Marvel Cinematic Universe: Here's what is in store in Phase Four
With Marvel seemingly in control of Hollywood’s future, here’s what’s coming our way from its brave new world
Thirteen years, 23 films, and 15 television series on, it took a pandemic to slow down the growth and expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s been almost two years since the studio’s last film—Spider-Man: Far from Home—hit the screens. And, now, as many as 11 films and eight web series are in various stages of development. It all started with WandaVision that kicked off Phase Four of the MCU. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and of course, Loki—widely thought of as Marvel’s best work in the episodic series format—followed suit. The studio is just warming up though, and here’s the pick of the lot coming your way.
Black Widow (Awaiting its Indian release)
We might have lost Scarlett Johansson’s famous character in Avengers: Endgame (2019), but the long-delayed Black Widow is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016). It takes us back into the enigmatic life of Natasha Romanoff. Confronted by new complications, Romanoff has to deal with her past life and that means relationships she escaped from to become an Avenger.
What If...? (Streaming from August)
Despite not playing a role in the development of the current timeline, What If...?—Marvel Studios’ first animated series since becoming its own production company—is a much-awaited addition. The series will explore what-if possibilities, had major moments in the MCU happened differently. Jeffrey Wright will star as the Watcher, who narrates this 10-episode series.
Eternals (Releasing on November 5)
“Throughout the years we have never interfered, until now,” says a voiceover from the new trailer of Eternals. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao, the film introduces fans to an immortal alien race who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years. The film stars an ensemble cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kit Harrington and Brian Tyree Henry, and the initial feelers look really good.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (Releasing on December 17)
With his mentor Tony Stark dead and his identity revealed in the last film, what will Peter Parker/Spider-Man do? Spider-Man: No Way Home is expected to answer that question. What we do know about the plot is that the film will feature villains from previous Spider-Man films such as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man 2.
Moon Knight (Streaming from early 2022)
Imagine Batman but with dissociative identity disorder; that’s the simplest description for Moon Knight, a comic fan-favourite character who will be making his MCU debut. With Oscar Isaac playing the titular role and The Umbrella Academy-fame Jeremy Slater on board as the creator, expect the series to be high on action.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Releasing on July 8, 2022)
Black Panther was widely appreciated for being an admirable representation of Black culture and for movingly mirroring real-life struggles. The tragic demise of Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular role, left the sequel plan in a shambles. However, Marvel went ahead, even with its promise that the Black Panther character would not be recast. It makes you wonder what’s in store. What we do know is that Ryan Coogler is returning to direct the film and our bet is on Shuri taking over the reins.
The Marvels (Releasing on November 11, 2022)
This sequel to Captain Marvel (2019) is a conglomeration of that film and events we have since noted in two series. We were introduced to Monica Rambeau as a child in the 2019 film, and later, saw her becoming Photon in WandaVision. Marvel also has a series planned for later this year that will introduce Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel, a 16-year-old Muslim Pakistani-American who adores Captain Marvel. The Marvels will see the three women teaming up for the first time on the big screen.