Patience isn't exactly a quality that Hollywood has in spades.
When it comes to a successful property most studios have a similar attitude to Thor when enjoying a nice coffee: "I like it… ANOTHER!" This is also true of Marvel of course, but under the construct of their cinematic universe (the MCU) they get away with releasing a pretty constant string of movies.
This is also why I believe they can get away with putting off their third 'Avengers' film until 2020.
When 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' is released in 2015 it will have been three years since Marvel and Joss Whedon first assembled their superhero team and enjoyed their Hulk-size success.
In those three years Marvel will have released four films, including three sequels that don't so much expand the MCU as solidify its initial success. 'Thor: The Dark World' and next year's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' will help set up a wider, more galactic universe - but that side of things is unlikely to play a major part 'Age of Ultron'.
Perfectly understandable, but that fact puts a lot of pressure on Phase Three to be an entirely different beast to Phase Two.
As many suspected after 'Avengers Assemble's credits scene and as was confirmed by 'Thor 2's credits sequence, Marvel are building towards an adaptation of their famous 'Infinity Guantlet' storyline. To do this successfully Marvel will need a huge cast of characters and a lot of set up.
If Phase Three was to follow the same path as Phase Two, it would consist of five films, with 'Ant-Man' set for release in the months following 'Age of Ultron' and four films in the two years after.
If used properly five films could be just enough, but with plans to introduce Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the Inhumans, that leaves one extra film. With 'Captain America' and 'Thor' threequels almost certain to happen suddenly a three year gap between 'Avengers' sequels seems unattainable.
So how about a five year gap, and nine films.
Such a move would undoubtedly be risky, but Marvel Studios was built on risks, and if they used their properties smartly they could make the wait bearable for fans eager to see the Avengers a third time. Absence also makes the heart grow fonder, so just imagine those opening box office numbers for 'Avengers 3' after a five year wait.
That does leave one question however: What nine films should Marvel make to build towards their Infinity Gauntlet epic. Here's a list of films I believe could make it work...
Summer 2015 - 'Ant-Man'
Early 2016 - 'Doctor Strange'
Late 2016 - 'Black Panther'
Early 2017 - 'Thor 3'
Late 2017 - 'Inhumans'
Early 2018 - 'Captain America 3' (with Hulk fighting alongside Cap)
Late 2018 - 'The Punisher'
Early 2019 - 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' (Major Thanos role / Infinity Guantlet set-up)
Late 2019 - 'The Indestructible Hulk'
Early 2020 - 'The Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet'
'Ant-Man', 'Doctor Strange' and 'Black Panther' would set up those characters. 'Inhumans' would set up the concept of mutants in the MCU without saying mutants - which is an 'X-Men' thing. 'The Punisher' could also include characters from Marvel's newly-announced 'Defenders' project with Netflix, such as Daredevil or Luke Cage.
'Thor 3' could plant seeds for Infinity Gauntlet by introducing more Infinity Gems. 'Captain America 3' could introduce Bruce Banner and the "other guy" as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Guardians of the Galaxy' could do most to set-up 'Avengers 3' and the long-long-long-awaited 'Hulk' movie would be a great crowd pleaser going into the following year's epic.
Each new character Marvel introduces comes at the risk of a lacklustre box office, but these are important in expanding the world and finding new avenues for potential success in the future. The bigger Marvel's cast of characters the better an adaptation of 'Infinity Gauntlet' they can create, and one that finds a suitably epic tone.
Where they go from there is anyone's guess, but one thing is for certain - Marvel are always planning ahead, and they probably already have a pretty good idea what will happen.
Ben Skipper is a big Marvel nut and proud Whedonite. Impressed by what Marvel have done with their 'Avengers' films, he won't be truly satisfied until Mark Ruffalo's Hulk gets his own movie. Come on Marvel, make it happen already! You can follow Ben on Twitter @bskipper27.