Category Archives: Media Industries

The Vape Debate: How a Dangerous Habit is Taking Over the Youth

Quick Background

Picture this: the year is 2015. You avidly vape. You tend to do sick vape tricks in your basement while your friend Adam records you in hopes to go viral. Once you have your sick vape trick mastered, Adam ruins everything. You contemplate a new roommate situation, but still manage to go viral showing off your “hidden talent,” when actually it’s a nicotine addiction through a newer technology called a vape pen.

What exactly are e-cigarettes? Where did they come from? Why are they popular, especially amongst the younger crowd? Those are the million dollar questions that while some have answers, not everything is truly known about the full damage this new “trend” can cause. E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that look like of a pen. A heating device within the “pen” turns the liquid used in the device into a vapor when exhaled, in other words, “vaping.”

What’s the issue?

When e-cigarettes first came out, they were seen and advertised as a “safer alternative” to smoking cigarettes. Marketing strategies really took off with the idea that vaping = safe(er) than cigarettes. 

This has been especially scary since it’s been the most popular amongst the younger crowd. According to CBS News, there have been countless concerns over health regarding the rise of vaping amongst teens.

Media Influence

According to Psychology Today, vaping is popular amongst teens because of the unique and fun flavors. The media presence from big companies, such as Juul, is huge. The image on the left shows a launch party hosted by Juul where the young attendees are seen using their Juul vape pens.

Common photos and ads are showing vaping as a “cool” and “fun” thing to do, and that “everyone” is doing it, so you should to.

Ads/Media Impact

It was a challenge to find good commercials that related to the younger crowd because there have been recent policies to restrict the big companies, such as Juul, to stop advertising their products that directly target the youth.

Here are two videos on YouTube that were pretty popular, one being a prank and the other poking fun at the whole vaping issue.

During the peak popularity of vaping, there were several vine compilations showing just how “cool” vaping was. This video shows a young guy showing off his vaping tricks and that it’s a cool thing you should try too.

The large variety of flavors are seen as one of the biggest issues in advertising e-cigs/vape pens. Times Square Chronicles clearly explains how the media contextualizes vaping. People can vape popcorn, mango, cotton candy, strawberry, and the list goes on for flavors. It’s smells appealing, therefore seen as appealing, especially to younger people. Who wants to smell like nasty smoke when you can smell like cotton candy?

Prevention and Laws from the negative backlash

CBS News reported that there are currently over 800 vaping-related illnesses throughout the U.S., resulting in 12 deaths, but most recently the CDC has reported well over 1,000 illnesses and 26 deaths across the states. All of the patients with the mysterious illnesses all had used a vape pen that contained THC and flavored products.

According to CBS News, Washington is the latest state to call for a ban on all flavored vaping products. Along with Washington, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island all have declared emergency bans against flavored vaping products and THC containing vaping products.

In the midst of this crisis, Juul CEO Kevin Burns stepped down late last month. Juul company also stopped all U.S. advertising including their print, radio, and digital. With all of the recent related deaths and illnesses, Juul is facing a $13 billion loss.

My Opinion

While I understand it is another immense revenue market in the U.S. alone, I don’t like anything about e-cigarettes or cigarettes. I think it’s ridiculous and not an intelligent thing to purposely fill your body with chemicals such as formaldehyde, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), or glyphosate.

Cigarettes also smell terrible, people pollute cigarette butts all over the ground, and second-hand smoke is detrimental to innocent bystanders. I also have bad asthma, so I would probably not make it long if I turned to vaping or smoking. :’-)

What do you think?

Since our generation is heavily influenced/involved, what do you think? Do you vape yourself? If so, why did you start? Why do you continue if you are aware of how damaging this habit is? Do you think the media influences vaping?

-Contessa Van Buskirk

Should College Athletes be able to Make Money?

It’s a debate that is almost as old as the NCAA itself. There has been a polarizing question that has been part of the college athletics discussion, ever since the NCAA started generating a large amount of money. Should college athletes get money in addition to scholarships, and do they have the right to profit off their likeness? Initially, the NCAA decided against that idea, and it has not looked back since this primary assessment.

A lot has changed since the NCAA was formed in 1910, over a hundred years ago. Thanks to legislation passed in California allowing college athletes be sponsored, a whole new conversation has started. There are points for and against athletes making money, and I’m going to try and stop myself from ripping the old rich NCAA and hear both sides.

Since I started so aggressively on one side to introduce the topic, I will first mention a point that strongly favors the NCAA’s decision to not pay athletes, Competitive balance has already been an issue in the NCAA due to the gap in money between all schools of all divisions. Some schools can afford nicer facilities and the maximum number of scholarships, while other schools in the same division may not have that luxury. By allowing schools to pay their athletes, the competitive balance could shift even further. One example of this would be how University of Alabama coach Nick Saban owns multiple car dealerships. In theory, he could recruit athletes by offering to pay them extra cash to do commercials. There is also a chance for sponsorship industries to play a major role in tampering with what schools athletes go to as well. Clearly this could be an issue, and if the NCAA does eventually support players being able to profit off their likeness, there may have to be additional rules around the policy.

There is a ridiculous idea going around that college athletes are not financially responsible enough to obtain the privilege of being paid by the NCAA and or sponsors. But I believe that most, if not all college students in general are not financially responsible to some extent. Some may even say agreeing to take on a crushing debt to learn some stuff is a horrible investment in the first place. But there are plenty of students blowing their paychecks on all sorts of beer and various paraphernalia, so why can’t college athletes gain money to buy groceries? Yes, not all students can promise to handle this money responsibly, but to dismiss the group as a whole from partial living income just because their age their age group is generally irresponsible, is a nonsensical argument in my opinion. If people are really that concerned with how athletes spend their money, they should start a class or program that helps them.

Speaking of ridiculous takes, I unfortunately would not be doing my job if I didn’t talk about the other common argument that Tim Tebow has become the face of, which can be seen here courtesy of ESPN’s “First Take” Twitter account.

Some fun facts about that video is Tim Tebow was able to profit off of college and professional jersey sales after he graduated and moved on to the NFL, so he still made a ton of money off of his college career. He just had to wait until after he graduated to make that money. Also, Tebow doesn’t seem to notice that not everyone gets to make money in semi-professional baseball and the NFL after they graduate. But besides that, Tim Tebow’s logic is also very flawed. I don’t see how people being able to provide for themselves will affect the on and off field practice of a game that has been consistent for almost a hundred years now.

Some people think scholarships pay enough. But what people don’t realize, is that the NCAA and schools actually do not give out as much money as many are lead to believe. The following statistics would shock a lot of people,

In summary, only a small amount of athletes are getting scholarships, and an even smaller amount are getting full ride scholarships. Therefore, many student athletes still have plenty of costs to deal with.

When considering if athletes should be able to make money, it’s also important to note that sports are as consuming, and sometimes even more consuming than having paying jobs. Certain sports require athletes to be at facilities for over forty hours a week. Along with academics, this commitment leaves athletes no time to work and make money through the extent of their season, which on  scale day can make up over half a year for some college sports.

Athletes need to consume much more food than the average person as well. And while the teams provide some meals on game days, only full ride students get the majority of their meals taken care of. So now these students need to eat a lot of food but have no way of acquiring money to help pay for their necessary diet.

Being in college sports also affects graduation schedules. This is not true for everyone, but a surprising amount of athletes need five or more years to graduate, due to the fact that they must change their workload in order to stay academically eligible. So athletes have a high chance of spending more money on schools than the average student.

On the subject of paying all athletes in the NCAA, there is a lot more complications. The first issue is, that if the schools or the NCAA are going to pay athletes, then all athletes must be payed to do legal and political reasons. The issue with that, is simply that the men’s football team makes the school money, whereas the men’s badminton team costs the school money, or makes the NCAA lose money, I actually have no idea if badminton is in the NCAA, but the point is that there are multiple sports that ultimately cost the NCAA and schools money for men and women’s.

According to their website, the NCAA makes a profit of about $1.1 billion a year, and spend less than $870 million to get there (this includes paying all workers). At the surface, it sounds like the NCAA has a lot of spare money to work with since its over $200 million. But considering that the owners earn their share, and rightfully so, that only leaves a limited amount of money to delegate to half a million other college athletes. So for the NCAA to pay athletes, they would have to make budget changes, and start with a very low rate well below minimum wage to pay all athletes. But is there a way to eventually ensure that all athletes get paid?

Although it may upset people initially, the only way to ensure all athletes are being paid one day, is to take the first step in allowing the top athletes in college to be sponsored. That is why it is necessary that football and basketball players are able to profit off their own likeness.

Former NBPA Executive Director Charles Grantham has a great point that encompasses the entire debate about college athletes getting paid and sponsored. In an interview with Sports Pulse, Grantham has this to say about the professionally ran colleges of the NCAA.

“You can pay a coach 9 million dollars, but you can’t give that back to the players?”
– Charles Grantham

Watch the whole interview here.

Grantham’s quote is a reference to the fact that that some coaches are publicly known to be making almost $9 million dollars in salary a year.

To one of Grantham’s other points, since coaches and scouts can be treated and paid like professionals, it only makes sense that college athletes, the ones who are putting their time and bodies on the line, can make money too. Allowing top athletes to make money off of sponsorships isn’t the perfect solution, but it is the first step in the right direction towards all athletes being paid.

College athletes being sponsored will increase the individual popularity of athletes, which also increases the popularity of the NCAA. And an increase in popularity often leads to an increase in revenue, which can hopefully one day lead to the NCAA finally being able to offer some sort of financial aid to all student athletes in the United States.

-Jake Hayes

Is Everyone Jumping on the Battle Royale Bandwagon?

Battle Royale games have been rising in popularity since early 2017. The two most popular battle royale games, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite, currently have over 77 million players combined worldwide. Both games are predicted to bring in over $1 Billion in their first year alone. Combine this with their nearly overnight growth in popularity and it is clear that battle royale games have become a big threat to other game companies.

Battle Royale

The battle royale game type gets its name from a Japanese movie made in 2000 “Battle Royale”. In this movie a class of high school students are put on an island fight to the death until only one remains. In 2012 a similar movie was made in America, “The Hunger Games”.  With a PG-13 rating “The Hunger Games” was able to reach and influence a younger audience. Eventually these movies inspired game creators to make mods, or custom game types, with a Hunger Games theme in mind.

One of the more popular mods was created and cared for by Brendan Greene, aka PlayerUnknown. His mod, with the help of “Unreal Engine 4” by Epic Games, would go on to become the stand-alone game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or PUBG for short. Shortly afterwards, Epic Games would release Fortnite, which appeared to be a cartoony copy of PUBG and used the same engine. This sparked some controversy which quickly died down.

Both games rose in popularity, and in a few short months each game had tens of millions of players worldwide. Other game companies took note of this and started plans to hop on the battle royale bandwagon. In an article on GameRant, Activision Blizzard talked about their new game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. It is mentioned that this Call of Duty game will be significantly different from its predecessors as it will not have a campaign and will focus more on a team style combat in player versus player battle. Later Activision Blizzard went on to announce a battle royale mode would be added to the game to compete with Fortnite.

Activision Blizzard is not the only company to take a lesson from PUBG and Fortnite, DICE is also going to be adding a battle royale mode to their new game, Battlefield V. DICE’s battle royale mode, called Firestorm, is described as battle royale done the Battlefield way. In Firestorm sixteen teams of four fight to the last squad standing in a WWII themed battle ground.

Smaller gaming companies are also trying to get into the spotlight by making their own battle royale games. Games like the Darwin Project, Rapture Rejects, and Islands of Nyne are all battle royale inspired games hoping to make a few bucks before this new craze dies down.

battle royaleWhether or not you are a fan of the battle royale game type it seems to be growing in popularity and bringing more and more people into the videogame market. With free to play games like Fortnite people are more inclined to try out a game before they get hooked. The big titles in gaming are losing fans to these free to play games and are combating it with a “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude.

While some companies like Activision Blizzard are quick to change everything about their classic Call of Duty games, other companies are playing it safe. DICE is keeping with what they know and adding in a fresh take on battle royale; this move makes it look like they are not sure if the battle royale fad will continue in the future or not. Do you think that the battle royale games are here to stay, or are they just another footnote in gaming history?

-Lane Larson

New Technology From Apple – Is the Price Tag Worth It?

On September 12, 2018, Apple held their annual new product release and it featured three new phones and an impressive new watch. There was much anticipation to see the new upgrades from the previous year when we got the iPhone X. This year we saw a bigger jump in the price for the new products but that has been a consistent factor every year. Some people were let down with the new releases while others have been thinking Apple is starting to stray away from some markets and they are putting more focus towards others.

Apple

Apple unveiled three new smartphones at the event, the iPhone Xr, Xs and the Xs Max. The Xr is the cheaper version but still offers the OLED edge to edge screen and offers up to 5 different color choices. The Xs and Xs Max didn’t obtain too many significant changes other than an upgraded camera and faster processor chip and the Max has an impressive larger 6.5 inch screen.

Also the new Apple Watch boasts some new interesting features like an EKG sensor that can detect heart rate and has new fall detection. A new release of a dual sim and esim could be in the future iPhones and they offer consumers multiple different benefits, a few would be two numbers on one phone, significantly increased battery life, and phones with stronger and better material.

With the new iPhones released, it left customers confused why they should upgrade to the new phone. For example, users with the previous year’s iPhone X have little to no reason to upgrade unless they want a bigger screen, but the price tag might be holding them back. For certain users who don’t have the iPhone X, they could be interested in upgrading to the new phone for the new edge to edge screen and face unlock feature. But the new software update, iOs12 is claiming that older phones are working better which makes older phone users an even stronger reason not to upgrade

Apple’s new focus is on their ‘wearables’ category which includes their watch and airpods or headphones. They shared that their wearables market has grown around 50% each year and now holds an impressive $9 billion dollar industry that is around the size of a Fortune 500 company. The reason Apple boasts they’re so successful in this market is because of no real competitors. Fitbit is their greatest threat which is only a $1.4 billion dollar company and has shown signs of depression in the last year. Apple has said they want to join the market for over the ear headphones because of the market that Dr. Dre Beats currently are holding. Some of the future features they want to add to their wearable products are making them be Siri-enabled and waterproof with wireless charging. They think these key features could drag even more consumers away from other brands who don’t offer those features.

Apple currently is manufacturing their processing chips with Intel but noted that they want to eventually part ways with the company. Their goal is to make their chips in-house which would save them money in the long run and could provide bigger opportunities for improving their products.

Another big problem Apple has run into, is their artificial intelligence or AI. Smartphones with AI that can understand and interact with the consumer are going to be the future of technology and Apple is falling behind in the race. Google and Amazon have taken a lead in the AI race with Google having its pixel 2 smartphone being able to translate in real time and Amazon improving their already impressive home Alexa.

Apple has some big decisions they need to make in the next coming years if they want to stay in some markets or drop and focus heavily on others. What would you like to see from Apple in the future if you are a customer, or how do you think they should invest in the coming years?

-Jordan Stevenson

Beta Backers – The New and Dangerous Way to Support a Video Game

Over the past few years, Video game companies have started a new approach to delivering their final product to their consumers, giving them an option to offer feedback towards the final product and playing early at the cost of a few dollars. While it might be fun to play the game early and feel like a part of the development process, there are risks involved in being in the Early Access phase of a game.

video gameBefore the introduction of the internet, video games were sold as a final product as either a cartridge or CD. Now with most consoles and PCs having access to the internet, companies can make changes quickly depending on consumer feedback.

video game

What makes a product in beta any better than a fully finished product? Early Access / Betas for video games can be a win-win for both the developers as well as those purchasing the product: developers now have funds to further develop their game to their liking and those that purchased the game can play it earlier than others as well as giving their helpful advice or criticism early into the development cycle allowing the developers time to change some of the problems to make the community happy.

video gameAs small and large development teams alike might take advantage of this strategy and have those that the game give feedback as well as submitting bug reports and crash reports to make their game more stable for the final release. Ben Kurchera of Polygon says it the best:

“…the process often feels like listening to the demos of your favorite band as they’re in the studio recording”

Sure there are problems…While a successful beta can lead to quality word of mouth from reputable sources and peers alike, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch, and by a few, there are quite a few bad apples. According to Steam Early Access in 2014, there was an increase in Early Access games by 123% from the previous year. While that might seem like there is a good quality of games in the Steam store, only about 25% of these Early Access games actually see a full release. Games like Cube World blew up in 2013 generating millions of views on Youtube, but despite the overall well received game, Cube World creator Wollay has gone silent since July 2017.

Today, using Valve Steam’s Application Programming Interface, Steamspy.com [https://steamspy.com/genre/Early+Access], can track various data within the Steam Store. About 2,800 titles with the “Early Access” tag generate an average user score of 70.3% as well as maintaining an average playtime of five hours. Five hours to play a game and never pick it up again? While the company already has your cash, that is still an unfortunate side effect of an Early Access game.

What makes a good beta? With no clear formula to create a quality video game early access experience, there are a few ways that game companies can up their overall performance to help create a better game:

Communication between parties

  • Every update should be accommodated with a short explanation on what and why items are changing for the most recent patch.
  • All forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc) should be active, whether that be responding to comments, suggestions, or criticism.

Updates

  • Keep the user base interested in the product. Release small updates every week or so to keep your user base around and talking about the game.
  • FREE UPDATES. While yes, video game developers require cash to keep it coming, the game is in BETA. If your game company is looking to monetize, then push for a full release to sell at full price. Small micro transactions can be a tipping point for most people since they might have already paid for the beta/ early access of the game.

Marketing

  • Even though the game is not close to finishing, you still want new people to come and try out your product. Beta and Early Access is a crucial time for the game, for if the game is not successful while in the early stages, how well will it be two years from now?
  • Attempt to use the user base as a form of marketing. Offer unique rewards for referring a friend or liking certain pages on social media. Any word for a starting game can be beneficial.

-Nate Weber

Is Biased News Clogging your Information Stream?

Are you drinking out of a sewer? Sometimes, readers get bogged down in hearing only one side of a news story. For a fresh approach, readers should take in both sides of media, both liberal and conservative.

The infographic below, shows where sources lie in their bias. An astute reader would be better served to read less biased, or a balance between both sides, to make a fresh original decision. When we side with one bias, we tend to only hear more from that side because we like to hear that particular side. The problem with this practice, is that is causes a bigger divide in our country. Being less biased and more objective, is a mature way to confront news stories. But it takes effort to wade through the biases and make an informed decision.

News There are so many ways that people can attain news. Whether it’s online, a newspaper, or from television, news is easily accessible to anyone with a viewing device. People have different preferences when it comes to their news source: liberal or conservative and even how the news is being shared, digital or traditional news.

As you can see from the scale, there is the far left, far right and the “sweet spot” or as it is called here, the “Goldilocks Zone.” At the farthest left, is BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post. In contrast, on the far right is DRUDGE REPORT and BreitBart, two news websites. One of the least biased news sources, BBC, (British Broadcasting Corporation) provides online news, as well as nature documentaries.

It is tricky for a company to not be biased, but sites like PolitiFact, Snopes, FACTCHECK, or others are right in the middle with little room for bias. This is impressive and obviously atypical for a media company, especially a news company. Everyone should make an effort to be as unbiased as possible, so they can see the whole picture. When they see the whole picture, not only do they understand the differences in both sides, but they can think for themselves. If they only look for biased news, they are limiting themselves and clogging what might be the truth in the story. Viewing the news from one side, is like using half of the brain. Why wouldn’t you want to use all of your brain? In other words, you only get half of the information that you need from a biased source, compared to all of the information you could get from an unbiased source.

But bias isn’t the only thing wrong with the news. Many news stations and websites lie to get more viewers. Many of them take words out of context, make fun of someone or even make up whatever they want and call it news. The graphic below shows that when news companies deceive people and they find out, it causes a lack of trust in the viewers.

News

The graphic mentions clickbait, which many of us have heard that term, as it is an everyday word used on YouTube. Clickbait, refers to the false presentation of information solely for the benefit of the one who created it. For example, a YouTube video could be clickbait and the same with a news article. The purpose of clickbait, is to get the reader or viewer engaged in whatever is being presented to them. It combines the fishing term of putting bait on a hook, while also using the technological term for interacting with your computer while using a mouse. Clickbait is one of the most deceptive and clever tactics used by those who want to attract attention to a particular thing, especially using the internet. We may have heard of most of these, but may not know what propaganda is exactly. Propaganda is similar to clickbait, but with a biased twist to it.

So if we have all of this bias and misinformation in our media, why hasn’t anyone done anything about it? Is there even a solution to this problem? Let me know your thoughts about this serious issue.

-Calvin Cook

Kneeling For What You Believe In: Controversy on Sports TV

By now, we are all familiar with the massive debacle that was the NFL kneeling controversy.

What most people still don’t know, however, is how it started, why it was started, and the effect it had on the NFL and all of its sponsors, fans, and players. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Leading up to the 2016 NFL regular season, former Seahawks player and Green Beret Nate Boyer had a talk with San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick about honoring the national anthem. Boyer was actually the one who suggested taking a knee alongside Kaepernick’s teammates during the anthem. Boyer stated that “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect.”

kneeling

Kaepernick wasted no time and took his first knee during the 49ers’ final game of the 2016 NFL preseason.

What many people didn’t recognize was the purpose behind what he was doing. Kaepernick stated in a postgame press conference that he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” For Kaepernick, he was never trying to disrespect the flag, veterans or the national anthem, as many people accused him of doing. He was merely exercising his freedom of speech, something that all veterans and servicemen have fought and died to protect.

Before long, the movement had spread like wildfire across the NFL. Robert Quinn, a defensive end for the Dolphins, raised his fist during the anthem. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcom Jenkins raised his fist while teammate Chris Long “placed his arm around Jenkins’ shoulder”, cornerback De’Vante Bausby also raised his fist in protest. Just to list a few names.

Initially, the NFL couldn’t do anything to players who protested the anthem. The rules stated that while it is encouraged that all players stand and hold their hand over their heart during the anthem, it is not required.

Many fans who detested these demonstrations began protesting the protests by not going to games, refusing to even watch the games on television and, you guessed it, burning their NFL gear and posting the videos on the Internet. (That’ll show ‘em!)

Kaepernick eventually sued the NFL for conspiring against him, accusing NFL owners of collectively making the decision to no longer allow him to play in their league even though he would be overqualified for a backup role at the least.

The NFL finally caved to President Trump’s incessant whining about players protesting. The NFL decided that it will fine any individual who chooses to do anything other than stand and show respect for the anthem and flag. Players are not required to be present on the field during the anthem, however.

New York Jet’s chairman, Christopher Johnson, said anyone on his team who chooses to protest during the anthem will do so without incurring any fines. He stated that “If somebody (on the Jets) takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players. I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players.

The NFL then changed the policy to suggest that players stand during the anthem, but wouldn’t fine them if they chose not to. Instead, “teams will be subject to a fine if a player disobeys”. Each club does have the freedom to fine its own player if it so chooses, however.

Today, Colin Kaepernick is a civil rights icon. He has donated over one million dollars of his own money to charities across the nation. And he took part in Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign of its Just Do It slogan which led to another wave of backlash against the former NFL star.

The best way we, as a nation, can move forward with this controversy is by asking ourselves how we could handle this situation differently were it to happen again. When a fellow citizen is willing to sacrifice his profession and reputation in order to point out injustice within our own borders, maybe we shouldn’t respond by sending him death threats and burning things to prove a point. Perhaps we could use it as an opportunity to take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves,

“Can we, as a people and as a nation, do better?”

-Michael Oasheim

The Success and Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel

For the past 10 years Marvel has been able to create success by producing twenty movies that fans have fallen in love over. How has Marvel managed to keep the attention of moviegoers through the span of movies, and how have they been more successful than other movie companies? According to the director of Captain America Civil War and Winter Soldier it is simple, “They don’t have Kevin Fiege.”

There is more that helps point us to how Marvel has been so successful. For starters, Marvel constantly puts out good movies. The consistent quality over the course of these past ten years has been impressive. There is no true standout “bad” movie in this series of movies. Kevin Fiege, who oversees the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe, does a very good job of planning most of the movies almost three years in advance of their release.

According to Paul Bettany, who voiced Jarvis and played the character of Vision in a handful of the Marvel movies, “The movies are made by fans…Their love for these stories is really infectious and you become really invested, and there’s a lot of invested people beyond the financials of it all.”

On top of that they have been able to connect every movie together in a 20-movie series! The interconnection of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is something that no other movie franchise has done successfully or even tried. In an article written by Peter Suderman over at Vox.com, he talks about how the connection is almost like the MCU is more like a serialized television show than a collection of marginally related movies. Each movie is just another piece of a television series except they are released 6 months apart and are two hours long.

Now all of this is great and all, but what happens when so many of the actors that play major roles in the movies leave the company. The MCU was originally built off the three characters of Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man and all three have contracts with Marvel ending in the next couple of years. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth all have talked about how Avengers 4 may be their last movies in the MCU. There have been rumors about Chris Hemsworth doing one last Thor movie and Chris Evans has stated he is open for a contract renegotiation with Marvel but nothing is set in stone. On top of that Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Chris Pratt (Star Lord), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), and Samuel L. Jackson all have just one or two movies left on their contract.

Marvel

If all of these characters end up leaving what does that mean for the franchise? They have to try and get fans to fall in love with the new characters like they did with Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man. The new characters need to be memorable and Marvel already started to do this with the characters of Spiderman, Black Panther, and to some extent Ant-Man.

Moving forward with Avengers 4, the next movie that is supposed to explain everything from the tragic ending of Avengers Infinity War. (SPOILERS AHEAD THROUGH INFINITY WAR!) With characters like Spiderman and Black Panther turning to dust in the final scenes, fans are eager to see what will happen and how these characters might come back. We can assume all of the characters who died will return due to their future releases of sequels in the coming years. Many fans speculate that Captain Marvel, whose beacon is seen at the end of Avengers Infinity War is a huge key to what will happen.

Marvel

Also, a theory has been floating around about quantum realms and time travel thanks to the recent Ant-Man movie. However, with no trailer released yet, we will all just have to wait and see what crazy spin Marvel will throw at us next.

-Brandon Haraldson