It was at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, inside the fabled Hall H, where head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige pulled back the curtain on “Phase Four," the next era of Marvel movies and Disney+ shows releasing in 2020 and 2021. Even more new shows were revealed at D23, the biennial Disney fan convention. Based on everything we know so far, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same again.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU will be radically different as new heroes join the universe and familiar faces take on new identities. In several interviews about the new movies, Feige has made it clear that Phase Four is all about new beginnings.
“When you meet new characters and seeing those new characters meet other new characters, that’s fun," Feige said. "It’s not just world-ending stakes; it’s not just snapping out half the universe that makes an Avengers movie an Avengers movie. It’s the incredible ensemble and taking people who are completely different from one another and throwing them in a room together and seeing what happens.”
But keeping track of everything amidst the #hype can be dizzying. Below, we have a complete timeline of all the new Marvel releases coming soon to theaters or on Disney+, with a little explainer and how these movies may change the MCU as we know it.
We have also updated this page to reflect the new release dates in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced Disney to push every movie in its 2020/2021 release calendar.
January 15-March 5, 2021: WandaVision (Disney+)
The first piece of MCU content in Phase Four ended up being the premiere Disney WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprising their roles as Wanda and Vision. The show aired from January 15 to March 5, 2021, airing nine episodes on the streaming service.
With an unusual aesthetic of sitcoms from the ‘50s through the 2000s, the series initially had the visuals of an adaptation of the acclaimed Marvel Comics series The Vision by Tom King, where Vision’s idyllic suburban life is turned upside down by an accidental murder. In addition to the titular characters, the series also brought in Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis, who has not been seen since Thor: The Dark World, and Randall Park reprising his part as Agent Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man & the Wasp. Additionally, Teyonah Parris made her MCU debut as an adult version of Captain Marvel’s Monica Rambeau.
Despite the majority of the series being set inside “the Hex,” a world created by Wanda to help process the grief of losing Vision, it still has cataclysmic effects across the MCU. Thanks to the help of Agatha Harkness, Wanda was able to harness her chaos magic. She fully embraced becoming the Scarlet Witch and became a recluse prior to her appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Plus, there is the small matter of White Vision, a S.W.O.R.D.-created version of the synthezoid, floating around somewhere...
March 19-April 23, 2021: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+)
The second Disney+ MCU series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, picks up from the end of Avengers: Endgame as the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) deal with the absence of Captain America. The show aired on Disney+ from March 19-April 23, 2021.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers handed his pal Sam Wilson the shield of Captain America. But what growth will Sam undergo to fill in the boots? The show explores that prior to Sam fully taking on the mantle of Captain America going into the fourth Cap movie.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw the return of several Cap characters, including Daniel Brühl, who played Zemo in Captain America: Civil War, and Emily Vancamp as Sharon Carter. Additionally, it debuted Wyatt Russell in the MCU. He played a temporary Captain America before becoming disgraced and recruited into a mysterious team by the enigmatic Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.
June 9-July 14, 2021: Loki (Disney+)
In yet another Disney+ series, Tom Hiddleston reprised his role as the titular trickster. This version of the Asgardian is the one that used the Space Stone to disappear during the time travel shenanigans in Avengers: Endgame. His deviation from the timeline gets him in trouble with the Time Variance Authority, where he is brought in by Owen Wilson’s Mobius M. Mobius to take in an alternate version of himself named Sylvie, played by Sophia Di Martino.
The finale of Loki has had some of the most seismic effects on the MCU so far. Loki and Sylvie reached a citadel at the End of Time, populated by supposed timeline keeper He Who Remains. Played by Jonathan Majors (a large indicator that his upcoming version of Kang the Conquerer will be a variant of this character), he told the duo they could not change their paths, or risk an opening of the multiverse. Sylvie disobeyed his orders and killed him. And it’s heavily implied at the end of the episode that this reopens the multiverse, forever changing the structure of the MCU.
July 9, 2021: Black Widow
The first movie in Phase Four is Black Widow, the first solo film for Scarlett Johansson’s Russian spy turned Avenger. Directed by Cate Shortland, the film takes place after 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Joining Johansson are stars David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O.T. Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz.
Black Widow opened in theaters on July 9, 2021, after delays of almost two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Natasha is now dead in the MCU after sacrificing herself to secure the Soul Stone in Avengers: Endgame. So Black Widow is Marvel fans’ final goodbye, as it depicts Nat spending her time on the run post-Civil War to reconnect with her family of Russian assassins and scientists. While the movie's timeline makes it mostly self-contained, there is the matter of Pugh’s character Yelena. She was also recruited as part of Val’s team, but it’s possible she eventually takes up the mantle of Black Widow. It happened in the comics, after all.
August 11, 2021: What If…? (Disney+)
Evoking the name of the popular comic series, Marvel’s new animated series What If…? will explore pivotal MCU story events from a different point of view. For example, The first episode will explore a timeline where Peggy Carter was imbued with the Super Soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. Other episodes will depict a world in which T’Challa is Star-Lord and where Captain America is a zombie, in an adaptation of Marvel Zombies.
The series will be narrated by “Uatu the Watcher,” played by Jeffrey Wright. Many of the MCU’s actors are expected to reprise their roles via voice-over.
September 3, 2021: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Destin Daniel Cretton will make history by introducing audiences to the MCU’s first Asian superhero, Shang-Chi. A popular Marvel character in the 1970s, Marvel will unleash Shang-Chi for the 21st century as the kung fu spy confronts the Mandarin, the famed terrorist who may or may not be his father.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released on September 3, 2021.
The thing about the Mandarin and the Ten Rings is that they’ve been around since the beginning of the MCU. The Ten Rings kidnapped Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, and their logo also appeared in films like 2015’s Ant-Man. After an imposter was dealt with in 2013’s Iron Man 3, the true Mandarin will emerge in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Should the MCU introduce the concept of the magical Ten Rings, does the MCU have its new Infinity Stones? Is the Mandarin the new big bad villain to be feared? We will see as Phase Four keeps rolling on.
November 5, 2021: The Eternals
Jack Kirby’s weirdest heroes will come to life in Chloé Zhao’s The Eternals. It will be released on November 5, 2021.
Featuring an epic ensemble including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, an insanely ripped Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, and South Korean star Don Lee, the film will feature the introduction of an immortal alien race, the Eternals, who are sent to save Earth against their evil counterparts, the Deviants. It will also feature the debut of Kit Harington as Black Knight.
The film’s plot is rumored to span across thousands of years and possibly end up in the present day, with set photos depicting archaeological digs and ancient structures resembling those of the Mayans and Egyptians.
To make up for the loss of the Inhumans (themselves an offshoot of the Eternals), the Eternals may be the biggest shock to the MCU. Due to their alien nature and association with the Celestials, how will humans react to co-existing with protectors who aren’t like them? It took years to get around Thor. How much will be undone when the Eternals arrive?
November 24, 2021: Hawkeye (Disney+)
One of the most popular Marvel series of the 2010s is getting the (loose) adaptation it deserves.
Matt Fraction and David Aja’s acclaimed Hawkeye will be adapted into a series premiering November 24, 2021 on Disney+. It stars Jeremy Renner, who mentors a young archer, Kate Bishop (Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld), to take over as the new Hawkeye. Concept art has also confirmed that the series will depict the debut of beloved Hawkeye character Lucky, the hero’s adopted dog with an affinity for pizza. He’s a dog who loves pizza. Move over, Baby Yoda.
December 17, 2021: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Though it may not have seemed in the cards at a certain point, Spidey is back for his third centric movie in the MCU. Spider-Man: No Way Home finishes off 2021, releasing December 17, 2021.
The film is expected to follow up on the conclusion of Far From Home, with Peter Parker not only outed as Spider-Man but also framed for the murder of Mysterio. Though little is known about the movie at this point, it has drawn headlines for its casting. So far, Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina are set to reprise their previous villainous roles as Electro and Doctor Octopus, respectively. And if the multiverse is assumingly open for characters from other Spidey movies and franchises to cross over, could that mean Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will be suiting up once more?
March 25, 2022: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
A sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch will again play the Sorcerer Supreme. Acclaimed horror director Sam Raimi will step in to helm the film.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be released in theaters on March 25, 2022.
Said to be the first true horror movie in the MCU, Multiverse of Madness hints at a Lovecraftian-esque cosmic terror that arises as Strange explores the Marvel multiverse. The movie will also star both Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Hiddleston, and it’s clear what happened to them in their respective Disney+ series will have major consequences on the actions of the Sorcerer Supreme.
May 6, 2022: Thor: Love and Thunder
By the gods! A new Thor will emerge in Thor: Love and Thunder. Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, will wield the hammer of Thor (living up to Jason Aaron’s epic comic book series The Mighty Thor) in a new film from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. Chris Hemsworth will again return as Thor, and Tessa Thompson back as Valkyrie.
Thor: Love and Thunder will be released in theaters on May 6, 2022.
Thompson teased Valkyrie will “look for a queen” now that she’s the king of Asgard. Thor: Love and Thunder has the potential to rebuild Asgard anew while introducing a new God of Thunder — and possibly a new Avenger.
In an October 2019 interview to promote his World War II satire Jojo Rabbit, Waititi said Thor: Love and Thunder will go even harder into the new creative tone Thor: Ragnarok introduced. “It’s going to be bigger and louder and more bombastic,” Waititi said. “It’s only interesting to me if we’re doubling down on how nuts Ragnarok was.”
Thor: Love and Thunder will feature cameo appearances from the Guardians of the Galaxy, who Thor was flying off with at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Thor: Ragnarok fan favorites Korg (Waititi) and the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) will also return. Christian Bale will make his MCU debut as villain Gorr the God Butcher. And Jaimie Alexander will don armor again as Lady Sif, making her first appearance on screen since Thor: The Dark World almost 10 years ago.
July 8, 2022: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
It’s time to go back to Wakanda. The sequel to the Oscar-nominated Black Panther, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on July 8, 2022.
Director and screenwriter Ryan Coogler is slated to return, along with cast members Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett. Of course, the panther in the room is the death of Chadwick Boseman, who shockingly passed from colon cancer in 2020. With the titular Black Panther out of the picture, Coogler and company had to pivot the film, which now explores more of the other Wakandans fighting to keep their kingdom safe without a king. Given the comics background, it is possible we could see Shuri getting into some magical herbs by the movie’s end.
November 11, 2022: The Marvels
Carol Danvers will return in the sequel The Marvels, which will arrive in theaters on November 11, 2022.
The movie will, of course, star Brie Larson returning to her role as Captain Marvel. Teyonah Parris will make her way to the big screen from WandaVision, having lost her mother (and Carol’s best friend) while also gaining electromagnetic powers in the series. The film will also feature the film debut of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.
Late 2021: Ms. Marvel
Speaking of Kamala Khan! Iman Vellani will star as the teenage shapeshifter, the first Muslim hero to headline a Marvel comic. The series is set to premiere at some point in late 2021 (most likely following Hawkeye). It also stars Aramis Knight, Saagar Shaikh, Rish Shah, Matt Lintz, Zenobia Shroff, and Mohan Kapur.
2022: Moon Knight
Moon Knight will be released at some point in 2022. Oscar Isaac will star as Marc Spector, a former U.S. Marine with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who becomes the conduit for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Ethan Hawke and May Calamawy will also appear.
She-Hulk, coming in 2022, will expand Bruce Banner’s family by bringing in his cousin Jennifer Walters. Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany will portray the titular lawyer/green monster, and Mark Ruffalo will naturally appear (whether in flashbacks or his new “Professor Hulk” form from Avengers: Endgame).
Tim Roth will reprise his role as Emil Blonsky, returning to the MCU for the first time since The Incredible Hulk, when Edward Norton played Bruce Banner. She-Hulk will also star Ginger Gonzaga, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Jameela Jamil, who will play rival Titania.
2022: Secret Invasion
A major Marvel storyline will be adapted to Disney+. Coming in 2022, Secret Invasion will focus on the life of the shapeshifting alien Skrulls on Earth. However, given the rather sympathetic story the Skrulls were given when they were introduced in Captain Marvel, it’s safe to say that it won’t hew closely to its comics equivalent. The series will star Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn and assumingly focus on Nick Fury and Talos trying to aid the Skrulls on Earth and in the stars.
December 2022: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Deck the halls with boughs of Groot! James Gunn will write and direct a new television special to air in December 2022. It will focus on the titular Guardians, no doubt a take on the much-maligned Star Wars Holiday Special. Little is known about the special, except that it will take place chronologically before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (which will be released in May 2023). That, and it’s sure to have a great soundtrack.
Marvel’s Phase Four began with Black Widow, released in theaters and on Disney+ on July 9, 2021.
This article was originally published on