Avengers: Infinity War wasn't just a movie that left fans feeling sad and dejected, it also marks the beginning of the end of Marvel's third phase of its cinematic universe. That means that once the second part is released next year, an entirely new set of stories will emerge and usher in the fourth phase, along with the next chapter of the company's plan for its TV shows and movies.
Theres not much information about what movies have been lined up for phase 4. Besides, the folks over at Marvel aren't really talking much about what to expect to happen when Avengers 4. What we do know is Marvel has confirmed two movies to be released in the post-phase 3 slots. A sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming being released in 2019 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is lined up for 2020. Also, there are many films that Marvel has lined up, but they have yet to release the titles for, because they want to spoil their plans for Phase 4 or the plot to Avengers 4.
Phase 4 will see the return of some characters, but much of its focus will revolve around introducing new characters into the MCU. Marvel has a whole cast of comic book characters that still haven't shown upon TV or in films. Although Marvel has confirmed some characters, others are just rumored for Marvel's future line-up.
Here are Marvel: 9 Characters Confirmed For Phase 4 (And 11 Rumored). (Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Avengers: Infinity War)
20 Confirmed: Spider-Man
It is probably no big secret that Tom Holland's Spider-Man will live well beyond Avengers: Infinity War, despite how that movie seemed to seal his fate as doomed. But, Marvel fans trust that he will return in Avengers 4 mostly because they already know that he will appear in the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming following the release of Avengers 4 in May.
After Avengers 4 resolves the conflict that Marvel has built up to for the last decade, the next Spider-Man movie will start a new phase for the cinematic universe. Marvel studios president Kevin Feige confirmed this recently in an interview with io9.
“So much happens in [the 3rd and 4th Avengers movies], as you can imagine, and so much is affected by it that we felt what better person to hold your hand and lead you into the next incarnation of the MCU, in a grounded, realistic manner, than Peter Parker?” Feige said. “So, coming out two months after Untitled Avengers, [that’s what] much of what the next Spider-Man film will be about.”
This confirms that Peter Parker will survive Thanos' attack and go on to become the next part of Marvel's storytelling plan. This is great news for Tom Holland fans.
19 Rumored: Ms. Marvel
Marvel plans on focusing more on diversity with its upcoming films, particularly those in phase 4. Not only is the studio working on a Captain Marvel movie, but there are plans to finally give Black Widow her own film, as well as plans to include more women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in starring roles.
What better way to focus on diversity than to introduce Kamala Khana, aka Ms. Marvel, into its next storytelling phase? There are already rumors that Carol Danvers will begin Captain Marvel as Ms. Marvel, and those rumors seem to suggest that once she becomes Captain Marvel, she'll hand the Ms. Marvel title over to the 14-year-old Muslim American teen girl.
Feige has definitely expressed interest in finally bringing this version of Ms. Marvel to the silver screen. Although he hasn't officially confirmed a standalone Ms. Marvel movie, it certainly seems like something that will happen in phase 4 of the MCU.
"Ms. Marvel, which is another character in the comic books, the Muslim hero who is inspired by Captain Marvel, is definitely sort of in the works," Feige said in an interview with the BBC, as reported by Mashable. "We have plans for that once we’ve introduced Captain Marvel to the world."
18 Rumored: Black Panther
Black Panther is a relative newcomer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it stands to reason that he's not actually gone. Regardless of Thanos finger-snapping move. In fact, it's likely that fans will get a lot more of T'Challa in future Black Panther movies, especially considering the huge success of the first film.
Black Panther was a great step for Marvel in introducing more diversity into its cinematic universe, and that move paid off. Fans want even more of the character, so it is very likely that he will continue forward into phase four. Actor Chadwick Boseman, who portrays T'Challa, originally signed on with Marvel for five movies. At least two of those movies will happen in phase four, so it only stands to reason that Black Panther will become part of the next story arc of the MCU.
Wakanda just got T'Challa back, they can't take him away again!
This all goes back to Marvel's new commitment to having more diversity in its cinematic universe. It makes sense that Black Panther will survive the events of Avengers: Infinity War (and the how of that will happen in Avengers 4). So what better way to usher in the new phase with one of the biggest Marvel superheroes (at least on film) of all time?
17 Confirmed: Guardians of the Galaxy
It's hard to think that anyone who did not survive Thanos would return in later movies, but comic book fans understand that no character is ever truly dead, even when those characters make the jump to the movies. Otherwise, where is the fun in that? That, of course, doesn't detract from the utter sadness Marvel fans felt at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, but they were still left with the knowledge that someone (maybe Captain Marvel?) will fix it and bring those fallen superheroes back to life.
So, sure, half of the Guardians of the Galaxy team disappeared after Thanos snapped his fingers. But they will return, because they have to. Not only are there plans for a third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, those plans include most of the original cast of the first two movies. So they're not really dead because fans know they'll survive to make another big movie.
Also, Feige confirmed that the Guardians of the Galaxy will help usher in phase four of the MCU. Sure, he didn't give a lot of specifics, but there is no doubt that a third Guardians of the Galaxy movie is on the way.
“We’re only working on what’s been announced through the end of 2019,” Feige said to io9. “And it is still a big chess board for 2020 and beyond, but certainly I would say Guardians 3 is [one film that’s] up there. I don’t know what exactly the order will be.”
16 Rumored: Doctor Strange
Another relative newcomer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Doctor Strange. He has only had one movie and has only appeared in two total MCU films, so it's likely that fans will end up seeing a lot more of him, well into phase four. It makes sense, he is another character that fans just really want more of, so a sequel to his standalone movie will probably happen.
After Avengers 4, it is likely that many of the original Avengers team will decide to step down (if they survive the final battle with Thanos). That means that new Avengers will need to take their place. Doctor Strange is a good candidate as an Avengers team member, especially considering that he has some pretty considerable powers.
The rumor is that Avengers 5 will feature a new team of Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Wasp, as well as a few newcomers to the MCU. There is no official confirmation on this, but these are characters just now getting introductions in the MCU and it's highly doubtful that Marvel will not give all of those characters more movies. And those movies will happen in phase four.
15 Confirmed: Black Widow
Ever since Black Widow first appeared in Iron Man 2, fans have spent a lot of time begging Marvel to give her a film of her own. There is still so much fans don't really know about the character (save for those who are familiar with the comic books) and there is so much story there for her that has not yet been told.
Earlier this year, it seemed that Marvel finally paid attention and started making plans to create a standalone Black Widow movie. The ball is officially rolling to bring Natasha's story to her own film. There is already a script, written by Jac Schaeffer, along with rumors that actress Scarlett Johansson will get a big pay hike for her role as the title character. Marvel has also hired a production designer, although the studio still has not pegged a director for the movie.
We're finally getting the origin story we want and deserve.
The Black Widow movie that fans want is all but a done deal, so that means that Black Widow will survive the events of Avengers 4 to go on to become a character in Marvel's phase four. Expect that solo Black Widow movie (the first of many, fans hope) to arrive in 2020. Expect an announcement about a director for the movie to arrive soon.
14 Rumored: Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel finally gets her own movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year. Although most of that movie will feature a flashback to the 1990s during the Kree-Skrull war, it is likely that it will set up events back in the modern day, after the fall of the Avengers to Thanos, especially considering that closing credits seen in Avengers: Infinity War where the last call Nick Fury ever made was to Captain Marvel.
It has not been confirmed that Captain Marvel is part of Marvel's plans for its cinematic universe for phase four, but it's no big stretch that it is highly likely that Carol Danvers will continue on past her solo movie and Avengers 4. It might all depend on how well her solo movie does, but it is all but confirmed that she will live on well into the next phase of the MCU.
It is even highly likely, if rumors are confirmed, that Captain Marvel will lead the new team of Avengers into the future after the current team retire (or, hopefully not, perish). She is perfectly capable of doing that, and that would also lend credence to Marvel's claims that it wants to focus more on diversity in phase four and beyond.
13 Confirmed: Adam Warlock
One thing that Marvel's fourth phase will do is introduce a new host of Marvel characters. With so many comic book stories floating around out there, it is certainly time for Marvel to retire some of the older characters and give the world a look at new ones. This will keep fans from getting bored of the same old Avengers team they have been following for over a decade since the first Iron Man film landed in theaters.
Adam Warlock is one of those new characters that Marvel fans believe will surface in phase four of the MCU. Marvel actually teased the character in a post-credits scene for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, when it showed the Sovereign priestess Ayesha having created a new being named Adam. In the comics, his story is closely tied to the Infinity Stones, although he did not appear in Avengers: Infinity War.
However, Marvel has plans to include him in something, as suggested by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. But his statement was still vague on when the character might actually appear in the MCU. Most likely, though, that will happen during phase four (especially since he doesn't seem to appear in phase three).
12 Rumored: Miles Morales
Tom Holland is still pretty new as a part of the Marvel cinematic universe. He also has at least one more solo Spider-Man movie in production, meaning that his Peter Parker will probably make it to phase four of Marvel's overall plan. But Marvel fans know that Peter Parker is not the only young man to step into Spider-Man's signature red suit. Miles Morales, who is almost as popular as Peter, has dawned his own version of the classic blue and red suit. Some fans are really eager to see Morales take on the the Spidey mantle in the near future.
Bring on the Spidey team-up movie!
There are rumors that Parker and Morales will end up working together, both in the role of Spider-Man. Miles even received a name drop in Spider-Man: Homecoming by Donald Glover's character in a deleted scene. That immediately got fans to thinking that Morales has a future in the MCU, maybe as part of its fourth phase. Both teamed up previously in the comics, so it's not much of a stretch to think they could do so in the movies. In the comics, though, Miles eventually took over as Spider-Man after Peter Parker passed. But it's not likely that Tom Holland's Peter Parker will go away anytime soon. Miles would also help with Marvel's goal of more diversity in its future movies.
11 Confirmed: The Eternals
Although Marvel has kept its plans for anything after Avengers 4 pretty secret, there are still a few characters that the studio has confirmed for existing into the fourth phase of the Marvel cinematic universe. It makes sense that any movie released by Marvel after Avengers 4 will become part of that phase.
One of those movies that is in early development is for The Eternals. In the comic books, The Eternals are an offshoot of humanity, an evolved version of early humans, created by aliens, meant to become the defenders of the Earth. Marvel plans on focusing its fourth phase more off Earth and into space, so it makes sense that this is one of the projects they have in mind for phase four.
Feige confirmed that Marvel has big plans for The Eternals in an interview with Movieweb. He called the project one of "many many things we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about." That is basically a confirmation that The Eternals will become part of the MCU sooner, rather than later, making them prime candidates for phase four.
Feige promised that news about The Eternals film, along with other new projects, will probably start arriving soon.
10 Rumored: Moon Knight
Another character that has not yet been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Moon Knight. In the comic books, Moon Knight started life out as an average guy named Marc Spector, but ended up at an archaeological dig that uncovered a mysterious ancient temple dedicated to the Egyptian moon god. A fight ensues over the find and Spector eventually gets left for dead in the desert. But, followers of the moon god find him and bring him to the temple. There, he becomes a host for the moon god on Earth.
That sounds pretty cosmic, doesn't it? Considering Marvel's focus on the cosmic in its fourth phase, it should not come as a surprise that Marvel recently suggested that Moon Knight will become part of its cinematic universe after events of Avengers 4. However, Feige did state that there is no set date for when Moon Knight will appear in the MCU, so it may or may not happen during phase four.
"Yes. Does that mean 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now?" Feige commented after being asked about Moon Knight. "There are stacks of character cards that we have in our development offices, which we look at. Which we pull for him, which we discussed."
9 Confirmed: Mysterio
One thing that Marvel fans know about the MCU phase four is that it will begin with the next Spider-Man movie. That is a detail Marvel has confirmed. That means that any characters that show up in that Spider-Man movie are officially part of the next phase of the MCU. One of the characters confirmed for the Spider-Man: Homecoming follow-up is the villain Mysterio (and it's likely he will become the big bad in that movie). Although there have been several iterations of the character in comic books, some things about the character remain the same.
Who would't want to see Spidey's fishbowl wearing nemesis?
First, he is one of Spider-man's greatest foes and has appeared as a supervillain in Spider-Man comics throughout the superhero's long history. Second, he has the ability to design illusions, use hypnotism and create technological devices that can make reality and fantasy blur together. Although he has no supernatural powers, it almost seems that he does at times. There is also a rumor that Marvel already cast its Mysterio, too: many in the industry believe the role will go to Jake Gylenhaal. The actor is currently in talks with the studio to take on the role, along side Michael Keaton, who portrays Vulture.
8 Rumored: Nova
The focus of Marvel on more cosmic ideas for the next phase of the MCU means that a lot of new characters have the potential to become part of the studio's movies once it moves on past Avengers 4. That means that there are rumors about who these characters are, especially considering their origins and stories.
Nova is one of those character names that continues to come up in rumors about phase four. Nova is a superpowered member of an intergalactic police force called the Nova Corps that certainly falls in line with Marvel wanting to focus stories more in space and less on Earth, right?
Nova is also another character mentioned by Feige as one of the many Marvel characters the studio has plans for. Feige also confirmed that the character actually appeared in the earliest drafts of the script for the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. That alone gives the character a connection to what's going on in the MCU, and is why there are rumors that he might appear in phase four.
Of course, there isn't official confirmation that Nova will happen. Marvel has a long list of characters for new movies, and that means that some will probably still get left out.
7 Confirmed: M.J.
Spider-Man: Homecoming set up many characters for phase four of the MCU, mostly because fans know that there is a new Spider-Man movie coming out after Avengers 4. That means that Peter Parker will definitely come back to don his spider suit (despite to the heartbreaking thing that happened to him in Avengers: Infinity War). That also means that many of the characters from Spider-Man: Homecoming will also show up in the next Spider-Man movie, too.
So those specific characters are already confirmed for phase four. One of those characters is M.J., which is short for Mary Jane. Comic book fans know her as Mary Jane Watson, one of Peter Parker's first loves. Interestingly enough, she appeared throughout most of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but most people referred to her as Michelle Jones (so fans had no idea who she was). It was not until the end of that movie that she tells Peter that her friends actually call her "M.J." alluding to the Mary Jane from the comic books. That was a huge Easter Egg that left fans pleasantly surprised and knowing that she would return in future films.
M.J. will appear in the sequel, though, potentially as Peter's love interest (recreating that storyline from the comic books).
6 Rumored: Blade
If there is one Marvel character that fans would chomp at the bit to see show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's Blade, the vampire hunter. Sure, there aren't any vampires in the MCU yet, but that's only because Marvel hasn't written it yet. The focus on the cosmic could bring in some vampire lore, so there is a reason that rumors have begun to surface that Blade will get a revival on the silver screen as part of Marvel's phase four.
You could bring back Wesley Snips... but, we prefer you bring on someone new.
Although fans are generally happy with how the original Blade films with Wesley Snipes came out, many feel that it is time to reboot the franchise (and most would prefer to see it with Snipes back in the role). The character actually would fit in with what the MCU is starting to do, The supernatural has slowly started to seep into the MCU, thanks to Doctor Strange. So fans would really like to see that become a reality, meaning that the rumor mill will continue to churn about the character.
The rumors also suggest that a Blade TV series is on the way (there was one, but it was easily forgettable). If done in the same style as the existing Marvel Netflix series, it could definitely work.
5 Confirmed: Aunt May
Spider-Man made his first appearance in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War. In the movie, he is recruited by Tony to help capture Captain America and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. The movie also introduced fans to a new version of Aunt May: one not as old as those who previously portrayed the character and one that got nearly hit on by Tony Stark.
Actress Marissa Tomei stepped into the shoes of Peter Parker's aunt, leaving some comic book fans scratching their hands. Aunt May was always portrayed as much older. But the truth is, she really didn't have to appear so old. Fortunately, Marvel fans immediately took a liking to Tomei in the role. She will have a chance to see her again in the next Spider-Man movie, the one that will help launch phase four of the MCU.
So Aunt May will definitely become part of the next phase of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. Sure, Peter Parker seemed to have met his end in Avengers: Infinity War, but this new version of Aunt May would not allow that (fans can imagine her yelling at someone over it). They also already know that Peter Parker will return for the Spider-Man sequel. Plus, we have to know what Aunt May thinks about Peter being Spider-Man!
4 Rumored: She-Hulk
Anyone who has seen Avengers: Infinity War understands that Hulk might not exist much longer. This is because Bruce Banner seems to have some issues with actually calling up the big guy, even when in battle. Fortunately, Banner has a new Hulkbuster suit that helps Banner keep up with the other superheroes, but something is definitely going on there between him and his alter ego. The movie consistently shows a battle of the wills between the two.
Maybe that's why rumors have surfaced about She-Hulk becoming part of the Marvel Universe. Will Bruce just let The Hulk settle inside of him for eternity, while She-Hulk takes over his role in the Avengers? It's likely. In fact, She-Hulk could help Bruce come to terms with the big green guy inside of him (fans wouldn't argue against a team-up).
Of course, there are hundreds of characters that Marvel can bring into phase four. But, with other rumors circulating of an all-female Avengers team, She-Hulk is certainly a likely candidate for the next phase of MCU. But at this point, that is all the speculation is: nothing but rumors and hope. She-Hulk is definitely a character fans would love to see on the big screen, though, so maybe Marvel is paying attention.
3 Confirmed: Vulture
With the next Spider-Man movie kicking off phase four of the MCU, there is already a list of characters known to survive the events of the Infinity War movies (including Avengers 4) to go on to become a part of the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel. With Marvel having announced that the sequel is definitely happening, one only needs to look at the cast list for that sequel to know which characters will go on to have lives in phase four.
We're ready for another Vulture vs. Spider-Man fight.
One of those characters is the villain Vulture, as portrayed by Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Vulture is still out there doing his thing, after all, and Peter Parker will have to face him once more to save his city from evil. Vulture might team up with Mysterio, another confirmed character for the next Spider-Man movie, which means that Peter will face one of the greatest challenges of his young life.
Spider-Man: Homecoming left Vulture sitting in prison, but when do criminals ever sit in prison for long? Not only that, but there were hints that he had made friends on the inside, friends who had friends on the outside that could assist in taking down Spider-Man once and for all.
2 Rumored: Captain Britain
Believe it or not, the U.K. has its own version of Captain America, appropriately called Captain Britain. Although he was originally targeted exclusively for the U.K. comic books market, he ended up going on to star in Marvel comics all over the world.
Captain Britain began life as a shy young man named Brian Braddock. After being fatally wounded in an accident, Braddock is approached by Merlin and his daughter. They give him the opportunity to become Captain Britain, offering him an the amulet of right or the sword of might. He takes on the amulet which transforms him into Captain Britain. He is part of a mystical group of superheroes, meant to protect Earth, as well as the other dimensions. This, obviously, falls in line more with Doctor Strange than Captain America. This also fits in with the world of Doctor Strange and the mystic arts.
That means that rumors have already surfaced that Captain Britain will eventually get his own movie in the MCU. It seems that Marvel might actually have plans to include the British superhero in the phase four fold, rumors even started that they were considering Simon Pegg for the role. Feige confirmed that the character is one of many that Marvel is considering for future movies, but again, this is only talk. The studio has not confirmed a Captain Britain appearance in the MCU yet. But the studio is considering actors for the role, so who knows?
1 Rumored: Bucky/Winter Soldier
Bucky Barnes, also known as Winter Soldier, is the source of many rumors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now that he's sort of back to himself and fighting in Avengers: Infinity War, fans have a lot of ideas about where he may turn up next in the MCU, including in phase four.
Sebastian Stan, who portrays the Winter Soldier, had signed on to do a total of nine Marvel films. So far, he's complete three our of nine movies (four out of nine if you included the end credit in Ant-Man). This means his contract goes will into phase four, making it likely he'll turn up again in another movie or maybe he'll get his own solo movie. However, Marvel has not confirmed anything yet.
But, that doesn't stop rumors from surrounding Bucky's future in the MCU. Some fans believe that Bucky could be the one to take up the Captain America mantel if Steve were to meet his fatal end. With Chris Evans passing on the shield, someone will need to be there to take it. In the comics, Bucky was the one to dawn the shield along with Falcon. So many fans expect that Captain America will continue on in that way into Marvel's phase four.
Marvel obviously has plans for the character, why else would they have the actor that plays him sign such a long contract? But, no one knows what his role (if any) is in phase four.
Which Marvel character would you like to see in Phase 4? Tell us in the comments below!