After months of speculation – and Black Widow set photos – Marvel Studios finally confirmed its Phase 4 film slate at Comic-Con International: San Diego. If you’ve been following our regularly updated list of upcoming Marvel productions, some of the films announced may not have been a surprise, but some of the details were certainly shocking. Others were downright thrilling. So let’s take a look at the new list of upcoming Marvel films with confirmed release dates, titles, and more.
Release Date: May 1, 2020
Confirming our guesses, Marvel has announced that the Scarlett Johansson-led film will be the first project to emerge from the studio next year. First revealed in January of 2018 with Jac Schaeffer writing the script, the film became Marvel’s fastest-track project ever with Lore’s Cate Shortland signing on to direct in July of last year. The film is currently in production with David Harbour as Alexei – a.k.a. The Red Guardian – Florence Pugh as Yelena, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina. The film is a prequel to the events of Avengers: Endgame, but is still unclear if it takes places years or decades earlier. Some reports indicate the film is set after Captain America: Civil War, but this has not been confirmed. If the rumor turns out to be true, it may still offer some reference to the Phase 4 conflict and Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) space fleet.
Release Date: November 6, 2020
In April of 2018, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed a film based on the Eternals comic book and concept was in development. Soon after, The Rider’s Chloe Zhao became its director. Based on characters and situations imagined by Jack Kirby, the Eternals are a race of fantastically powerful proto-humans engineered by the Celestials (more on them in a moment) to harness vast amounts of “cosmic energy.” Generations of infighting and wars against another Celestial experiment, the Deviants, followed. According to reports, the film will center on an Eternal named Sersi with the powers of flight, strength, immortality, and molecular manipulation, but as of the Comic-con presentation, the part has not been cast. Confirmed cast members include Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Angelina Jolie as Thena.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Release Date: February 12, 2021
In March, Short Term 12’s Destin Daniel Cretton emerged as the director of a film based on Marvel’s 1970s comic book The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu. In the comics, Shang-Chi was the son of legendary literary villain Fu Manchu. Learning the truth about his dad’s business, he used his martial arts prowess against his father and any other Marvel baddie ready to go against his mighty hands. But considering Fu Manchu is one of the few IPs not owned by the Walt Disney Company, fans online are already speculating Shang-Chi’s father – whom Marvel later turned into a different immortal villain in the comics – may turn out to be the “real” Mandarin teased in the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray short film “All Hail the King.” At Comic-Con, Marvel announced the full title, the release date – replacing our guess of a Black Panther sequel – and the cast, which includes Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Awkwafina in a to-be-announced role, and HardBoiled‘s Tony Leung as the real Mandarin.
Release Date: May 7, 2021
Director Scott Derrickson finally signed on to return in December of 2018, suggesting the film will end up as one of the Marvel releases for 2022 (as we always assumed). But at Comic-Con, Marvel revealed the film will take the spot we originally reserved for Shang-Chi in May 2021. Benedict Cumberbatch returns as the Sorcerer Supreme with Elizabeth Olsen joining him as the Scarlet Witch in what Derrickson calls “the first scary MCU movie.” Though not announced as a participant in The Multiverse of Madness, we still think Strange will face Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as he tries to amass all the magic for himself, a notion teased in the first film’s post-credit stinger.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Release Date: November 5, 2021
Shortly before Comic-Con, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi signed on to return for a fourth installment in the God of Thunder franchise. At the time, we assumed it would be the November 2021 release and were proved correct. Chris Hemsworth will return as the wandering Odinson, but not as Thor. In a surprise move, Marvel revealed Natalie Portman is returning to the series as the new Mighty Thor, a twist pulled from an excellent Thor comic book series by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and others. Meanwhile, Tessa Thompson will return as Valkyrie, the king of New Asgard who must find a Queen, and we assume Loki (Tom Hiddleston) – in either of his manifestations – will return to mercilessly tease his now nameless brother.
Release Date: TBA
Feige stunned the Comic-Con crowd by announcing Mahershala Ali will be the MCU’s version of Blade. The daywalker will appear in his own film sometime during Phase 5, but specific details about the project will likely come to light at next year’s Comic-Con.
Release Date (Our Guess): May 6, 2022
Now that the saga of James Gunn’s expulsion from the film has ended with him back in the director’s chair and Endgame has revealed the Guardians’ fates through Phase 3, we can speculate wildly about Vol.3. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) will presumably search for Gamora (Zoe Saldana) while Rocket continues to get over the absent Odinson. There is also the often-delayed debut of Adam Warlock to consider. The character very nearly appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Infinity War, but fell away as both movies were stuffed to the air ducts with characters. It is possible he will finally do something in the MCU besides sit in an egg. Also, before Gunn’s temporary departure, he referred to the film as a conclusion to the story he began telling in the first installment, so it is possible the film will have an Endgame-like resolution. Is Star-Lord long for this universe?
Release Date (Our Guess): February 18, 2022Thanks to Endgame’s five-year gap, we’re pretty confident the Black Panther sequel will address T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) reclaiming the throne. Since the moment we saw him turn to dust in Infinity War, we’ve assumed M’Baku (Winston Duke) took power. Then again, considering how quickly Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) mobilized Wakanda to fight Thanos in Endgame, it is possible the throne sat empty as the country hoped for T’Challa and Shuri’s (Letitia Wright) return. If he resumes his duties with a minimum of fuss, then the film’s plot will probably arise from T’Challa’s decision to reveal Wakanda to the world. Whatever stress that might’ve caused before the Blip will no doubt come to a head with the return of 3 billion-plus people. At Comic-Con, Marvel merely teased the film as an eventuality, but director Ryan Coogler has signed on for the sequel.
Release Date: TBA
It all depends on when the film is set. It could continue with Carol’s (Brie Larson) adventures in space as she chases Ronin (Lee Pace) back to the Kree border. It could be set after Endgame with Carol finally building an Avengers-like coalition on other worlds. It could also be an unknown tale about her returning to Earth sometime in late 1990s or early 21st century to teach Monica Rambeau how to fly. Her complete lack of concern for Monica or Maria (Lashana Lynch) in Endgame suggests she knew exactly where they were the whole time. But fans of Carol’s family would certainly love more clarity on that issue. That said, Monica will debut as an adult in Disney+’s WandaVision in the form of actor Teyonah Parris.
Release Date: TBA
At Comic-Con, Feige merely mentioned he “ran out of time” to discuss the Fantastic Four or mutants. While both concepts will eventually make their way into the MCU, we expect integrating Marvel’s first family will be the priority and maybe even the whole point of Phase 5. Like many on the internet have suggested, placing them in the 1960s during their first film – but making the world forget about them for decades – is an elegant way to introduce them and acknowledge their absence all this time. In that context, they also serve as a great replacement for the similarly time-lost Captain America.
Release Date (Our guess): July 29, 2022Disney’s release calendar omits Spider-Man’s customary July release date until 2022, making this the most likely time Peter will have another solo outing – although the Spider-Man: Far From Home mid-credit stinger scene may require the third MCU Spider-Man film materialize sooner than that. Outed as Spider-Man by J. Jonah Jameson (a returning J.K. Simmons), Peter must avoid agencies interested in investigating Quentin Beck’s claim that he was the real cause of the destruction in Far From Home while continuing to see MJ (Zendaya) on the down low. Also, he has to figure out how to graduate from high school! But it is always possible Peter will find help with the fantastic new occupants of the former Avengers tower. Of course, that’s just wild speculation, as is our guess for the film’s title: Spider-Man: Homeless.
Full list of upcoming Marvel Movies
May 1, 2020 – Black Widow
November 6, 2020 – The Eternals
February 12, 2021 – Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
May 7, 2021 – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
November 5, 2021 – Thor: Love and Thunder
February 18, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 1 (Our Guess: Black Panther 2)
May 6, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 2 (Our Guess: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3)
July 29, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 3 (Our Guess: Spider-Man 3)