In case you haven't heard: Marvel Phase 4 is here, and it's about to take over our lives. The Black Widow movie, The Eternals, Shang-Chi, and some fantastic-sounding MCU re-inventions of Thor and Doctor Strange are all releasing in the next few years. That's without taking into account the wave of Disney+ streaming service Marvel Phase 4 TV shows also arriving in 2019, 2020, and 2021. That's a lot to take in.
Unless you've got a Shuri-sized intellect, it can be a little overwhelming. We're here to boil Marvel Phase 4 down to its essential parts: all Marvel Phase 4 release dates, updated news, cast lists, images, and even quotes from the main players themselves are waiting for you down below. It's all present and correct, too, including the latest (first) look at The Eternals movie thanks to some eye-catching concept art. And that's not all.
Want to know what Benedict Cumberbatch said about the Doctor Strange sequel's left-turn into horror? What about Kevin Feige addressing the big Avengers absence? We've got all that (and more) down for you below from Marvel Studios' big blowout San Diego Comic-Con 2019.
Then there's a look at the utterly unique things that make Marvel Phase 4 so intriguing. Natalie Portman is playing Thor; the introduction of Simu Liu, and even a glance beyond Phase 4 so you know when to expect the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie and Carol Danvers' return in Captain Marvel 2, to name a few.
This is all anyone is going to be talking about for the next couple of years. Get on the ground floor with GamesRadar and our complete look at everything we know about Marvel Phase 4.
Marvel Phase 4 release dates
Marvel Phase 4 release dates have also been announced at SDCC both the MCU movies and Disney+ TV shows. Here they are:
- The Black Widow movie (May 1, 2020)
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020)
- The Eternals (November 6, 2020)
- Shang-Chi: And the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021)
- Loki TV show (Spring 2021)
- WandaVision (Spring 2021)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021)
- What If...? (Spring 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (November 6, 2021)
- Hawkeye series (Fall 2021)
Marvel Phase 4 movies
The Black Widow movie
We’ve known about this one for some time. The next stop in the MCU will be the Black Widow movie, arriving on May 1, 2020.
Directed by Cate Shortland, the confirmed cast includes Scarlett Johansson returning as Natasha Romanoff; Stranger Things’ David Harbour as Alexi; Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova (a “sister figure to Natasha” who takes up the Black Widow mantle in the comics, hint, hint); O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as an unknown character. The Taskmaster will also be in the Black Widow movie.
Footage was shown off at SDCC 2019, with Romanoff and Pugh’s character, Yelena, tussling in Budapest in a flat-out ferocious fight scene. They use everything at their disposal – including a literal kitchen sink – but it ultimately ends in a chokehold stalemate. The short clip ends with a car chase; Black Widow crashes and is met by Alexi, played by David Harbour, who blocks her rapid-fire gunshots with a shield.
The story, according to director Cate Shortland, will have the audience understanding Black Widow’s past and “she gets to put all the pieces of herself back together.”
Scarlett Johansson has also talked up her part in the movie, saying: “She gets to play Natasha as a fully-realised woman… and I’m excited for fans to see the flawed side of her.”
As for the much-questioned timeline, Harbour has revealed to IGN that it, indeed, takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. We already had a good idea as to where it fits in thanks to a leaked product placement shot earlier this year, but it’s now been confirmed.
Filming, meanwhile, is currently taking place in Budapest – so, expect a possible trailer by the end of the year.
The Eternals will be the second Phase 4 movie and, as confirmed at SDCC 2019, will be arriving on November 6, 2020.
The Eternals cast includes Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Kumail Nanjiani will be playing Kingo, Salma Hayek (Ajak, the “leader of the Eternals,” according to Feige), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos, a “genius,” says the actor), Don Lee is the hulking Gilgamesh, while Lia McHugh and The Walking Dead’s Lauren Ridloff rounds out the current confirmed cast, playing Sprite and Makkari respectively.
Madden also revealed a little about the premise at SDCC, saying: “The Eternals are a race of immortal aliens sent [to Earth] by the Celestials to protect humankind from the Deviants.”
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 siad of the setting: "It takes place in our universe – it takes place in the MCU.”
Chloe Zhao, who will be directing The Eternals, said at SDCC: “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.”
Marvel has also released Eternals concept art in August 2019, showcasing the Eternals' creators, the Celestials, stomping through an unknown planet and looking every inch the world-razing sentient beings that were feared long ago in the Marvel universe. It's a dazzling slice of sci-fi sensibilities, and shouldn't be missed. It's going on my bedroom wall the first chance I get.
Shang-Chi: And the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi: And the Legend of the Ten Rings was announced at SDCC as the third Marvel Phase 4 movie, and the first MCU movie in 2021.
Releasing on February 12, 2021, the first Asian-led superhero movie will feature Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Gu and Tony Leung will be playing the real Mandarin and leader of the Ten Rings. Awkwafina will also appear in Shang-Chi in an as-yet-unnamed role.
While no one else apart from those three cast members have been announced, Simu Liu is already making waves on social media thanks to some fantastic old Twitter posts. In them, he’s openly calling for Marvel to cast an Asian lead in the MCU and, wouldn’t you just know it, he’s now made it come to life.
Destin Daniel Cretton (who worked with Captain Marvel herself Brie Larson on The Glass Castle) is directing the movie.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Now, this is interesting. Doctor Strange originally introduced the concept of the multiverse to the MCU – and now the Doctor Strange sequel includes the M-word in its title. Not only that, but another Marvel superhero is also along for the ride.
Coming on May 7, 2021, Benedict Cumberbatch will be returning at the Sorcerer Supreme and the director of the first Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson, will also be back behind the camera.
The Multiverse of Madness may be diving deep into somewhere that Marvel Studios has feared to tread – horror. Cumberbatch confirmed as much by telling the SDCC audience that Doctor Strange will encounter “a twist of horror that will really have people gripped… We’re going back to try and destroy [Doctor Strange] a bit I think.”
Scarlet Witch will also be in Multiverse of Madness and the movie will “tie directly into” WandaVision, the new Disney+ show starring Elizabeth Olsen, a first for the MCU.
Thor: Love and Thunder
The last current Marvel Phase 4 movie – and probably the most exciting and ‘out there’. Thor: Love and Thunder is coming on November 6, 2021, 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.
Waititi has 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.
But, the big question: Will Korg be returning? “Who knows,” says Waititi. You big tease.
Marvel Phase 4 TV Shows
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will release in ‘Fall 2020’ on Disney+, which means it’s the very first Phase 4 TV show. The series will see the newly-anointed Captain America, Sam Wilson, teaming up with Bucky Barnes.
At SDCC, Anthony Mackie said he wants to find out “what makes The Winter Soldier tick… and what ticks him off.” With that in mind, we can perhaps expect a buddy comedy-style set-up for the dynamic duo.
During the reveal, we also got a glimpse of Daniel Bruhl’s villainous Baron Zemo, who will be going up against The Falcon and the Winter Soldier late next year. No episode count as of yet, but watch this space in the coming months.
Loki TV show
Tom Hiddleston is back at the god of mischief in this Spring 2021 Disney+ series.
During the Marvel SDCC 2019 panel, Feige says that Loki’s escape with the Space Stone in Avengers: Endgame will tie into the Loki TV show and will “tell you what happened with Loki right after [Endgame].”
Spring 2021 isn’t just Loki’s domain: it also sees WandaVision coming to the Disney+ streaming service. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will be reprising their roles as Scarlet Witch and Vision, and Jac Schaeffer (one of the co-writers of Captain Marvel) is reportedly the series showrunner, as per Variety.
Nothing has been confirmed yet, though, as to how Vision will return to life after his death in Avengers: Infinity War. Bettany said he “has no idea” about Vision’s return. Kevin Feige has also teased what’s to come, telling a packed Hall H that “It’s like anything we’ve ever done before.”
On the opportunity to explore Scarlet Witch some more, Olsen said: “We’re gonna have a lot of fun. We’re gonna get weird, it’s gonna get deep, and have lots of surprises. We’re finally going to understand Wanda Maximoff.”
Speaking of surprises, Monica Rambeau is returning to the MCU. Having previously been seen in Captain Marvel as a child, this will be an all-grown-up version of the character, played by Teyonah Parris. Parris curiously described herself as a “Marvel superhero.” Could we expect Photon to be teaming up with Scarlet Witch and Vision?
The most curious of the Marvel Phase 4 offerings – in more ways than one. Disney+ will be the home for “What If…?” an animated anthology series dedicated to exploring “different versions” of iconic MCU scenes and 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 will be voicing The Watcher, the being dedicated to chronicling universe-shaking events across the cosmos.
What If…? will be releasing in Summer 2021.
The furthest out of the currently-announced Marvel Phase 4 TV shows is the Hawkeye series, starring Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, which will shoot its way on to Disney+ in Fall 2021.
Of course, with the show still being over two years out, Marvel only has so much info stocked in its quiver to fire out there. One of which, however, is that the show will feature Barton training Kate Bishop, who Renner describes as “the best Hawkeye… and I get to teach someone else how to be a superhero without superpowers.” Feige also confirmed at SDCC that we’ll explore more of Hawkeye’s time as Ronin in-between Infinity War and Endgame.
No actress has yet been cast as Kate Bishop, though it’s surely going to be a highly sought-after role.
Beyond Phase 4
Feige, being the showman that he is, left us with a few more breadcrumbs at SDCC 2019. At the tail-end of the Hall H reveal, he confirmed that Black Panther 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Blade, and Captain Marvel 2 would be coming to the MCU. The head of Marvel Studios also mentioned a certain Fantastic Four, and even name-dropped “mutants.”
However, they aren’t officially part of Marvel Phase 4, nor do they have release dates. We can expect them to come in 2022 and beyond. One thing that’s not coming just yet, though, 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.
Here's what we do know, though, about some of the movies in pre-production.
Black Panther 2
After the wildly-successful first movie, leaving Black Panther 2 off the table would be among the worst things Marvel Studios could potentially do. Don’t worry, it’s definitely happening. Kevin Feige, of all people, has confirmed that a Black Panther sequel is coming to cinemas (via CNet) and that director Ryan Coogler is back on board. He’s currently working on the story.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3
The curious case of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has as many twists, turns, and misdirects as a trailer for a Russo Brother 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, is still working on a Suicide Squad reboot and won’t be transferring back to the MCU until that’s released in 2021. With that being the case, a late 2022 release could be a distinct possibility.
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. Meanwhile, we shouldn’t discount Chris Hemsworth joining the crew of the Milano and making it a big Asgardians of the Galaxy shindig.
Captain Marvel 2
Captain Marvel 2 is coming, just not yet. After all, they can’t cast Brie Larson and have her appear in just one main movie and a bit-part in Endgame for nearly half-a-decade. Expect to hear more about that in the coming years.
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.
The announcement was made at San Diego Comic-Con, with Marvel head Kevin Feige confirming a Blade standalone movie alongside another nine new MCU movies are currently in development.
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.