Marvel Phase 4 has finally come to an end, closing with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. It's been a long Phase absolutely packed full of content, with some major shake-ups for the MCU along the way – new characters, locations, heroes, villains, and more made their MCU debuts, and the Marvel multiverse was cracked wide open.
We've pulled together the ultimate Marvel Phase 4 recap right here, with absolutely everything you need to know from every single Marvel TV show and movie, starting with WandaVision and going all the way up to the very end. So, if you're rusty on the finer details or even missed a show or two, look no further. We've also got a quick look ahead at what's coming up in the MCU.
It should go without saying, but consider this your major spoiler warning for everything that's happened in Phase 4!
Marvel Phase 4 recap: the story so far
Marvel Phase 4 has come to a close. It was packed full of movies and TV shows that pushed the MCU ahead at astonishing speed – here's our full recap of the entire story.
- WandaVision (January – March 2021, Disney Plus)
- Falcon and the Winter Soldier (March 2021 – April 2021, Disney Plus)
- Loki (June 2021 - July 2021, Disney Plus)
- Black Widow (July 9, 2021, movie)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3, 2021, movie)
- What If...? (August 2021 – October 2021)
- Eternals (November 5, 2021, movie)
- Hawkeye (November 2021 – December 2021, Disney Plus)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021, movie)
- Moon Knight (March 2022 – May 2022, Disney Plus)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6, 2022, movie)
- Ms. Marvel (June – July 2022, Disney Plus)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8, 2022, movie)
- I Am Groot (August 10, 2022, Disney Plus)
- She-Hulk (August – October 2022, Disney Plus)
- Werewolf by Night (October 7, 2022, Disney Plus)
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11, 2022, movie)
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (November 24, 2022, Disney Plus)
WandaVision kickstarted Marvel Phase 4 in a particularly strange style, with each episode taking inspiration from a different era of sitcom. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany returned as Scarlet Witch and Vision, while Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), and Darcy (Kat Dennings) also featured. The series finished with Wanda in solitude and a White Vision somewhere in the world.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes team up to deal with a new set of villains: the Flag-Smashers. Baron Zemo tagged along for the ride, though was later captured by Wakanda's Dora Milaje, and Isaiah Bradley was introduced as a Super Soldier with a past marked by tragedy and torment. Oh, and there was a new Captain America, played by Wyatt Russell, who had the shield taken from him by the rightful new Cap, Sam Wilson.
Loki opened up the multiverse with some time travel shenanigans involving Kang the Conqueror. The God of Mischief was captured by the Time Variance Authority after scampering off with the Tesseract (as seen in Avengers: Endgame). He was then tasked with bringing in a Loki 'Variant' – another version of Loki from a branching timeline – who turned out to be a female Loki named Sylvie. The pair soon teamed up to take down the TVA and eventually managed to find the man at the end of time – an ancient Variant of villain Kang the Conqueror, who has been keeping all of time in order. Sylvie kills him, breaking the 'Sacred Timeline' and causing a temporal earthquake through the multiverse. A second season is on the way...
Taking place between Civil War and Infinity War, Black Widow dived into Natasha's past and set up Yelena as a major force in the MCU moving forward. Kevin Feige has revealed that the only major Phase 4 tweak due to COVID delays was an Easter egg that was originally due to appear in Black Widow before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – that would be the appearance of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who appeared in the Black Widow post-credits scene.
Shang-Chi introduced Simu Liu's hero into the MCU. He managed to control the Ten Rings, a mystical set of weapons held by his father, Wenwu, and in the process managed to take down Wenwu's crime organization.
What If...? marked the MCU's first animated series and was dedicated to exploring "different versions" of iconic MCU moments. The cast reads like a 'who's who' of Marvel icons, including Samuel L. Jackson, Hayley Atwell, and more, and Jeffrey Wright joined the MCU as the Watcher. While the stories began as anthological, they eventually came together for a very, very cool episode.
Eternals introduced a bunch of immortal beings who live among us on Earth. The cast is astonishing and includes Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Don Lee as the hulking Gilgamesh, with Lia McHugh and The Walking Dead's Lauren Ridloff rounding out the cast, playing Sprite and Makkari respectively. Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington also appeared as the Black Knight – and Harry Styles was introduced as Thanos' brother, Eros.
Hawkeye saw the titular hero reluctantly take mega-fan Kate Bishop under his wing after she became mixed up in New York's underground after wearing the Ronin outfit. There were plenty of fun cameos in this fun, festive Disney Plus series, including the return of Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin.
Spider-Man: No Way Home dived right into the multiverse, with returning villains Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Electro (Jamie Foxx), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Lizard (Rhys Ifans), and Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) making reappearances (along with certain other familiar faces...), and ended with the entire world forgetting Tom Holland's Peter Parker.
Moon Knight introduced a new character to the MCU as Oscar Isaac was cast as Steven Grant. Or is it Marc Spector? The lead's spotty memory and multiple personalities formed the crux of the show's mystery which saw him as the avatar for the Egyptian God Khonshu. As well as battling the show's villain, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), Marc worked through his own trauma as his origins as Moon Knight were slowly revealed over six episodes.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness picked up in the wake of Steven Strange's forbidden multiverse spell in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie began with the sorcerer meeting a young girl called America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) with the ability to transport across the multiverse. Stephen called on Wanda Maximoff to help him ward off the mysterious creature on her tail. However, Wanda had her own motives which caused havoc across the universe, and the movie ended with her fate unknown.
Ms. Marvel told the story of Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a Pakistani-American from Jersey City imbued with superpowers thanks to a bangle passed down in her family. Kamala's journey saw her become a superhero-in-training (christened 'Night Light' by onlookers), before heading to Karachi in Pakistan to find out more about the origins behind her powers. In pursuit: a group hailing from another dimension called The Clandestines who wanted to use Ms. Marvel's energy to get home, potentially destroying our planet in the process. They eventually destroyed themselves, with Ms. Marvel returning to Jersey to fight off Damage Control who were in pursuit of The Clandestines' youngest member, Kamran. With the day saved, Kamala relaxed in her room before her bangle started glowing. Suddenly, she seemingly swapped places with her idol, Captain Marvel. What happens next? We'll find out in 2023's The Marvels.
Thor: Love and Thunder saw Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) take up the Mighty Thor mantle and wield Mjolnir. She, Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie, and Taika Waititi's Korg went up against Christian Bale's terrifying Gorr the God Butcher, who intended to slaughter the MCU's gods with his sinister Necrosword. While Jane died of cancer, the post-credits scene revealed she'd made it to Valhalla with Idris Elba's Heimdall. Plus, Brett Goldstein joined the MCU as Hercules.
I Am Groot also dropped on Disney Plus with a series of five shorts all about the Guardians of the Galaxy character. Aside from being very cute, these didn't add too much context to the MCU, but check out our episode order guide to catch up on them.
She-Hulk also smashed its way into the MCU, with Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters coming to terms with her new mean, green alter ego – all while getting help from her cousin Bruce Banner. The show featured legal battles involving Abomination, Wong, and... Megan Thee Stallion. Jen also faced off with Titania and She-Hulk-hating group Intelligencia. Charlie Cox's Daredevil even showed up as Jen broke the fourth wall, entered the 'real' world and rewrote her own ending by defeating Intelligencia's leader HulkKing in court. She clearly wasn't a fan of Marvel's typical three-act structure and CGI finales.
Then, Werewolf by Night, a vintage-style, self-contained sojourn into classic horror, introduced Jack Russell (yes, that's his name) and Man-thing to the MCU.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was the final feature film in Marvel Phase 4, bringing most of the story so far to a close. The Black Panther sequel picked up after the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, who played T'Challa. The actor's death was reflected in the story as the movie shows Wakanda in mourning for their fallen king.
New threats soon arose as world powers attempted to get their hands on Wakanda's Vibranium, which led to antagonist Namor emerging from his undersea kingdom of Talokan and eventually coming to blows with Wakanda. In the conflict, Ramonda was killed. Shuri then synthesized a fresh Heart-Shaped Herb and became the new Black Panther, while M'Baku became the new King of Wakanda at the end of the film. Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams (AKA Ironheart) also joined the MCU in the movie, while the post-credits scene introduced T'Challa's son, Toussaint (Divine Love Konadu-Sun).
The very last installment in Marvel Phase 4 was The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, a lighthearted and fun short film that saw Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) kidnap none other than Kevin Bacon to present to Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) as a Christmas present. The special also revealed that Ego (Kurt Russell) is Mantis' father, meaning she and Peter are siblings.
Beyond Phase 4
At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Kevin Feige announced that Phases 4, 5, and 6 would form part of The Multiverse Saga. Marvel Phase 5 begins with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, while Fantastic Four kicks off Marvel Phase 6 in November 2024. There are also two new Avengers movies coming: Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
For the lowdown on all that and more, read our guide to all the upcoming Marvel movies and shows heading your way soon.