Avengers: Endgame is the definitive conclusion to the Infinity Saga. After 11 years and more than 20 films of build-up, the Infinity Stones are dealt with, and Thanos is permanently thwarted. Some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s greatest heroes perish or retire. Besides Spider-Man: Far From Home, which came out after Endgame and caps off Phase Three, the path forward for the MCU seemed unclear.

Then, Marvel Studios finally revealed some information on what will come, first at Comic-Con and then at D23. What we learned is nothing short of exciting.


The Movies After the Avengers

Our first step into the future is actually a film set in the past. Black Widow, the long-awaited solo feature of Natasha Romanoff, will take place shortly after the conclusion of 2016’s Avengers: Civil War. Marvel Studios remains tight-lipped, but in May 2020, we will get a greater insight into the character’s trouble history with the KGB and some of the people she knew.

Of course, Marvel Studios will not be content with returning to characters from earlier films. November 2020 will bring us The Eternals, featuring a large group of immortal aliens. The all-star cast is downright voluminous: Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lauren Ridloff comprise the team. One character will be the MCU’s first openly LGBTQIA+ hero.

Anyone disappointed with the lack of Asian representation in the MCU can find hope in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Japanese-American Destin Daniel Cretton will direct from a screenplay by David Callaham, who is of Chinese descent. Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu will star as Shang-Chi, “Master of Kung Fu.” He will also fight the Mandarin, who will be quite different than his portrayal in Iron Man 3. It is scheduled for release in February 2021.

Things will get really weird in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, slated for May 2021. The Master of the Mystic Arts will team up with Scarlet Witch in an adventure through the Multiverse. Marvel Studios has promised that this will be “the first scary MCU film,” which brings up all kinds of exciting possibilities.

Phase Four concludes in November 2021 with arguably the most exciting of its five films, Thor: Love and Thunder. It will see the return of Thor: Ragnarok’s beloved director Taika Waititi. This time, as with his acclaimed non-MCU films, he will also be writing. In an MCU miracle, not only is Natalie Portman returning to the franchise, but Jane Foster will claim the mantle of Thor for herself. Valkyrie is also expected to return, and Tessa Thompson announced that as the new King of Asgard, she will seek out her own queen.


Where is Everyone Else?

MCU fans are accustomed to seeing new installments starring the franchise’s major characters in each phase. This means they could not help noticing some big names left off the slate for Phase Four. Where is the much-anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Where is the second Black Panther? For that matter, where are the Avengers, the group that served as the lynchpin for every phase?

Marvel Studios is approaching Phase Four quite different for several reasons. The biggest may be that the Infinity Saga is over and the Avengers as we knew them are disbanded. They need time to build up the next franchise-wide arc and its major players, many of whom were only recently introduced. Another significant factor is Disney+, the new streaming service exclusively for Disney productions. The platform will feature multiple original TV shows centered on the further adventures of various MCU characters. These include Hawkeye, Falcon, Winter Soldier, and Scarlet Witch, as well as a slew of newcomers like Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.

Anyone who is missing will likely appear in Phase Five. Black Panther II is slated for May 2022, meaning it will almost certainly be part of this future phase. Guardians Vol. 3 is on hold as writer/director James Gunn works on other projects. A follow-up to Captain Marvel is in the works. Meanwhile, a new take on vampire hunter Blade, Marvel’s first hit film superhero from long before the MCU, has been confirmed for Phase Five. The future is bright.


Marvel Cinematic Universe Merchandise

We at Your WDW Store hope you have enjoyed our retrospectives on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We did these partly because we offer a massive assortment of merchandise related to the characters. We also did these partly because we know how much these movies mean to its fans.

The MCU has changed cinema forever, and not simply by smashing box office records. It proved that a new form of comics-inspired serialized storytelling, complete with ambitious crossovers, could succeed in the medium of movies. It might look easy now as we head into Phase Four, but it was the result of a lot of hard work and patience from a lot of real-life superheroes. None of it would have succeeded without the most important element of any good movie: great storytelling.

If our detailed analyses on these films increased your appreciation of that effort by even a little bit, then we did our job.