Ten years. 22 movies. 11 TV shows. The MCU built itself up from the shoulders of a B-list comic book superhero into a multimedia franchise whose influence and cultural impact is unrivaled by anything in recent memory. But with the premiere of Avengers: Endgame (2019) comes the end of The Infinity Saga and the beginning of something all-new and all-different.
There have been seven film announced and confirmed for Phase 4 of the MCU, and I’m here to give you a rundown of all of them.
1. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Yes, I realize that Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige recently stated that he considers the sequel to the web head last film to be part of Phase 3 and not Phase 4, but spiritually, do you feel that it feel off to not end Phase 3 with Avengers: Endgame? Yeah, it does, doesn’t it?
Anyway, we’ve known about this film for a while and there have been a few teasers and a trailer or two promoting the movie, as well as a ton of leaked set photos and details about the film.
What we know so far is that the main cast of Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Jacob Balaton is set to reprise their roles as Peter Parker, MJ, and Ned, respectively. We also know that Marisa Tomei, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton are coming back as well. But we do have new additions to the cast such as Cobie Smulders, who as played Agent Maria Hill in multiple movies in the past, and Jack Gyllenhaal, who is set to take on the role of the villainous Mysterio.
Gyllenhaal has been rumored to have been in talks to play the bowl-headed baddie for a while now and it’s since been confirmed by leaked set photos and, eventually, by official promotional material.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) will follow Spidey and his friends as they go on a class field trip to Europe where they will encounter the menacing Elementals. Spider-Man is recruited by Nick Fury to fight alongside Mysterio to protect Europe from these environmental enemies.
The one return that’s still up in the air, however, is Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. But, I suppose his return will depend on whether Stark survives or dies in the latest Avengers outing. We’ll just have to wait and see.
2. Black Widow
Natasha Romanoff has been part of the MCU since almost the very beginning, making her first appearance in Iron Man 2 (2010). Since then, fans have been clamoring for a solo film starring the Russian super spy, but Marvel hasn’t been too keen on delivering on that request; at least, not until recently.
There’s not much known about this Black Widow solo film, but according to IMDb, Cate Shortland has been hired to direct the film with Ned Benson set to scribe it. Both have experience working with excellent, albeit lesser known, drama films. So, we’ll just have to wait and see how that translates to a spy thriller.
Joining Scarlett Johansson is David Harbor (Stranger Things, Hellboy) in a yet-to-be-announced role. The film is to be set 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, where Black Widow was groomed into an ultimate assassin since birth. It will follow the titular character being hunted down by the remnants of the USSR in the streets of New York City.
Maybe we’ll finally find out what happened in Budapest.
3. The Eternals
Not to be confused with The Celestials, which we’re the giant cosmic beings from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 (2014), or The Inhumans, the only bad thing to come out of the MCU.
With the appearance and eventual defeat of Thanos, it would only make sense that his race, The Eternals, would soon make their first big screen appearance, as well. This race of genetically-modified super humans were first introduced in the pages of Eternals #1 in 1976 from the mind of the legendary Jack Kirby.
They were created by The Celestials when they experimented with proto-humans millennia ago. While the Eternals look mostly human, aside from having superhuman abilities, their genetic cousins, the Deviants, look monstrous and their personality, traditionally, reflects their appearance.
So far, only two actors have been rumored to have a role in the upcoming movie. Angelina Jolie (Maleficent, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) is rumored to play Sersi, an Eternal with the power of telepathy and the ability to control objects down to an atomic level, and Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick). Director Chloe Zhao has been tapped to helm the production with screenwriters Matthew K. Fippo and Ryan Fippo.
There will obviously be a few deviations from the reference material, but after the Guardians introduced us to the hard sci-fi side of the MCU and with Captain Marvel entering the franchise, fans are definitely more than ready to see more of the vast cosmic side of the universe.
4. Doctor Strange 2
The second solo cinematic story of the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange 2 should come to no surprise for anyone after how popular the character has gotten after his own movie, his memorable guest appearance in Thor: Ragnarok (2017), and his sacrifice in Avengers: Infinity War (2008).
Not much has been confirmed about this sequel, except that Benedict Cumberbatch is, of course, coming back. But it’s safe to assume that Benedict Wong will also be returning and that we’ll probably be following-up on the villain Baron Mordo with Chiwetel Ejiofor reprising the role.
Marvel hasn’t released an official plot, as of yet. But the post-credit scene from the first movie hinted at Baron Mordo is hunting down sorcerers and draining them of their powers to fuel his own.
5. Black Panther 2
Black Panther (2018) was one of Marvel’s most successful films, critically and financially. So when you got a demand like that, you gotta follow it up. Don’t let the dusting from Avengers: Infinity War fool you, The House of Mouse and Ideas ain’t letting go of a money maker this big so soon.
Most everyone is just about confirmed to be coming back for the sequel, including actor Chadwick Boseman and director Ryan Coogler. But there have been rumors that Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger and Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue will be returning, as well, despite their clear death in the first film. I’m excited to see how they’ll pull that off.
And speaking of villains, it’s rumored that Kraven the Hunter will be making an appearance in this sequel as the main antagonist of the story. Coogler wanted to have Kraven the Hunter appear in the first film but opted to keep him out of it for the time being.
8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
James Gunn is back! Yes, in case you didn’t hear, James who directed the first and second Guardians of the Galaxy films is back on the director’s chair to again helm the galaxy’s favorite outlaws into the third, and possibly last, installment of their trilogy.
We currently know next to nothing about the upcoming film and it seems as though we will continue to know very little because the movie isn’t scheduled to be released until 2022. Most of the main cast hasn’t even been confirmed, yet. This is most likely to keep from spoiling who survives or doesn’t survive at the end of Avengers: Endgame (2019). But the three people who are confirmed to come back for the third outing are Dave Bautista as Drax, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, and Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha.
If you forgot (and I’m sure a lot of us did), Ayesha was the Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017). She appeared in the first sequel as a minor villain, but a post-credit scene hinted at her eventual return with a possibly larger role. In the scene in question, Ayesha develops a new breed of Sovereign she’s named Adam. This of course refers to Adam Warlock, who is set to make his debut in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2022).
This one’s a relatively deep cut compared to the likes of the more famous Hulk and Captain America. You’d be forgiven if you weren’t familiar with Marvel’s Master of Kung-Fu.
Shang-Chi made comic debut in Special Marvel Edition #15 on 1973 and is an Asian-American hero who has the ability to master multiple forms of martial arts. But just a few years ago, he was given the ability to replicate himself, which is something we just might see in his eventual silver screen appearance.
It might be a while until we finally get to see Shang-Chi join the ranks of the MCU, especially since the film doesn’t even have a director or a screenwriter, yet, as of the writing of this article. But the studio is rumored to be looking to Dave Callaham, a Chinese-American screenwriter, to come up with something for the film. Callaham co-wrote the script for Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) and will also be writing the script for the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).
Shang-Chi will be the MCU’s first Asian character in a leading role. It’s not outside the realm of suspicion that Marvel is looking that get some of that Black Panther mojo with a new, relatively unknown Asian superhero. And if they are, it’s maybe safe to assume that the Shang-Chi film is going to be a love letter to classic martial arts films and will, therefore, draw inspiration from the likes of Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Donnie Yen for the titular character. And hey, maybe one of the three aforementioned actors who are still alive could play Shang-Chi’s father. It would be a great way to pay respects to the legends of martial arts cinema.
Here’s hoping that Marvel finds an actual martial artist to cast in the role of Shang-Chi, himself. Finger crossed.
And that concludes our list of the 7 movies confirmed to premiere after Avengers: Endgame. This is, of course, not a definitive list as more movies may be added and some may even be taken away as the years go by. We’ve yet heard word of a sequel for Captain Marvel (2018) and Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018), which likely will happen, as well.
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