For millennia, the most popular stories on earth were epic tales of Gods and heroes. Five thousand years later, human culture remains similarly transfixed, albeit on a more modern epic: the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The epic story form had never faced a foe as potent as the novel or cultural modernity. Yet after centuries of decline, the appeal of expansive imaginary worlds remained. Then suddenly, it came roaring back.
From media consolidation, to visual and social technology, to globalization, powerful trends have pushed the epic back to the forefront of our culture. And these forces are only getting stronger.
The MCU has been far more successful than any other universe. Some of that is the source material. Some of it is the execution. But part of it may be a winner-take-all paradigm. Can it last?