The more we learn about Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the more we begin to understand the scope and scale of Marvel Studios’ plans are for it.
However, none of the other films or shows Marvel released this year have addressed Loki’s Season 1 finale, and it doesn’t look like any will until Spider-Man: No Way Home. That includes Marvel’s next film, Eternals, which will span thousands of years and focus on a group of immortal beings living in secret on Earth.
The latter film promises to be surprisingly disconnected from the rest of Marvel’s recent films and TV shows, much to the disappointment of MCU fans everywhere. That said, a new detail about the film’s place within the MCU may confirm one increasingly popular theory about what Marvel is doing with its 2021 and 2022 titles.
A Long-Awaited Confirmation — Speaking recently with Empire Magazine, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore opened up a bit about Eternals, including when it will occur in the overall MCU timeline. Moore confirmed the film takes place “right around the same time as Spider-Man: Far From Home, with the world recovering from the attack of Thanos and the return of half the world population.”
In other words, Eternals will, like Far From Home, take place around eight months after the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. That places it after the events of WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but before Spider-Man: No Way Home. Meanwhile, the upcoming Hawkeye Disney+ series is said to take place around the same time as No Way Home. That means it could begin shortly after the events of Eternals, or there could be some overlap between the two titles.
Either way, this reveal may confirm what fans have suspected for months now: Spider-Man: No Way Home will mark the conclusion of the first “chapter” of Phase Four of the MCU.
Phase Four: Chapter One — With Spider-Man: No Way Home picking up shortly after the end of 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, the upcoming sequel is set to take place after nearly all of the MCU films and TV shows that have been released this year. The film is also set to deal heavily with the fracturing of the multiverse, which means it’s the only one of Marvel’s 2021 titles that’ll definitely address some of the concepts first introduced in Loki Season 1.
Of course, it’s not the only Phase Four film that’ll explore the multiverse. Next year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder are both expected to touch on the multiversal fracturing, as is 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Since this Eternals reveal confirms No Way Home will be the first Phase Four film to deal with the multiverse, we can expect it to have an impact on a number of the MCU films that will follow it, including Multiverse of Madness and Love and Thunder.
That also means that No Way Home has the potential to mark the beginning of a new era in the MCU, one in which its various movie and TV titles are more deeply connected by how they each deal with the fallout of the multiversal tampering in Loki and the upcoming Spider-Man sequel.
In other words, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Black Widow, Shang-Chi, Eternals, and Hawkeye may have all been intentionally set before the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home so that they wouldn’t have to address the fallout of it like the post-No Way Home titles likely will.
The Inverse Analysis — Up to this point, Phase Four of the MCU has been far more disconnected than fans likely wanted it to be. Indeed, while there have been some connections between this year’s Marvel titles, they’ve mostly been thin pieces of connective tissue bridging them to other upcoming titles. However, it’s possible that was more of an intentional choice on Marvel’s part than fans previously thought, and Spider-Man: No Way Home could very well mark the end of that pattern.
That is to say, the post-Endgame phase of the MCU may be coming to an end very soon, all so that the post-No Way Home era can begin.
Eternals is set to hit theaters on November 5, 2021.