The structure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can seem chaotic when you look at it too closely, as there is no real pattern in the releases of original films and sequels, but there is a macro order to it all. The franchise on the whole has progressed in what have been called “Phases,” with Phase One, for example, consisting of all of the movies from Jon Favreau’s Iron Man to Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. It’s not something that has generally meant too much from movie to movie, but it has been exceptionally useful for fans charting the development of big picture plans.
This brings us to Phase Four. It was widely publicized by people like Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that Phase Three ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home, and that the next step in the franchise would mark a new era – but the precise boundaries of it all have been left vague. After the Marvel Panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, many fans believed that the event had laid out the entire slate, but thanks to announcements at events like D23 Expo 2019 and Disney’s 2020 Investor’s Day, the list of upcoming titles has grown immensely. We’ve been left wondering exactly how many projects Phase Four will ultimately encompass, and what its (if you’ll pardon the phrase) endgame will be.
And it turns out that Kevin Feige has no intention of offering up any extra information in that department.
Phase Four is officially set to kick off next week with the release of the first two episodes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe series WandaVision, and it was during a press conference promoting the upcoming release this weekend that the producer/executive declined to offer up any information regarding the destination for the developing slate. He was asked if he could confirm what will be the final project for Phase Four will be, and his simple response was, “No.”
While the first two Phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe both contained six films apiece, Phase Three was much bigger (11 movies), and Phase Four is set to be vastly more robust. There are eight blockbusters scheduled to be released between now and the end of 2022, not to mention confirmed-but-undated projects like James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, and Jon Watts’ Fantastic Four – bringing the number of features to the same total as Phase Three.
But that doesn’t also recognize the massive slate of Disney+ series that are coming out in the next few years and will be directly tied into the big screen events of Phase Four. WandaVision is just the start, and it will be followed by both The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, and Ms. Marvel later in 2021. Beyond that there’s also Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Secret Invasion, Ironheart, Armor Wars, and even the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. There’s a hell of a lot going on in this latest round of Marvel Cinematic Universe projects.
So how will it all end? All we can do is speculate. After the massive scope of Avengers: Infinity War/Avengers: Endgame, there is going to be an expectation that Marvel Studios raises the blockbuster bar even higher, but how do they do that? Given the blend of mediums we see at play in Phase Four from the line-up of projects mentioned above, one has to wonder if perhaps they are cooking up something epic that will further mix the events of the big screen and the small.
We here at CinemaBlend are always paying extensively close attention to Marvel Cinematic Universe developments, so as more are announced you can be sure that we will have coverage for you (not to mention plenty of speculation in between). We’re also planning to have a whole lot of material for you to dive into with the debut of WandaVision, so stay tuned for all of that!
NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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