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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has big plans for the future. To keep it all straight, we've laid out the next few years' worth of Marvel Studios films in this feature, which will take you through all of the official titles announced for Phase 4 - as well as the unscheduled projects that are currently in development.
Black Widow - May 1, 2020
Fans spent years calling for Marvel Studios' first female-led superhero movie, and for the longest time it seemed like a Black Widow solo film would be the perfect solution to the request - what with Scarlett Johansson's character's being arguably the most popular heroine in the franchise. That didn't wind up happening, as both Evangeline Lilly's Hope van Dyne and Brie Larson's Carol Danvers broke the glass ceiling with their titular roles in Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel - but that doesn't mean a Black Widow movie isn't happening. In fact, it's currently set up to be the first title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Four.
For a long time it was hard to tell what information was real and what was spurious in regards to this project, but it's been confirmed that the project is happening. In July 2018 it was revealed that Cate Shorthand has signed on to direct the feature, her previous work including the period drama Lore and the horror movie Berlin Syndrome. At this time there are no official details about the story that the movie will tell, but it has been confirmed that the movie will take place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and will largely be set in Europe. Casting has already begun, and in addition to Scarlett Johansson, the movie will also feature David Harbour as Alexei aka The Red Guardian, Florence Pugh as Yelena, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina. It's also been confirmed that the blockbuster will bring the fan favorite character Taskmaster to the big screen for the first time, but it has not yet been said who is playing the role.
The Eternals - November 6, 2020
When it comes to the cosmic side of Marvel Comics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have only scratched the surface thus far. Sure, we've seen a few Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, but there are millions of beings out in the cosmos that have yet to make their live-action debut. The Eternals is a tremendous step in that direction, as there is a whole world of godly characters created by Jack Kirby that should make for tremendous cinematic exploration, and we will get an excellent dose of all that when the project is released on November 6, 2020.
Chloe Zhao was previously in the running to take the helm of the Black Widow movie, and while she didn't get that job, Marvel Studios decided they wanted her to stick around for The Eternals. The comics tell the story of a race of beings created from proto-humans by god-like aliens known as Celestials, and it's been said that romance will be at the center of the intergalactic story. The project is putting together an excellent ensemble with Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Gemma Chan as Sersei, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Kit Harington as Dane Whitman a.k.a. Black Knight,and Angelina Jolie as Thena.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings - February 12, 2021
We've seen the Marvel Cinematic Universe explore a wide number of genres over the years, from the conspiracy thriller that was Captain America: The Winter Solider, to the noir roots in Iron Man 3, but in Phase 4 Marvel Studios will make their first kung fu film. Specifically, they are currently developing a solo movie for the hero Shang-Chi, a master of martial arts that was introduced into the pages of Marvel Comics back in 1973.
In March 2019 the studio hired Daniel Cretton to take the helm of the project, and it will be the director's first venture into the world of blockbuster filmmaking. Like many others before entering this universe, he doesn't have a ton of experience on his resume, but he definitely has some standout titles - namely the brilliant 2013 indie film Short Term 12. As the title suggests, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings will find its titular hero going toe-to-toe with the titular evil organization, and already the project has hired actors for three key roles. It was officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 that up-and-comer Simu Liu will be playing Marvel's Master Of Kung-Fu, while Tony Leung has signed on to play the real Mandarin (not to be confused with Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3).
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness - May 7, 2021
As they have since pretty much the beginning, Marvel's plans moving forward will include mixing things up between sequels and original projects. After all, while the latter allow things to constantly feel fresh and new, the former lets us see a lot more of the characters we've previously fallen in love with. This most definitely extends to Doctor Strange, as Marvel President Kevin Feige confirmed to CinemaBlend in summer 2018 that a Doctor Strange 2 was in development, and now we know that project is taking form as Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.
The project is set to be the fourth release of Phase Four, and it was confirmed in late 2018 that Scott Derrickson will be back to direct. What's interesting about his presence this time around is that he is going to be given the freedom to make a straight-up horror movie that really explores the psychedelic terror of infinite universes. It has not yet been said who will be the main antagonist of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, but we have learned that the film will see Benedict Cumberbatch's Master Of The Mystic Arts teaming with a very interesting hero in a key supporting role: Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. What's more, the story is going to be directly linked to the events that play out in the WandaVision Disney+ series that is now slated to hit the streaming service in the spring of 2021.
Thor: Love And Thunder - November 5, 2021
For the longest time it was assumed that Marvel Studios wouldn't expand their solo movie series beyond three features - with Iron Man and Captain America being the perfect examples - but the God of Thunder has struck down that "rule" with a blast of lightning. It's no secret that Chris Hemsworth doesn't really love the first two Thor films, but his experience making Thor: Ragnarok totally changed his perspective on playing the character, and now we will be getting a Thor 4 in 2021 with the brilliant title Thor: Love And Thunder.
Certainly one of the most compelling reasons for Marvel Studios to make this film is that they have struck a deal with the perfect filmmaker to do it. Taika Waititi, who helmed the critically-acclaimed Thor: Ragnarok, has signed on the dotted line, and is now set to come back to direct the next chapter in the series. It's been confirmed that the story will pick up after the events of Avengers: Endgame and find Chris Hemsworth's eponymous hero searching for a new purpose, but he will also be joined by two amazing co-stars. Tessa Thompson will officially come back as Valkyrie, who will be ruling as the King of Asgard, and the movie is also going to feature the epic return of Natalie Portman's Jane Foster - who is going to be transformed into The Mighty Thor, as she was in Marvel Comics back in 2015.
Black Panther 2 - May 6, 2022
Is anyone in the world even remotely surprised that Black Panther is getting a sequel? Sure, it's not arriving until Phase 5, but there was no way that Marvel Studios wasn't going to take full advantage of what currently stands as its most successful solo character release. The first movie did an amazing job establishing the world of Wakanda, eventually seeing it open up to the world, and Black Panther 2 will offer the amazing opportunity to fully explore what the presence of the country means for the entire planet.
Ryan Coogler has signed on to take the helm of Black Panther 2, which, it should be noted, will not actually be the final title of the film. As for what the name of the movie actually is, Coogler turned down the opportunity to reveal that information - along with the planned villain, and the events that take place in the opening scene - in August 2019 when he stood on stage beside Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige at D23 Expo 2019. Together they did reveal the release date, however, which is how we know that it will be the second feature released as part of Phase 5 (as noted below, Marvel Studios has also planted a flag in February 18, 2022 as a release date, which is the blockbuster that will kick off the new era)
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
The road to making Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 has been an odd one so far. Initially it looked like the film was going to be one of the earliest titles released as part of Marvel Phase 4, but then all hell broke loose when James Gunn lost the directing gig thanks to offensive Tweets he wrote nearly a decade ago. After that whole ordeal the filmmaker decided to make a move over to the DC Extended Universe - agreeing to script and helm the upcoming The Suicide Squad - but now everything appears to be mostly back on track, as Gunn has been reinstated and is once again set to make the conclusion to his Guardians Of The Galaxy trilogy.
James Gunn has always said that the next sequel in the Guardians franchise will bring an end to the story of THIS version of the Guardians team, which includes Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). It's not entirely clear how the tale will be concluded, and the project has been pushed back until after Gunn can complete work on The Suicide Squad, but to say that our excitement is at maximum about the project's latest developments would be an understatement.
Captain Marvel 2
Given that Captain Marvel was Marvel Studios' first billion dollar hit in 2019, Captain Marvel 2 has long been predictable as a future project for the franchise, but like what's happening with Black Panther 2 it doesn't look like the company is rushing things at all. While it probably wouldn't have surprised anybody to see Brie Larson's Carol Danvers showing up again as the star of one of the 2021 releases, it turns out we'll have to wait until at least 2022 before the heroine returns in her next solo adventure.
Right now we truly have no idea what the franchise wants to do with Carol Danvers next other than give her another movie of her very own. It has not yet been said who will actually be making the movie, as nobody has officially signed on, but the safe bet is that Marvel will be bringing back Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Now that the Disney-Fox merger is complete, it's only a matter of time before we finally get to see the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the Fantastic Four - though those hoping that a new version of the team would fittingly debut as part of the franchise's Phase 4 plans were left disappointed by the slate news that was dropped at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. While Marvel's First Family was name-dropped by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, no concrete details about their developing next feature were offered.
We can't actually say for certain at this point if the Fantastic Four will be included as a part of Phase 5, but it probably is a pretty safe call given that Marvel is keenly aware of the interest that the project has already generated. There have been rumors that Peyton Reed may be potentially involved with the project (having developed a big screen take on the group years ago), and the fact that we've heard nothing about an Ant-Man 3 possibly supports that chatter. Nothing official is yet known, though, so stay tuned for more updates.
The X-Men franchise that existed for nearly two decades is now officially over, and fans worldwide are over-the-top excited for their chance to finally see the legendary mutant characters make their debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The hitch is that introducing mutants to the expansive franchise is no small undertaking... so Marvel Studios is playing things smart by not rushing things. It's the reason why Professor X's team won't be showing up in Phase 4, and they honestly may not be showing up in Phase 5 either, depending on how long the phase actually winds up being.
Like with the Fantastic Four, Kevin Feige name-dropped "the mutants" during the Marvel Studios Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, but he didn't offer any actual information regarding when we'll get to see them. There's a good chance it won't happen before 2025.
Most of the projects announced by Marvel Studios during San Diego Comic-Con 2019 were ones that fans were already vaguely aware of, but this is one that took everybody by surprise. The company has held the rights to Blade for a number of years now, but it was only during the annual summer event that they announced that they are finally doing something with it. And what's more, the project has already lined up a star.
While we currently have no idea when he'll actually make his big screen debut, two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will soon be playing Blade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This news may come as a bit of a surprise to those who are fans of the Marvel Netflix shows, as Ali notably played Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes in the first season of Luke Cage, but we'll all just have to put that in the back of our minds while watching him hunting vampires.
Carved-Out Release Dates
February 18, 2022
July 29, 2022
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man And The Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)