MCU Phase 4 Is As Big As Phase 3 (But Releasing Twice As Fast)

Kevin Feige and MCU Phase 4

Marvel Studios' Phase 4 is as big as Phase 3 but will only take half as long to release. The Kevin Feige-led studio took over San Diego Comic-Con 2019 by announcing their 2020-2021 Phase 4 slate: five feature films which include Black Widow, Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder. In addition, Feige unveiled five new Marvel series for the Disney+ streaming service: Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, Marvel's What If?, and Hawkeye. Marvel also announced a reboot of Blade and hinted at the Phase 5 slate.

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Marvel has made a similar blockbuster announcement in 2014, when Feige unveiled the studio's Phase 3 plans in a private event, which he has since lamented because they were inevitably altered by the ever-changing state of the film business. For instance, Spider-Man wasn't in Marvel Studios' initial plans but a deal with Sony was struck that brought the web-slinger into the MCU. Ultimately, Marvel's Phase 3 ended up as an incredibly successful 11 movies over four years, starting with 2016's Captain America: Civil War and ending with Spider-Man: Far From Home. Indeed, five of the 10 highest-grossing movies of all-time are Marvel Studios films and three, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, are from Phase 3.

Related: Spider-Man 3 May Still Be Added To MCU Phase 4 In 2021

Amazingly, all of Marvel Phase 4's content will release in just two years, an ambitious schedule to be sure. And there's even more: When Feige spoke to MTV News, he referenced "eleven projects in two years", which hints at something else not revealed at Comic-Con. While it's possible Feige was thinking about Blade as the 11th project and he just misspoke, Marvel Studios' President may have actually been hinting at one final Phase 4 entry that Marvel has yet to unveil, which could be Spider-Man 3. If there really is an 11th project, that means Phase 4 would equal Phase 3's entire slate, which fans will then consume in half the time. In Phase 3, there was an 8-month gap in between Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel but dry spells like that won't happen during the jam-packed 2-year span of Phase 4.

MCU SDCC 2019 Reveals Doctor Strange Black Widow Blade Thor Kate Bishop

Because Marvel is only releasing five movies in Phase 4 (and only two movies, Black Widow and Eternals, in 2020), Phase 4 will obviously rely heavily on Disney+. Unsurprisingly, the Mouse House is clearly banking on the globally popular Marvel brand to be a gigantic draw for their streaming service. Although Marvel's first Disney+ series, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, won't release until fall 2020 - roughly a year after Disney+ launches, Marvel's next four series will all arrive hot and heavy in 2021 with both WandaVision and Loki set for spring, What If? in the summer, and Hawkeye taking aim for the fall.

The five Disney+ series will also be in sync with what happens in the films, such as WandaVision connecting to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This means not only will a Disney+ subscription be a requirement for keeping up-to-date with the MCU, but the new Marvel Studios TV series will finally feature the kind of integrated crossovers with the MCU movies that never materialized with Netflix's Marvel series or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, which frustrated fans for years.

Spider-Man: Far From Home not only concluded Phase 3 but it also began a 10-month dry spell until the next Marvel movie. But this will also be the last time fans will have to wait so long for their Marvel fix. When Black Widow kicks off Phase 4 on May 1, 2020, things will get intense as the wait will be merely 5 months until Eternals arrives on November 6, 2020 (plus Falcon and the Winter Soldier also lands that fall). And yet, 2020 just sets the stage for the really explosive year of 2021 with 7 Marvel movies and TV shows all arriving just weeks apart, starting with Shang-Chi on February 12 and ending with Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5. Plus if the unknown 11th Phase 4 project Kevin Feige mentioned materializes, it adds the final piece making Phase 4's two-year span just as big as Phase 3's four-year run.

Next: Predicting Marvel's 2022 Movie Release Slate

Key Release Dates
  • 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
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