The Marvel Cinematic Universe closed out its “Infinity Saga” last summer with the releases of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, which ended a 23-film cycle of big, ambitious, and thrilling storytelling. Despite what felt like a logical beginning, middle and end to its first few phases of films, Disney and Marvel have no plans to slow down anytime soon.
Captain America, Iron Man, and some of the other key Avengers from the last decade-plus are now set aside for characters stepping forward into bigger roles — such as Black Panther and Captain Marvel — and characters we have not seen in this iteration of films yet. With Disney’s merger with Fox, characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four are on the way with Marvel Studios now having the rights to the majority of the storied comic company’s intellectual property. This comes after decades of heroes’ film rights being divided among several studios.
Here is the full list of projects that are currently in development for the next phases of the MCU.
Black Widow (November 6, 2020)
There had been rumors for years that Scarlett Johansson would get her own solo film and now it is set to lead Marvel’s “Phase Four” as the first-post Infinity Saga movie. However, this film is set to take place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Other cast members include David Harbour, Rachel Weisz and Florence Pugh, among others. Taskmaster will be the villain in this movie, who is known for his ability to copy the powers of the heroes he is facing.
The Eternals (February 12, 2021)
Marvel is never afraid to throw something new and weird at its audience, and did so with massive success with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. The Eternals is set to tell the story of a race of human-god aliens created by beings called Celestials that have lived on Earth for 7,000 years among us. The cast includes Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Angeline Jolie, Gemma Chan, Lauren Ridloff, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, and Kit Harington, to name a few from the massive lineup. Chloé Zhao will helm the film.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (May 7, 2021)
The MCU has a way of existing as genre films inside of a superhero film packaging. To name a few examples, we have seen political thrillers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and heist films (Ant-Man), but now Marvel steps into its first kung fu-inspired take. Shang-Chi is a master of the martial arts and will be played by relative newcomer Simu Liu. We have actually heard of the Ten Rings before, as they were the terrorist organization introduced when Tony Stark was kidnapped in Iron Man. Then, we met its leader, The Mandarin, in Iron Man 3. Except we didn’t because that was a fake out. Tony Leung is set to play the “real” Mandarin and Awkwafina is also set for a role in the film, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
Untitled Spider-Man Sequel (November 5, 2021)
Things were dicey here for a bit with Disney and Sony, who owns Spider-Man’s film rights, having a contract dispute in the summer of 2019. However, both sides came to an agreement and Tom Holland’s Spidey is back on track with Zendaya also set to return and Jon Watts directing once again.
Thor: Love and Thunder (February 11, 2022)
Thor is one of the only original Avengers set to play a role in the next phase of films and both Chris Hemsworth and director Taika Waititi are set to return. Tessa Thompson will also return as Valkyrie and Natalie Portman is making her return to the role of Jane Foster in the film. Foster is set to become the female version of Thor in this next installment with Christian Bale making his MCU debut as the film’s villain, though we do not yet know who he is playing.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022)
Doctor Strange’s solo outing was solid, but did not do a ton to movie the needle among MCU fans. That changed with the key role that he played in both Infinity War and Endgame and now he is back for another film centered around him. This time, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Strange will be joined by another Marvel hero in the form of Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Benedict Wong is set to return as Wong with Chiwetel Ejiofor also back to play Karl Mordo. The events of this film will be tied into the Scarlet Witch Disney+ series WandaVision (which we will discuss here a bit later). The film will be directed by Sam Raimi of the Evil Dead franchise and the 2000s Spider-Man films.
Black Panther II (May 6, 2022)
When Black Panther became the cultural phenomenon it was after coming out in February of 2018 — eventually earning a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars — it was only a matter of time before we got a sequel. Not much is known about the project other than Ryan Coogler returning to direct and the expectation is that the majority of the cast from the last film should return, as well. The rumor is that the sequel may feature Namor, who actually preceded Aquaman as the Atlantean/human hybrid character in pop culture.
Untitled Captain Marvel Sequel (July 8, 2022)
The only thing that is known about this film is that Brie Larson is set to reprise her role as the titular hero. Seeing as her solo film took place in the 90s and Endgame brought her into the present day, there is no shortage of possibilities for what her next outing might look like.
Unscheduled theatrical projects
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
After a brief brush with controversy over old tweets that saw James Gunn fired from the job of directing this movie, all sides came to an agreement and he was brought back. This is expected to close out the story thread of his iteration of the Guardians, but it is going to have to wait until he finishes work on DC’s The Suicide Squad, which he signed on to direct when he was originally fired by Marvel.
Untitled Ant-Man and The Wasp Sequel
A more recent addition to the upcoming slate of films with news of its development dropping in April 2020. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly are expected to be back in their roles, and Peyton Reed will be back to direct after doing the last two films.
This was the surprise of all surprises when its development was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Mahershala Ali will be playing the role after lobbying Marvel to bring back the character, and the Oscar winner reaching out was too good for the studio to pass up. That is all we know about this film for now, but it has fans of the vampire hunter excited to see what Ali and the studio can come up with.
It is only a matter of time before we get to see Marvel’s iconic foursome of heroes hit the screen again after the Disney-Fox merger went through. After a few “meh” outings in the mid-2000s and a putrid reboot attempt in 2015, the characters are back where they belong. All we know so far is that the studio is developing the project with no other details available at this time. Fans have been clamoring for the real-life couple of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt to play Reed Richards and Sue Storm, respectively. You can add my name to the list of people who would love to see that casting.
We are probably far away from the X-Men making their debut in the MCU, which is not the worst thing in the world. Fox’s franchise ran for almost 20 years and it is going to take some time for people to cleanse their pallets of the Hugh Jackman/Patrick Stewart-era of characters. They are on the way, but it is going to take some time and they might be the last of these projects that we see on the screen.
These will appear exclusively on the Disney+ streaming platform, but Marvel maintains they will have cinematic budgets and that everything will connect to the theatrical releases, so this is a brand new layer to the MCU.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (August 2020)
Now that Black Widow has been pushed to the fall, this is the next MCU property we are set to see. This series is set to follow Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) after the events of Endgame, where an old Captain America passed his shield and mantle on to Wilson. Daniel Brühl is set to return as Helmut Zemo of Civil War fame and Emily VanCamp returning as Sharon Carter. Wyatt Russell joins the cast as John Walker, the U.S. government created successor to Steve Rogers.
WandaVision (December 2020)
As we mentioned before, this series is set to lead into the events of the Doctor Strange sequel with Wanda Maximoff involved in a big way. Paul Bettany is also set to return as Vision, as it appears that Wanda has created an alternate reality where they can live together among the backdrop of sitcom-style settings from multiple decades (yeah, it’s going to get really dang weird). An adult version of Monica Rambeau, who was a child in Captain Marvel, is set to debut and be played by Teyonah Parris. Randall Park and Kat Dennings are going to return to the MCU in their roles of Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis, respectively.
Loki (Early 2021)
Loki stealing the Tesseract in an alternate timeline in Endgame screamed Disney+ series, and now Marvel is doing just that. The series will see Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the God of Mischief as an alternate version of his 2012 self traveling back in time and altering history. Owen Wilson and Richard E. Grant are also set to join in some form or fashion.
What If...? (Mid-2021)
This is going to be an animated anthology series that explores how events of the MCU would have happened by changing different variables, a la if Peggy Carter was given the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. The original actors from MCU films will return to reprise their roles in a voice acting capacity for the series, which will star Jeffrey Wright as The Watcher. A second season has already been greenlit, as well.
A limited series is set to come for the bow-and-arrow wielder with Jeremy Renner reprising his role as Clint Barton, which would see him pass on his mantle of Hawkeye to Kate Bishop (reportedly to be portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld).
Ms. Marvel (2022)
Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel has been a recent character in the comics with rapidly growing popularity among fans. Not a whole lot is out there on the series other than Bisha K. Ali being hired as the head writer. It is also possible Ms. Marvel is introduced in Captain Marvel’s sequel.
Moon Knight (2022)
Moon Knight is Marvel’s answer to Batman, except he has a dissociative identity disorder. So ... that’s an interesting concept. In addition to his Disney+ series, Moon Knight will be appearing in future MCU films, as well.
She-Hulk is set to revolve around Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner/Hulk who gains powers after receiving a blood transfusion from him. Walters is a skilled lawyer and has often appeared as representation to heroes and other enhanced beings over the years. Another ... interesting concept. Marvel is reportedly looking for an “Alison Brie-type” to play this character. The lead writer on the series is set to be Jessica Gao of Rick and Morty fame.