Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has announced Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On Saturday night, Feige hit the stage at Hall H during San Diego Comic-Con 2019, where he declared, “The Infinity Saga is complete,” to a sold-out house.
He then went on to celebrate Marvel’s victory with Avengers: Endgame, which has officially overtaken James Cameron’s Avatar to become the top grossing film of all time at the worldwide box office. He joked that Cameron would likely top that again.
Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind was, “What’s next?” The short answer? A lot. The long answer? More blockbusters over the next two years that will keep moviegoers busy, seats warm, and thousands of theaters financially sound.
First up is The Eternals on November 6th, 2020. Directed by Chloe Zhao (The Rider), the film brings another round of A-list talent in Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Bryan Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, and Don Lee.
“It’s about this group of incredible immortals but through their journey we really get to explore what it means to be human and humanity on our time on this planet,” Zhao explained. Given their powers, the film will explore the ancient history of Marvel.
From there, Feige added a few more details of a title we’ve previously known about: Falcon & Winter Soldier. Starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, the forthcoming series for Disney+ will also bow in Fall of 2020 and connect to the films.
Naturally, Mackie, aka Falcon, aka Sam Wilson, was in attendance, and came out on stage holding the Captain America shield. His appearance was accompanied by a message from villain Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl), who can’t wait to tussle with the heroes.
The next film is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12th, 2021. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the film stars Simu Liu as Marvel’s first leading Asian man, Awkwafina, and Tony Leung as the real Mandarin (sorry Ben Kingsley).
Back on the TV front is WandaVision. Starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Betteny as Vision, the Disney+ series kicks off in Spring 2021 and takes place post-Engame as Maximoff contends with losing Vision. Teyonah Parris also stars as the adult version of Captain Marvel character Monica Rambeau for added connective tissue.
But wait, that’s not the only Disney+ series to add to your prospective queue. Loki will also drop in Spring 2021. Once again, Tom Hiddleston returns as everyone’s favorite trickster god, specifically the bastard who stole the Infinity Stone in Endgame. The panel noted, however, that despite that scene taking place in 2012, the series is also post-Endgame.
How about two more series? Coming Summer 2021 is What If…? starring Jeffrey Wright as the all-seeing Watcher, who will connect with a number of MCU talent tasked to reprise their roles. Then in Fall 2021, Hawkeye shoots back on to the scene following his teary turn in Endgame, bringing back Jeremy Renner, who will mentor his protege Katie Bishop.
Pivoting back to the film, Feige confirmed that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will hit theaters on May 7th, 2021. In addition to Benedict Cumberbatch returning as the titular hero, the film will also star Olsen’s Scarlett Witch.
Director Scott Derrickson, who’s helmed horror fare in the past such as Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, insinuated this will be Marvel’s first scary movie. Then again, Disney also said Rogue One would be a war movie, so, we’ll see about that.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Ragnarok director Taika Waititi would return to helm the fourth Thor movie. Feige confirmed as much, giving it a swanky new title in Thor: Love and Thunder, a date in November 5th, 2021, and, well, the return of a familiar face.
Yes, Natalie Portman is back for the first time since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. However, she’s not just Jane Foster, she’s the new female Thor. Tessa Thompson announced, “As new king (of Asgard), she needs to find her queen. That will be the first order of business.”
The final film to be dated and announced is ironically the next to roll out: Black Widow. Directed by Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome), Scarlett Johannsson returns as the titular assassin alongside Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, and David Harbour.
The film hits theaters on May 1st, 2020. Given the events that unfolded in Endgame, the panel cleared up any confusion by confirming that the events of the film will take place shortly after Captain America: Civil War. Taskmasker is the villain.
Alas, that wasn’t the last surprise of the night. In a total whopper of a twist, Feige brought out Mahershala Ali and announced that the two-time Oscar winner would be portraying Blade. The role was previously played by Wesley Snipes for three movies.
Of course, that’s all without mentioning the other mind-blowing news items. Not only did Feige confirm the obvious — that both Black Panther 2 and Captain Marvel 2 are also coming — but that they’re also developing Fantastic Four and “movies about mutants.”
In other words, Disney is wasting zero time using their Fox properties. With X-Men and Fantastic Four in the mix, there’s really no end in sight to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which means we can expect many more phases in the summers to come.