Phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been revised due to the coronavirus pandemic. The original schedule featured the highly anticipated release of Black Widow in just under one month, but with the severity of the coronavirus looming as well as the shutdown of movie theaters all over the world, Black Widow’s solo outing had to be rescheduled, resulting in a string of delays throughout Marvel’s slate.
Phase three ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home, serving as an epilogue for Avengers: Endgame. Though the film marked the end of an era, it has also paved way for new beginnings. Phase four was officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) last year, unveiling its slate of upcoming movies as well as TV shows (in the form of Disney Plus exclusives).
As part of Disney’s massive rescheduling, the entire MCU feature film releases have been changed. Here is the updated phase four schedule from 2020-2022.
Release Date: July 9, 2021
Black Widow was heading for a May 1, 2020 release before the coronavirus outbreak. Due to the unprecedented situation, Disney and Marvel have decided to delay the film until the industry’s infrastructure is back to normal.
Development of a Black Widow film began in April 2004 by Lionsgate, with David Hayter attached to write and direct. The project did not move forward and the film rights to the character reverted to Marvel Studios by June 2006. Scarlett Johansson was cast in the role for several MCU films beginning with Iron Man 2. Marvel and Johansson expressed interest in a solo film several times over the following years.
Release Date: November 5, 2021
After an unexpected tragedy following the events of Avengers: Endgame, the Eternals — an immortal alien race created by the Celestials who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7000 years, reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.
In April 2018, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced that a film based on the Eternals had begun development, with Matthew and Ryan Firpo hired to write the script for the project in May 2018. Directed by Chloe Zhao, The Eternals has completed principal photography and is on post-production.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Release date: September 3, 2022
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Marvel’s first film with an Asian lead. The film’s title and primary cast were announced that July, revealing the film’s connection to the Mandarin and his Ten Rings organization, a terrorist group that have made several appearances throughout the MCU. Simu Liu has been cast as the titular Shang-Chi and Tony Leung as The Mandarin. Destin Daniel Cretton is directing from a script by Dave Callaham.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Release Date: 25 March, 2022
Not only is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness a sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange, it will also tie heavily into Disney Plus’ WandaVision. Opening up the storytelling possibilities in the MCU like never before, Scott Derrickson was originally set to return to the directing chair. However, Derrickson parted ways with the film back in January, citing “creative differences” with Marvel Studios.
Release Date: December 17, 2021
Spider-Man: No Way Home is the third installment in the relaunched franchise starring Tom Holland as the web-slinging superhero after Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). After numerous delay from its initial release date, Sony and Marvel Studios are releasing the next Spider-Man installment on December 17, 2021.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Release Date: Feb. 11, 2022
Following the immense success of Thor: Ragnarok, it seems like the Revengers are back. On top of our band of returning characters like Thor and Valkryie, Natalie Portman will also mark her return to the franchise as Jane Foster (this time as the new Thor). What’s the cherry on top you ask? Christian Bale has also joined the cast.
Black Panther 2
Release Date: July 7, 2022
Following the critical and commercial success of Black Panther, Feige said “there are many, many stories to tell” about the character. Grossing over $1 billion worldwide, the 2018 superhero film developed an extraordinary following (remember when everyone was chanting “Wakanda Forever“?)
Director Ryan Coogler is set to return for the sequel. Considering the first film’s cultural impact, Coogler stated that, while he’s feeling pressure while developing the sequel due to Black Panther’s success, he will “focus on trying to make something that has some type of meaning” for the film.
Captain Marvel 2
Release Date: July 8, 2022
Brie Larson will officially be back as Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel 2. Now that we have a confirmed release date for the film, we see that Captain Marvel 2 will arrive on 8 July 2022, few short months after Thor: Love And Thunder and Black Panther 2.
While Captain Marvel was set in the 90s, the last time we actually saw Carol Danvers was in Avengers: Endgame. This suggests that the Captain Marvel 2 might be a modern-day standalone featuring the superheroine, though nothing has been confirmed.