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Marvel Phase 4: Every film announced so far and when the X-Men and Fantastic Four could join the MCU

From 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' and 'Black Widow' to 'Doctor Strange 2' and 'The Eternals'

Jack Shepherd
Wednesday 08 May 2019 09:30 BST
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Spider-Man Far From Home trailer answers one of Avengers Endgame's biggest questions

Avengers: Endgame has brought an end to The Infinity Saga – the name given to the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While producer Kevin Feige has not confirmed what the future holds for the superhero franchise, various reports have emerged revealing which sequels and solo spin-offs we can expect over the coming years.

So, which films are coming in Phase Four? And will Disney – who now owns 20th Century Fox – bring on board X-Men and Fantastic Four characters? Below is everything we know so far about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

**SPOILER WARNING: anyone who has not seen Avengers: Endgame should turn back now**

Spider-Man: Far From Home (5 July 2019)

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the only Marvel film officially announced post-Avengers: Endgame. Tom Holland returns as the web-slinging superhero, having been revived during the events of Endgame. The fourth Avengers film has had a major impact on Peter Parker, who mourns the loss of Tony Stark during the film.

The film will introduce Jake Gyllenhaal’s villain Mysterio and looks set to potentially introduce the multiverse into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Watch the trailer above.

Black Widow (ETA: 2020)

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

The kick-ass Black Widow is finally getting her own movie and – considering the events of Endgame – will likely act as a prequel for the super-spy.

Like all the following titles, Marvel as not yet confirmed the solo film’s existence. However, Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland, best known for Nazi drama Lore, has already come on board as director. The script has been penned by Captain Marvel’s Jac Schaeffer. Florence Pugh has joined the cast, playing a spy on the same level as Natasha Romanoff who will be her “moral opposite”.

Black Widow looks to be the next Marvel Cinematic Universe instalment heading into cinemas following Far From Home, as filming begins in June 2019. That likely means the action-flick will take the as-yet-unclaimed 1 May, 2020 release date.

The Eternals (ETA: 2020)

The Rider filmmaker Chloé Zhao has been hired to direct an adaptation of The Eternals, scripted by cousins Matthew and Ryan Firpo. The film will have a central focus on the character Sersi, who will reportedly be played by Angelina Jolie. Kumail Nanjiani has also joined the film, while Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden has entered discussions to play the character Ikaris.

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The Eternals is expected to start shooting towards the end of 2019 and will likely come after Black Widow. The film will therefore likely take the other 2020 release date mapped out by Marvel: 6 November 2020.

Shang-Chi (ETA: 2021)

The martial artist Shang-Chi (Marvel Comics)

Reports have emerged that a film centred on Shang-Chi is in the works. It will be the studio’s first Asian protagonist, and Chinese-American writer Dave Callahan has written the script. Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) has been hired to direct the film, which is said to have been “fast-tracked” by Marvel.

No casting decisions have been made and no filming date has been announced. Shang-Chi could take one of Marvel’s three 2021 release dates: 12 February, 7 May, or 5 November.

Black Panther 2 (ETA: 2021)

Considering how Black Panther quickly became one of Marvel’s most successful films to date (outgrossing Infinity War in the United States and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Picture), it’s no surprise that a sequel is on the way.

Ryan Coogler will return to script and direct the sequel. Again, no filming date has been announced but many expect the film to take one of those 2021 dates.

Doctor Strange 2 (ETA: 2021)

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from ‘Doctor Strange’

Benedict Cumberbatch’s character will return, with Scott Derrickson once again directing the sorcerer. Filming is expected to start in early 2020. Chances are, Doctor Strange will be the third Marvel release in 2021.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 (ETA: 2022)

The third Guardians of the Galaxy instalment was expected to start filming in early 2019 and was due for release in 2020. However, Disney decided to fire director James Gunn after a US conservative website discovered tweets made by Gunn between 2008 and 2012 in which he joked about subjects such as paedophilia and rape.

However, following a series of meetings between Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn and Gunn, the company decided to reverse the decision. Unfortunately, in the meantime, Gunn signed up to direct a reboot of Suicide Squad. That DC title will be Gunn’s next film, with Guardians of the Galaxy coming after.

That, of course, means the film has been heavily postponed. With there currently being three Marvel release dates pegged for 2022 – 18 February, 6 May, and 29 July - Guardians Vol 3 will likely take one of these.

Captain Marvel 2? Avengers 5? Blade?

The ‘Captain Marvel’ poster (Marvel/Disney)

There are two other release dates without that have nothing yet linked to them. Although unconfirmed, one will likely be a Captain Marvel sequel. Brie Larson’s superhero has been a success at the box-office and played a key role in Endgame. With Marvel being the savvy studio they are, we expect a sequel will be announced soon enough.

As for the final slot: 2022 will mark three years since Endgame. Could another Avengers, featuring an all-new line-up, be on the way?

Another possibility is a film about Blade, the vampire killer once played by Wesley Snipes. The actor has reportedly met with Marvel to discuss playing the character once again – although that was a few years ago now.

Of course, Marvel now has a few new toys at their disposal...

The X-Men and Fantastic Four

Disney has acquired 20th Century Fox for just over $71 billion, meaning the X-Men and Fantastic Four can join their Marvel Cinematic Universe counterparts in the future. While Feige is reported to have “met with several members of the X-Men old guard in recent months”, only one of the actors currently starring as in Fox’s Marvel universe is expected to survive the buyout: Ryan Reynolds’s Deadpool.

What about the upcoming X-Men releases, then? Dark Phoenix has already been filmed and is still heading to cinemas on 6 June. In a move to seemingly distance the film from the X-Men franchise, the marketing as dropped any mention fo “X-Men” and simply refers to the film as Dark Phoenix.

Meanwhile, the horror-influenced The New Mutants has been in trouble for some time. Disney bosses have decided on a 3 April 2020 release date: almost two years after the film's initial release date 13 April 2018.

So, when will we see the X-Men fighting alongside the Avengers? Feige will first have to spend a hefty sum untangling a few contracts, most notably producer Lauren Shuler Donner, who has been attached to every X-Men film since 2000. Even when not directly involved with an X-Men project, she has received an executive producer credit. Simon Kinberg also may have a similar deal, and both will likely need to be bought out or their contracts renegotiated.

Once that’s sorted, Disney will need to decide which characters to bring on board. Feige has reportedly met with Noah Hawley, who was previously hired to script a Doctor Doom film, about writing a film centring on the Fantastic Four villain.

There’s been no other news about either X-Men or Fantastic Four films. With Marvel’s already packed schedule, no one expects to see those characters back on the big screen until 2022 at the earliest, unless, perhaps, in another superhero’s film. Doctor Doom for Avengers 5 villain, anyone?

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