvel in true form just announced Phase 5 where now it's not limiting itself to just movies but it's expanding that same universe to the Series format where again everything will be interconnected and whatever happens in the Movie universe affects whatever happens in the Series universe..So not only the outcome of one movie will be affecting the storyline of all the other movies in the universe, but also whatever happens in the new line up of series Marvel is preparing. What a Quantum entanglement of story telling! Here is the video of the announcement of Phase 5!