Marvel Phase 4 is underway and firing on all cylinders. Following hot on the webbed heels of Spider-Man: No Way Home, 2022 promises to be another packed year for the MCU. Moon Knight is out now and the next Marvel movie to hit the big screen is the exciting mash-up prospect of Doctor Strange 2 in the Multiverse of Madness. The rest of the year isn't looking too shabby, either: Ms. Marvel, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and She-Hulk are just over the horizon.
Plus, there's everything beyond Marvel Phase 4 still to look forward to. That includes Captain America 4, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool 3. If you want to catch up on all that, and more from the MCU's incredible future, you're in the right place.. Scroll on down for all things Marvel and get ready for the next few years of superhero content.
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 (January – March 2021, Disney Plus)
- Falcon and the Winter Soldier (March 2021 – April 2021, Disney Plus)
- Loki (June 2021 - July 2021, Disney Plus)
- Black Widow (July 9, 2021, movie)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3, 2021, movie)
- What If...? ( August 2021 – October 2021)
- Eternals (November 5, 2021, movie)
- Hawkeye – (November 2021 - December 2021, Disney Plus)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021, movie)
- Moon Knight (March 30, Disney Plus) [ongoing]
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...
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 is currently ongoing and sees Oscar Isaac play Steven Grant. Or is it Marc Spector? The lead's spotty memory and multiple personalities form the crux of the show's mystery so far. The British Museum employee has flitted from London to the Alps, tracked by the mysterious Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) and with an ominous voice ringing in his ears. The titular Moon Knight, it seems, is just waiting to break free of the vessel that is Steven Grant.
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. Plus, there are some major movies without release dates just yet – though we go into detail on those down below.
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6, 2022)
- Ms. Marvel – Disney Plus series (June 8, 2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8, 2022)
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11, 2022)
- The Marvels (February 17, 2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (July 28, 2023)
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.
Upcoming Marvel movies
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 May 6, 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 July 8, 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 (opens in new tab), "[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 November 11, 2022.
Captain Marvel 2 has a title, and it's called The Marvels. According to the official Marvel blog (opens in new tab), 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 February 17, 2023. 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.
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.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Aside from the recently revealed release date - July 28, 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."
Upcoming Marvel TV shows
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 June 8, 2022.
The first trailer for the series has revealed a colorful, coming-of-age tale focused on a superhero-obsessed Kamala, who eventually gets cosmic powers of her own.
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.
The first footage from the series was released on Disney Plus Day, and can be found in a featurette on the streamer titled Marvel Studios' 2021 Disney Plus Day Special (opens in new tab). Though the glimpse of the series is very brief, we do get a quick look at Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters Hulked out, as well as Mark Ruffalo back as Bruce Banner (in his giant green form).
"I'm Jennifer Walters, I'm a normal lawyer. Well, not that normal," Jennifer says in a voiceover. There's also that iconic "don't make me angry" line, which appears to be part of an in-universe video featuring Jennifer and Bruce.
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.
Marvel has announced that a Blade film, starring Mahershala Ali as the eponymous vampire hunter, is in development at the studio (opens in new tab). 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. Bassam Tariq will direct.
A recent tweet from the official Marvel India Twitter account suggests the movie will be arriving October 7, 2022, which would seemingly make it part of Phase 4. Until we hear it confirmed from Kevin Feige himself, we're leaving Blade as a Phase 5 title, though.
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. Cobie Smulders is also reprising her role as former SHIELD agent Maria Hill.
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 (opens in new tab), 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 first look at Nick Fury in the series was released on Disney Plus Day – he's now sporting an impressive beard.
Yep, Ryan Reynolds' Merc with the Mouth is back for an R-Rated adventure in the MCU.
Not much is yet known about the threequel, but Reynolds had previously hoped for filming to start in 2022. Shawn Levy is on board to direct, while it looks likely that Blind Al actor Leslie Uggams is set to return.
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. The director has also teased that it will "be introducing one of the greatest MCU characters of all time." 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.
Agatha Harkness spin-off
After winning over everyone in WandaVision, Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness is getting her own spin-off show on Disney Plus, titled Agatha: House of Darkness. Get ready to witness a few more spells being cast on the unsuspecting public.
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.
What If...? season 2
A second installment of What If...? is in the works. One episode in season 2 will be the delayed Iron Man and Gamora episode from season 1, which was pushed back due to the pandemic.
Not much is known about Marvel Zombies just yet, aside from the fact that it will be animated. Could this be a spinoff from the What If...? episode all about the undead? We'll have to wait and see.
Spider-Man: Freshman Year
Announced at Disney Plus Day, Spider-Man: Freshman Year is described as "an animated series that follows Peter Parker on his way to becoming Spider-Man in the MCU, with a journey unlike we've ever seen and a style that celebrates the character's early comic book roots. Executive producer Jeff Trammel serves as head writer." No further details on the series have been released, so it's unclear if Tom Holland will be reprising his role or not.
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 (opens in new tab) 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. Since the news broke, though, Mackie has been officially cast in the lead role.
The fourth Cap movie will 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.
Marvel producer Nate Moore has revealed more about the movie. "I think, he's not Steve Rogers and I think that's a good thing," Moore told ComicBook.com (opens in new tab)'s Phase Zero podcast. "Because to me, this new Cap is Rocky. He's going to be the underdog in any situation. He's not a Super Soldier. He's not a hundred years old. He doesn't have the Avengers. What happens with this guy who announces publicly kind of, without the support, 'I'm the new Captain America.' What happens next? I think is fascinating because he's a guy. He's a guy with wings and a shield, but he is a guy."
He continued: "So, we're going to put him through the wringer and make him earn it, and see what happens when he is outweighed, outclassed, out-everything. What makes somebody Captain America? I'm going to argue it's not being a Super Soldier. And I think we're going to prove that with Mackie and Sam Wilson."
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.