Avengers 4 will mark the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. But Marvel Studios is planning far in advance. The company’s president, Kevin Feige, told Vanity Fair that they have at least 20 movies on the docket. Additionally, he said these movies will be completely different than what’s come before and that there will be two periods in the Marvel movies: pre-Avengers 4 and post-Avengers 4.
Feige also suggested the future movies will explore different kinds of characters, as well as different aspects of current characters, confirming that some of the Avengers will continue on past Avengers 4. Marvel Studios has only announced three films to follow Avengers 4: a second Spider-Man, a second Black Panther, and a third Guardians of the Galaxy.
But outside of those movies, here’s what we’d like to see from Marvel’s next phase.
1. Ant-Man 3
Before Ant-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and soon Guardians of the Galaxy all made it to three films. So it’s natural to expect a third Ant-Man after Ant-Man and the Wasp, assuming he survives Avengers 4.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Evangeline Lilly suggested that there’s still a lot left to explore in more Ant-Man movies.
Those characters are experts in the quantum realm. In Ant-Man and the Wasp, they are trying everything in their power to safely enter the quantum realm and return back from it because they have evidence from the first film that Scott Lang was able to do that. If he can do it, why can’t we? If we do succeed in Ant-Man and the Wasp, then that does open a whole entire new multi-verse to enter into and play around in. I’m not the story creator, so I can’t tell you what they’re going to do with that. But I definitely see the potential there.
2. Doctor Strange 2
As long as Marvel is scheduling sequels, Doctor Strange 2 is another one that is all but certain. The original film was an origin story, and though we got a brief glimpse at Strange in Thor: Ragnarok and got to see him fight alongside the Avengers in Infinity War, there’s plenty more to explore in a proper sequel. After all, Strange is a novice for almost the entire first film, and it’s not until his appearance in Ragnarok that he’s really a fully powered expert. Plus, the end of Doctor Strange sets up a new villain in Mordo.
A Doctor Strange sequel is especially likely if Marvel wants to continue exploring new times and places, as appears to be the case. Disney CEO Bob Iger told Vanity Fair that future Marvel movies will look to places that are “separate geographically, or separate in time — not just in place but in time.” Evangeline Lilly also said that future Marvel movies will explore a “more colorful, more playful, heightened reality.”
If Marvel is looking to zip through time and get more cosmic and colorful, there’s no better character to further emphasize than Doctor Strange.
3. The New Avengers
Marvel will not abandon the Avengers franchise entirely after Avengers 4. At the same time, it appears that a substantial number of the original Avengers will either die or retire in that movie. So the fifth Avengers movie could be The New Avengers, focusing on an entirely different lineup.
In the comics, different groups of characters have used the name “New Avengers” for various reasons over the years. But in the movies, the name could be used to refer to a new team that has assembled after the end of the original group.
4. Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion
One major comic book storyline that Marvel could look to adapt in Phase 4 is Secret Invasion. This plot, which began in 2008, revealed that some characters in the Marvel universe have secretly been replaced by Skrulls, a race of shapeshifting aliens. In the comics, the Skrulls pose as Spider-Woman, Elektra, Black Bolt, and Ant-Man.
That’s obviously not exactly how it would play out in the films. Several of those characters don’t even exist in the movie universe. But Marvel could still adapt the general idea of the Avengers being distrustful of one another due to an alien invasion. If they planned far enough in advance, Marvel could reveal that a character that has been in several movies has been a Skrull the entire time, which would make for a pretty mind-blowing twist on par with the true nature of S.H.I.E.L.D. in The Winter Solider.
Secret Invasion could potentially be the plot of an Avengers movie. But it could also be the plot of another hero’s film, the same way Civil War turned into Captain America: Civil War. Considering Captain Marvel is going to introduce the Skrulls into the MCU, and Carol Danvers is part Kree and therefore an enemy of the Skrulls, it would make a lot of sense for her sequel to be Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion.
Of course, it’s unlikely that all of the upcoming Marvel movies will be based on the pre-existing characters. In Marvel’s Phase 3, four out of the 10 movies are about new characters. So one hero who could be great to see get a solo movie in Phase 4 is Nova aka Richard Rider.
Dating back to 1976, Nova is a member of the Nova Corps, an intergalactic police force. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because we already saw them in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. The whole last act of that movie takes place on Xandar, the Nova Empire’s capital.
In the comics, Richard Rider is just a normal New Yorker who is selected to join the Nova Corps and becomes a superhero. In later comics, he teams up with the Avengers, and he’s a fairly beloved character. Because the Nova Corps already exist in the Marvel universe, it would be easy to introduce Nova into the universe, especially since Thanos seems to have wiped out Xandar off screen prior to the events of Infinity War.
James Gunn has said that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will help set up the next 20 years of Marvel stories. So perhaps it’s in that movie that we can meet Richard Rider, setting him up for his own series. Considering the Guardians we know and love are expected to not be together anymore after Vol. 3, Nova could get his own franchise that continues in the same spirit as Guardians.
6. Moon Knight
As long as Marvel is giving new characters their own movies, Moon Knight could make for a great one. In the comics, Marc Spector is a boxer turned mercenary. While on a job in Egypt, he intervenes when another mercenary attempts to loot a temple full of artifacts, including a statue of Khonshu, the moon god. He’s left to die after getting into a fight with one of the looters.
But while Spector is close to death, Khonshu appears to him, offering to bring him back if he becomes Khonshu’s living embodiment. After coming back to life, Spector begins fighting crime as Moon Knight, a.k.a. The Fist of Khonshu.
Fans have compared Moon Knight to Batman, as he too is a wealthy crimefighter who uses advanced gadgets. But unlike Batman, Moon Knight does have some inhuman abilities, such as super strength and advanced reflexes. These powers grow stronger based on what phase the moon is in.
Director James Gunn said on Twitter in 2017 that he has an idea for a Moon Knight movie and even shared it with Marvel.
Oh my God I love Moon Knight & I have a great idea for a movie, I just wish I had the time (but, no, he doesn't belong in Guardians). https://t.co/ARJCPh62gt
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 4, 2017
I told them. But, like I said, I just don't have the time.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 4, 2017
7. Thor 4
It’s possible a few of the original Avengers will make it past Avengers 4. Two of the most likely candidates are Thor and The Incredible Hulk. After the success of Thor: Ragnarok, those involved expressed interest in making a fourth movie. Director Taika Waititi told Screen Rant that he’d direct a fourth Thor. Mark Ruffalo also hinted at a possible fourth movie on Twitter.
@TaikaWaititi I hope I know how DM works… when are we announcing Thor4?
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 26, 2017
Chris Hemsworth’s Marvel contract only takes him through Avengers 4. But he recently said he’s interested in continuing to play the character after that. Waititi told Screen Rant that if he made another one, he’d basically be making Thor: Ragnarok 2, not Thor 4.
Marvel has never given a hero a fourth movie before. But considering it took until the third installment for the Thor franchise to really become something special, it would be appropriate for them to break that rule here.
8. Black Widow
For years now, Marvel fans have been asking for a Black Widow solo film. Perhaps Phase 4 will finally be the time. A potential solo movie has been talked about for a while, but Scarlett Johansson has said that she and Kevin Feige both agree Natasha deserves her own film. Johansson told Collider, “I’ve talked to Kevin Feige about it. We’re creatively really compatible. I think we both agree that the character is right for a standalone, it’s just a case of timing at this point for both Marvel and myself.”
In addition, Taika Waititi, the director of Thor: Ragnarok, has said he is interested in a Black Widow movie.
The most recent promising update came from Variety, which reported that Marvel had hired a screenwriter to work on a Black Widow film. That’s still not confirmation that it’s definitely happening, but it’s a great sign. After 14 Marvel solo movies focused on men, it would be great if Marvel’s next phase consisted of not one, but two female-led films.
9. Fantastic Four
When Disney announced its purchase of 20th Century Fox, that meant that Marvel Studios will now have the rights to all of the comic book characters that Fox previously owned. This includes all of the X-Men and Deadpool.
But potentially even more exciting is the fact that Marvel Studios will now get to use the Fantastic Four. We’ve already seen plenty of good X-Men movies, so the idea of Marvel doing their own version isn’t as exciting as them doing justice to the Fantastic Four, who have been butchered on screen several times now.
It’s unclear whether the Fantastic Four will make it into the next phase. For one, the Fox sale to Disney is going to take a while to go through and be approved. Plus, Marvel may or may not want to do another Fantastic Four origin story so soon after the 2015 one. But we could potentially see one near the very end of the phase or the beginning of Phase 5. The fact that Marvel now has the rights to all the Fantastic Four villains also means that Doctor Doom could be set up as the next big threat to the universe after Thanos.
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