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Marvel Phase 4: recap, release dates, news, and more

Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a part of Marvel Phase 4
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel Phase 4 is almost over. We had previously expected it to stretch well into 2023 but, at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios' president Kevin Feige announced Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will end the MCU’s current Phase.

From there, Marvel will move towards Phase 5, with an eye towards Fantastic Four and the Avengers in Phase 6. Below, we run through what has been one of the MCU’s most diverse and intriguing Phases yet with our guide to the story so far in Phase 4. Then, we’ll present the remaining projects still to come, before casting an eye towards the future. Spoilers: get ready to be conquered by Kang.

Marvel Phase 4 recap: the story so far

Marvel Phase 4 is rumbling along at a pretty extraordinary speed. We've had a whole bunch of movies and Disney Plus shows – here's our brief recap of the story so far.

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.

Falcon and 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...

still from Loki episode 6

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

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 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 Wunwu'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 come 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 will also appear as the Black Knight. We'll say no more for now...

Hawkeye sees the titular hero reluctantly take mega-fan Kate Bishop under his wing after she becomes mixed up in New York's underground after wearing the Ronin outfit. There are plenty of fun cameos in this fun, festive Disney Plus series.

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 picks up in the wake of Steven Strange's forbidden multiverse spell in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie begins as he encounters a young girl called America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) who has the ability to transport across the multiverse. Steven calls on Wanda Maximoff to help him ward off the mysterious creature on her tail. However, she has her own motives which cause havoc across the universe.

Ms. Marvel tells the story of Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), a Pakistani-American from Jersey City who is imbued with superpowers thanks to a bangle passed down in her family. Kamala's journey sees 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 who hail from another dimension called The Clandestines who want 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 sees 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 go up against Christian Bale's terrifying Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to slaughter the MCU's gods with his sinister Necrosword. 

Marvel Phase 4: release dates still to come

Letitia Wright in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

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. However, due to the pandemic and other factors, these dates have shifted about quite a bit. Here is the latest update on the remaining two Marvel Phase 4 release dates. Everything else, as you'll see below, has shifted to Phase 5 and 6.

  • I Am Groot (August 10, 2022)
  • She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (August 17, 2022)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11, 2022)
  • Werewolf By Night (TBC)

At SDCC, Kevin Feige announced that Phases 4, 5, and 6 would form part of The Multiverse Saga. Phase 5 begins with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania next February, while Fantastic 4 kicks off Phase 6 in November 2024.

I Am Groot

I Am Groot poster

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

I Am Groot release date: August 10, 2022

A minor series in the MCU, I Am Groot is a collection of five animated shorts about our favorite Guardian of the Galaxy. The series last just under 20 minutes, and James Gunn has said it's not canon to the main saga. So simply sit back and enjoy some fun Baby Groot adventures.

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law

She-Hulk

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

She-Hulk release date: August 17, 2022

Tatiana Maslany plays Jennifer Walters in this nine-part series that's a Fleabag-inspired comedy. Walters will defend various heroes and fight villains in the courtroom including Tim Roth as the Abomination, Jameela Jamil's Titania, and Benedict Wong's Wong. The latest She-Hulk trailer from SDCC also teased the arrival of Charlie Cox's Daredevil, while Mark Ruffalo's Hulk will have a key part to play.

"I'm Jennifer Walters, I'm a normal lawyer. Well, not that normal," Jennifer says in a voiceover in the first footage from the series. There's also that iconic "don't make me angry" line, because of course she has to say it. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever release date: November 11, 2022

The Black Panther sequel has had to make several adjustments after the tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman who played T'Challa. 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."

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), but the new Wakanda Forever trailer has had everyone trying to guess who will be the new Black Panther. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will also feature the MCU debut of Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams (AKA Ironheart). 

Werewolf By Night

Cover of Werewolf By Night #33

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Werewolf By Night release date: TBC (supposedly October 2022)

During Feige's takeover of Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, there was one key Phase 4 release missing: Werewolf By Night. The Halloween special has been filmed, with composer Michael Giacchino, who scored Doctor Strange 2, having directed the Disney Plus special. Old's Gael García Bernal plays the lead character, though it's unclear who he will star as – presumably the shapeshifting hero Werewolf By Night who turns into, ehem, a werewolf at night. Reports have signalled that this will be titled something different, though that remains to be seen. All eyes on Disney's D23 conference, when the mini-movie is expected to be announced.

Beyond Phase 4

There's a lot to come from the MCU beyond Marvel Phase 4. We know that Phase 5 will kickstart with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and conclude with Thunderbolts, while Phase 6 will start with Fantastic Four and end with Avengers: Secret Wars. For more on all those, read our guide to all the upcoming Marvel movies and shows heading your way soon.

Bradley Russell
Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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