MCU: How Many Movies Are in Marvel Phase 4?
After the box office-breaking Avengers: Endgame, fans have been eagerly awaiting the upcoming slate of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Unfortunately, 2020 got in the way. But now, Marvel has officially announced the new dates for its upcoming Phase 4. Take a look at the next few years of the MCU at the movies.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in 2008
The MCU, as fans know it today, began back in 2008 with Iron Man. At the time, the studio released the film starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular hero so it could stand alone but loosely tied it together with the next release, The Incredible Hulk.
Iron Man 2 and subsequent entries demonstrated an evolving, interconnected universe. But at the time, the creators had no idea what they were building to. “Nobody expected much when we started,” director Jon Favreau told Jimmy Kimmel in 2019. “In the beginning, it wasn’t anything.”
The first 3 phases are the Infinity Saga
With 2012’s The Avengers, Marvel linked the characters they’d established. Now, it was time to add in more. Marvel President Kevin Feige began to speak on what he deemed the “phases” of the MCU. The second, which ran from Iron Man 3 to Ant-Man, showcased multiple sequels and introduced some new areas of exploration.
Captain America: Civil War kicked off Phase 3, arguably the MCU’s most ambitious phase to date. In addition to completing trilogies, everything built to one event: the arrival of Thanos. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame rounded out the Infinity Saga, with Spider-Man: Far From Home acting as the final chapter.
Marvel’s Phase 4 experienced delays
Feige and co. indicated that the next phase (though he hesitated to use that word) of the MCU would be very different. He officially announced several new films (and accompanying Disney+ TV series) at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, making 2020 the most exciting and anticipated year for Marvel fans.
That is until the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck. Before the first entry in Phase 4 could debut, a global health crisis shut down movie theaters and productions worldwide. Instead of 2020 marking a new age, it instead became the first year without an MCU release since 2009.
The MCU Phase 4 films debuting in 2021, 2022, and 2023
With delays for multiple MCU films, Marvel instead aired its series WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+ in the first half of 2021. But with vaccine distribution underway, movie theaters are opening back up, and it’s finally time for the Phase 4 theatrical slate to kick off.
First up is Black Widow on July 9, 2021, more than a year after its planned premiere. Following it in 2021 are Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3), Eternals (November 5), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17).
In 2022, the slate consists of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25), Thor: Love and Thunder (May 5), Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (July 8), and The Marvels (November 11). Finally, 2023 brings Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on February 17, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5, and Fantastic 4.