It’s felt like a lifetime since the last Marvel release, and fans are itching to get back into those theatre seats. But 2021 is scheduled to be overloaded with Marvel releases, and Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is on the horizon.
Phase Four is setting the table for the next decade of MCU releases. But what will the dishes be this time around? And how will it differ from the last Marvel arc?
There’s something exciting cooking in the MCU. Whispers about the multiverse, the idea of alternate realities with slight to drastic changes, being a central theme. This concept is harbouring some exhilarating new ideas for the MCU in Phase Four.
So let’s dive in and explore everything we know about Marvel’s Phase Four.
Because of COVID-19, all release dates have been pushed back. These are the updated dates as things stand.
Black Widow – 7 May 2021
Through trailers, we can see a story that does delve into Black Widow’s past and family, during the time between Civil War and Infinity War.
Scarlett Johansson is reprising her role as Black Widow. New additions to the MCU include David Harbour as Alexi, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff/Iron Maiden.
There is one particularly exciting rumour that Robert Downey Jr may make an appearance as Tony Stark/Iron Man in this film as well. But that is a rumour we’ll have to wait till we sit down in theatres to learn the truth of. The film is directed by Cate Shortland.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – 9 July 2021
There’s a new face in the MCU, with Shang-Chi as the first Asian-led superhero movie.
The movie is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, and very little is known about the details of this flick. Only three main cast members have been announced. The first is Simu Liu playing the main character Shang-Chi, a master of Kung-Fu.
Remember the Mandarin fake-out in Iron Man 3? Well the real Mandarin is going to make an appearance in Shang-Chi, played by Tony Leung. Awkwafina has also been announced as a cast-member, but there is no news on who she will play.
This is also the first Marvel release set after Avengers Endgame.
Eternals – 5 November 2021
The Eternals cast is absolutely stacked. This is a long list, so buckle in. Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, and Kit Harington as the Black Knight.
Safe to say that the ambitious Eternals will introduce a wide breadth of new superheroes. But what are Eternals anyway? They are a group of humanoids that look exactly like humans but have been granted super-powers by the Celestials. (A race mentioned in Guardians of the Galaxy).
What sets them apart from other groups of super-heroes like the X-Men or the Guardians of the Galaxy is that the Eternals can combine their powers. They can merge themselves into the Uni-Mind, and the Uni-Mind can use any of the powers of the Eternals it’s composed of.
The powerful group were sent by the Celestials to protect Earth from the Deviants. The Deviants are an accidental creation, created by the Celestials when they were creating the Eternals.
The director, Chloe Zhao, has expressed her long-awaited excitement over making this movie. She said at SDCC that the Eternals is “about this incredible group of immortals but, through their journey, we get to explore what it means to be human“.
We can expect a trailer after the Black Widow release.
Spider-Man 3 – 17 December 2021
There are some extremely exciting rumours about the casting in the third MCU Spider-Man instalment. The original cast is returning, including Tom Holland as Peter Parker and Zendaya as MJ. But…Jamie Foxx will also be reprising his role as Electro- the role he played in the Sony Andrew Garfield Spider-Man run. The door to the multiverse has already been opened through off-hand mentions by Doctor Strange, and Benedict Cumberbatch will appear. Having an actor reprise a role he played at a different studio may suggest that the multiverse is being pulled into Peter Parker’s world. This isn’t far off to assume, it happens all the time in the comics.
We’ve already seen Peter Parker deal with the multiverse in Spider-Man, Into the Spider-Verse. (Although Spider-Verse is not connected to the MCU) Now there are strong whispers that Toby McGuire and Andrew Garfield will return as their versions of Spider-Man. Sony is denying these reports, but that hasn’t stopped fans from absolutely buzzing about the possibilities. Only time will tell if we get all three iconic Spider-Men in one movie.
Thor: Love and Thunder – 11 February 2022
Now Phase Four has been riddled with exciting casting reports and announcements, but Thor: Love and Thunder arguably has the best one. Natalie Portman will be playing Jane Foster as the Mighty Thor.
Taika Waititi will return as director after his success with Ragnarok. Chris Hemsworth will also return as the God of Thunder, as well as Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie (appointed queen of New Asgard). Ex Bat-Man actor Christian Bale has also signed on to play the villain (who’s name has not been released yet).
Very little is known about the plot of Love and Thunder. But, there are many reports that it’s absolutely insane coming from both Waititi and Hemsworth. Regardless of plot, Portman as a female-Thor is exhilarating.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – 25 March 2022
And this is where Phase Four ends for the MCU.
Scott Derrickson, a director known mostly for his work in horror, has departed from the project already. Writer C. Robert Cargill left with him, due to creative differences. There have been ideas tossed around that due to the magnitude of the MCU, the universe would dabble in different genres.
There were some whispers that this Doctor Strange movie might take a darker turn into horror. Perhaps Derrikson left because it wasn’t quite scary enough. Benedict Cumberbatch, returning as Doctor Strange, did tell San Diego Comic-Con that there will be “a twist of horror that will really have people gripped… We’re going back to try and destroy [Doctor Strange] a bit”.
Elizabeth Olsen is rumoured to make an appearance as Scarlet Witch, with some reports tying America Chavez to the project. No new director has been hired yet, but writer Sam Raimi is attached to the project.
All TV Shows will be airing on Disney Plus and will be connected to the larger MCU plot-line.
WandaVision – 2020
WandaVision will follow Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision in a sit-com style tv show.
While little is known about the plot, some speculate that Wanda will use her powers to create an alternate/dream reality for herself and Vision. As to how Vision comes back to life after his death in Infinity War, not even Paul Bettany knows.
The trailer shows that Monica Rambeau will return to the MCU from Captain Marvel, only this time she’s all grown up and played by Teyonah Parris.
While the official release date is TBC, it will be released in 2020.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – 2021
The anticipated buddy TV show has been pushed back to a 2021 release date and is still filming.
It features Anthony Mackie as the newly appointed Captain America/Falcon and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier. Not a lot is revealed about the details of this show. The teaser suggests that Falcon isn’t instantly recognised by authorities as the new Cap.
We do know that it will likely be quite lighthearted with the two widely different characters ticking each other off.
What If…? – Summer 2021
What If…? is an animated anthology of different scenes in the MCU but showing if they ended a little… differently.
Several original MCU cast members will return to lend their voices, and Jeffery Wright will be voicing The Watcher. The Watcher is a sort of narrator for these alternate events/endings. That’s about all we know about this series, and that’s all there really is to know. It will simply be answering the question, what if this happened differently?
Hawkeye – Fall 2021
Not a lot is known about this series either.
Jeremy Renner will reprise his role as Hawkeye, and a large portion of that is him training Kate Bishop to be the next Hawkeye. No one has been announced in the Bishop role yet. But Hailee Steinfeld has been having several conversations with Marvel and is rumoured to take the role.
Hawkeye will also explore/explain more about Clint’s role as Ronin between Infinity War and Endgame.
Loki – Date TBC
This all-time-fan-favourite just can’t stay dead.
Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role as the mischievous Loki in the MCU during Phase Four. The show will follow his antics after he took the Tesseract during the time-travel events in Endgame.
Little is known about the show, but during a shot that aired during the Super Bowl, Loki was shown donning a time travel suit.
Hiddleston also said that Loki will go up against “more formidable opponents” and that the show will answer how/if he’s alive and what he did with the Tesseract.
Some leaked photos also show Lady Loki and Hiddleston in a detective suit. While we know next to nothing about the show, we can be sure that it will be interesting.
Wrapping with six movies and four TV shows over the span of two years, Phase Four is sure to bring a lot of new characters and challenges to the table. But who’s going to be the major big bad villain in the future for our Avengers? Remembering that Thanos was barely a whisper in Phase One of the MCU, it’s unlikely that question will be answered immediately, or even soon.
There are theories, of course. A Fantastic Four movie is in the early stages of production, and will likely be released as part of Phase 5. This opens the door for both the introduction of Doctor Doom, Galactus, and Kang. A lot of fans think that Galactus is too similar to Thanos. Doctor Doom may be too small a villain as well. Kang, however, seems perfect. He’s a time-travelling bad guy, and the events of Endgame may have perfectly set him up.
Most fan-theories about the next Marvel villain hinge on the Fantastic Four movie. It’s a safe bet to assume that the return of that dysfunctional family will be an important instalment to the MCU (if done well for once).
All in all, we may not get all the answers we want in Phase Four. But we do know that Phase Four will be important for setting up the next decade of Marvel movies.
Thanks for reading our article on what we know so far about the MCU Phase Four. Did we miss any you know of? If so, let us know in the comments below.
More of our MCU articles HERE.
Read IMDB information on the first of the Phase Four offering WandaVision HERE.
Hogwarts Houses For MCU Characters
Since its conception, Hogwarts houses have been a deciding factor in getting to know people. How someone answers “what Hogwarts house are you in?” can tell you a lot about a person. But where do some of our favourite MCU characters shape up when faced with the sorting hat?
Tony Stark/Iron Man- Ravenclaw
While Tony could be argued for almost any of the houses, Ravenclaw suits him best. Most of his development comes from the pursuit of knowledge. Aside from being one of the smartest characters in the MCU, he is constantly learning and improving upon his technology. He tends to approach large problems from a strategic and pragmatic standpoint, especially in his later films. Admittedly he can be brave and somewhat self-servingly ambitious. But who he is at the end of his arc and the way that he solves problems points to Iron Man being in Ravenclaw.
Steve Rogers/Captain America- Gryffindor
Is it even a question? Steve Rogers is definitely a Gryffindor. From day one, he has always strived to do what’s right. And he subtly wants a bit of glory for it too. He’s a natural leader and has always rushed into danger without a thought. He is undoubtedly driven by bravery and righteousness and is through and through a Gryffindor.
Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow- Hufflepuff
Natasha is tricky. She could truthfully swing in any direction. It may seem strange to put a spy in Hufflepuff, but if nothing else, Natasha is loyal. She cares deeply for those close to her and has shown that she’s willing to die for them. Her characterization throughout the MCU has been lacking, but her solo film has shown her to be fiercely loyal.
Bruce Banner/The Hulk- Ravenclaw
Another Ravenclaw. Similar to Tony, Bruce is very intelligent. While he seems to be less inclined to want to fight battles than Tony is, he is constantly learning. His relationship with the Hulk can even be characterized this way. By a desire to learn how to control him, then to understand him, then to become him. His arc is one that is driven by knowledge.
Thor is always looking to prove himself. Even though he can lift the hammer, he is constantly looking for validation that he is worthy. He’s not usually afraid of much, and when he is, he faces it anyway. What makes Thor a Gryffindor though is his desire to be the hero. He’s not in Slytherin because he doesn’t desire to rule. He’s not ambitious, he just wants validation.
Peter Parker/Spiderman- Gryffindor
Peter is another hard one. He’s intelligent like Bruce and Tony, which could throw him into Ravenclaw. He’s loyal to his friends, which could put him into Hufflepuff. But at his core, Peter is in Gryffindor. The proof is in one of his first lines in the MCU. In Civil War, he tells Tony, “if you can do the things I do, and you don’t, then bad things happen because of you. (paraphrased)” He feels that because he’s special, he has to act. And unlike Steve and Thor, Peter is almost always afraid. He faces his challenges in spite of that. And while he wants to have a normal life, and a typical High School experience, he selflessly puts himself on the line. Once again, Peter is not looking for recognition, he’s just trying to do the right thing.
Dr Strange- Ravenclaw
Lots of Ravenclaws in the MCU. For Dr Strange, there really isn’t any other option. He is completely driven by the pursuit of knowledge. And while recognition came with that, we see with his journey into the mystic arts that his true motivation comes from learning. He’s a very similar character to Tony Stark, and both of them are textbook Ravenclaws.
Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch- Hufflepuff
Like Natasha, Wanda is driven by her relationships. She is faithfully loyal to her brother, then Vision, then her family. She is definitely motivated to protect and care for those she loves. Including creating an entire alternate reality to be with them! Wanda is brave and intelligent, but at her core, she is loyal.
Finally, a Slytherin. Once again, was there any other option? Loki is characterized by his cunning and ambition. He wants to rule. And he doesn’t get there by rushing into battle. He gets there by being sneaky and clever. Loki is a Slytherin through and through.
Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel- Slytherin
This may not feel like the obvious choice for Carol, but she definitely portrays characteristics of a Slytherin. She’s the best, and she wants people to know it. She’s confident and clever, and she likes attention. We don’t know her very well yet, but from what we’ve seen, she seems to relish in the attention her efforts provide. She is good, helpful, and ambitious.
T’Challa/Black Panther- Hufflepuff
T’Challa is also driven by loyalty. But while he is protective of those he loves, his true loyalty is to Wakanda. He’s not king because of ambition, he’s king out of duty. Everything he does is through the lens of “what is best for Wakanda?” While it’s a bit unconventional, his loyalty to Wakanda characterizes him as a Hufflepuff.
Scott Lang/Ant-Man- Gryffindor
At first, it appears that Scott would be in Hufflepuff. After all, he is very motivated by his relationship with his daughter. But if he were truly 100% driven by that, he would have made different choices. He would not have betrayed Hope and Hank and teamed up with Captain America without their permission. He also would not have stolen from his company and landed in jail in the first place. But both of those above decisions do characterize him as a Gryffindor. He wants to be in the action, and he doesn’t always consider the consequences. Scott isn’t really looking for recognition and is not that ambitious, but he does want to be involved in the big events. He wants to help people, and he bravely faces battles. Sometimes without discretion.
Do you agree with our picks for these MCU characters in Hogwarts Houses? If not or if we’ve missed any out, leave us a comment below.
Check out our review of Black Widow HERE.
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