Back in December, Disney gave Marvel fans the greatest Christmas gift of all time. During the Disney Investor Day event they announced so many new Marvel films and Disney+ original TV shows, it sent the internet spinning to try to process it all. But what we already know about Phase 4 may be dwarfed by what we do NOT know about what’s to come for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In an interview with Murphy’s Multiverse, The Falcon and the Winter Solider head writer Malcolm Spellman revealed that it was only the tip of the iceberg and said:
“I was surprised about how few of the upcoming Marvel movies have been announced. Fans will start to become more and more clear as these projects get announced.”
What a thrilling idea that Marvel is keeping even more secrets about the future of the Marvel universe from its fans. Or maybe they just ran out of breath announcing everything that we already can confirm is coming in Marvel Phase 4.
Phase 4 is already full to the brim with projects that were confirmed in the Investor Day announcement and later. Just in April, Spellman shared that a Captain America 4 is in the works, starring our new Captain America, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie). Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studio kept this project so secret that even Anthony Mackie was unaware of this project until a grocery store employee told him. It could also have Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) debut as the White Wolf.
What HAS Been Announced
We already know a lot of what Phase 4 has in store for Marvel fans. We know that Black Widow is expected in theaters on July 9, 2021. Followed by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on September 3, 2021, which may attempt to replace the Infinity Stones with the Ten Rings of Power. Then Eternals on November 5, 2021. 2021 is set to conclude with Spider-Man: No Way Home on December 17, 2021.
In 2022, Marvel already announced that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will bring back Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch on March 25, 2022. Followed by Thor: Love and Thunder on May 6, 2022, and Black Panther 2 on July 8, 2022. The year ends with Captain Marvel 2 on November 11, 2022.
Some rumors have the Mahershala Ali-led Blade dropping in October of 2022, but Marvel Studios has not confirmed that and other rumors of delays in the MCU have it being pushed back to October 2023. At this rate Blade will end up being held back even longer than the much anticipated Black Widow.
And, we know there is rumored to be an X-Men project that is being kept under wraps for now. Speculation has the title for this as The Mutants and fans should not expect it until at least November 2023, the last confirmed MCU date reserved for theaters. Whatever movie they have planned for this spot has not been announced. It could be The Mutants, Deadpool 3, or Fantastic Four.
After all that, in 2023, we have series of MCU movies that have been announced, but whose release dates have not been confirmed at this time. Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania is rumored to release in February 2023, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 coming in May. 2023. The Fantastic Four may come as soon as July 2023.
Deadpool 3, potentially, could come in November. Again, however, this has not been confirmed. But Wade Wilson does have an animated series currently in development but it’s far from a done deal as fans of the Merc with a Mouth know as a similar deal fell to pieces in 2011.
We also know that a Captain America 4 is coming starring Anthony Mackie as the new Captain America – though that may not happen into 2024 or Phase 5. That title change at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to Captain America and The Winter Soldier made Marvel fans cry.
And, that’s not even getting into the list of Disney+ original TV shows that have yet to stream. Loki is coming on June 9, but the rest do not have official premiere dates yet. Nonetheless, we know we are getting What If..?, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Secret Invasion, Ironheart, Armor Wars, and an unnamed Wakanda Series.
What COULD Be Coming
With all that already confirmed to be in the works at the Kevin Feige-led studio, it’s shocking, to say the least, that Spellman insists that’s on a few of the projects coming down the pipeline. Some rumors even include a Wolverine series for Disney+.
Obviously, Marvel Studios plans its phases well in advance. Kevin Feige told AP back in 2018 that they have the MCU planned through 2025, saying:
“We’re always thinking ahead. Just when people think they can pin us down, we go somewhere else and that’s going to happen again after ‘Infinity War’ in the build-up to the next Avengers film. And we had meetings earlier today about 2024 and 2025.”
That’s a whole two more years of Marvel movies we know nothing about. And, who knows what else they could have cooked up since 2018. But, we think we can guess at what some of these unannounced projects might be based on characters we have met, or we know will be introduced.
Most of these rumored upcoming Marvel movies should not be expected until Marvel Phase 5 or beyond.
At this point, it seems inevitable that we’ll be getting either a Young Avengers film or, more likely, a TV show. The rumors have been circulating since they aged up Ant-Man’s Cassie Lang/ Stature by recasting Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies).
Since then, WandaVision gave us Billy/ Wiccan (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy/ Speed (Jett Klyne) and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuted Elijah Richardson as Eli Bradley/ Patriot. Plus, Kate Bishop/ Hawkeye (Hailee Steinfeld) will play a major role in the upcoming Hawkeye series. The Hawkeye series is even rumored to have its own spinoff for another young hero who will debut there – Echo (Alaqua Cox).
Not to mention the young Inhuman Kamala Khan/ Ms. Marvel has her own Disney+ series starring Iman Vellani coming soon. And Ironheart/ Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) is getting the same treatment. Xochitl Gomez has been teasing fans about her debut as Miss America Chavez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Other key members of the Young Avengers are rumored, like Hulkling, Kid-Loki, and Iron Lad.
Dark Avengers/ Thunderbolts
Another major project that is clearly in the works is either a Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers lineup. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier hinted heavily that villains like Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) are still handing out in the raft. We also got the return of Batroc the Leaper (Georges St-Pierre), who is a recurring member of the Thunderbolts.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s cameo as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine – do not call her Val – AKA Madame Hydra to recruit U.S. Agent John Walker (Russel Wyatt) for when things get “weird” indicates that she is up to something big. Other members of these evil avengers’ teams are still coming, like Taskmaster in Black Widow.
And, who knows, we could be getting both teams at some point. William Hurt is returning as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in both Black Widow and the She-Hulk series. In Marvel Comics he originally formed the Thunderbolts, and it seems unlikely he would team up with Madame Hydra.
We know that Moon Knight/ Marc Spector is getting his own Disney+ series starring Star Wars actor Oscar Isaac and that Blade starring Mahershala Ali is coming in either MCU Phase 4 or 5. This has fans speculating they could see the two team up in a version of their comic book team – The Midnight Sons.
That Hashtag Show has reported that a Midnight Sons adaptation is in the early stage with Marvel Studios. There have also been rumors of Ghost Rider, another main member of the Midnight Sons returning to the MCU – most likely a new version of Johnny Blaze (previously played by Nicholas Cage) and not a return of Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) from Agents of SHIELD.
Marvel fans also want Jon Bernthal to reprise his version of Punisher/ Frank Castle from Netflix’s Defenders series. The door opened to bring some of those characters back with rumors that Charlie Cox’s Daredevil/ Matt Murdoc could return in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
West Coast Avengers
Another team that Marvel could be working towards is the West Coast Avengers. WandaVision was inspired by this Marvel Comic line and left it open for one of the team’s main characters to return – White Vision. U.S. Agent, when he’s not being manipulated by Hydra, is also a main West Coast Avengers member.
Related: Who Is the Darkest Avenger?
And, now that Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) seems to have broken off from the main avengers he could jump over to this new team, as he did in the comics alongside War Machine (Don Cheadle) who is getting his chance to shine in Armor Wars.
Other recurring West Coast Avengers are coming in Phase 4, like Moon Knight, who will be played by Star Wars star, Oscar Isaac. It would also be the best time to finally introduce Wonder Man (Simon Williams). Maybe Nathan Fillion is still interested in the role in live-action instead of just lending his voice?
Namor and Illuminati
Namor the Sub-Mariner has been rumored to be coming to MCU for years. Reports say he could show up in Black Panther 2 or even cameo in Eternals. The rights to Marvel’s Atlantean returned to Marvel Studios in 2014, but Kevin Feige hinted that old contracts involving the distribution rights were holding a potential Namor film back.
However, they seemed to drop a reference to him in Avengers: Endgame (2019). He is one of the most important Marvel Comics characters who has yet to make it to the big screen. If they introduced Namor, it could open the door to the Illuminati.
The Illuminati is a secret group of avengers including Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Professor X, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, and Namor. These influential men met in secret as a think tank to strategize for global threats after a lack of communication between Marvel teams left the Earth open to attack during the Kree-Skrull War.
Black Knight and Excalibur
Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) will be making his debut as Dane Whitman AKA the Black Knight in Chloe Zhao’s Eternals and some rumors suggest that he may be getting his own spinoff. In Marvel Comics, Whitman wields the Ebony Blade, a powerful magical sword created by Merlin to be the opposite of Excalibur – it draws out the worst in its bearer and can turn them into a bloodthirsty monster.
The Black Knight uses other non-magical weapons such as the Power Lance, which was invented by his uncle. Whitman is also a brilliant scientist and inventor. He was a frequent member of the Avengers and a team called Excalibur, a team of British superheroes leads by Captain Britain – a version of which fans will see in What If…? played by Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter).
Feige has been teasing fans with not one but two different versions of Nova, the human rocket, since Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) gave us the Nova Corps. Even as recently as this January he told ComicBook that:
“Timing is relative, right? I think I’d been talking about Doctor Strange eight years before that movie came out […]. But clearly, we are not shying away from the cosmic end of storytelling right in the sweet spot of the Nova Corps and Nova himself.”
Both Richard Rider and the younger version, Sam Alexander, could easily fit into Phase 5 of the MCU. Some fans have theorized one or the other could debut in Captain Marvel 2. Sam could also become a member of the Young Avengers when that drops.
It may be a little way down the road but at some point, Marvel Studios will have to bring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes back together again. Though it will look different from every Avengers film before it, no Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downing Jr.), Captain America/ Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Black Widow/ Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johanson), or Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman).
But with all the new characters coming in Phase 4 the new lineup could include everyone from Black Knight, She-Hulk, Shang-Chi, or even Wolverine – the mutant is a heavy favorite to join the new team. He is one of the few X-Men who made the transition to Marvel’s biggest team.
Related: When Will We See ‘Avengers 5’?
Marvel fans have been begging for the team of all-female Avengers to get a chance to hit the big screen. In the comics, the team is led by Captain Marvel and She-Hulk. But other MCU characters could easily join the team like Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie or WandaVision’s Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris).
We know back in 2017 that a group of female actresses met with Marvel boss Kevin Feige about a potential project. While no official announcement was ever made, it’s certainly not something that we can rule out.
Osborn and The Sinister Six
Another villain rumored to make it into an upcoming Marvel film is Norman Osborn. While Osborn is certainly not on the same level as Thanos, he has been a thorn in the side of Spider-Man/ Peter Parker long before he became an Avenger. Willem Dafoe, who played the Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s trilogy has reportedly been spotted on the set of MCU’s Spider-Man 3.
Introducing a character like Osborn could be complicated in the MCU because of Sony’s rights to the character. But if they are open to sharing custody of Osborn as they have with Spider-Man it could signal that the rumored Sinister Six film that Sony is producing could be worked into the main MCU timeline.
Newer leaks have this idea being a central part of the upcoming Marvel movie Spider-Man: No Way Home, suggesting that Osborn will lead the Sinister Six in that film and perhaps not get a stand alone film.
Everything in Phase 4 is set to move the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond Thanos (Josh Brolin) and the Infinity Saga. If Phases 4 and 5 are building to anything, bets are on Secret Wars. The MCU is expanding into the multiverse and is playing around with other versions of characters in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The 2015 comics series Secret Wars is all about a clash between realities. Other realities start to collapse into each other and merge. It gave Marvel Comics a chance to reorganize different storylines, keeping what worked and getting rid of the excess.
A Secret Wars movie could do the same and give the MCU a breath of fresh air, but it is just one of many possible Projects that Marvel has not announced yet.
Tell us if you think there is one project in MCU that you really wish Marvel Would Produce