It's a scary thing to consider, but we're about a third of the way through Marvel Phase 4 already. But don't worry, there's plenty more to get excited about.
From a multiverse-shattering Spidey threequel to the introduction of several new MCU heroes, Phase 4 is arguably the most exciting, creative, and most diverse slate of Marvel projects yet. Throw in a sprinkling of Disney Plus series, including Hawkeye, and Ms. Marvel, and this new era is set to take over our lives year-round.
As such, you might need a primer on all things Phase 4. Below, you'll find a complete and comprehensive guide to the next stage in Marvel history. Release dates, crossovers, new casting news, and trailers are all here. What are you waiting for?
Marvel Phase 4 release dates
Marvel Phase 4 release dates for both the MCU movies and Disney Plus TV shows were initially announced at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2019, while Spider-Man 3 was added at a later date. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, everything's changed.
Here are the updated Marvel Phase 4 release dates. Note: due to the shifting nature of theaters reopening around the world, these are subject to change.
- Eternals (November 5, 2021)
- Hawkeye series (November 24, 2021)
- Ms. Marvel (Late 2021)
- Spider-Man 3: No Way Home (December 17, 2021)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (May 6, 2022)
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (July 8, 2022)
- The Marvels (November 11, 2022)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
Marvel Phase 4 movies
It's unclear whether Marvel will continue working in clearly defined phases, with the already-announced Blade and Fantastic Four seemingly part of Phase 5. That being said, we've put the upcoming Marvel movies into phases as best we can, and we'll start with the movies, then go into the Disney Plus shows. The following have already been released.
- Black Widow (July 9, 2021)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3, 2021)
Taking place between Civil War and Infinity War, Black Widow dives into Natasha's past and also helps set up Yelena as a major force in the MCU moving forward. Kevin Feige has also 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 Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Shang-Chi, meanwhile, introduces Simu Liu's hero into the MCU in some style. No spoilers here seeing as how the movie hasn't been out long, but it revolves around the Ten Rings, a mystical set of weapons held by Shang-Chi's dad, Wenwu. For more on how that impacts the MCU, check out our breakdown of the Shang-Chi ending.
Eternals will now be the third Phase 4 movie (having been pushed back behind Shang-Chi) and is releasing on November 5, 2021. It's also had a name change: Eternals instead of The Eternals. Go figure.
The Eternals cast includes Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Salma Hayek (Ajak, the "leader of the Eternals," according to Feige), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos, a "genius," says the actor), Don Lee as the hulking Gilgamesh, with Lia McHugh and The Walking Dead's Lauren Ridloff rounding out the current confirmed cast, playing Sprite and Makkari respectively. Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington will also appear as the Black Knight.
The first Eternals footage arrived in a Marvel sizzle reel, and gives us a quick glimpse at the new heroes.
Get a look ahead at all things Marvel in 2020, including Marvel Studios' #BlackWidow, the "Marvel's Avengers" game, Avengers Campus, and so much more! 💥What are you most excited for? Tell us in the replies! #EarthsMightiestShow pic.twitter.com/Uc6ZT8BdPOJanuary 4, 2020
The first official Eternals trailer, meanwhile, debuted in May 2021 and teased an epic, centuries-spanning adventure with the MCU's most powerful superheroes. Watch it here.
Feige himself has given a small peek into what to expect from the Eternals story, having told ComicBook.com: "It will be a story that will introduce you to this incredibly eclectic group of immortals, they're the focus of the story." He said of the setting: "It takes place in our universe – it takes place in the MCU."
Chloe Zhao, who will be directing The Eternals, said: "I just really, really wanted to make a Marvel movie for so long… For this film, The Eternals, it’s about this incredible group of immortals but, through their journey, we get to explore what it means to be human.” Madden also revealed a little about the premise back, saying: "The Eternals are a race of immortal aliens sent [to Earth] by the Celestials to protect humankind from the Deviants."
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Rejoice! Spider-Man 3, AKA Spider-Man: No Way Home, has been confirmed for December 17, 2021. The first trailer is out in the wild, too, with surprising appearances from the likes of Alfred Molina's Doc Ock.
The plot seemingly revolves around the matter of Spidey's secret identity and the fallout after Far From Home. Tom Holland's Peter Parker heads to Doctor Strange to see if he can make everyone forget who Spider-Man is. Things, inevitably, go wrong. The multiverse gets split open and a whole bunch of theories have poured out: early rumors suggested Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield would be swinging in as their versions of Spider-Man, while other villains have apparently been spotted in the trailer. And is that Matt Murdock?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
It's all change here in the Sanctum Sanctorum for the Doctor Strange sequel, which is slated for March 25, 2022.
Director Scott Derrickson, who helmed the original Doctor Strange, has departed Multiverse of Madness, citing "creative differences." His writing partner, C. Robert Cargill, has also left the project. Sam Raimi – who previously directed Tobey Maguire-fronted Spider-Man trilogy – has stepped in as his replacement.
Outside of Benedict Cumberbatch returning as Strange, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor will appear in the Phase 4 film, which will directly tie into WandaVision and Spider-Man 3. Xochitl Gomez will also portray MCU newcomer America Chavez. Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Baron Mordo, told GamesRadar+: "I'm very excited to see what Sam Raimi does with that world."
Feige has teased the multiverse aspect, saying: "The multiverse is the next step in the evolution of the MCU and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is going to crack it wide open in ways that will have repercussions."
WandaVision ended with Wanda obtaining the Darkhold, and studying up on everything contained within its pages. It's likely she'll need a magical mentor, and who better than Doctor Strange? Elizabeth Olsen has teased a "natural progression" between the series and sequel movie, after all.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder – initially the last movie of Marvel Phase 4 before a release date reshuffle – is coming on May 6, 2022, and will almost definitely shock you with its big reveal: Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is the new Thor (now officially called Mighty Thor). Just let that sink in for a moment.
Not only that, but Chris Hemsworth is back at the OG God of Thunder, while Tessa Thompson is playing Valkyrie for the third time in the MCU. Taika Waititi is also returning to direct and write Love and Thunder. The villain of the piece is none other than ex-Batman actor Christian Bale. He'll be playing Gorr the God Butcher.
Waititi hosted a watch-along of Ragnarok, wherein he let slip a few Love and Thunder details. Valkyrie will continue to look for a queen to rule alongside her in Asgard, while Korg is also confirmed to be back, though love might not be on the menu for our rock-based friend in Thor 4.
The God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth, has also recently spoken about the Phase 4 sequel. He told the Philadelphia Enquirer, "[It's] Taika at his most extreme, and at his best. If the version I read is the one we get running with, it's going to be pretty insane."
Waititi has also hinted that Love and Thunder will also take some inspiration from Jason Aaron's Mighty Thor comic run, which introduced the concept of Jane Foster as Thor. If you need a primer on what to expect, check out what the comics tell us about Natalie Portman's Mighty Thor.
Other cast members also include seemingly every member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, with set photos featuring Chris Pratt as Star Lord. Matt Damon is also reported to have a role in the movie, and has been pictured on set, as has Melissa McCarthy. This really is a mini-Avengers movie.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The Black Panther sequel has had to make several adjustments after the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman who played T'Challa, and we've just now gotten the official title: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Ryan Coogler reportedly re-shaped the sequel after Boseman's passing, according to star Lupita Nyong'o. "We have a leader in Ryan, who feels very much like we do, who feels the loss in a very, very real way as well," she said. The sequel will be "respectful of the loss we've all experienced."
Martin Freeman, who plays Everett Ross, has teased a tiny bit of information about the plot: "Some of it was really – some of it's very odd, and I think [Coogler] could see by the reaction on my face some of the things he was saying… He kept sort of stopping, and going... He kept on saying, 'Stay with me, but this is going to work.'" Expect something surprising, then.
There's no word yet on who will take up the Black Panther mantle (although rumors are swirling that it will be T'Challa's younger sister, Shuri). Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will also feature the MCU debut of Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams (AKA Ironheart). The sequel is set to debut on July 8, 2022.
Captain Marvel 2 has a title, and it's called The Marvels. According to the official Marvel blog, that 'S' in the movie's logo does indeed point to Iman Vellani's Ms. Marvel aka Kamala Khan, who will be joining Carol Danvers and WandaVision's Monica Rambeau (aka Photon) in the sequel.
The Marvels is directed by Nia DaCosta and is set to release in theaters on November 11, 2022. There's not much else known about the sequel yet, save for the main antagonist played by Zawe Ashton was recently cast and that Brie Larson revealed that she's just started filming.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Aside from the recently revealed release date - February 17, 2023 - there's not much else known about Ant-Man 3 at this early stage. We do know its villain (more on that in a moment) and general cast. The original THR report states that it is filming in 2021 with the aim to release in 2022, while Rick and Morty writer Jeff Loveness is penning the script. That could put it in Phase 4 territory, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. Paul Rudd will return, as will director Peyton Reed.
The big arrival, though, is Jonathan Majors, who will play time-traveling villain Kang the Conqueror. You may remember him from such multiversal tragedies as the Loki finale.
Joining him, as per Marvel, is "Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp, Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym, and Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne. Kathryn Newton joins the cast as Cassie Lang."
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
While we initially thought Guardians of the Galaxy 3 would be a post-Phase 4 title, the recently video from Marvel suggests otherwise. It's set to release on May 5, 2023, and has been organized under the Marvel Phase 4 umbrella.
The curious case of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has had as many twists, turns, and misdirects as a trailer for a Russo Brothers film. James Gunn was initially fired by Disney. Then he was re-hired less than a year later. Now, a Guardians of the Galaxy 3 script is bringing people to tears. Gunn, though, has The Suicide Squad sequel/reboot and won't be transferred back to the MCU until that's released. Disney has penciled in a 2023 release, with it expected to be Gunn's final movie as director in the franchise.
Expect Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel to return. The movie may even focus on the search for Zoe Saldana's Gamora after the events of Endgame, with James Gunn teasing on Instagram Live (H/T Screen Rant) that a character will die. However, this will all come after Thor: Love and Thunder, which includes the Guardians. How that will shake up Gunn's plans remains to be seen, but the filmmaker has been involved in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Marvel Phase 4 TV Shows
Word of warning: these aren't just mere offshoots and spin-offs. This is the full-fat MCU. On television. Each show will consist of six to nine episodes and will have budgets comparable to an MCU movie. Before we go into what's coming next, let's quickly add what's happened so far:
- WandaVision (January – March 2021)
- Falcon and the Winter Soldier (March 2021 – April 2021)
- Loki (June 2021 - July 2021)
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 (Captain Marvel 2), 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.
Then came Falcon and Winter Soldier, which saw Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes team-up to deal with a new set of villains, the Flag-Smashers. Baron Zemo was along for the ride, but was 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. Expect to see more from him in Phase 5 – which you can read about further down.
Finally, Loki opened up the multiverse with some time travel shenanigans involving Kang the Conqueror. The God of Mischief was brought to heel by the Time Variance Authority after scampering off with the Tesseract (as seen in Avengers: Endgame) and was eventually tasked with bringing in a Loki 'Variant'. The Variant (another version of Loki from another branching timeline) was Sylvie, and the pair conspired to take down the TVA and find out the dark secret behind it. Namely, it was all a ruse to keep the 'Sacred' MCU timeline in check. Jonathan Majors showed up as He Who Remains, an ancient Variant of villain Kang the Conqueror. Sylvie ended up killing him. Without a temporal caretaker, several timelines merged and collided, including one where Loki finds himself in a Kang-ruled TVA. What's next? Loki season 2 awaits...
The most curious of the Marvel Phase 4 offerings. What If…? is an animated anthology series dedicated to exploring "different versions" of iconic MCU moments.
The cast reads like a 'who's who' of Marvel icons: Michael B. Jordan, Sebastian Stan, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Hayley Atwell, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Neal McDonough, Dominic Cooper, Sean Gunn, Nicole Portman, Stanley Tucci, Taika Waititi, Toby Jones, Djimon Honsou, Michael Rooker, and Jeff Goldblum will be lending their voices and reprising their Marvel roles in the cartoon. Phew.
There's even a new face in town. Westworld's Jeffrey Wright voices The Watcher, otherwise known as the being dedicated to chronicling universe-shaking events across the cosmos.
Multiple episodes have aired so far, with their scenarious ranging from exploring what would have happened if Peggy Carter, not Steve Rogers, took the Super Soldier Serum to a darker Doctor Strange.
A second season has also been confirmed.
The Hawkeye series, starring Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, will debut on November 24.
Clint Barton will be seen training Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld, who Renner describes as "the best Hawkeye… and I get to teach someone else how to be a superhero without superpowers." Kevin Feige also confirmed at SDCC 2019 that we'll explore more of Hawkeye's time as Ronin in between Infinity War and Endgame.
There's even going to be a Black Widow appearance, in the shape of Florence Pugh's Yelena. The post-credits scene for that movie (and first major Phase 4 tie-in) saw her being recruited by Val to take down Hawkeye.
It's now finished filming, too, as Renner celebrated the end of production with a congratulatory Instagram post.
News of Ms. Marvel's imminent arrival into the MCU leaked ahead of its planned D23 announcement. That didn't cause Marvel Studios to change its course, however, as news of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel (the first Muslim superhero in the MCU) appearing in Marvel Phase 4 or 5 still landed alongside reveals of She-Hulk and Moon Knight.
Ms. Marvel will be played by Iman Vellani. The character will also appear in Captain Marvel 2 but, first, she's getting her own series coming in late 2021.
Beyond Phase 4 – AKA Marvel Phase 5
As we wrote earlier, it's unclear whether Marvel will officially break things up into Phase 4 and Phase 5, or simply continue releasing new movies and shows. Kevin Feige himself has recently denied giving any further info on when Phase 4 actually ends (via Cinema Blend), so the following entries may fall into Phase 4 or beyond that, depending on how things change. One thing that’s not coming just yet is an Avengers movie in Marvel Phase 4. Feige told IGN this new chapter is all about "beginnings" but didn't rule out a future return for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
So far, the following projects all seemingly land outside of Marvel Phase 4, and we'll start with the big movies that have release dates.
- TBA Marvel movie – July 28, 2023
- TBA Marvel movie – November 3, 2023
Marvel has announced that a Blade film, starring Mahershala Ali as the eponymous vampire hunter, is in development at the studio. This will be Ali's second role within the MCU, having previously played Cottonmouth in the Netflix show Luke Cage, though the two will be completely unrelated. Not much else is known about Blade other than the fact Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who previously worked on HBO's Watchmen, will be writing the screenplay.
One of a trio of new Marvel shows to be revealed at D23, She-Hulk is confirmed coming to the streaming service at an unconfirmed time in the near future. Tatiana Maslany will play Jennifer Walters and the series is confirmed to be a comedy, with Walters defining various heroes in court. Could a Daredevil cameo be on the cards? Fans hope so. At the very least, Tim Roth is reprising his role as the Abomination from The Incredible Hulk, while Mark Ruffalo is also back as The Hulk. Jameela Jamil will be playing villain Titania.
Not heard of Moon Knight? Don't fret. Effectively acting as Marvel's answer to Batman, Marc Spector is an uber-rich crimefighter, except his playboy persona is often shown as being part of Spector's multiple personality disorder. It could've been a little too Tony Stark-lite but, now that Robert Downey Jr.'s character is out of the MCU, it might be time for moneybags Moon Knight to step up to the plate in his TV show.
Oscar Isaac will play Moon Knight in the upcoming Disney Plus series, which also has Ethan Hawke on board in a mysterious role.
Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury, with Ben Mendelsohn back as the shape-shifter Talos, in Secret Invasion, an upcoming Disney Plus series. Emilia Clarke has been cast in an unknown role, as has Olivia Colman.
The Secret Invasion storyline in the comic books sees several Skrulls infiltrate Earth and impersonate some of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Don't expect it to be quite as expansive as that, however. Tempering expectations in an interview with Comic Book, Feige replied, when asked if it would have the same amount of characters as its comic book counterpart: "Well, there were more characters in the Secret Invasion comic series than there were in Endgame so, no."
However, with Chris Evans potentially returning as Captain America, could we see something surprisingly big in the MCU show? Let's hope so.
The heir to Iron Man, Ironheart (AKA Riri Williams) will be played by up-and-coming actor Dominique Thorne. Nothing else is known about this Disney Plus series, which is still far from reaching TV screens.
Another Disney Plus series, Armor Wars will see Don Cheadle return as War Machine, who "must face what happens when Tony Stark's tech falls into the wrong hands."
I Am Groot
We all love Groot. And now the Guardian of the Galaxy is returning in his own Disney Plus series. This will be a bunch of animated shorts, rather than a fully-fledged live-action show like the majority of others on this list.
Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Holiday Specials aren't normally things to get excited about. Star Wars fans know that pain all too well. However, James Gunn's on board to direct this festive film, which will be shot coinciding with Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Expect it to arrive on Disney Plus around Christmas 2022.
Ryan Coogler is developing a new Disney Plus series that will tell stories from Wakanda. Nothing else is currently known, but Coogler has a lengthy deal in place with Disney, which could mean a variety of new shows from the Black Panther director. Fingers crossed.
The most prominent member of the Dora Milaje, Okoye (Danai Gurira) is getting her own origin story on Disney Plus. Not much is known at this early stage, though Gurira is also back in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Hawkeye spin-off Echo
Echo, to be portrayed by Alaqua Cox in the upcoming Hawkeye show, looks to be getting her own spin-off. The character is a deaf Native American who is often seen in a supporting role in Daredevil comics. Maya Lopez – Echo's alter ego – is typically raised by the nefarious Kingpin after he murders her father.
We don't currently know what her origins will look like in the MCU, but we do know that she'll be tied to Clint Barton (Hawkeye) rather than Matt Murdock (Daredevil) when we first meet her in the franchise. Echo's skills include the ability to mimic anyone's movement or combat techniques. The currently untitled Echo spin-off will be penned by Etan and Emily Cohen, who will executive produce the series alongside the Marvel team.
We had an inkling this was coming ever since Disney bought Fox. Still, it's nice to get official confirmation. Jon Watts will be directing a new Fantastic Four movie, though no cast members have been announced yet for Marvel's First Family.
A new Avengers movie
Not to be confused with New Avengers (though that could certainly make its way to the MCU beyond Phase 4), a new Avengers movie, or at least a new Avengers team, has been briefly touched upon by Kevin Feige. Feige told MTV News that "[The Avengers] will be a very different incarnation of the team with some people you've already met and some you haven't met yet."
No word yet on anything other than that, but expect Earth's Mightiest Heroes to make their presence keenly felt after 2022.
Captain America 4
Captain America 4 is reportedly on the way. While not confirmed, THR say The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showrunner Malcolm Spellman is penning the fourquel, along with Dalan Musson, a staff writer on the series. Spellman, Anthony Mackie, and series director Kari Skogland have all played down the news.
The fourth Cap movie is most likely to focus on Mackie's Sam Wilson after the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made him the new Captain America. We can probably expect Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes to reappear in the movie, too –though Deadline say Chris Evans' rumored return is actually for a separate project entirely.
If you're after more deep dives into upcoming movies, check out our piece on all the new Star Wars movies and shows coming our way across the next few years.