The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4 is in full swing, with Black Widow officially launching the next phase, which has now expanded to include Marvel's Disney+ TV shows like Loki and WandaVision. The studio was all set to kickstart the next phase in 2020, but the global pandemic halted those plans, with production shutdowns and theater closures delaying much of the next slate of films until 2021.
Since its inception, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been grouped together by phases. It began in Phase One as five films built up to the sixth movie, The Avengers, in 2012, the franchise's first mega-crossover event. The MCU's Phase Two immediately followed it with a total of six films as well, although Avengers: Age of Ultron was actually the fifth film, as Ant-Man served as a bridge between the MCU's Phase Two and Phase Three. The latter kicked off with Captain America: Civil War in 2016, and Phase Three ended after several movies with Spider-Man: Far From Home.
With a full slate ahead in Marvel's Phase Four, including the third solo Spider-Man movie, the MCU is going all-in, introducing new characters (like Ms. Marvel) along the way, while furthering older characters' stories as well. Here is every upcoming Marvel film that has been confirmed for Phase Four.
Marvel Studios has thrived turning lesser-known characters into giant franchises, and all signs point to Eternals being their next attempt. Based on the Jack Kirby creation, Eternals will follow an ancient race of super-powered beings of the same name who will square off against the Deviants, their villainous counterparts. Marvel hired Chloe Zhao (The Rider, Nomadland) to direct Eternals, with a screenplay by Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, and Ryan and Kaz Firpo. The cast has massive star power, with Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Barry Keoghan, Kit Harington, Don Lee, and Salma Hayek all appearing the film, which is set to explain why they didn't interfere in Avengers: Endgame. Eternals will release on November 5, 2021 after several delays.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
After a brief separation, Spider-Man was confirmed to remain in the MCU, with Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Jacob Batalon returning for Spider-Man: No Way Home. The film is a sequel to the previous Spider-Man movie, only this one will be even more interesting due to the crossover potential it has. In addition to the main cast, Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina are expected to reprise their roles as Electro and Doctor Octopus, respectively, from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy. Benedict Cumberbatch is expected to appear as Doctor Strange, with filming having wrapped in March 2021. There isn't much to glean about the plot yet because details are under wraps, but fans should expect No Way Home to at least connect to the multiverse somehow. Jon Watts returns as director, helming the film from a screenplay by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Spider-Man: No Way Home will release on December 17, 2021.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Thanks to its title, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, was the first major confirmation that the MCU would be exploring the multiverse. The last fans saw of Doctor Strange, he was guiding Tony Stark in his decision regarding the defeat of Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. For Doctor Strange 2, he'll have a host of new issues to contend with. The sequel, directed by Sam Raimi from a screenplay by Jade Bartlett and Michael Waldron, will see the return of Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams will also be back in their respective roles. They'll be joined by Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, which will mark the first MCU movie for the comics character. Tom Hiddleston is also expected to appear as Loki in the film, which makes sense given how the character's titular show wrapped season 1 with the multiversal gateway opening. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has wrapped production and was scheduled for release on March 25, 2022. However, Marvel has since shifted the film, delaying it by a couple of months. It will now be released on May 6, 2022.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder marks the fourth Thor film and the second one directed by Taika Waititi, who previously helmed Thor: Ragnarok. The film will be set prior to the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and will see Chris Hemsworth return in the title role, with Tessa Thompson back as Valkyrie, and Natalie Portman set to reprise her role as Jane Foster, who will officially become Mighty Thor. Thor: Love and Thunder wrapped filming in early July 2021 and was expected to release on May 6, 2022 after being pushed back a couple of times due to the pandemic and the ever-changing release schedule of the MCU's Phase Four. However, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness taking Thor 4's slot, Love and Thunder has been delayed once again and will no be released theatrically on July 8, 2022. Joining the main cast are Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher, the Guardians of the Galaxy crew (including Chris Pratt, but sans Gamora), Jaimie Alexander as Sif, and Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
One of Marvel's biggest hits of Phase Three, and of all time, was Black Panther, so it's no surprise the folks at Marvel gave the go-ahead for a sequel, officially titled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Although it was long assumed that Ryan Coogler would return to direct, his involvement in the sequel was up in the air for months after the first movie was released. He officially signed on to write and direct Black Panther 2 a while later. While a production start date was being eyed for some time in 2020, the pandemic and Chadwick Boseman's untimely death in August of 2020 delayed the film. With Boseman's tragic passing from colon cancer, the film also had to be reworked to shift the focus away from T'Challa, with Coogler adjusting the story to honor Boseman and the role he originated.
The sequel will further develop existing characters, as well as focus on the various subcultures in Wakanda, expanding upon the details of the country even more than before. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will see Letitia Wright (Shuri), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia), and Winston Duke (M'Baku) all return, with the addition of Michaela Coel cast in an undisclosed role. Ironheart star Dominique Thorne will also debut as Riri Williams in the film. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was slated for release on July 8, 2022, but Disney and Marvel have shifted the film so that it won't hit theaters until November 11, 2022.
A big part of the excitement for the upcoming films in MCU's Phase 4 is seeing how characters being introduced in Disney+ shows like WandaVision, Loki, and Ms. Marvel will be utilized on the film side of things. For Captain Marvel 2, officially titled The Marvels, Brie Larson will reprise her role as Carol Danvers, and she will be joined by Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel and Teyonah Parris' Monica Rambeau, the now-adult daughter of Carol's friend Maria Rambeau. The Marvels was slated for release on November 11, 2022, but has been pushed back to February 17, 2023. The film will also feature Zawe Ashton and Park Seo-joon in as yet unknown roles. Nia DaCosta is set to direct from a screenplay by Megan McDonnell.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Once locked in to being a major film in launching the MCU's Phase Four, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 suffered a tremendous setback after Disney fired James Gunn as the director of the third movie in 2018 following resurfaced tweets. While Disney rehired Gunn, he went on to direct The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros. (which was released August 2021) and also helmed a Peacemaker spinoff series for HBO Max before getting to work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The Marvel film is now set to release in theaters on May 5, 2023 and will be set after Thor: Love and Thunder. The core cast — Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff, and Bradley Cooper — are set to return to their roles. While the rest of the MCU schedule was changed around, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 remained in its release day slot.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
A third outing for Ant-Man and the Wasp was confirmed back in 2019, with both characters appearing in Avengers: Endgame. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be directed by Peyton Reed from a script by Jeff Loveness. In addition to Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer are also expected to return. Jonathan Majors, who first appeared in Loki season 1, is confirmed to appear as Kang the Conqueror, the time-traveling villain (or at least one of his variants). The Ant-Man sequel was previously scheduled to hit theaters on February 17, 2023, but has been delayed by several months, now with a release date of July 28, 2023. Filming began in mid-2021 and will wrap at some point in early 2022.
Other Phase 4 MCU Movies
Although most of the MCU's Phase 4 slate is finally set in stone, there was still one more film in development and is expected to round out the phase. That film is the long-awaited Fantastic Four movie. At 2019's San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige revealed the film was being developed at Marvel. However, it would be over a year later before director Jon Watts would be attached in December 2020. However, not much has been heard about the film since then. 2005's Fantastic Four and its sequel Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer weren't critical hits and 2015's Fantastic Four starring Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Miles Teller pretty much bombed at the box office. A film about Marvel's first family could be successful within the MCU slate, but until there is more information about what the plot will entail, it's hard to gauge much about it right now beyond speculation. However, there is an untitled Marvel film that was scheduled for release on November 10, 2023 that has been moved up to November 3, 2023 (while two other MCU films were removed from the schedule altogether). Whether that untitled MCU film is Fantastic Four is unclear, but it seems the schedule remains up in the air after previously being solidified.
Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of MadnessRelease Date:2022-05-06
Thor: Love and ThunderRelease Date:2022-07-08
Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverRelease Date:2022-11-11
captain marvel 2Release Date:2023-07-28
Ant-Man and the Wasp: QuantumaniaRelease Date:2023-02-17
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3Release Date:2023-05-05