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Avengers: Endgame

Where does the MCU Go From Here? A look at Marvel’s Phase 4

(This article will avoid spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, but maybe steer clear of the comment section until you’ve seen the film.)

This weekend saw Avengers: Endgame open to a record breaking $350-million at the domestic Box Office. Across the globe, audiences assembled to see just how the battle with Thanos would end. And now, those same audiences can’t help but look forward to the future of Marvel movies. But what will that future look like? We’ll take a stab at the next few years of the MCU.

What We Know

While we don’t know much about the future slate, thanks to studio competition, we do at least know the weekends Disney has pegged to release their new Marvel films. We also already know that the MCU will return one last time in 2019 as Spider-Man: Far From Home swings into theaters on July 5.

Back in March of 2018, Marvel announced the following release dates:


May 1, 2020
July 31, 2020
November 6, 2020
February 12, 2021
May 7, 2021
November 5, 2021
February 18, 2022
May 6, 2022
July 29, 2022

In October 2018, however, Disney moved Jungle Cruise from October 2019 to July 24, 2020, and Marvel removed the July 31, 2020 release date from their schedule, giving us a total of eight upcoming films. Here are my guesses as to what those films will be:

05/01/2020 – Black Widow

Natasha’s first solo outing is the most likely candidate for the May 1, 2020 slot. With Cate Shortland (Lore) directing and a script by Jac Schaeffer, Black Widow is reportedly shooting this June, making it the film furthest along in the production cycle.

11/06/2020 – The Eternals

A team of beings created thanks to the experiments of the Celestials, The Eternals is poised to be Marvel’s next risk (and really, we ought to put air quotes around that word, considering Marvel’s batting average.) Chloe Zhao (The Rider) is set to direct a script by Matthew and Ryan Firpo. And while it’s not 100% complete, Angelina Jolie is in talks to play a role in the film. Filming is set to begin this August, making this film a likely candidate for the second MCU release in 2020.

After these two films, it gets a little harder to predict how things will play out. We’re talking about dates two or more years in the future, and things can change quickly as Marvel fans know all too well.

02/12/2021 – Black Panther 2

Last year, Ryan Coogler reportedly agreed to write and direct the sequel to his 3-time Academy Award winning film, Black Panther. Those reports indicated that production was supposed to begin in either late 2019 or early 2020. If this holds true, it would put Black Panther 2 on track to release three years after its award winning predecessor.

05/07/2021 – Doctor Strange 2

Like with the Black Panther sequel, Marvel has quietly negotiated with Scott Derrickson to direct the follow up to 2016’s Doctor Strange. The film is also set to begin production towards the first half of 2020, making the May 2021 date a likely possibility.

A dark horse for this date would be the follow up to Spider-Man: Far From Home. Sony has opted for a two-year span between Homecoming and its sequel and may do so again for a third film. However, I’m betting that we’ll see a larger gap before finishing out the trilogy.

11/05/2021 – Shang-Chi

The martial arts hero Shang-Chi is set to have his own film relatively soon. Marvel has hired Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) to direct a script by Dave Callaham. Unlike the Black Panther and Doctor Strange sequels, these reports did not indicate a potential production start date. While I’ve taken that to mean that Shang-Chi will be released later, it may be a less effects heavy film than either of the sequels, giving it a chance to release earlier.

2022 and Beyond

The final release dates are in 2022. Frankly, that’s too far in the future to really make “predictions” as to what film will end up in each slot. However, it’s fairly safe to say that the sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home will arrive no later than 2022. A sequel to the $1-billion grossing (and counting) Captain Marvel also seems like a sure bet. And finally, there’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. With James Gunn set to return to direct after he finishes Suicide Squad 2 (set to release August 6, 2021), 2022 is the earliest we’ll get the final chapter in the trilogy.

As far as other potential entries in the franchise, Marvel is certainly looking at integrating the X-Men and Fantastic 4 into their Cinematic Universe. However, with so many projects in the works and others possibly in development, it seems that we won’t likely see those other icons enter until 2023.

So, which film do you think will land on which release date? What characters do you want to see brought to the big screen?

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