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.
- Marvel movie release dates (plus DC movies and Disney Plus shows)
You don't need to be Uatu to see the entire Marvel future. Here's our complete guide:
Confirmed MCU Phase 4 Films
We already know a handful of titles to expect for Phase 4, but more details are sure to come. 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 we can expect to see during MCU's Phase 4:
Black Widow (Nov. 6, 2020)
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.
The Eternals (Feb 12, 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.
Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings (May 7, 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.
Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness (November 5, 2021)
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. They’re calling the project a horror movie, though the plot remains a mystery. Picking up after the events of the Disney+ series WandaVision, Doctor Strange protect the Earth from yet another mystical threat. Scarlet Witch will co-star along with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Thor: Love and Thunder (February 28, 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.
Blade (release date TBD)
Just announced in Hall H at #SDCC, Marvel Studios’ BLADE with Mahershala Ali. pic.twitter.com/JPcrSqSerWJuly 21, 2019
Oscar winner Mahershala Ali is joining the MCU family to reboot Blade, a story about a human with vampire strength. Blade operates in a gorier corner of the Marvel universe, so it’ll be interesting to see how this new take on the franchise will deliver a degree of intensity while still appealing to a larger theater audience.
Is Avengers 5 in Phase 4?
Avengers is Marvel’s most central franchise, the glue that holds the current MCU together. Which is why fans like us might be concerned by the absence of an Avengers title in the Phase 4 plan.
Infinity War and Endgame writer Christopher Markus told the Los Angeles Times that "Phase 4 can go in a lot more directions than any of the preceding three phases." He also said, "If you throw in the Disney+ streaming thing… I think it will be a phase that is shaped differently than the preceding ones."
So it seems we won't witness a fifth Avengers movie during Phase 4 (for now, at least.)
Confirmed MCU Phase 4 Disney Plus Series
Phase 4 won't just unfold on the big-screen – Disney Plus, Disney's exclusive streaming platform, will host original MCU series starting in Fall 2020. These are all the shows we can expect to see during Phase 4:
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Fall 2020)
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).
WandaVision (Spring 2020)
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.
Loki (Spring 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...? (Summer 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 (Fall 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.
Ms. Marvel, She Hulk and Moon Knight (dates TBA)
Marvel confirmed 3 new live-action Disney+ shows at D23. The first will be an adaptation of the Ms. Marvel series that began in 2013, which features Kamala Khan as the first Muslim hero to ever lead a Marvel comic (or Marvel show). The other two announced shows are Moon Knight and She Hulk.
While Disney didn't announce specific dates for when these shows will hit Disney+, a timeline shown to the audience suggested Ms. Marvel debuts after Hawkeye, and Moon Knight comes next, and She Hulk is the last in the current schedule.
Just announced at #D23Expo, MS. MARVEL, an original series from Marvel Studios, only on Disney+ pic.twitter.com/BlLARmsvFXAugust 23, 2019
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.