For Marvel Cinematic Universe fans wondering which foes their favorite superheroes will face next, taking a glance at Marvel Studios' Phase 4 plot holds some answers — including which heroes star in new original shows on Disney Plus.
Coronavirus has thrown a giant wrench into the MCU schedule, with Black Widow's release delayed knocking everything else back. New release dates are reflected below.
You don't need to be Uatu to see the entire Marvel future. Here's our complete guide:
MCU Phase 4 Films — what's released and what's still coming
We are almost done with Phase 4, with one show and one movie left. Trying to catch up on Phases 1-3? Check out our How to watch the Marvel movies in order guide.
These are all the movies that have happened during MCU's Phase 4:
Black Widow (June 29, 2021)
Natasha Romanova’s secrets have remained some of the biggest MCU mysteries since Black Widow’s debut in Marvel’s The Avengers (2012). Now Scarlett Johansson stars in a solo movie alongside David Harbour (a.k.a. Chief Hopper from Stranger Things 3), Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz.
For now, the plot remains as in the shadows as Black Widow’s backstory. "I think you'll learn about what Natasha is afraid of, and I think you'll learn about what parts of herself she's afraid of," said Johansson at Marvel’s SDCC 2019 Phase 4 event.
Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings (Sept. 3, 2021)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, with Simu Liu, Awkwafina, and Tony Leung, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. In theaters February 12, 2021. pic.twitter.com/WePmw8d5GqJuly 21, 2019
Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings focuses on the Asian and Asian-American characters Marvel has long promised. The protagonist Shang-Chi is known as the master of kung-fu, and will kick off against the Mandarin (the real Mandarin, not the bait-and-switch version we got in Iron Man 3). Tony Leung, Simu Liu, and Awkwafina also star in the film.
The Eternals (Nov. 5, 2021)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ THE ETERNALS with Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh and Don Lee. Directed by Chloé Zhao. In theaters November 6, 2020. pic.twitter.com/k6ZgfX38VWJuly 21, 2019
The Eternals are a group of immortal aliens set with the task of protecting the universe and its inhabitants (just not from Thanos, apparently). Richard Madden, Kumail Najiani, Lauren Ridloff, Bryan Tyree Henry, Salma Hayak, Lias McHugh, Don Lee, and Angelina Jolie all star in the upcoming ensemble project. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige described the essence of Eternals as "full Jack Kirby," referring to the famed comic book artist/writer's unique and colorful cosmic art style.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021)
Peter Parker and his friends were shut out of going to college now that the world discovered his secret identity (thanks, Mysterio). So, they went to Doctor Strange for help, but Peter was a bit too needy and so Spider-Man: No Way Home is born out of his mistakes. Many a past Spider-Man villain from the Sony movies, plus two other Spider-Men, all came into the MCU for this one.
Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness (May 6, 2022)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS with Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. Scott Derrickson returns as director. In theaters May 7, 2021. pic.twitter.com/bVyOYjPLlyJuly 21, 2019
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson may have revealed Doctor Strange 2’s production when he shared a photo on Instagram from the film’s set in Kathmandu; but Marvel officially announced the sequel, called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at SDCC 2019.
The Sam Raimi-directed film had its fair share of horror, but it's very much an MCU movie. You can now watch Doctor Strange 2 on Disney Plus, as Strange and a mix of new and old allies protect the multiverse.
Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8, 2022)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER with Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman. Taika Waititi returns as director. In theaters November 5, 2021. pic.twitter.com/7RRkOYWTQMJuly 21, 2019
We knew a Thor 4 was in the works, but it's so much better than we could've hoped. After announcing the title, director Taika Waititi appeared with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson to announce the new project will bring Natalie Portman back to the series -- this time, with a hammer. Waititi explained that the movie will be loosely based on the comic The Mighty Thor. "For those of you that know that story, it's incredible. It's full of emotion. It introduces, for the first time, female Thor," he said. We think we know when Thor: Love and Thunder hits Disney Plus.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Nov. 11, 2022)
The question of who takes the Throne of Wakanda is up in the air for this one. Letitia Wright's Shuri is a top candidate. M'Baku is getting a bigger role. Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) debuts in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Tenoch Huerta is a major addition to the cast, as he plays Namor the Submariner.
MCU Phase 4 Disney Plus shows
Phase 4 won't just unfold on the big-screen – Disney Plus, Disney's exclusive streaming platform, played host to a bunch of original MCU shows.
WandaVision (January 15, 2021 – March 5, 2021)
Here’s the first official on-screen look at Elizabeth Olsen and @Paul_Bettany in the #WandaVision series! pic.twitter.com/Y7WTBPfnT9December 7, 2019
Announced by Marvel as a “mega event” “unlike anything we’ve ever done before,” WandaVision is Marvel's current best-kept secret. We know next to nothing about the project, only that it stars Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Teyonah Parris. Feige added that the series will act as a set-up to the next Doctor Strange film.
At D23, Feige announced that Kat Dennings and Randall Park will reprise their MCU roles for this show. Katherine Hahn will also join the series, which is said to be half retro-sitcom, half MCU-style epic.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (March 19, 2021 – April 23, 2021)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, an original series with Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, and Daniel Brühl. Streaming exclusively on Disney+, Fall 2020. pic.twitter.com/COes9WV7WvJuly 21, 2019
The first Marvel Phase 4 series to hit Disney+ will be The Falcon And the Winter Soldier. Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie, becomes Captain America after Steve handed the star-spangled shield off to him in Endgame. He teams up with Bucky, played by Sebastian Stan, to create a crime-fighting team. In addition, Daniel Bruhl returns as Baron Zemo, the villain from Captain America: Civil War who brainwashed the Winter Soldier.
At the 2019 D23 Expo, we found out that Sharon Van Camp will be playing Sharon Carter, and Wyatt Russell will join the series to play John Walker (who is suspected to be US Agent).
Loki (June 9, 2021 – July 14, 2021)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ LOKI, an original series with Tom Hiddleston. Streaming exclusively on Disney+, Spring 2021. pic.twitter.com/lDqAWtIE0uJuly 21, 2019
Did you catch the blink-and-miss-it moment in Avengers: Endgame that explains Loki’s return after his demise in Infinity War? Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as the Norse god of mischief and magic in a story that succeeds Endgame. "It is one of the most exciting creative opportunities I've ever come across," Hiddleston said "A new world. New challenges. And I cannot wait to get started.”
What If...? (August 11, 2021 – October 6, 2021)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ WHAT IF...?, the first animated series in the MCU, with Jeffrey Wright as the voice of The Watcher, and many actors from across the MCU reprising their roles as voice talent. Streaming exclusively on Disney+, Summer 2021. pic.twitter.com/6aPhlQvMR9July 21, 2019
Animated series fans rejoice! MCU is getting its first animated show, starring Jeffrey Wright as the voice of The Watcher. What If...? will be an alternate realities saga that reveals different outcomes and setups with famous characters we thought we knew. The first episode will ask what if Peggy Carter had taken the Super Soldier Serum instead of Steve Rogers.
Disney confirmed that What If...? will be an animated series at the D23 Expo, and revealed there will be one episode per MCU film. Also, expect your favorite MCU actors, as Michael B. Jordan, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, Karen Gillian, Paul Rudd, Natalie Portman, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Jeff Goldblum and many many more were announced as a part of the voice-actor cast.
At D23, we saw footage of Sharon Carter as a hero that appeared to be part-Captain America and part-Captain Britain.
Hawkeye (November 24, 2021 – December 22, 2021)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE with Jeremy Renner, an original series that will also introduce Kate Bishop. Streaming exclusively on Disney+, Fall 2021. pic.twitter.com/n2u6G4i4iGJuly 21, 2019
Hawkeye will finally clue us into what Jeremy Renner's character did during his “Ronin” phase in the midst of Avengers: Endgame. We also know an un-cast Kate Bishop will take on the role of Hawkeye from Clint Barton. Providing this close-up on the archer could set up a new Hawkeye for future Avengers or team-up films.
Renner provided more proof of Kate Bishop's significant role in the series in a tweet, sharing show art that has the character front and center.
Moon Knight (March 30, 2022 - May 4, 2022)
Oscar Isaac played double duty as both Steven Grant and Marc Spector in Moon Knight's MCU debut. A bit too complicated for some, Moon Knight wasn't exactly loved. But Isaac's performances are unquestionably strong.
Ms. Marvel (June 8, 2022 - July 13, 2022)
Iman Vellani's debut in the MCU as Kamala Khan is one of our favorite pieces of Phase 4 of the MCU, and just plain fun. Watch it. Trust us.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (August 17, 2022 - October 12, 2022)
Already under fire for questionable CGI as seen in its trailers, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is said to be the first half-hour comedy of the MCU. Charlie Cox will return as Daredevil.
MCU Phases 1, 2 and 3 Explained
For reference, Phase 1 started with Iron Man (2008). It included The Incredible Hulk (2008),
Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Phase 1 ended with Marvel’s The Avengers (2012).
Phase 2 commenced with Iron Man 3 (2009), closing the first individual hero franchise of the modern MCU. It also featured Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and wrapped up with Ant-Man (2015).
Though it’s easy to assume Phase 3 covered everything from Ant-Man to Endgame, it actually ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). It also contained 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), and Captain Marvel (2019).
Now if you’re counting, you’ll notice Phase 3 had double the amount of films as Phase 1 and 2. Whether this was entirely intentional or a product of Marvel buying some planning time is unknown, but we’re not mad about it. And neither was the box office—Marvel earned over $13 billion between the 12 terrific movies. Ever since 2017, Marvel is steadily churning out 3 quality action films a year, and there’s no signs of losing pace.
We loved Phase 3's final film so much that we're already waiting on Spider-Man: Far From Home's digital release details to drop.