Marvel’s Phase 4: Theories About What Comes Next in the MCU

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War | Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is done with its ambitious Phase 3, and already the franchise is expertly drawing upon the vast history of its characters (Captain America: Civil War) and adding complicated new layers to the mythology (Doctor Strange). As the road to confront Thanos has built toward the ultimate team-up (and heartbreak) we saw in Avengers: Infinity War, we’ve received amazing entries to the MCU like the delightful Thor: Ragnarok and the record-breaking Black Panther.

However, after the untitled fourth Avengers film (originally titled Avengers: Infinity War — Part 2), we truly have no idea what to expect from the MCU. In fact, Marvel Studios has reportedly not released any of that information due to the spoilers further project announcements would reveal regarding the current slate of films. As Phase 3 winds down, we’re taking a peek at what may be heading our way in late 2019 and beyond, including the announcement fans have been waiting for (page 7).

Next: We know this film is on the docket for sure.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

The Guardians wield weapons and stand together in yellow outfits in Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy | Marvel Studios

So far, this film is one of the only ones confirmed to be in the cards for Phase 4. Considering the success of the first two films, no one should be surprised to see that Marvel Studios is aiming to develop a trilogy of films around Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot.

After all, the past has shown that Marvel is committed to making each of its individual series into trilogies before turning to other characters (well, except for The Incredible Hulk). For that reason, we expect sequels to Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and likely a third Ant-Man film, to join the final installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy.

Next: An unpopular TV show may not get a second chance.

Probably not Inhumans

An illustration of Marvel's Inhumans characters standing against a black background

Inhumans | Marvel Comics

When Marvel Studios first announced the Phase 3 lineup, a film centered around the Inhumans was announced for 2018 and then later moved to 2019. Yet, with the addition of films like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp, Inhumans was pushed off the schedule altogether.

The studio then announced it was creating an Inhumans show, which premiered on ABC in the fall of 2017. Sadly, the series was met with abysmal reviews, and likely won’t get a Season 2. Because of that, some have argued that the characters still deserve their own big screen feature.

Next: This character could come into play soon.


Nova in an issue of Marvel Comics

Nova | Marvel Comics

While the aforementioned Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will probably mark the last in that franchise, introducing this character — a key member of the intergalactic police force, Nova Corps, which made its debut in Guardians of the Galaxy — could give Marvel the opportunity to spin those films into a whole new trilogy centering on Nova. The character has consistently remained in the conversation of heroes that fans and Marvel executives alike want on the big-screen, and it seems like only a matter of time before he shows up. Plus, the fact that he is a cosmic crimefighter opens the doors for appearances by the Guardians, Captain Marvel, and even Thor. How’s that for “it’s all connected”?

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow points a weapon at an enemy in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Scarlett Johansson in Avengers: Age of Ultron | Marvel Studios

Let’s face it: It’s time for this to happen. Marvel Studios has taken its sweet time building up to its first female-led superhero film, and while Captain Marvel is already set to take that title, fans are still hoping that Natasha Romanoff gets her moment in the spotlight. With all the unexplored backstory the character brings, there are many intriguing directions a Black Widow film could go.

Moreover, Scarlett Johansson is one of the most bankable actresses working today, having led the 2014 action film Lucy to $463 million worldwide. Throw in Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye or an Avenger or two to give Black Widow someone to play off of, and Marvel will have a guaranteed moneymaker on its hands. While rumors have continued to circulate, there are still no definitive plans.

Next: Marvel won’t be getting this character back.

Venom will stay with Sony

A menacing Venom bares his teeth in an issue of Marvel Comics

Venom | Marvel Comics

Fans rejoiced when Marvel Studios and Sony struck a deal to include Tom Holland’s rebooted Spider-Man in the MCU, but the web-slinger’s future remains unclear. We know that the actor is signed on to appear as the hero in six films, presumably comprised of three Spidey solo films and three team-up releases.

However, Sony is determined to wring some spinoffs out of the property as well. First up is Venom, which stars Tom Hardy in the titular role. It hits theaters on Oct. 5, 2018, and will likely start a brand new universe for Sony.

Next: A big announcement

Marvel announces Phase 4

Stan Lee in Thor

Stan Lee in Thor | Marvel Studios

With so little information about the future and so many possibilities, fans have been eagerly awaiting an announcement from Marvel. And now, it seems like it’s imminent.

We Got This Covered and several other outlets have reported that soon, the studio will finally let us in on its plan for the next phase. Could this mean the end of the phases altogether (as has been rumored), or a glance at the upcoming slate of films? We’re dying to find out.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

Additional reporting by Michelle Regalado and Becca Bleznak.

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