Marvel Entertainment really embodies the saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” because these people don’t rest and don’t give us fans the chance to breathe. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has me in a death grip and it’s safe to assume it’s got the fans experiencing post-Phase 4 news whiplash. If you aren’t aware of what Phase 4 looks like for the MCU, let’s get you caught up really quick before we throw the mental Mjolnir down.
MCU Phase 4 Movies
- Black Widow (2021)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
- Eternals (2021)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
- The Marvels (2022)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)
- Fantastic Four (TBA)
- Blade (TBA)
MCU Phase 4 Television Series (Streaming exclusively on Disney+)
- WandaVision (Season 1 – 2021)
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Season 1 – 2021)
- Loki (Season 1 – 2021, Season 2 – TBA)
- What If…? (Season 1 – 2021, Season 2 – TBA)
- Hawkeye (Season 1 – 2021)
- Ms. Marvel (Season 1 – 2022)
- Moon Knight (Season 1 – 2022)
- She-Hulk (Season 1 – 2022)
- Secret Invasion (Season 1 – 2022)
- Ironheart (TBA)
- Armor Wars (TBA)
- I Am Groot (TBA)
Whew, alright. So now that we have established what the new phase (which appears to span over the course of two short years) looks like, let’s get into what we know so far in the order of release dates, starting with Eternals.
Eternals, scheduled to hit theaters on November 5, not only has a star-studded cast (including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, and Kit Harrington), but will also be directed by recent Academy Award winning visionary, Chloe Zhao — you just know that the cinematography will be incredible.
Taking place 8 months after “the blip,” Eternals will introduce a group of ancient, super-powered beings created by Celestials (remember Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?) who are brought together post-blip to fight their counterparts, the Deviants. Here’s the kicker — the late genocidal maniac who caused the blip, Thanos, is an Eternal-Deviant hybrid. Without a doubt, there will be discussion about their brother Thanos and questions about how they could have prevented the blip. Oh, and if that didn’t get you amped up — the Celestials are the creator of the X-Gene. Yeah, that X-Gene.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
The buzz has been nonstop amongst MCU Spider-Man fans. Theories about Spider-Man: No Way Home have been flying all over the place — with whispers about the possibility of Netflix’s Daredevil actor, Charlie Cox reprising his role as Matt Murdock representing Peter Parker in the film as his lawyer and Doctor Strange being the menacing and meddling Mesphisto in disguise (Author’s Note – I would love for these to be true, but that’s just too many storylines for a movie that will easily be over two hours long at least).
These theories followed the mindf*ck of a trailer that came out in late-August. Despite being a fog of a trailer with the most dramatic score, MCU fans were able to catch nearly every detail that was quickly thrown in. An appearance (albeit just lightning — which is now back to its comic canon color of yellow) from Electro, an eerily familiar and bone-chilling voiceover by Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus’ internet-breaking words, “Hello Peter.”, made it shamelessly clear to fans that this was a set-up to introduce the Phase 4 multiverse on the big screen.
Correction, it was a reintroduction. In the 2018 animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, we were thrown head-first into the possibility of alternate realities colliding. We knew about the multiverse before the multiverse was even brought to the forefront of our attention (the recent reminder being in the Disney+ series, Loki). Multiverse this, multiverse that. Why does it matter so much for Spider-Man: No Way Home? Well, it means we get every iteration of live-action version there’s been since Tobey Maguire first held the torch in 2002. So many Spider-Mans, so little time.
Now we don’t have a trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness just yet. Scheduled for March 25, 2022, all we know so far about the plot is that the Master of the Mystic Arts himself is going to research and investigate to the ends of the furthest dimensions to understand the splitting realities. We also know that a “friend-turned enemy” will pose a problem in his search for answers. According to entertainment journalist, Grace Randolph, our “friend-turned-enemy” is none other than the Scarlet Witch! It’s also been reported that she will engage in a fight with someone from the X-Men. That’s two, count them — TWO, perfect setups to introduce the X-Men into the MCU.
The craziest part is that this is just the beginning. By the first few months of 2022, we will have only scratched the surface of what Phase 4 has to offer. All of the movies by then will have only covered the some of the events that have happened on Earth (with some exceptions for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and not including Black Panther: Wakanda Forever). Once we throw the volatile circumstances of outer space into the already mind-bending storyline of the multiverse, there’s no telling what possibilities will unfold. Sit tight, Marvel fans, because it doesn’t look like we’re going to have rest stop breaks for a long while.
If you’re looking to get caught up on MCU movies before all hell breaks loose, here’s how to get the most streaming services without sacrificing your bread. In related Marvel news, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the biggest box office hit of 2021 (so far, we see you Venom) and Nia DaCosta, is the first black female to direct a Marvel film, she’ll helm The Marvels (Captain Marvel 2).
Photo via Marvel