Marvel Phase 4 has begun. WandaVision arrived on Disney Plus to send our collective heads spinning – and there's so much more to come.
The upcoming Marvel movies and shows look particualrly wild, with Kevin Feige throwing everything at us, from animated shows about Groot, to a full-blown mini-Avengers series in Secret Invasion. There's a lot to digest.
That's where we come in. Below, you can find our lengthy guide to everything Marvel Phase 4: release dates, casting news, trailers, and so much more. WandaVision is just the start. Prepare for a never-ending cycle of Marvel...
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, it's all change.
Here are the updated Marvel Phase 4 release dates. Note: due to the shifting nature of theatre opening around the world, these are subject to change.
- WandaVision (January 15, 2021)
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (March 19, 2021)
- Black Widow (May 7, 2021)
- Loki TV show (May 2021)
- Shang-Chi: And the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 9, 2021)
- What If...? (Summer 2021)
- Hawkeye series (Late 2021)
- Ms. Marvel (Late 2021)
- Eternals (November 5, 2021)
- Spider-Man 3 (December 17, 2021)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (May 6, 2022)
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 first stop for the MCU on the big screen is Black Widow, arriving on May 7, 2021. Need to prepare for Nat's standalone adventure? Watch the trailer above.
Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow's 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 Melina Vostokoff AKA Iron Maiden in the comics. William Hurt's General Ross also cropped up in a trailer. The Taskmaster will feature as the villain Black Widow, but we don't know who's behind the mask just yet.
The cast may expand even further – if you believe some of the juiciest unconfirmed rumors, that is. Robert Downey Jr. has been mooted for a quick cameo from previously-filmed footage.
The story, according to Shortland, will have the audience understanding Black Widow’s past and seeing her “put all the pieces of herself back together.” Johansson has also talked up her part in the movie, telling our sister publication Total Film "Natasha Romanoff in a family drama is the least expected thing." As for the much-questioned timeline, the movie will take place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
Shang-Chi: And the Legend of the Ten Rings
Releasing on July 9, 2021, the first Asian-led superhero movie will feature Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu. Tony Leung will play Wenwu, Awkwafina is Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, and Michelle Yeoh joins the MCU as Jiang Nan
While no other 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 those hopes a reality.
Destin Daniel Cretton (who worked with Captain Marvel herself Brie Larson on The Glass Castle) is directing the movie, which has now wrapped filming.
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 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 as the hulking Gilgamesh, while Lia McHugh and The Walking Dead’s Lauren Ridloff rounds out the current confirmed cast, playing Sprite and Makkari respectively. Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington will also appear as the Black Knight.
Brazil's CCXP featured the first Eternals trailer, but unfortunately, it was a behind-closed-doors affair. Expect a full trailer once Black Widow releases, though we do have some leaked art hinting at each of their costumes. Marvel has, however, given us two pieces of Eternals concept art, one from 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. The other is an out-of-this-world shot of a towering Celestial that features at 1:33 on this 2020 Marvel preview.
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
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: “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.”
Rejoice! The as-yet-untitled Spider-Man 3 has been confirmed for December 17, 2021 after a delay and will be part of Marvel Phase 4. Phew.
No news yet on what the plot will entail, though it's looking to potentially be a massive multiverse adventure. Jamie Foxx's Electro is back after his turn in the Amazing Spider-Man series. New reports also suggest that Alfred Molina is back as Doc Ock and Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield could also return as Spider-Man.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Thor: Love and Thunder – intially 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 watchalong 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. This really is a mini-Avengers movie.
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."
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 eight episodes and will have budgets comparable to an MCU movie. On that excitable note, let's go through each upcoming entry show-by-show, though expect several of these release dates and windows to change in the coming weeks.
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 are back as Scarlet Witch and Vision, and Jac Schaeffer (one of the co-writers of Captain Marvel) acts as showrunner. Monica Rambeau also features in the show, played by Teyonah Parris. The character was last seen in Captain Marvel as a young girl. Other returnees from Marvel's past include Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Darcy (Kat Dennings) from Ant-Man and the Wasp and Thor, respectively. There are also plenty more surprises, but we won't spoil them here. Just know that WandaVision is one mind-bending start to this era of MCU storytelling.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is arriving on March 19, 2021.
The series will see the newly-anointed Captain America, Sam Wilson, teaming up with Bucky Barnes. The synopsis describes the pair teaming up "in a global adventure that tests their abilities—and their patience." The series will be directed by Kari Skogland with Malcolm Spellman serving as head writer.
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. Watch the main trailer, which debuted during the Super Bowl, above.
Tom Hiddleston returns as Loki in May 2021.
Loki’s escape with the Space Stone in Avengers: Endgame ties directly into the Loki show, which Kevin Feige says will “tell you what happened with Loki right after [Endgame].” Hiddleston has described Loki as going up against "more formidable opponents" while those wondering about the God of Mischief's death and what plans he gets up to with the Tesseract can rest easy. Hiddleston also promised "this series will answer both of those questions."
There's now actually a full Loki trailer, too, which you can watch above. With references to everything from Vote Loki to plane hijacker D.B. Cooper, this looks like one of the most fun Marvel TV shows around.
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 will be voicing The Watcher, otherwise known as the being dedicated to chronicling universe-shaking events across the cosmos. What If…? will be releasing in Summer 2021.
The Hawkeye series, starring Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, is expected to debut on Disney Plus in Fall 2021.
Klint 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.” Feige also confirmed at SDCC that we’ll explore more of Hawkeye’s time as Ronin in-between Infinity War and Endgame.
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.
- Black Panther 2 – July 8, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 – October 7, 2022
- TBA Marvel movies – February 17, 2023
- TBA Marvel movies – May 5, 2023
- TBA Marvel movies – July 28, 2023
- TBA Marvel movies – November 3, 2023
Black Panther 2
Black Panther 2 is coming in 2022. Following the death of Chadwick Boseman, it's been confirmed that T'Challa will not be recast. Instead, the Black Panther sequel will "continue to explore the incomparable world of Wakanda and all of the rich and varied characters introduced in the first film." Ryan Coogler also has a Wakanda series en route, which will further look at the fictional country.
Captain Marvel 2
Carol Danvers was always going to return, but we now have a better idea of exactly when she'll be going supernova again. Captain Marvel 2 will release on November 11, 2022. Sources close to THR also indicate that Carol's next adventure will be in the modern-day, not in the '90s. Phew. No more questionable style choices. Nia DaCosta is attached to direct. Joining the cast is Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau from WandaVision.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Not much is known about Ant-Man 3 at this early stage outside of 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-travelling villain Kang the Conqueror. Whether it's a set up for him to become the MCU's next Big Bad or just a one-off appearance is unknown.
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 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, 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.
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 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 Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who previously worked on HBO's Watchmen, will write 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.
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 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.
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 comicbook 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.
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 here.
Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Holiday Specials aren't normally things to get excited about. 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 either around Christmas 2022 or Christmas 2023.
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.
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. And 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.