The Infinity Saga has been and gone, so it's time for the next phase of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). It won't be a total clean slate of course, but along with returning favourites we'll also get a host of new characters and groups, now expanding onto the smaller screen thanks to the new Disney+ shows.
The Marvel films and shows that are being released between 2020 and 2021 will make up Phase 4 of the MCU. But as so much has been announced, it can be hard to keep track of what exactly makes up this next phase. This is especially true with all the delays due to the pandemic, which is affecting both the worlds of TV and film.
Fortunately, we’ve done all the research for you and collated all the titles, information and release dates, and arranged them in chronological order so you can plan out your cinema trips and TV binges for the next few years - though we have a separate guide to watching all the Marvel movies and TV so far in order too. Phase 4, assemble!
Spoiler warning for previous Marvel films & TV shows, including Avengers: Endgame.
Disney+ series release date - December 2020
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany
It may initially seem confusing to have a series that focuses around Wanda Maximoff and Vision, as the latter met his demise in Avengers: Infinity War. Even more so when the premise of this show is that the pair are trying to live a suburban fifties lifestyle, but learn that something else is afoot. Perhaps we are looking at a dream sequence of Vision or Wanda? Or we’re in another alternative timeline? Only time will tell.
WandaVision is still on track for a December 2020 release date.
Cinema release date - 7 May 2021
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh
Finally, Natasha Romanoff is getting a standalone film. In the MCU timeline, this film is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, following Black Widow as she is on the run for not obeying the Sokovia Accords and assisting Steve Rogers. The movie will feature the character Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian (played by David Harbour), who has a history with Romanoff.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Black Widow has been pushed back from its original November release date.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Disney+ series release date - 2021
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Wyatt Russell
Following the resolution of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes will be teaming up to take on new foes on the new Disney streaming service. We’ll be seeing the return of Sharon Carter, who will likely be the person that Barnes and Wilson report to for their missions. The current suspected antagonists for the series will be US Agent John Walker and the Civil War villain, Baron Zemo. What we're really wondering is will we see one of these characters take on the name of Captain America, or will they take things in another direction? Find out more of the latest news on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
The show was originally on track for an August release date, but this has been delayed due to the ongoing pandemic (some episodes are still to be filmed). When we know more about the release date for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we'll update this article.
Disney+ series release date - Early 2021
Starring: Tom Hiddleston
Loki has become one of the most beloved characters of the MCU, swinging back-and-forth between being a hero and a villain throughout the Thor and Avengers films. In his debut series, we’ll see more from the God of Mischief in a new timeline that was opened up in Avengers: Endgame. Find out more in our Loki series news roundup.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Cinema release date - 9 July 2021
Starring: Simu Liu, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Awkwafina
Simu Liu shot for the stars and asked Marvel openly on Twitter to include Asian American hero Shang-Chi in the MCU, and ended up bagging the role for himself. Shang-Chi is known as ‘The Master of Kung-Fu’, and will be going head-to-head with the REAL Mandarin (not Ben Kingsley’s version as seen in Iron Man 3) and the terrorist group, the Ten Rings.
Disney+ series release date - Mid-2021
Starring: Hayley Atwell
Currently the only animated title in the Phase 4 lineup, this anthology series will explore alternative universes for each of the MCU films. For example, the debut episode will tell the story of what would happen if Peggy Carter got the Super Soldier serum as opposed to Steve Rogers in Captain America. We’re eager to see what other alternative plots this series will tackle, as the possibilities are endless.
Disney+ series release date - Fall 2021
Starring: Jeremy Renner
Jeremy Renner may not be getting his own standalone film, but he will get a full Disney Plus series. Clint Barton will be joined by Marvel Comics character Kate Bishop, who will be the protégé of the current Hawkeye, and eventually take on the name of the sharpshooting Avenger. Find out more in our roundup of the Hawkeye series.
Cinema release date - 5 November 2021
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington
A new area of the Marvel Comics will be explored with The Eternals. This film will follow a race of immortal aliens created by the Celestials, who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following Avengers: Endgame, a tragic turn of events brings them out of hiding to fight against an ancient enemy called the Deviants.
Cinema release date - 17 December 2021
Starring: Tom Holland
Although it was touch-and-go for a while, we will be getting Spider-Man 3 as part of the MCU. The end of Far From Home featured the shocking return of J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), who revealed Peter Parker's identity to the rest of New York on a Buzzfeed-esque news show. The consequences that this has for Peter are enormous, especially for his family and friends, so doubt that the big bad of the film will exploit this.
There's now rumours that numerous old faces from past Spider-Man films will be returning. This includes both Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield - previous actors for Peter Parker - and Jamie Foxx as Electro.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Cinema release date - 11 February 2022
Starring: Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson
After Taika Waititi revamped the Thor films with Ragnarok and gave a new comedy angle to the Norse branch of the MCU, Thor will be the first Marvel character to get a fourth film in this franchise. However, there’s a big twist, as Jane Foster will be returning, taking on the role of another Thor - Mighty Thor. We’ll also see the return of the original Thor, and the new King of Asgard, Valkyrie.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Cinema release date - 25 March 2022
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen
The sequel to the 2016 film Doctor Strange will surprisingly fit under the horror genre. Dr. Stephen Strange will continue to investigate the workings of the Time Stone after the events of Endgame - but his plans will be thrown into disarray when a friend-turned-foe ends up triggering events that will unleash a new evil upon Earth. People suspect that the new enemy will be Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), who will plan to destroy all the world's sorcerers, as hinted at in the original film's post-credits scene. We’ll also see this title tie in to WandaVision, with Wanda Maximoff playing a pivotal role in the film.
Disney+ series release date - Date TBC
Kamala Kahn (AKA Ms. Marvel) is a very recent addition to the Marvel Comics, and also the first Pakistani American, Muslim superhero. In the comics she lives in New Jersey, idolises Captain Marvel and can alter the shape and size of things around her. We imagine that this series will explore her origin story.
Disney+ series release date - Date TBC
Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters will star as She-Hulk. In the comics, Walters is an attorney for her full-time profession, but struggles to balance her uncontrollable gamma-radiation powers that she’s inherited from her cousin. We’re eager to see whether or not Mark Ruffalo will be involved in this series.
Disney+ series release date - Date TBC
Moon Knight will tell the story of Marc Spector, a billionaire superhero who lives quite a grittier life than the likes of Tony Stark. Details about the shows are scarce, but in the comics Moon Knight appears under the light of the full moon (go figure) to fight his enemies in the criminal underworld. He's been both good and evil, and has been possessed by an ancient Egyptian god, who grants him superpowers.
If we look even further ahead in the MCU, we do have some titles already confirmed for Phase 5, which takes place between 2022 and 2023. Black Panther II was announced at D23, and it will be released on 6 May 2022. =
The Hollywood Reporter claims that Captain Marvel 2 is currently in the works and aiming for a 2022 release date.
In addition, Nia DaCosta - the director of the horror remake Candyman - is onboard to direct the sequel according to Deadline. Megan McDonnell is in line to compose the script, who has worked as both a staff writer and story editor on WandaVision.
THR also states the writers/directors of the first film - Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck - won't be returning for the sequel, but will remain at Marvel to potentially work on other series for Disney+.
Variety has reported that a standalone series about the former head of S.H.I.E.L.D - Nicky Fury - is on the way. Allegedly Samuel L. Jackson is signed on to reprise his role, along with Kyle Bradstreet, who is attached to write and executive produce.
The plot details aren't confirmed for this show - whether it will be a prequel to some movies or set in the present day. If it's the latter, the last time we saw Fury was onboard a Skrull spaceship, at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Disney has also pencilled in six dates for untitled Marvel films (one of which is likely to be Captain Marvel 2). These are:
- 29 July 2022
- 7 October 2022
- 17 February 2023
- 5 May 2023
- 28 July 2023
- 3 November 2023
Of course, all the delays in phase four will no doubt shift these dates around.
In that lineup we can expect to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is back on the cards following the whole Disney drama with director, James Gunn. Peyton Reed has also signed on to direct Ant-Man 3, continuing his time at the helm.
In terms of new titles we have Blade, which will star Mahershala Ali as Eric Brooks, AKA Blade, a vampire-hunting vigilante. We’re also going to see a new reboot of the Fantastic Four, but no cast members have yet been announced.
Ryan Reynolds also met with Marvel studios over an untitled project, which we strongly suspect could be another instalment in the Deadpool franchise, now that Disney has control of Fox. This also means that the X-Men series will probably be in the works.
Finally, after a worrying bout of negotiations between Disney and Sony over the MCU Spider-Man films, the two studios have reached a compromise. As well as seeing Spider-Man 3 be a part of the MCU as originally planned, Tom Holland's Peter Parker will also appear in one more MCU film.
Whether Spidey will continue in the MCU beyond this is anyone's guess. Sony is continuing to build up their own spider-universe in the meantime with Venom and other titles, so these films may wrap up any loose ends. Or we could see negotiations on a film-by-film basis. Either way, we'll be keeping a close eye on future developments.