'Black Panther 2,' 'Black Widow,' and 6 More Movies in Marvel's Phase 4
The Marvel Universe is getting bigger. With the biggest superhero movie of the year, Avengers: Endgame just around the corner and Captain Marvel out this week, fans are curious to know what’s to come from Marvel Studios. But uncharacteristic of the studio, Marvel hasn’t publicly mapped out what’s to come after 2019.
Back in Fall 2014 when Marvel revealed its plans for “Phase 3” of its interconnected shared universe, unveiling Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War (then split into two parts), and Captain Marvel. Well, those five years have happened. So, what’s next?
Here’s what we know: First, Marvel isn’t going to stop making movies. (Duh.) Second, Marvel has blocked out dates for a whopping nine (9) movies between Endgame and July 29, 2022. All nine are unnamed.
Furthermore, we know that sequels are inevitable (some of which we mention below). What we don’t know is what the next Avengers crossover film will be.
Based on what’s surfaced on the internet these last few months, here’s everything we know (or think we know)about Marvel’s near future plans for what could constitute “Phase Four” of its ongoing quest for global box office domination.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5, 2019)
This one is no secret. After Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man picks up the story baton and brings the MCU back to New York City. From there, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) embarks on a vacation to Europe, where he’s pulled in on a top-secret mission by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) that forces him to cross paths with the one and only Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Spider-Man: Far From Home will swing into theaters on July 5.
Black Panther 2 (TBA)
After making all the money ever printed and qualifying for a Best Picture Oscar at this year’s host-less ceremony, it is no surprise Marvel is hammering away at Black Panther 2 (title TBA). But the studio hasn’t publicly acknowledged the sequel’s existence, aside from Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige saying “Absolutely” to plans just after the first film’s theatrical release.
Real news of the sequel surfaced months later in October 2018, when The Hollywood Reporter reported that director Ryan Coogler “quietly” closed a deal to write and direct a sequel. As far release date, that also remains unclear.
“You know, obviously there’s Black Panther 2, which isn’t for a few years,” said Black Panther editor Debbie Berman in an interview with Inverse. “I don’t even know when it’s happening exactly. It’s all on Ryan’s shoulders to write now. But hopefully, that’s going to happen.”
There is currently no release date for Black Panther 2.
The Eternals (TBA, shooting August 2019)
“Eternals is one of many, many, many things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about to see if we believe in them enough to put them on a slate,” Feige said while promoting Avengers: Infinity War in April 2018. A few months later, Marvel hired Chloé Zhao to direct the film, officially becoming the first Asian woman to direct a Marvel film. (Lucy Liu directed an episode of Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 2.)
Created by Jack Kirby after a stint at DC where he created the New Gods (who are also getting a movie from Ava DuVernay), the Eternals are the evolutionary offshoots of humans created by the ancient Celestials. The Celestials also performed their experiments on other worlds, including the those of the Skrull and Kree. Thanos, himself, is an Eternal of the planet Titan.
The film is said to revolve around the romance between two Eternals: Ikaris, an Eternal fueled by cosmic energy and whose son is actually Icarus of Greek mythology, and Sersi, who enjoys spending time among humans while influencing Earth history. That Hashtag Show also reported from anonymous sources that Marvel is looking for an openly gay actor to play a role in Eternals.
There is currently no release date for Eternals.
Black Widow (TBA)
Marvel fans clamoring for a Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson as her slick Russian operative will finally get their wish. At some point.
Black Widow began development sometime in February 2014, when Feige told Total Film (via IGN) that the studio has “some development around that.” Years later, in January 2018, Black List screenwriter Jac Schaeffer was hired to pen the script for Black Widow. In July 2018, Cate Shortland signed on as director.
Details regarding the film are scarce, but in a post originating from That Hashtag Show (now deleted), it was suggested the film could be another period piece, this time set in the early 2000s. If true, this would set Black Widow before the character’s first appearance in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Additionally, That Hashtag Show reported that the villain Taskmaster may be the film’s primary antagonist.
There is currently no release date for Black Widow.
Perhaps influenced by the breakthrough success of Crazy Rich Asians, in December 2018 Marvel greenlit a film based on the cult 1970s kung fu superhero Shang-Chi created by Jim Starlin.
Deadline initially reported the story, explaining that Marvel hopes to replicate the cultural significance of Black Panther for an Asian audience. The studio hired Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham (also working on Wonder Woman 1984 and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2) to pen the script, and Marvel is currently looking for Asian directors and stars.
Created in 1973 to capitalize on American pop culture’s sudden martial arts obsession (spurred by the superstardom and death of Bruce Lee), Shang-Chi was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin. The character is known as the “Master of Kung Fu” and starred in a long-running comic book series of the same name, which lasted for 125 issues.
In a November 2018 interview, Stan Lee’s former boss Margaret Loesch told Inverse that the late creator wanted to produce a Shang-Chi film or TV show with Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee in the starring role. “Stan had great belief that those movies and TV shows based on those types of characters could be very popular,” Loesch said. “I can’t remember what happened, I think maybe we felt out the networks and they weren’t interested because of the violence.”
There is no release date for Shang-Chi.
Naturally, Marvel has other sequels in development, but details are so scarce we decided to group them all together in their own neat section.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3: Although it fired James Gunn in response to a June 2018 alt-right campaign to discredit the filmmaker, Marvel Studios is still going forward with a third Guardians of the Galaxy movie and will actually use his script. But when will the movie be released? In August 2018, Variety reported Marvel “feels no pressure to immediately find a new director” and is waiting for an A-liste when they’re available. An industry-only resource Production Weekly revealed that a third Guardians film isn’t slated for release until February 2021.
- Doctor Strange 2: The first film from 2016 left a pretty big opening for a sequel, and it seems Marvel is finally going to follow through. Like Coogler, director Scott Derrickson “quietly” closed a deal to return for Doctor Strange 2 (title TBA) back in December. In interviews dating back to October 2016, Derrickson said he wanted to “bring in a villain where you really got to go deep [and have] a more visceral experience.”
- Avengers 5. We know literally nothing about this movie aside from the fact that it will feature some combination of the heroes, but come on, it’s only a matter of time.
Avengers: Endgame will be released in theaters on April 26.