The Marvel Cinematic Universe has come a long way since its inception in 2008. With 20 films already released and countless more in development, it has become the most successful film franchise in Hollywood history.
The MCU's story has unfolded in what Marvel Studios calls "Phases." The first phase, known as Phase One, introduced us to the main heroes of this epic cinematic adventure (Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor) and concluded with 2012’s The Avengers, arguably the greatest cinematic event at the time.
After Phase One turned out to be a grand success, Phase Two went on to introduce us to more timeless heroes. This time around the Guardians of the Galaxy became beloved characters, Ant-Man resurfaced as a fan-favorite hero, and even Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier became a lauded anti-hero. Even though Phase Two had its share of underwhelming movies (we’re looking at you Thor: The Dark World), there’s no denying it helped cement many of the characters that today are mainstream names. And then came Phase 3.
Arguably the best Phase in the MCU, Phase Three gave us Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and more awesome characters. Yet, with Phase Four right around the corner, it’s looking like even more amazing characters will come into the Marvel Studios family. We've still got to meet Captain Marvel and whatever new characters may appear in Avengers 4, but we're already looking ahead.
Here are 10 Marvel Characters Expected To Appear In MCU Phase 4 (And 10 That Aren’t).
20 Expected: Adam Warlock
One of the most beloved characters in Marvel Comics, Adam Warlock was teased in one of the end-credit scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. With Thanos bringing his might to Avengers: Infinity War, many fans thought they would see Warlock finally make his official MCU debut.
It made sense, of course, since both Warlock and Thanos have a history together in the comics. Unfortunately, the comics didn’t translate to the big screen, making other fans think that we’ll actually see Adam Warlock in Phase Four of the MCU.
Since he was last seen in Guardians Vol. 2, many are placing their bets that he’ll pop up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 -- though the fate of that film is now up in the air.
19 Not: Blade
Though Blade was the movie that put Marvel on the cinematic map, it’s been over a decade since Blade appeared on the silver screen. It’s long been believed that Marvel Studios retained those characters rights years ago, so it’s a bit surprising that Blade hasn’t appeared in the MCU yet.
Even on the TV side, where Ghost Rider has already made an appearance, Blade has been long absent.
Perhaps Marvel Studios still isn’t ready to bring supernatural beings like vampires into the fold.
It’s looking like Blade still won’t find his way into the MCU anytime soon. If Blade does return, it likely won't be as early as Phase Four.
18 Expected: Vulture
Not only was Vulture one of the best villains in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he was one of the best villains in the entire MCU. Luckily for fans, the character didn’t perish by the end of the Spider-Man movie.
In that film’s end credit scene, we could see the beginnings of a possible Sinister Six forming, led by Vulture himself. Perhaps that team will be expanded upon in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Michael Keaton is reportedly set to return for the sequel, reprising his role as Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture.
It’s unknown if we’ll see him donning his bird suit again, or even better, if this time around the suit will more closely resemble the one from the comics.
17 Not: Venom
Venom will hit the silver screen again this fall, over a decade after his lackluster appearance in Sam Raimi’s 2007’s Spider-Man 3. The character has been building up hype ever since the aforementioned film, but it was when Tom Hardy was announced as the symbiote anti-hero that Venom really hit it big.
As part of Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters, the Venom film will kickstart that franchise, officially hindering the character from making it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, anything could happen, but there are no active plans to bring Venom into the MCU to face off against Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
16 Expected: Ms. Marvel
Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel will be flying into theaters in March of 2019, but there could be another Ms. Marvel flying through our screens once Phase Four comes around. We are speaking about Kamala Khan.
The Muslim superhero got her superpowers via Terrigenesis in the comics, so it’s possible her cinematic counterpart already has her powers, though we've yet to meet her.
It’s unclear whether she could make her debut in Phase Four or Five of the MCU, but Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has implied that Kamala is on her way. Phase Five is a long way off still, so we're looking to Phase Four.
15 Not: Black Cat
While there are plenty of Spider-Man characters popping up in the MCU, don’t expect Felicia Hardy, aka Black Cat, to appear anytime soon. Even though she’s one of Spider-Man’s most well-known associates, Black Cat will be leading her own solo film in Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters.
It will ultimately be down Venom’s success at the box office whether Sony’s universe takes off, but the ball is already rolling over at Sony for the Black Cat solo film. She already appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man 2-- albeit solely as Felicia Hardy-- so this time, hopefully Sony will want to go all out with its first female superhero Spider-Man movie.
14 Expected: Young Black Widow
Fans have been demanding a Black Widow movie since the character made her MCU debut in Iron Man 2. Since that film, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow has become as beloved as Captain America and Iron Man, appearing in many MCU movies.
A Black Widow movie was finally greenlit when Marvel Studios hired a writer to pen the script.
Then, news broke out that Marvel was actively seeking directors. Not long ago, it was revealed that Cate Shortland had signed on to direct the Black Widow movie. There are reports that the film will take place before the events of Iron Man 2, making it a prequel.
13 Not: Captain America
Captain America will appear in Avengers 4, but no one expects him to survive the film. Indeed, it seems as if Steve Rogers’ last hurrah will be in the 2019 yet-untitled Avengers film. Even though the mantle can be passed to another character, like the Winter Soldier or Falcon, perhaps Avengers 4 will be Steve Rogers’ last appearance.
Avengers 4 is Chris Evans’ last film on his Marvel contract.
Alas, it’s looking like Rogers will not be making his presence known in Phase Four of the MCU. Evans can always renew his contract and make fans happy again, but right now, it’s not looking pretty for our favorite Captain America’s future.
12 Expected: Nova
Whether it be the Richard Rider or Sam Alexander version, there’s no denying that fans want to see Nova in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since Guardians of the Galaxy introduced the Nova Corps in 2014, MCU fans have been begging Marvel Studios to bring Nova into the fold. It seems those wishes might come to fruition.
In an interview with Comicbook.com, Feige said that a Nova movie has “immediate potential.”
Nova was supposed to appear in the original Guardians movie, as he was part of an earlier draft of the script.
Perhaps Phase Four is when Nova will finally make his presence known.
11 Not: Thanos
The Mad Titan had been hyped up ever since the original Avengers movie and, needless to say, all the hype truly paid off. Thanos quickly became one of the best villains in the MCU, which is notoriously weak in the Big Bad department.
We are set to see more of the Mad Titan once Avengers 4 comes around in May of 2019.
Avengers 4 might be Thanos’ last hurrah in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While much is unknown about Josh Brolin’s Marvel contract, it is widely believed that his deal with Marvel Studios ends after Avengers 4. If such is the case, then we are probably not going to see Thanos in Phase Four of the MCU.
10 Expected: Mysterio
There’s one film already confirmed to be happening in Phase Four of the MCU, and that’s Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Taking place just minutes after Avengers 4, the Spider-Man sequel will see Peter Parker travel the world and face some villains along the way. According to reports, one villain set to appear in the film is the fan favorite Mysterio.
No actor has been confirmed for the role, but various outlets have reported that Jake Gyllenhaal has been in talks for the role for some time now. Nevertheless, this would make Mysterio the first villain in Phase Four of the MCU.
9 Not: X-Men
The Disney-Fox deal was approved by both the U.S. government and the aforementioned companies’ shareholders. Yet, the deal must also be approved by international governments for it to fully take effect. Thus, it’s unlikely for any of the X-Men to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Phase Four.
Of course, a prior deal could’ve been agreed upon to bring certain characters in, akin to the Ego/Negasonic Teenage Warhead deal, but don’t expect any big X-Men rather soon.
It’s more likely that Wolverine, Professor X and any other notable X-Men will make an appearance in Phase Five, or be teased right near the end of Phase Four.
8 Expected: Stature
Cassie Lang already exists in the MCU, but a casting announcement for Avengers 4 hinted at the fact that we might see an older Cassie, donning her Stature monicker from the comics. To fuel the speculation even more, in Ant-Man and the Wasp, a young Cassie can be seen garnering interest in becoming a superhero just like her dad, Ant-Man.
It’s looking like Stature could become a leading Avenger in the upcoming Phases of the MCU.
On the other hand, with Kevin Feige thinking a Young Avengers movie with Cassie Lang would be cool, we could see her help to launch a whole new superhero team.
7 Not: Silver Surfer
The Silver Surfer will become a Marvel Studios property once the Disney-Fox deal is finalized. Though it’s been long rumored that the Silver Surfer was acquired by Marvel through some kind of prior secret deal with Fox, there’s no evidence to suggest that such a deal transpired. Nevertheless, if Marvel received Ego the Living Planet so Fox could alter Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s powers, then anything is possible.
With how the MCU’s narrative has transpired, we shouldn’t expect the Silver Surfer in Phase Four of the MCU.
Silver Surfer's significant role in the Infinity War arc was given to Bruce Banner in Avengers 3 and we still haven't seen the Fantastic Four in the MCU either.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe will go full cosmic going forward, but it seems the Silver Surfer is not included in such plans.
6 Expected: Hydro-Man
It's not just Mysterio who reportedly appear in Spider-Man: Far From Home; other villains are also set to bring the pain.
Among those ready to torment Spider-Man is MCU newcomer Hydro-Man.
There’s no official confirmation that the water-based villain will appear in the sequel, but many fans have taken a video Tom Holland posted on his social media pages as a subtle hint that Hydro-Man will debut in Far From Home.
It’s been confirmed that various villains will appear in the sequel, and there’s no denying Hydro-Man would be a stellar addition.
5 Not: Galactus
Galactus is one of those characters that fans have been waiting to see for a long time on the big screen. Though badly executed, Galactus had his cinematic debut in Fox’s second Fantastic Four film, where he appeared as a giant space cloud.
With the Disney-Fox deal on its final stages, Galactus will become a character Marvel Studios can use moving forward. Yet, it won’t be until at least Phase Five that the Devourer of Worlds will make his MCU debut.
It’s likely that the Disney-Fox deal will not be finalized by the end of 2019 and with Galactus being a threat as big, or even bigger than Thanos, then it makes sense for Marvel to save this Big Bad for a later Phase.
4 Expected: Nightmare
Nightmare is one of Doctor Strange’s most well-known supervillains in the comics. He’s the ruler of the dream dimension and he gets stronger through the nightmares of mortals.
The character was at first considered for Doctor Strange in 2016, but Marvel instead opted to go with Kaecilius and Dormammu as the first villains of the cinematic Sorcerer Supreme.
With Doctor Strange 2 a likely prospect, director Scott Derrickson has shown great interest in bringing Nightmare into the fold. If Doctor Strange 2 is set to start production in 2019, then we should expect Nightmare to bring the horror in Phase Four of the MCU.
3 Not: Goliath
Dr. Bill Foster, aka Goliath, appeared in this year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp in a prominent role.
Portrayed by Laurence Fishburne, the character never activated his powers, so fans were disappointed when his arc seemingly ended in the third act of the Ant-Man sequel. Though it seemed as if he would continue aiding Ghost and Hank Pym, there’s really no more character development needed for his character.
A different approach would be for a young Goliath to appear in some type of prequel movie that could explain how Foster and Pym first started working on the Pym particle, but given there is much more buzz around Ghost and the Wasp, this seems unlikely.
2 Expected: The Eternals
The events of Avengers: Infinity War not only introduced us to Thanos and his Black Order-- it also gave us a glimpse into the Mad Titan’s past. In the scene where Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy confront Thanos on the planet Titan, Thanos uses the Reality Stone to show us a snapshot of his thriving homeworld.
Titan was home to the Eternals.
This group of characters is rumored to appear in Phase Four of the MCU, and Marvel Studios has already brought on several screenwriters to pen the movie. The MCU is about to get even more cosmic with these super aliens. They would definitely make for an entertaining addition to Phase Four of the MCU.
1 Not: Namor
Like many others on this list, Namor is a character that fans have been waiting a long time to see on the big screen. He is so beloved that fans have demanded of the character to appear in the inevitable Black Panther sequel.
While Black Panther will be clawing his way back to theaters in the near future, don’t expect Namor to come along the ride.
DC Films is already bringing its own king of the seven seas this December with Aquaman. Namor and Aquaman are just too similar, and such a similarity could end up confusing the general audience.
Maybe Marvel Studios should wait a few more years before introducing its version of Aquaman to the MCU. Phase Five sounds about right.
What Marvel character do you want to see in Phase 4 of the MCU? Let us know in the comments.