With Avengers: Endgame and the upcoming release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, we will finally come to the conclusion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Phase 3.” Although it wasn’t the longest of the MCU phases, it had the most films with ten total. But while these films mark the end of an era for Marvel Studios, we all know that’s nowhere near the end of the story overall. We’re just gettin’ started folks. So just what movies are going to be making up the MCU’s Phase 4? And will Kevin Feige even call it Phase 4, or will we be done with the idea of “phases” after this?
We only have a vague idea of what to expect for sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make some very educated guesses on what the future holds based on what we do know.
How Many Phase 4 Movies Are There?
Right now, we have the release dates of several MCU movies, just no titles as of yet. There are eight release dates total: May 1, 2020; November 6, 2020; February 12, 2021; May 7, 2021; November 5, 2021; February 18, 2022; May 6, 2022; July 29, 2022.
Which Movies Are They?
While we still don’t know, based on previously released information, we have a pretty good idea of what most of these films are. The May 1st 2020 release date probably goes to director Cate Shortland’s Black Widow, which is currently filming. The rest probably shakedown like this:
Doctor Strange 2
Black Panther 2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Captain Marvel 2
About half of these films have creative teams in place already, whether they are formally announced or not. The Eternals has director Chloe Zhao, plus Angelina Jolie and other cast members attached. James Gunn has returned to helm Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 3, while Scott Derrickson has returned for Doctor Strange 2 and Ryan Coogler is back for Black Panther 2. Shang-Chi has director Destin Daniel Cretton attached as well. Only Captain Marvel 2 hasn’t had any official movement. But after making a billion dollars at the box office, it is only a matter of time.
The final slot is a bit of a wild card. Could it be New Avengers? Ant-Man 3? The long awaited arrival of the Fantastic Four into the MCU? It seems it will likely be one of these three. But Marvel could surprise us still. Oh, and there will probably be a third Tom Holland Spider-Man movie in there as well. But that falls under the auspices of Sony technically, so it would not be counted as one of these Disney release dates. There are also rumblings as well of Chris Hemsworth returning as Thor in some capacity. He’s likely the only one of the “big three” Avengers to come back anytime soon.
When Will We Got Official Word On Just What The Heck These Movies Are?
Marvel has been uncharacteristically mum about the future of the MCU post Avengers: Endgame. But we expect all that to change at either this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego, or at the Disney D23 Expo. While it’s not for sure, we expect Kevin Feige to formally lay out what the next few years are going to look like. This would be similar to how Marvel came to Hollywood’s El Capitan theater in 2014 to lay out the next five years of films. All of which were hits by the way, a pretty spectacular track record.
Well, except for Inhumans. That didn’t actually happen in theaters. But we got a Spider-Man: Homecoming and an Ant-Man and the Wasp instead, so it’s all good!
Is This Where The X-Men Come In?
Yes, the X-Men are finally back home with Marvel. But with the disastrous reception to Dark Phoenix, it would be wise for Kevin Feige to let the franchise rest for a bit. We definitely have ideas about how Marvel should handle one of their biggest properties going forward. But no matter how they handle it, we expect a long waiting period.
There were three years between the poorly received Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Homecoming. Given that Dark Phoenix was a much bigger flop than ASM2, we expect and even longer cooling off period. But if we were to guess, it’ll happen in Phase 5 we think. And you just know that Avengers vs. X-Men is inevitable. Just not anytime soon.
Do The Upcoming Disney+ Shows Count as Phase 4?
Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige are behind the announced slew of mini-series for MCU characters headed for the forthcoming Disney+ streaming service. Included among those shows are Loki, WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye. Feige has mentioned they will tie in to the films in a significant way. But whether or not they can be considered as an official part of Phase 4, or something tangential to it, remains to be seen.
Most Importantly, Where Does Keanu Reeves Fit In?
We know Kevin Feige wants Keanu Reeves in an MCU project. The world wants it. But will it happen in Phase 4? As a seemingly ageless being, he could be one of the Eternals. Or maybe even the Marvel version of Dracula. But my top choice for Keanu Reeves has got to be casting him in a Silver Surfer solo film. We think he was born for this one.