Kevin Feige confirms Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be only two years long. Back in April, Marvel Studios marked the end of an era with the release of Avengers: Endgame, which was the conclusion of the franchise's sprawling Infinity Saga that spanned more than a decade. Serving as a last hurrah for the Original Six Avengers, the film wrapped up multiple character arcs and storylines in emotionally satisfying fashion, giving fan-favorites like Iron Man and Captain America terrific sendoffs. But despite Endgame being, well, the end for one chapter of the MCU's history, everyone knew the franchise would be continuing.
Marvel waited until after Spider-Man: Far From Home finished off Phase 3 to unveil what they have next on the slate. During their hotly anticipated Hall H panel during this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel officially revealed the entire Phase 4 lineup. In stark contrast from their initial announcement of Phase 3 (which looked way ahead into the future), Marvel only spotlighted projects that will premiere in 2020 and 2021. As it turns out, that's not the first wave of Phase 4. That's all of Phase 4.
In an interview with Collider, Feige stated the announced Comic-Con slate is the full Phase 4. He alluded to Marvel's 2014 event (where that first Phase 3 slate was confirmed) to illustrate how things can change when there are so many things in development. It appears that influenced Marvel's decision to publicly reveal only the next two years.
“It is the complete Phase Four. The way I announced the complete Phase Three five years ago—things can move, things can change as they did if you go back and look at what we talked about five years ago for Phase Three, but we’ve been working on this for quite a while and it’s pretty set. But there are always changes possible.”
Even though Phase 4 is going to run one year shorter than Phase 3 (which began in 2016 with Captain America: Civil War), there will still be plenty of MCU content for fans to obsess over. At Comic-Con, Marvel announced five new feature films and five streaming shows for the upcoming Disney+ platform, making an even 10 projects in Phase 4. For the first time, Marvel's TV shows are going to officially be considered part of the Phases (something Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the now defunct Netflix series never were), which isn't the most surprising development. Prior to Comic-Con, it had been confirmed the Disney+ shows would intersect with the movies. At the panel, fans got a taste of how that'll happen, when it was confirmed WandaVision ties into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with Elizabeth Olsen playing Scarlet Witch in both. Clearly, Disney is interested in pushing Disney+ subscriptions, and having Marvel Phase 4 projects as part of the content will increase demand.
At Comic-Con, Marvel confirmed they have several other films in development, including Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, and a surprise Blade movie starring Mahershala Ali. In all likelihood, these will be the earliest Phase 5 projects, as Marvel has three 2022 release dates set aside for mystery films. If this is their new strategy, Phase 5 theoretically would run from 2022-2023, possibly culminating in a crossover movie featuring a new team of Avengers. All of the Phase 4 movies appear to be fairly standalone on-paper (though there will be connections), and for the first time there's no major Avengers style film the phase is building up to. Marvel seems to be taking their time before uniting a new age of Earth's Mightiest again.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021