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When Marvel Studios first announced their slate back in 2014, Avengers: Infinity War wasn't followed by Ant-Man & the Wasp; the next movie was actually Marvel's Inhumans. How would Marvel's plans have differed if Inhumans stayed on the slate?
The reality is that Infinity War would probably have played out slightly differently. Infinity War's screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely took both Ant-Man & the Wasp and Captain Marvel into account when writing the script. As McFeely put it in an interview with BuzzFeed:
"Put yourself in our positions two years ago. We’re looking at a blank wall, and it says Avengers 3, Ant-Man and [the] Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers 4. So there are four big shoeboxes, and we’re responsible for the bookends. As we’re going through deciding what we want to do, we have these two shoeboxes in the middle that you can either look at as burdens or opportunities."
As McFeely explained, there's "a relationship" between Infinity War and the next three Marvel movies. While the filmmakers behind Ant-Man & the Wasp and Captain Marvel have been given the necessary latitude to make their own films, there's an overarching narrative in play. Switching Ant-Man & the Wasp for The Inhumans would, necessarily, change that narrative, so Infinity War itself would potentially have played out very differently.
Marvel Television began the buildup to The Inhumans all the way back in 2014, and according to Kevin Feige that was always part of the plan. "It was always the intention that introducing them to the public would be happening quickly," he told Badass Digest, "and it would happen in [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.]." S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced concepts such as Inhumans and Terrigenesis, paving the way for the movie. The film's logo suggested that The Inhumans would center on the Royal Family, and Feige teased that this would indeed be the case. "Knowing the comics, you can guess the kind of things you wouldn’t see on a TV show," he observed.
Even at the time, this seemed to be a rather strange decision. Far fewer viewers tune in to watch any Marvel TV show than turn up at the theater to watch a movie. While the idea of introducing big-screen concepts in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. holds true to the "It's all connected" vision propounded by Marvel at that time, it doesn't really make sound business sense; the vast majority of cinemagoers would be completely unaware of years' worth of build-up.
Ultimately, of course, plans changed. In 2015, behind-the-scenes conflict between Feige and Marvel's reclusive boss Ike Perlmutter led to a corporate restructure. Marvel Studios was pulled out of Marvel Entertainment, becoming a direct subsidiary of Disney. Feige became the man in charge, with the old Marvel Creative Committee completely disbanded. There's now no direct relationship between Marvel Studios and Marvel Television. It's generally believed the Inhumans were a priority for Perlmutter, who is rumored to have been responsible for pushing the brand in everything from the comics to the TV shows. If those rumors are indeed true, The Inhumans was no longer a priority for Kevin Feige's Marvel Studios.
Then came another twist in the tale. Marvel successfully negotiated a deal with Sony that would bring Spider-Man into the MCU. A new incarnation of the wall-crawler would make his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, before going on to star in his own solo film. That meant a new movie was added into Marvel's Phase 3 slate. The studio shuffled release dates around a little, and made the decision to drop The Inhumans altogether. The idea was passed on to Marvel Television, with the Royal Family becoming the stars of their own (frankly unsuccessful) TV show. Whatever Marvel Studios's original plans had been for the Royal Family, they were now defunct.