The Marvel Cinematic Universe is rapidly moving along with Phase 4, and with each passing project comes a stunning new development to the universe curated by Marvel Studios. Suffice it to say that the first part of 2021 offered many exciting developments for this franchise, and we've also gotten some teases that characters like Jane Foster will go through some big changes in upcoming movies.
Based on what we know and have seen, she's not the only one set to make a splash in the MCU in Phase 4 and beyond. Here is how and why we expect Jane Foster and the following other Marvel characters to get more interesting as they re-appear in future movies.
When Thor: Love and Thunder was first announced, it wasn't just revealed that Natalie Portman would return as Jane Foster. It was also said she'd undergo a big transformation. Namely, she'd receive the power of Thor at some point, which means we'll get a Jane Foster unlike any we've seen on-screen previously. Of course, there's a good deal of Jane as Thor in the comics, which has led fans to speculate exactly how and why this whole transformation may occur. For the record, there are some clues as to how this may go down, though one may not want to read them if they want to go into Love and Thunder blind.
I'll be candid, Mantis hasn't really done much across her first several appearances in the MCU. She's been good for a few laughs and temporarily halted Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but viewers haven't spent much time with her at all. Mantis has done a lot in Marvel Comics, including play the bride of Kang The Conqueror at one point. That will certainly be something to look out for as the villain is incorporated more into the MCU, but in general, I think we'll see Mantis get more notable stories in the MCU going forward that better solidify her role in the Guardians of the Galaxy.
I don't know of many Marvel fans who skipped WandaVision, but those in that camp missed a rather important development with Captain Marvel character Monica Rambeau. Monica's exposure to Wanda's distorted reality unlocked the superpowers Marvel Comics readers always knew she had, which means she's officially Photon/Pulsar/Spectrum/whatever the MCU decides to call her. Last we heard from Monica, she was given an offer by a Skrull to join up with a friend of her mother's in space (possibly Nick Fury, but that hasn't been confirmed yet) who is monitoring some unknown galactic threat. We're still not entirely sure what that is just yet, but I would expect Monica to play a key role in that. It's also confirmed she'll be one of The Marvels' starring characters alongside Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel.
Sam Wilson (Captain America)
Sam Wilson was given the Captain America shield by Steve Rogers at the end of Avengers: Endgame, and he foolishly relinquished it to the United States government. Now, after a whole adventure that could've been averted in some ways had Sam never returned that shield, he's officially Captain America, and he will undoubtedly get some big adventures that will hopefully carry on the hot streak Chris Evans' movies were on before he passed the torch. I'm certainly excited to see how Wilson navigates being Captain America without the Super Soldier Serum and how that changes up Captain America movies going forward.
Valkyrie proved in Thor: Ragnarok she was more than capable of handling things on her own, and we saw that in action in Avengers: Endgame. Valkyrie was running New Asgard for all the refugee Asgardians, while the rightful heir to the title was threatening children on Fortnite. Suffice to say Valkyrie has earned her keep in the MCU and will be a part of Thor: Love and Thunder, though we don't know exactly what she'll be up to aside from looking for a queen to rule alongside her. I'm certainly hoping she'll continue to be a meaningful part of the Thor franchise, though sharing screen time with Jane Foster may keep her from immediate major moves until future adventures.
Baron Karl Mordo
Karl Mordo is perhaps the only character in the MCU who we knew more was coming from them for a while, but we've had nothing to go on in the years since Doctor Strange. This guy enacted a big plan immediately following the main events of the movie to de-power other sorcerers, and has seemingly stayed under the radar in years since. Make no mistake though, Mordo is a huge rival to Doctor Strange in the comics, and he will appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Expect him to make waves with his return and surely complicate Doctor Strange's life.
Shuri was and still is one of the most entertaining minor characters in the MCU. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten many chances to see her in adventures, and she was blipped off-screen in Avengers: Infinity War. Following Endgame, it was revealed that Shuri was in the process of developing a synthetic version of the Heart-Shaped Herb that imbued T'Challa and others with their powers. I'd expect to see a lot more of her in Black Panther 2, and hopefully she'll get a bit more time to shine than she's had in the past, especially now that her brother is gone.
Scott Lang's young daughter grew up in Avengers: Endgame, which got many Marvel fans excited for her future. Cassandra Lang goes on in Marvel Comics to become a big member in the Young Avengers (figuratively and literally), and she's not the only member springing up in the MCU as of late. It seems like a forgone conclusion the Young Avengers will form at some point in the future, though we've yet to learn exactly when that's going to happen. When it does happen though, expect to see Cassie Lang in the mix with Kate Bishop and others.
Kang The Conqueror
We just saw a version of Kang The Conqueror in Loki, and we'll be seeing a lot more of the character in future MCU projects. In fact, if the MCU follows Marvel canon, there should be some solid variants of Kang floating around the MCU at various points and times. Many of them are interesting and will undoubtedly impact this franchise in many ways. Of course, they all aren't technically named "Kang the Conqueror," but none of it would be possible without Kang. I'm excited to see how this villain will measure up to Thanos, if that's at all possible.