The Infinity Saga has come to a close with Avengers: Endgame (opens in new tab), which means we now have big questions for just how Marvel Phase Four will play out. After watching Marvel's latest big adventure, there are some clues that will let us predict what's coming with Marvel Phase Four in terms of movies and TV shows. So – with spoilers for Avengers: Endgame aplenty following – here’s where we can expect the MCU to go next, from its confirmed films to some educated guesses.
Spoiler warning! If you haven't seen Avengers: Endgame yet, please click away now!
We're about to dive deep into spoiler territory to talk about the future of the MCU post-Avengers: Endgame.
MCU Phase Three isn’t technically over yet
Spider-Man: Far From Home (opens in new tab) is actually set to be the final film in Marvel Phase Three. Released on July 2, the film looks to be a pretty stand-alone story of Tom Holland’s Spidey on a school trip to Europe, meeting Nick Fury and encountering Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio (and no, we still haven’t got used to that particular bit of casting). We now know, however, that Far From Home will be the first film to explore the fall-out from Infinity War’s snap and Endgame’s subsequent five-year time jump. How will Peter, and the world, react to the fact that half the global population vanished for five years?
Marvel Phase Four movies
We might have to wait a while for phase four to get underway, because nothing is in production yet. The long-awaited Black Widow movie looks like being the first one on the slate. Scarlett Johansson will be returning in this prequel (well, it has to be a prequel now, doesn’t it?) focusing on Natasha’s time as a spy. Whether this will cover her time with the KGB or with SHIELD remains to be seen, although the story of how she switched sides would surely be the most compelling. Florence Pugh is playing a spy who is her ‘moral opposite’, and Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and O.T. Fagbenle have also joined the cast, with Cate Shortland directing.
After Black Widow, a few sequels are in the works. Ryan Coogler is returning for Black Panther 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be moving forwards as soon as recently reinstated director James Gunn (opens in new tab) is finished with The Suicide Squad. The big question now, though, is whether Thor will be in Guardians 3, seeing as the Avengers: Endgame ending (opens in new tab) left him on board The Benatar with the rest of the Guardians, suggesting that they were going off in search of Gamora-from-the-past. Whether Thor is now a Guardian, or if they’re just giving him a lift somewhere, remains to be seen.
Doctor Strange 2 is going ahead with director Scott Derrickson returning, but sequels for Captain Marvel (opens in new tab) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (opens in new tab) have yet to be confirmed. Captain Marvel 2 would potentially be another prequel to Endgame, as her first film ended with her vowing to take on the Kree Empire. Would her follow-up film see that plot strand through, or jump ahead to her present-day return to Earth? On the confirmed end of the scale, though, are a couple of new arrivals to the MCU – The Eternals has pegged Chloé Zhao as a director, and a Shang Chi film is on the way from Destin Daniel Cretton.
Who are the Avengers now?
With half of the original Avengers either dead or old enough to be dead, the MCU is going to need a new team of headliners. The obvious ones are those who already have a film or two to their name: Ant-Man (and Wasp), Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther (opens in new tab) and Doctor Strange. With Cap passing his shield onto Sam Wilson, we’re likely to see him take on a more integral role going forwards, and Thor made Valkyrie the ruler of New Asgard, so she may be filling Thor’s position on the team. Depending on how the TV show WandaVision turns out, Scarlet Witch could still be a key Avenger. And don’t be surprised if Shuri replaces Tony and Bruce as the resident genius on the team – and perhaps even dons a supersuit of her own. Ironheart anyone?
Thor, Hulk and Hawkeye may have survived Avengers: Endgame, but they all gave off strong ‘retiring from Avenging’ vibes at the end, as did Rhodey – and if Thor is sticking around, then he’s likely to be off with the Guardians, who rarely team up with the Avengers.
Which new characters could be introduced?
We already know that Shang Chi and the Eternals are on their way, but frankly there are bigger unused Marvel characters out there. The likes of Ms Marvel, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Spider-Woman and Miles Morales deserve live-action debuts, and who knows what Marvel plan to do with Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones et al now that their Netflix series’ have wrapped up? It seems unlikely that Daredevil and Luke Cage, in particular, will go unused for long. Marvel has also long been keen on bringing Nova to screens, and a return for Blade is a long-running rumour.
The ageing-up of Cassie Lang, teamed with the rumours of a Clint Barton/Kate Bishop TV show, also leave the door wide open for the Young Avengers, which includes the likes of half-Kree half-Skrull Hulkling and future Sorceror Supreme Wiccan, who is also Scarlet Witch’s sort-of son.
How will Fox’s Marvel properties fit in?
Marvel has repeatedly told us not to get our hopes up for X-Men immediately popping up in the MCU. The deal between the studios might be done, but there are still details to hammer out. However, while the Deadpool/X-Force films seem to be moving ahead, and Disney is promising a release for New Mutants, Fox has been hinting that Dark Phoenix could be the end of its X-Men films. Which means that X-Men and Fantastic Four characters are just sitting around, ready to be used.
Introducing the Fantastic Four into the MCU is the easier proposition – introducing the X-Men means you need to introduce mutants. How would they justify mutants existing in their universe, and yet not showing up to help the Avengers with any of their world-ending problems? Will mutants have to spontaneously spring into being at some point in the MCU, as Inhumans like Ms Marvel did in the comics? Which, ironically, was done so that Marvel could create a bunch of superpowered characters that they held the on-screen IP for.
Currently, it looks like the Fantastic Four characters might actually be of more use to Marvel in the short-term than the X-Men – with Thanos (literally) done and dusted, surely Galactus is a strong contender for the MCU’s next big bad?
Want to get excited for more related content? Here's how Avengers: Endgame could influence the new Marvel TV shows (opens in new tab), and below our spoilerific chat about the ending: