Phases are the bedrock of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s infrastructure. The Infinity Saga, which consisted of Phases 1 through 3, set up the acquisition and catastrophic usage of the Infinity Gauntlet. Now, in Phase 4, we’ve officially entered the Multiverse Saga. But while the plans for Phases 4, 5, and 6 seem just as action-packed as what came before, there’s one key difference that rests on the upcoming sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Basically, it could be the movie that makes or breaks the Multiverse Saga.
The first three phases of the MCU followed a simple formula. Each started with a movie that established a new plot thread, and then each ended with a huge team-up movie that resolved the issue. Phase 1 introduced the Avengers initiative, then ended with The Avengers. Phases 2 and 3 messed with the order a bit, but every contained a big team-up blockbuster: Phase 2 had Avengers: Age of Ultron and Phase 3 sported a triple-header of Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.
But Phase 4 contains no such crossover. There have been plenty of adventures, but they’ve all stood alone. Each has dealt with a specific consequence of the Infinity Saga, whether it’s Wanda mourning the loss of Vision or Thor getting his groove back.
The big blockbuster that’s supposed to wrap up this phase is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the much-awaited Black Panther sequel that remains a mystery. Despite the recent release of a trailer, there’s still no sign of who the new Black Panther is.
It’s a movie that has quite the task ahead of it. Going off of clues from the trailer, it has to set up a new Black Panther, introduce Namor the Sub-Mariner and Atlantis, and possibly show us a flashback of Namor’s people fighting against conquistadors. That’s a lot of business for a movie that’s also supposed to be wrapping up Phase 4 of the MCU.
But maybe Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the only movie that could possibly take this place in the lineup. Phase 4 has always focused on healing from the events of Endgame and coming to terms with a new reality. Without Chadwick Boseman and T’Challa, Wakanda Forever is the perfect example of this theme, proving that you can accept change and let life continue. It’s a big challenge, but this movie has to pull it off for the MCU to continue running smoothly.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in theaters November 11, 2022.