With Avenger’s Endgame set to release this week, fans know that an end of sorts is coming. Everyone is excited and anxious to see how the second part of the current Marvel-spanning story will play out. The reality though is that despite all its grandeur and fun, Endgame is the end of Marvel as we know it. There are a few other major endings taking place that lead me to wonder if this year is the end of the “geek” wave.
Many including Director, Steven Spielberg have predicted that eventually, superhero movies will die off and not be the major motion picture events of the year that they have been. I believe that prediction may be about to come true. Regardless of what happens afterward, the MCU has been building for 11 years, since the release of Iron Man in 2008, to where we are right now. There will definitely be more Marvel movies, but the core cast will be gone and the moment we’ve been watching all along for will have passed. Marvel will have achieved its ambitious goal and we the fans will be satisfied. It could take Marvel years if they decide to follow the same plan and hope to achieve the same level of success in their cinematic universe.
Coincidentally, Marvel also ended all it’s Netflix series this year. Marvel will be launching new shows on the new Disney streaming service, but none of those shows have started yet. This also marks another defined end and an uncertain future. Again we will have more programming, but the actors and base built beginning with Daredevil in 2015 ended this year with the Punisher season 2. Will the new series be successful? Will the same excitement and interest still be there?
Star Wars, another major player, is writing its final chapter, The Rise of Skywalker, this year after 42 years. This comes after a couple of releases that were met with mixed reviews. There are rumored Star Wars films planned for the future, but nothing set in stone at this point. This is a major step for Star Wars as it’s had four major film releases since 2015. The new live-action series The Mandalorian does have a release planned on Disney’s streaming service, but it is the first real live action Star Wars series and not a major motion picture release. This may not mark a defined change in appreciation for Star Wars, but it does mean after this year we don’t have a Star Wars movie or Skywalker to look forward to.
Lastly although not as big as the other endings this year, Arrow, Gotham, and iZombie are all in their final seasons. Arrow is essentially the father of the entire CW comicverse that has been on the air for a number of years now. At one time, Arrow was the only show and it garnered a lot of attention as the first real modern mainstream superhero show on TV. It’s quality and success led to the rise of superhero TV shows. It symbolizes the ending of another influential player in this format and means that the first of these shows are ending. iZombie ending has unique significance because it symbolizes the farthest reaches of the comics to TV explosion. Therefore it’s cancellation would be expected first if all the superheroes shows were going to subsequently end. Gotham’s cancellation signifies the end of the last Batman live-action series since the hugely popular Batman 1960’s show. This is also the ending of the show based on arguably the most popular superhero character in existence.
Although The Big Bang Theory is not a staple of classic geek culture like Marvel or Star Wars, it is a modern icon and reflection of those cultures. The Big Bang Theory is the TV show about the real-life rise of geek culture.
It comments on and satirizes the lives of four geek’s and their various fandoms. This show was only successful because society was at a point where geeks were becoming the norm and geek culture was becoming more widely accepted. The Big Bang Theory is also ending this year after beginning in 2007 and running alongside Marvel’s cinematic universe timeline. The Big Bang Theory was a big deal because it brought geek culture to mainstream television for the first time, but that culture is now the norm.
Geek culture and the superhero phenomena have been surging since they began with Iron Man and The Big Bang Theory. With all of these finales occurring this year, it seems like things will look different next year. Will geek culture fade out again as easily as it rose to the mainstream? There won’t be another Star Wars movie with the return of a beloved character on the horizon. There won’t be new commentary every week on TV on recent geek culture trends. There won’t be a big bag looming in the cosmos for the Marvel Universe to unite to stop. Geek culture will seemingly be forever changed. It may be visible through a drop in sales or it may not. It may just be a subconscious acknowledgment by society that it’s time to look for something new because the best is behind us. I’m not hoping for a major change to the way things are, but I know they can’t stay the same forever either. This year seems to be the high point of this excellent ride that we’ve been on since 2007. I am going to really take it in and try to appreciate all the epic finales. There will be other shows and finales, but the level of geekiness in the world will likely never be this high again. I mean the Avengers are facing Thanos and a movie with “Skywalker” in the title is going to be in theaters. If this is the beginning of the end, at least we’ve seen some really cool things. The next question is if geek culture really does fade away, then what will rise up in its place?