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From Shang-Chi to Black Panther II: Your guide to the MCU's Phase 4 and beyond (date changes and all)

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Dec 3, 2020, 9:50 AM EST (Updated)

Since March, Hollywood has struggled to contend with the COVID-19 health crisis that has shut down movie theaters across the globe. With no clear end in sight, most studios have delayed many of their blockbuster releases time and again. As a result, the next two years will see an influx of backlogged tentpoles hitting the big screen. Right now, we're all just hoping for a better year in 2021, which is looking chock-full of films like Dune, Candyman, No Time to Die, and, of course, a slew of Marvel-related projects

We realize that keeping track of the constant delays, postponements, and distribution shake-ups can be confusing, especially when it comes to Marvel Studios, which has a pretty strict plan for the release of its movies. To help you make sense of the new and ever-shifting landscape, we've compiled a complete guide to the MCU's fourth phase and beyond. Because release dates seem to be changing every other week, we'll be constantly updating this story with new information as it comes in. Be sure to check back regularly for fresh intel.

MCU Phase 4

 

Black Widow

Current release date: May 7, 2021

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, this title was supposed to launch Phase 4 in the wake of Avengers: Endgame. Clearly, the film missed its May 1 release as theaters temporarily shuttered their doors around the world. Disney hoped to debut Black Widow on Nov. 6, but that turned out to be a non-starter when it became clear that the pandemic would endure through the colder months. There was some light speculation that the flick might go straight to streaming, but that proved to be wholly untrue, as Black Widow was eventually moved to May 2021 for a regular theatrical rollout. Now, WandaVision will kick-start Phase 4, but more on that below.

 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Current release date: July 9, 2021

Credit: Marvel Studios

Production on this movie shut down in the early days of the pandemic when director Destin Daniel Cretton decided to place himself into quarantine for the sake of his newborn child. Fortunately, he tested negative for the virus, but the Australia-based shoot remained on hiatus for several months before construction work on the sets re-commenced in early August. Cretton and main star Simu Liu confirmed that the project had wrapped production in late October.

 

Eternals

Current release date: Nov. 5, 2021

Credit: Marvel Studios

Eternals was meant to open Nov. 6, 2020, but was pushed to February 2021 after Black Widow's delay. That date changed once again in late September, resulting in the film being delayed by an entire year.

 

Untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel

Current release date: Dec. 17, 2021

Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

The trilogy capper to Tom Holland's rebooted Spider-Man saga was originally slated for July 2021 before it was pushed to November 2021. In July 2020, it finally swung to December 2021 in a date change that hopefully sticks. Jon Watts is returning to direct the threequel, which is set to feature Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. In addition, Jamie Foxx is coming back to play his take on Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Filming just commenced in Georgia.

 

Thor: Love and Thunder 

Current release date: Feb. 11, 2022

Credit: Marvel Studios

Following the events of Endgame, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is no longer the ruler of Asgard, having bequeathed the role to Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie. It seems he'll be abdicating the "God of Thunder" title as well, because Love and Thunder will see Jane Foster (Natalie Portman is reprising the character) become The Mighty Thor like she does in the comics. The film was knocked out of its original November 2021 slot as Disney pushed it to Feb. 18, 2022. Not long after, it was moved up a week. Production is about to kick off in Australia with Taika Waititi back in the director's seat.

 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Current release date: March 25, 2022

Credit: Marvel Studios

Described as the first overt horror flick in the MCU, Multiverse of Madness could be a total game-changer for Marvel Studios. Many have speculated that it's going to open up the mythos in unprecedented ways by bringing in iconic characters from other dimensions (like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Men, for instance). It could even serve as a gateway for the X-Men and Fantastic Four to make their Disney debut. The sequel was initially scheduled to hit theaters in May 2021, but was pushed to early November 2021 as a result of the pandemic. It was then postponed to spring 2022. There was also some trouble behind the scenes when Scott Derrickson decided to part ways with the project over creative differences. Sam Raimi was hired to replace him. There's no word on when production is expected to begin.

 

WandaVision (Disney+)

Current release date: December 2020

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney+

As we noted, WandaVision will have the honor of launching Phase 4 of the MCU. The series, like so many others, was forced to shut down production in the early days of the pandemic. Cameras were able to start rolling over the summer, allowing Season 1 to wrap up its shoot. While the show (overseen by Jac Schaeffer) is expected to premiere on Disney+ in December 2020, no specific date has been announced just yet.

 

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+)

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier debuted its first footage during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Production was steadily moving along, with Marvel Studios planning to release the series in August 2020. That never happened when the shoot in Prague was put on hold before it even began. Filming was finally able to resume in the fall, but with much stricter guidelines to keep the crew healthy and safe. Showrun by Malcolm Spellman, the series is expected to premiere sometime next year.

 

Loki (Disney+)

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

Loki also showed off a bit of teaser footage during the Super Bowl, but it wasn't much. The Georgia-based production was put on hold during the pandemic, but picked up back in late September 2020. Tom Hiddleston is returning to play the title character, although it's not the same one who died at the start of Avengers: Infinity War. The small-screen version of Loki is the version that absconded with the Space Stone during the Time Heist in Endgame. Rick and Morty alum Michael Waldron is serving as showrunner for the project, which, according to the Hall H panel at SDCC 2019, is set for release in spring 2021. Don't be surprised if that changes soon.

 

Hawkeye (Disney+)

Current release date: TBD

Marvel Studios

The last update we got on the Hawkeye series was in July 2020 when Amber Finlayson, Katie Ellwood, and Rhys Thomas were tapped as directors. Set after Endgame, the show will find Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) training his replacement: Kate Bishop. Hailee Steinfeld was rumored to be playing Bishop, but the actress ended up denying the reports. Hawkeye was originally slated for fall 2021, but it'll most likely be pushed to sometime in 2022. There's no word on when production will begin.

 

What If...? (Disney+)

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Disney+/Marvel Studios

Since What If...? is a completely animated project, it's better-suited to the workflow disruptions caused by the pandemic. Season 1 is being produced remotely and is still on track to premiere next summer. A second season is already in development.

 

Beyond Phase 4

 

Black Panther II

Current release date: May 6, 2022

Credit: Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Since its release date was so far off to begin with, Black Panther II has been relatively unaffected by COVID-19 in terms of its overall timetable. However, the unexpected passing of Chadwick Boseman over the summer put the studio and writer-director Ryan Coogler in a tough position. They now must figure out a way to continue the franchise without their star, with some suspecting that Letitia Wright's Shuri will be tapped to take over as the titular hero. There's no word on when production is expected to begin.

 

Captain Marvel 2

Current release date: July 8, 2022

Credit: Marvel / Disney

Like the Black Panther sequel, Captain Marvel has been able to steer clear of any coronavirus shockwaves thus far, especially since it hasn't even started filming yet. Not much is known about the follow-up, except that it'll be directed by Candyman's Nia DaCosta.

 

Untitled Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Marvel Studios

Director Peyton Reed is returning to close out the Ant-Man trilogy, with a third entry written by Rick and Morty vet Jeff Loveness. Not much is known about the plot, although Reed has teased that the movie will be a "much bigger [and] more sprawling movie than the first two." In terms of newcomers, Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) is reportedly joining the MCU as Kang the Conqueror. Production hopes to kick off in January 2021.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

This project ran into a bit of trouble two years back when James Gunn was fired as director after some old, incendiary tweets of his resurfaced. Disney eventually rehired Gunn, but by that point, he was already working on The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros., delaying Vol. 3 even further. Luckily, the screenplay is already done, so Gunn just needs to lock in his cast and start filming. No word on when that will be, though. His soft reboot of the Suicide Squad IP arrives in theaters next August.

 

Blade

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Not much has been said about this reboot since it was first confirmed at SDCC last summer. Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will take on the role of the titular vampire hunter, but beyond that casting news, Blade has no writer or director yet. Wesley Snipes, who previously played the character, gave his blessing to Ali, who, just this month, revealed that the movie was originally planned as a TV show.

 

Deadpool 3

Current release date: TBD

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Marvel

Yes, the Merc with a Mouth is coming to the MCU — it's just a matter of how and when. Disney acquired the screen rights to the character when it purchased 20th Century Fox in March 2018. Bob Iger (former CEO of Disney) said that there was no reason to not make more foul-mouthed Deadpool content, so long as it was marketed to the public in the proper way. Ryan Reynolds caused quite an online raucous last October when he made a visit to Marvel Studios HQ. Two months later, the actor confirmed that Deadpool 3 was officially in the works.

 

She-Hulk (Disney+)

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Marvel Studios, Disney+

She-Hulk is among the three new Marvel TV shows that were announced at D23 Expo. Jessica Gao (Rick and Morty) is showrunning the project, whose pilot episode will be helmed by Kat Coiro (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia). In September 2020, it was reported that Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) would play the title role of Jennifer Walters. Maslany later refuted the reports. Since Walters and Bruce Banner are cousins in the comics, Mark Ruffalo may return to play Banner in the series. Production is looking to start sometime in 2021.

 

Ms. Marvel (Disney+)

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Marvel Studios, Disney+

Also announced at D23, Ms. Marvel is being showrun by Bisha K. Ali. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life), Oscar-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (documentary shorts Saving Face and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness), and Meera Menon (The Walking DeadTitans) were all hired as directors in September 2020. Not long after, newcomer Iman Vellani was cast as Kamala Khan. No word on when production is set to begin.

 

Moon Knight (Disney+)

Current release date: TBD

Credit: Marvel Studios, Disney+

Mark Spector is coming to Disney+ by way of showrunner Jeremy Slater, who has described the series as "one hell of a ride." Oscar Isaac is currently in talks to play Spector, while Mohamed Diab (Clash) has been tapped to direct an unspecified number of episodes.

 


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