The MCU’s Phase 4 Looks Simply Marvelous

Marvel Studios and its liege, Kevin Feige, has been bragged upon plenty by so many — namely of which, in here. Among the accolades was the meticulous fashion Feige and company planned the “Avengers Culmination.”

(Hey, it sounds official so we’re going with it.)

It was more than 20 movies over the span of a decade and it all fell into place with a majestic stroke in Avengers: Endgame. There are master architects that can’t connect blueprints as well as those movies fit together.

The alignment was pristine. The phasing was interlocked. The post-credits were a story within a story — all in an effort to open the veil to the Purple People Eater, Thanos. We loved it and rewarded Marvel Studios for their efforts by creating the most profitable movie in cinema history.

What Phase 4 Holds

Marvel Studios Phase 4 movies
Source: MCU Wiki

There will never be anything like what Marvel was able to accomplish — a 22-movie journey for the biggest payoff cinema has ever witnessed. Yet, if you look at what Marvel has planned for Phase 4, you would be wise to think they will pick up right where Thanos faded away.

Of course, COVID-19 has completely ransacked Hollywood. The pandemic air raid has dropped bombs of closure on theaters across the country and around the world. Premieres are delayed for months and a couple, for even a year. Moreover, a few of the not-so-much undertakings have gone straight to VOD.

Marvel seems to be even doing this right. They know while Disney+ is nice to have on the bench; their movies belong in theaters (and thank God for that).

Now that the dust has settled and the harangue is clear, let’s see where Phase Four of the MCU lies now and when we can expect to spend a considerable amount of cash, just like we did in the good ol’ days of 2019.


The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

the falcon and the winter soldier

Release Date: August 2020
  • Director: Kari Skogland
  • Writers: Derek Kolstad, Michael Kastelein, Malcolm Spellman
  • Starring: Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Miki Ishikawa

This, and The Mandalorian, is why people demanded Disney+. The original content Marvel could develop for this streaming app had grand potential. Unfortunately, that potential hasn’t amounted to much in terms of new content, but if they keep this date, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be a nice start.

There is a good amount on the line for this edition of the Marvel Cinematic Universe because it will prove to fans the MCU isn’t just for the big screen anymore. This will take place right after Steve Rogers shows up as a grandfather and hands Sam the shield. We’re all looking for an Avengers fix, and this should offer our sweet geek tooth some sugar.

Black Widow

black widow
Release Date: May 1, 2020 Nov. 6, 2020
  • Director: Cate Shortland
  • Writers: Ned Benson, Jac Schaefer
  • Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, O.T. Fagbenie

The film is set to take place after Civil War and before Infinity War, which is why RDJ is rumored to appear as Tony Stark. (Still not sure how I feel about that.) This will make ScarJo’s 8th time to play the Russian assassin, so she knocks this out of the park without question. What would also knock fans out of the park is if this follows canon. Hear me out…

You see, Marvel had Black Widow and Daredevil hooking up back in 1972. How about Charlie Cox appearing in the MCU in this flick? Hey, Disney Plus, how’s that for a “What if?” (If only…I know, I know.)

WandaVision

wandavision

Release Date: December 2020
  • Director: Matt Shakman
  • Writers: Jac Schaeffer
  • Starring: Elizabeth Olson, Paul Bettany, Kat Dennings, Kathryn Hahn

Scarlet Witch and Vision are back to rekindle their love affair and reprise their roles as two of the most interesting characters during the Avengers saga. Time travel, super powers, appearing on the set of maybe I Love Lucy, and spooning — what’s not to love about this?

What’s great about this outing is that it begins the classic Marvel tapestry as Wanda Maximoff is intertwined in Doctor Strange’s sequel and arguably, a couple of other places. We’re all hoping for the best on this one.

The Eternals

the eternals

Release Date: Feb. 12, 2021
  • Director: Chloe Zhao
  • Writers: Kaz and Ryan Firpo (What is it about Marvel and family writers?)
  • Starring: Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kit Harrington, Kumail Nanjiani, Barry Keoghan

Candidly, this movie may be well suited to be a culmination of Phase 4 rather than an interlude in the middle of it. Surely, a sequel will be afoot because this is a strategic connection, as we shared in March 2019.

The story will involve Ikaris and his band of immortals, known as the Eternals. For more than 20,000 years, they have battled the ruthless Deviants. And here’s the rest of the story:

Earth 616 tells us the Mad Titan, Thanos, is part Deviant and part Eternal. Did you know that? And that is what we in the movie-blogging business call one hell of a connection and some sweet foreshadowing.

Plan to see this movie act as the new “Avengers Culmination.” You heard it here first.

Loki

Loki_Logo_Cropped
Release Date: March-ish 2021
  • Director: Kate Herron
  • Writers: Michael Waldron, Larry Lieber
  • Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Sophia Di Martino, Richard E. Grant, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Owen Wilson

He’s baaaaaaack and fans couldn’t be happier to see Tom Hiddleston reprise his role as the God of Mischief and brother of Thor. Remember the good time we had seeing Loki as the ne’er-do-well from Asgard back when he was introduced? Looks like there is more of that to come.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

shang chi
Release Date: May 7, 2021
  • Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
  • Writing: Dave Callaham, Steve Englehart
  • Starring: Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung

Yeah, yeah. Another Marvel project, another martial arts master. They screwed the pooch with Iron Fist in a ham-handed attempt to make Finn Jones appear as the immortal Kung-Fu demigod. We all know how that turned out.

In the world of martial arts, Marvel did their homework. Shang-Chi is Simu Liu, who will be Marvel’s first-ever Asian superhero. While I was counting my beads this would be (and still believe he should be) Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands), this is a solid lead for this role. Liu, a former accountant, is a parkour nut who has a solid base in Kung Fu and Shotokan Karate.

His counterpart could end up being the fight choreographer and he’s not even a true artist. Have you seen The Grandmaster? It was the movie about Bruce Lee’s teacher that was not a part of the classic Ip Man quadrilogy. Well, the dreaded Mandarin is that guy. Tony Chiu-Wai Leung is the truth, a genius student of Tao and Zen, so martial arts aren’t a stretch, and won’t be the fart-and-fall-down fake baddie we got in Iron Man 3.

What If?

What-If-

Release Date: Summer-ish 2021
  • Director: Bryan Andrews
  • Writing: A.C. Bradley
  • Starring: Various

Movies. TV series. Games. Those are all nice, but this is insider POV on what makes Marvel what is it, and what could make it what it isn’t should be among the most appealing. Marvel is taking fans on an all-expenses paid trip to the center of your own imagination. You’ve asked these nerdy questions for years. Turns out, they were listening.

The documentary-style program is considered: “Exploring pivotal moments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turning them on their head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.”

Sounds dope to us!

Hawkeye

Hawkeye

Release Date: Fall-ish 2021
  • Director: Jonathan Igla
  • Writing: Jonathan Igla
  • Starring: Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld,

We were teased with a preview of Kate before Endgame kicked into gear. We got a big sniff during Endgame about Hawkeye…eh, Ronin. This Disney+ series will bring it all together and hardcore comic fans are among the MCU faithful that consider this show among its most anticipated.

The series will pickup shortly after Thanos got his tail snapped into the ether. Hawkeye was on a vengeance streak as Ronin while Kate Bishop was learning her daddy’s craft. To the casual fan, Hawkeye gets little love. To the comic enthusiast, Hawkeye’s storyline is among the best. Kate became one of the founding members of the Young Avengers, so yes…an entire world could be opening up here.

Still waiting news on Lucky (aka. Pizza Dog) making his loyal feature role debut, but we’ll see. Feige is good for details, so be looking for that goldie soon.

Untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home Sequel

SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME

Release Date: Nov. 5, 2021
  • Director: Jon Watts
  • Writers: Chris McKenna, Eric Sommers
  • Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya

Homesick? Home Sweet Home? There’s No Place Like Home? Homeboy? Nobody’s Home? Home on the Range? Whatever the slug will be on this edition of the MCU Spider-Man, we almost didn’t get it.

Remember how Marvel and Sony were arm wrestling for the rights? It was on and off and on and off several times. Then, in September 2019, the two sides finally thought of the fans and decided to end their divorce proceedings. Mommy and Daddy are happy again and we get what should be a fantastic edition of Holland’s Peter Parker.

Mounting criticism. Angry, cursing emojis. And then the negative press. These two major production houses finally kissed and made up, and while we still don’t know the title, we do have a date that hasn’t changed in the past two weeks, so that’s a plus, right?

Thor: Love and Thunder

thor love and thunder

Release Date: February 18, 2022
  • Director: Taika Waititi
  • Writers: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Taika Waititi
  • Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Taika Waititi, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale

While still undetermined what role Bale will play in the MCU, this release is one of the most anticipated because of the cast and who is at the helm. Ragnarok was a vision partly provided by Waititi and this edition will be in his confident hands as well.

This version will play with everyone’s senses of our favorite Asgardian based on how Ragnarok and Endgame finished. Valkyrie (Thompson) is queen of Asgard. Jane (Portman) will become the Goddess of Thunder.

We’ll have to see if Odinson is actually unworthy, as he was found in canon (“Original Sin“), or if he would rather nose dive into a bowl of Cheetos. Either way, count us in.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange 2022

Release Date: March 25, 2022
  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Writers: Jade Halley Bartlett, Steve Ditko
  • Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor

If anyone tells you they are not looking forward to this sequel, you have my permission to make fun of their mother and punch them in the throat. The origin of Dr. Stephen Strange was a righteous first effort, but to have the original cast back (Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Elizabeth Olson connecting WandaVision to this? Yes, please!

Those of us who loved the first outing by Doctor Strange will miss Scott Derrickson’s sage vision who parted ways from the studio for the ubiquitous “creative differences.” While we grieved over that loss, Marvel had an ace in their back pocket. Oh, two words: Sam. Raimi. This will be a horrifying and dope sequel for sure.

Stay tuned for what we know about Phase 5 and a few mysteries out there…


All images courtesy of Marvel Studios/The Walt Disney Co.

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