On Saturday, Marvel announced Phase 4 during their Hall H panel, a slate of ten projects coming over the next two years. With Disney’s D23 convention lined up for later in the summer, Marvel Studios fans wondered what information we’d get there and what they’d bring to Comic-Con. After taking a brief victory lap over the entire Infinity Saga, complete with stylized logo, Kevin Feige looked forward. This announcement, unlike previous MCU phase announcements includes the television series that will premiere on Disney+. When showing the iconic empty “Phase slate” fans could tell which would be movies and which would be series because the films all had firm dates. The series, meanwhile, are just given vague seasonal times such as “Fall 2020.”
Official Phase Four Line-up:
- May 1, 2020: Black Widow
- Fall 2020: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
- November 6, 2020: The Eternals
- February 12, 2021: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Spring 2021: WandaVision
- May 7, 2021: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
- Spring 2021: Loki
- Summer 2021: What If … ?
- Fall 2021: Hawkeye
- November 5, 2021: Thor: Love and Thunder
Black Widow Debuts May 1, 2020
The first film we’ll see was the last Marvel promoted when they announced Phase 4 at Comic-Con. They showed footage from the film, revealing that it takes place in-between Civil War and Infinity War. Natasha fought with her sister Yelenia, played by Florence Pugh. This fight was “friendly.” Then Black Widow faced off against fan-favorite comics villain Taskmaster, complete with shield. David Harbour will play Alexi, a fun twist since his character fought Russians in Stranger Things 3. Rachel Weisz described her character as a “pretty tough chick” and will serve as an antagonist for Natasha. Finally O.T. Fagbenle plays a character who has a romantic past with Natasha.
Eternals Will Debut November 6, 2020
Kevin Feige promised the film will fully honor the series creator Jack Kirby, known for his wild and colorful visuals in all his work but especially this series. He introduced director Chloe Zhao, who seemed The cast is both expansive and diverse. Richard Madden will play Ikaris, who may not be the King In the North but is one of the most important Eternals characters. Angelina Jolie will play Thena, not Sersi as many thought. Salma Hayak will be the Eternals’ leader, Ajak. Don Lee plays Gilgamesh and jokes that his character could beat the Hulk (after asking if Ruffalo was in attendance). Brian Tyree Henry will play Phastos but with “a new flavor.” Kumail Nanjini will play Kingo. Lia McHugh will be the oldest and smallest Eternal named Sprite. just yet. Lauren Ridloff will play Makkari. Ridloff, a deaf actress, will be the first hearing-impaired character in the MCU.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Debuts February 12, 2021
The next film on the slate comes in the late winter and is the first Marvel solo film to feature a subtitle since the first Captain America movie. While it will introduce Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu (who won the role on Tuesday!), it will also introduce the “real” Mandarin and not the pretender played by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3. The villain will be played by Tony Leung and Awkwafina will also play a role in the movie. The director will be Destin Daniel Cretton, who will tell the story about the Master of Kung-Fu trying to bring down his father’s criminal empire. A fan-favorite character and an interesting choice for the larger MCU.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Debuts May 7, 2021
Benedict Cumberbatch took the stage when Marvel announced Phase 4’s Doctor Strange sequel. Today is his birthday, so the crowd sang the Happy Birthday song to him. Director Scott Derickson joined him onstage and said that this film will be more akin to a horror movie, though still rated PG-13. Feige added that just because Mysterio lied to Spider-Man about the multiverse, it can still exist. The most interesting revelation is that another Avenger will join the good Doctor, the Scarlet Witch. Elizabeth Olsen will reprise her role for the film which relates directly to the events of the Disney+ series WandaVision, which is detailed below.
Thor: Love and Thunder Debuts November 5, 2021
The last film Marvel Announced for Phase 4 is the recently-confirmed fourth film in the Thor series. Thor: Love and Thunder will focus on the relationship between Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie. Though don’t expect them to find romantic love. Thompson announced that Valkyrie’s first order of business as King of Asgard is to find her queen. Feige later confirmed that Valkyrie will be involved in an LGBT+ storyline. Still, it’s a waste of what’s sure to be a newly-fit Thor to not give him a love interest. Thus, Marvel announced that in Phase 4 Natalie Portman will return, but not just as Jane Foster but as the female Thor from the recent Marvel comics.
The Disney+ Series
The last bit of information that we got when Marvel announced Phase 4 at Comic-Con was the first slate of series coming to Disney+ These weren’t exactly revelations since Disney wanted fans to know that there would be plenty of Feige-produced MCU content on their streaming service. We also didn’t get premiere dates, just vague seasonal times for the shows. The first up will be Falcon and Winter soldier in Fall of 2020 with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprising their roles, but the issue of the new Captain America will be discussed. Also, Baron Zemo, complete with a purple mask, will return as the antagonist. Next up will be WandaVision which both takes place after Endgame and involves the multiverse. The events of that series will lead to her appearance in the Doctor Strange Sequel.
Next up is an animated offering that is Marvel Studios’ sneaky way to keep “retired” actors in the mix. What If…? will, like the comic that bears its name, tell stories about alternate versions of the events that happened in our MCU. A whole slate of actors will return, most notably Haley Atwell for a “Peggy Carter as Captain America” story (we assume). Most notably absent, however, are Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, though those reveals would likely be saved for later. Finally, Jeremy Renner will reprise his role as Hawkeye to train the next character to wear the mantle, Kate Bishop. Renner promised that this series would see Hawkeye at his best.
Marvel Announced Phase 4, but Here’s What They Left Out
The panel wound down after showing footage from the Black Widow movie, but Feige did his best impression of the late Steve Jobs. Though instead of one more thing, he confirmed some other projects in the works. He said they didn’t have time to talk about the sequels to Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, or Black Panther. He confirmed they are in development, with James Gunn chiming on Twitter that Guardians starts after he directs Suicide Squad 2. Feige also said they didn’t have time to talk about the Fantastic Four or mutants in the MCU, which suggests that both things are in early stages of development. The deal between Disney and Fox, who owned the rights to those characters, only finalized earlier this year. So, this means that they are bringing home those iconic characters but couldn’t work on them until now. Still, after Marvel announced Phase 4 and teased Phase 5, there was still one surprise. Mahershala Ali took the stage as Feige announced that he’d take up the role of Blade. Though no word on if this is a series or a film.
Marvel announced Phase 4 at Comic-Con and all the fans in attendance got a hell of a show. Yet, there is one glaring spider-sized hole in all of those announcements. If Sony and Marvel were going to renew their contract, SDCC seemed like the place to reveal it. Yet, as we reported last week, Spider-Man: Far From Home has to hit a billion dollars at the box office in order to allow Marvel Studios to work on the third film. This seems likely, because just two weeks after release Spidey earned as much as the first film did. Yet, if it doesn’t hit that benchmark Sony could take Tom Holland from the MCU and put him in their own Spider-Verse.
Watch the full event below, via Variety
So, now that Marvel announced Phase 4, finally, are you excited? Tell us what you think in the comments below or by sharing the article on social media.
Featured image via screengrab
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.