Kevin Feige and the creative teams behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe have instituted a change in the second phase of the franchise, a change that will carry over into the third phase. Marvel films are no longer designed to overlap. Overlapping narratives “bleed” into other films. While not too overtly connected, an overlap of narratives seeks to connect the various films to establish the different entries as being part of a single universe. Now that the mission has been properly accomplished, the usage of overlapping narratives can be dropped.
The idea of canceling the structural approach of overlapping narratives probably draws inspiration from the various muddled comic books that overused this concept. In time, it becomes difficult to tell where one story ends and another begins. Subplots and other elements of different films start to creep into each project. Narratives become muddled when this happens.
One reason for the decline of comic book sales is due to the constant overlapping of “mega stories” among different books. The idea of creating a multi-book super event does affect sales. Comic book buyers absolutely enjoy rushing out to buy the titles associated with a special maxi-series event. Unfortunately, once the main storyline runs its course, the universe is left with a lot of overwritten plots and books with no clear or coherent narrative structure. Readers stop buying as a result.
Nothing this severe has occurred in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige is taking steps to make sure it never happens. Each movie is going to remain a standalone project with the various plots being self-contained.
Coherency is another way of saying “Make the audience happy”. No audience is going to be thrilled with a deeply muddled plot or one that requires following too many different subplots associated with movies they might not even have seen.