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Ever since we entered into the end of the Infinity Saga (Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Marvel President Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel and Disney family have been very tight lipped about what comes next. As of San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, we finally have a more concrete view of what the next leg of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will look like.
Black Widow – May 1st, 2020
We knew this was coming as the filming for it has already started, but there isn’t a whole lot that we know. Rumors have suggested that it could take place as far back as before Iron Man 1, or sometime before Age of Ultron. With Black Widow sacrificed for the Soul Stone in Endgame, there are those who are skeptical of what this could mean for the greater MCU. However, if we look at Captain Marvel and how much of that has already started to shape not just the movies that followed it, but also some of the hints towards the future it’s almost certain that whatever the Black Widow movie is, will give us clues as to what to expect going into Phase 4.
The Eternals – November 6th, 2020
This may the biggest gamble Marvel has taken since Guardians of the Galaxy, which worked out because of James Gunn’s vision of a ragtag group of renegades and rebels that managed to capture our hearts because we saw ourselves in them. The Eternals, on the other hand, are beings that exist above us humans and while I have no doubt that Kevin Feige will find a way to show us the human side, I just can’t help but wonder where they will end up fitting into the overall Marvel Cinematic Puzzle. At the very least, the cast itself is lined with heavy hitters such as Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanijani and others.
Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings – February 12th, 2021
When it was first rumored, I was a bit skeptical of Shang-Chi, because there wasn’t a lot about him that I was familiar with. Plus, the Mandarin was a villain that even Iron Man wasn’t willing to deal with due to his magical and somewhat out there story. However, since the addition of Doctor Strange and the mystical side of the Marvel Universe, now might actually be the perfect time for him. When you also consider how much of a failure Iron Fist was, Shang-Chi is perfectly positioned to bridge the gap in the spiritual and martial arts side of the Marvel Mythos.
WandaVision – Spring 2021 on Disney +
This will be the first big test of the next phase as Marvel and Disney attempt to use their streaming service to tell another part of the heroes stories. From what we know so far from both Elizabeth Olsen and other rumors, WandaVision takes place in the 50s in a world and time created by Wanda to help her cope with the lost of the Vision. We’ve been told this will also explore Wanda’s powers more. Using Disney+ to tell the stories that are too long or granular to do so on the big screen is a great idea, but Marvel needs to be aware that not everyone is going to be willing to seek their content elsewhere, so it can’t leave too much of a hole in the overarching narrative.
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness – May 7th, 2021
Doctor Strange 2 is set to explore quite a few things Marvel hasn’t done before. First, we’ve been told that Scarlet Witch will play a big part in this film. It’s also been said that her Disney + series will set up this film, and it will be billed as Marvel’s first “horror film.” I’m excited for all of these, but it’s still risky as Marvel hasn’t quite dabbled in the horror side of things yet. I think Doctor Strange is the one best poised to tackle it, and if we look at the source material available to Marvel from both Strange and Scarlet Witch pasts, they have all the ingredients they need to make this successful.
Loki – Spring 2021 on Disney +
This is one of the series I’m a little skeptical about. Tom Hiddleston is great as Loki, but I felt that Endgame was a natural conclusion to his story. Rumors state that the series will focus on a younger Loki natured by Tom Hiddleston. Others point out that with him escaping in the alternate timeline with the Tesseract opens up this series. Both have validity. With Feige mentioning that these Disney + series will help to supplement the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, I have to wonder what the long game is here… Do we bring Loki back into the MCU? If so, is he still just his same old self or do we see actual, real character growth? I am on the side of caution, because this Loki wouldn’t have gone through all the character beats with his brother Thor through Dark World and Ragnarok. He’d essentially be “reset” similar to Gamora from Endgame now.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Fall 2021 on Disney +
Teaming up Sam Wilson and Buckey Barnes is a no brainer, this might be one of the safer series to come out of Disney + and I don’t foresee any complications or downfalls. It could go in a multitude of directions and help to established quite a few new heroes or villains depending on how grandiose the story ends up being.
Thor 4: Love and Thunder – November 5th, 2021
This one was a bit of a head scratcher for me for two reasons. The first is Natalie Portman. As far back as Thor: Dark World, Portman had reportedly been sick of the role and wanted to be done with the MCU. She did reprise her role in Endgame, but only as far as providing some voice lines. Obviously, she had a chance of heart as her Jane Foster will be playing a major role in Thor 4. The other reason I remain cautious is they seem to be pulling from the Jane Foster as Thor source material. In that material, it’s revealed that Thor is not a person, but a mantle, and whoever wields Mjolnir IS Thor. This isn’t something the current MCU has explored and evidence such as Vision lifting the hammer, Captain America wielding the Hammer, the Hammer being Destroyed and Thor still being Thor even without it… All suggests that Thor is just that, himself. In Ragnarok, he even hears from his father that he’s always had the power, Mjolnir was just a way to focus it. Still, with Taika Waitit, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman all returning… I have faith.
Notable Mentions – Hawkeye,Blade and What If…?
Marvel just dumped us with ton of information for Phase 4. They even confirmed that Blade will be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played by Mahershala Ali. Marvel also announced a new animated series called What If…? It will be released during summer 2021 on Disney +. This series will look at all the alternate possibilities through the history of the MCU and includes the voices of the MCU stars. The final Disney + series announced is Hawkeye, which introduces Kate Bishop into the MCU. What about the other Marvel movies that we are waiting for? Keven Feige confirmed that Black Panther 2, Guardian of the Galaxy 3, Captain Marvel 2, Fantastic Four and Mutants are all in development as well, but they just didn’t have enough time to hit everything.
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