Another year of Comic-Con has come and gone but the hype it’s generated is far from over. Between all the announcements for upcoming shows and movies along with special trailers and sneak peeks, there’s always so much coming out. Of course, Marvel has once again stolen the show with their announcement for Phase Four, the next round of Marvel media.
After a monumental film like “Avengers: Endgame,” everyone was really curious as to where Marvel was going to take the MCU next. Now that they’ve released their plans for the beginning of Phase Four, my Marvel fan mind is absolutely thrilled.
First on the roster of films is the upcoming “Black Widow” movie, which will be coming out May 2020. This installment will feature Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow on an adventure in Budapest as she struggles with her dark past. It will also take place between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Infinity War,” creating a bit of confusion with a jump to the past but it will cover a lot a new ground and really flesh out the character, something fans have been clamoring for for years.
I have always loved spy films like the “Mission Impossible” series and I think it’s a really cool idea for Marvel to create that kind of movie starring Black Widow. She’s always been a really unique addition to the MCU, albeit a bit of a mysterious one. It will be interesting to see more of her story when she isn’t with other characters.
One thing I think would be nice to see is a scene where she visits Hawkeye on his farm for advice, since the MCU has set them up as being close friends. In “The Avengers” she mentioned how Hawkeye had brought her to S.H.I.E.L.D., so it would a good relationship-building moment for her to turn to him again in a time of need. No matter what, this film is guaranteed to be the action-packed hit that fans have been wanting for so long.
Of course, Marvel won’t just stop at one film in 2020, because in November they are introducing a brand new corner of the MCU with “The Eternals.” The film will focus on a new team of heroes known as the Eternals, who are sent to protect the Earth from enemies known as the Deviants. The movie will also introduce the Celestials to the MCU. The Eternals themselves are a powerful and exciting group of immortal aliens. With a star-studded cast and a unique premise to add to the universe, it’s destined to be a huge hit.
Now in 2021, Marvel is releasing a film I’m extremely excited about, “Shang-Chi: And the Legend of Ten Rings.” Not only does it sound like an interesting story in its own right, but it also will be including the real Mandarin and the Ten Rings.
I was always disappointed with the MCU’s version of the Mandarin from “Iron Man 3” but now it seems they’re ready to remedy that by creating a story dedicated to the rings and their immense power. The movie’s slated to come out in February of 2021 and will be the first MCU film with a predominantly Asian-led cast. February 2021 cannot come soon enough.
Marvel isn’t solely interested in adding new characters, though, as their last two film announcements featured some beloved MCU characters. The first will be “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness,” which will be coming in May of 2021.
According to the cast and directors, this movie will add an element of horror to the MCU. It also seems the film will be bringing the multiverse concept fully into the MCU, possibly leading to the next Avengers-level threat — but that’s only speculation. However, what isn’t speculation is the fact that Scarlet Witch will be joining Doctor Strange on this adventure tying it back to her new Disney+ show.
The final film that’s been announced for Phase Four is “Thor: Love and Thunder” in November 2021. Not only will this film have Thor and Valkyrie, it will also feature Jane Foster returning to become the Mighty Thor. With Taika Waititi returning as both writer and director, this movie is sure to be an outside-of-the-box addition to the franchise.
I loved what Waititi did with the character in “Thor: Ragnarok,” so I think it will be interesting to see where he takes it next. I am a bit disappointed they didn’t go with the title “Thor 4: More Thor” name idea that’s been making the rounds on Tumblr for a while but I guess I can’t get everything I want.
Now it would have been enough for Marvel to just announce these five films to keep fans satisfied but instead, they’ve decided to add something new for Phase Four: TV shows. So far they’ve revealed five shows that will be launching in the Disney+ streaming service including “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “WandaVision,” “What if” and “Hawkeye”.
All the shows will be taking a look into different corners of the MCU, giving fans a new way to see their favorite characters. It will be a whole new element in Phase Four, but I think it’s something that’s been needed for quite a while. The TV show format will allow for more development for characters who haven’t gotten their own big-screen installment. They definitely add a lot of value to the Disney+ streaming service.
While these films and shows are the only ones that have been officially announced there’s still more to come. It has been confirmed that “Black Panther 2,” “Captain Marvel 2” and “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” are all in development. There hasn’t been a new Avengers film announced yet but that doesn’t mean one couldn’t be coming soon as new threats arise in the MCU.
Overall, Phase Four seems to be leaning into the more outlandish corners of Marvel comics for its stories. Magic, multiverses and aliens will all be playing a role. As usual, Marvel’s Comic-Con announcements have left me with so many lingering questions about where they’re heading but it also leaves me extremely excited for the future of these movies.