Its that time of year again where geeks the world over spend the next few days scouring the internet for every crumb of news from SDCC and more importantly Hall H. Without a doubt the biggest announcement this year was Marvel and its plans for Phase 4!
Kevin Fiege once again owned Hall H which should now just be named Hall Fiege to be fair. Although there were a whole 8 projects revealed I am not entirely convinced this is the entirety of Phase 4. For a start, it only covers the period 2020 to 2021.
It has become common practice now for Marvel and DC to attend SDCC on alternate years so expect the rest of Phase 4 at SDCC in 20121. For now, though let us digest the awesomeness that was announced last night…
First up in the Phase 4 slate is Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson once again reprises her role as the badass spy Natasha Romanov but this time she is joined by stranger things David Harbour as well as:
- Florence Pugh – A sister figure to Black Widow
- Rachel Weisz
- O-T Fagbenle – A contact from Natasha Romanov past with romantic feelings for Black Widow
Also not on stage at SDCC but appearing in the film according to IMDB is Ray Winstone.
Not much is known about the plot to Black Widow but we do know it will address how Romanov got “red in her ledger”
Black Widow is due to hit cinemas on 1st May 2020.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Autumn of 2020 sees the arrival of the first Disney+ mega event. These are live-action TV shows made specifically for the new Disney streaming service and will tie in directly with Phase 4 of the MCU so much so that they actually appear on the Phase 4 slate.
First up on the new streaming platform is The Falcon and Winter Soldier.
This will see Anthony Mackie back as the Falcon and Sebastian Stan returning as the Winter Soldier. Interestingly the logo for the show is Captain America’s iconic shield.
Now we know that Falcon was given the shield from an old Steve Rogers at the end of End Game. But both characters have wielded the shield and the Captain moniker in the comics. It will be interesting to see if they are allies or fighting for the right to represent America.
The biggest reveal of the announcement was that Daniel Bruhl will once again reprise his role as Baron Zemo.
Falcon and Winter Solider arrives on Disney+ in autumn 2020
Following on from Black Widow is a brand new title in the MCU. The Eternals.
The Eternals are a group of immortals that have been on earth for 35,000 years. They were placed on Earth by the Celestials to defend the planet from the Deviants.
The original comic was created by Jack Kirby and Kevin Fiege promised that The Eternals entry into the MCU will be a “Full Jack Kirby film”
The cast of The Eternals announced on stage in Hall H are:
- Salma Hayek – Ajak (the leader of The Eternals)
- Angelina Jolie – Thena
- Richard Madden – Ikaris
- Kumail Nanjiani – Kingo
- Brian Tyree Henry – Phastos
- Dong-Seok Ma – Gilgamesh
- Lia McHugh – Sprite
- Lauren Ridloff – Makkari
An interesting point to note (especially in today’s toxic internet environment regarding casting in major films) Lauren Ridloff, who is deaf herself, will be the first-ever deaf superhero in a major movie. – I await to be corrected in the comments.
The Eternals is scheduled to hit cinemas on the 6th November 2020
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
It has been 6 years since everyone got angry about the Mandarin/Trevor Slattery twist in Iron Man 3 (Personally I quite enjoyed it). Apart from the Marvel short “All Hail to the King” we have had no mention of the Mandarin since. All that is set to change in 2021.
The terrorist group The Ten Rings have been prevalent throughout the whole of the Iron Man Trilogy and their logo even made an appearance in Ant-Man.
Kevin Fiege confirmed that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will in fact feature The Mandarin.
Taking on the role of The Mandarin is actor Tony Chiu-Wai Leung with Simu Liu taken on the title role of Shang-Chi.
There was nothing else revealed about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings other than its release date of 12th February 2021
WandaVision is the next Disney+ instalment to Phase 4 of the MCU
Obviously, WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlett Witch Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision. Last time we saw Vision he died at the hands of Thanos in Infinity War.
Kevin Fiege did confirm at SDCC that WandaVision takes place after the events of Endgame so just how Vision returns remains to be seen.
WandaVision release on Disney+ in Spring 2021
Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness
The 6th entry into Phase 4 is the first sequel to an existing MCU property. Although Black Widow kicks off Phase 4 it is rumoured to be a prequel movie.
Falcon and Winter Soldier along with WandaVision take place after the events of End Game but they are launching on the Disney+ Series so technically Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is the first cinematic sequel of Phase 4
Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness director made some bold claims on stage in Hall H. First off promising the weird and psychedelic effects we have come to expect from Dr Strange. Then announcing that this will be the MCU’s first scary movie.
Kevin Fiege was quick to jump in and point out it will be PG-13 so don’t expect a gore fest horror movie but more of an unsettling, gothic tale verging on a psychological thriller.
Benedict Cumberbatch once again returns as the sorcerer supreme. Kevin Fiege then went on to announce that Elizabeth Olsen will appear as the Scarlett Witch.
All we know about the story in Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is that it will take place after, and be directly influenced, by the events in WandaVison.
Dr Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled for a 7th May 2021 cinematic release.
Also popping up on Disney+ in spring 2021 is the God of mischief himself Loki. Tom Hiddlestone returns to reprise the role that quite frankly no one in the known universe can replace him in.
Following on from the moment in Endgame where we see Loki steal the Tessaract. The series will focus on what Loki gets up to after the events of Endgame.
Loki will premiere on Disney plus in spring 2021
Phase 4 of the MCU takes an extremely surprising turn in the summer of 2021 with the release of What IF…
The first-ever animated series in the MCU will see Jeffery Wright voice The Watcher in the Disney+ Mega Event.
We have only ever seen The Watchers briefly in a Stan Lee cameo during Guardians of the Galaxy 2. So it will be brilliant to see The Watcher commentate on the events of the MCU.
Nothing was said about the story, plot or set up so let the internet rumours begin.
The Watcher assigned to observe Earth and its solar system is named Uatu, and he served as the narrator of Marvel’s What If comic book series, telling readers tales of alternate realities.
This opens up a wealth of Story Lines for the MCU such as “what if Spiderman joined the Fantastic Four?” and “What If Jane Foster found Moljnir?”
Kevin Feige did confirm that a whole host of the MCU actors will be voicing their roles in the animated series. He didn’t quite announce who but I am sure more will become known as we edge closer to its release.
What If is scheduled to release on Disney+ in the summer of 2021
Hawkeye rounds off the last of the Disney+ mega-events for 2021. With Jeremy Renner reprising his role as Hawkeye.
The Disney+ show will also feature the Kate Bishop version of Hawkeye. Speaking on stage at Hall H Jeremy Renner said:
“What I get to do in the show ultimately is shepherd an amazing character, ultimately a better version of me and the sentiment of that is the fibre of what Hawkeye is, at least what I think Hawkeye is — a superhero without superpowers and I get to teach someone else to be a superhero without superpowers.”
Just before the reveal ended Kevin Fiege also confirmed that we would be seeing more of Clint Barton as the Ronin.
Hawkeye is due to hit Disney+ in Autumn 2021
Thor Love and Thunder
The God of Thunder returns in the first MCU title to get a fourth movie. After Thor Dark World I don’t think anyone would have predicted that!
The franchise was brought back to life by Taika Waititi with Thor Ragnarok and the amazingly talented and hilarious director returns once again for Thor Love and Thunder.
Chris Hemsworth reprises the role of Thor Odinson with Tessa Thompson returning as Valkyrie.
The biggest announcement of Thor Love and Thunder was that the story takes inspiration from the Jason Aaron comic book run The Mighty Thor. The storyline is the first time we see a female Thor in the comic books.
In the comics, Jane Foster takes up the mantle of Thor. The MCU will be no different has Natalie Portman returns to the role of Jane Foster.
Takaki Waititi went so far as to get on his knees and present Natalie Portman with Moljnir. It doesn’t take a genius to work out which direction Jane Foster’s character is going.
Thor Love and Thunder is scheduled for a 5th November 2021 cinematic release.
The final announcement ( but not the last bombshell) in the Phase 4 slate was in fact Blade. That’s right the day walker is coming to the MCU.
Unfortunately, (in my humble opinion anyway) Blade will not see Wesley Snipes reprise his role. In fact, we are getting a brand new vampire hunter portrayed by Mahershala Ali.
Ali is well known for his portrayal of Remy in House of Cards. But this isn’t his first venture into the Marvel Universe. He did in fact appear as Cornell “Cotton Mouth” Stokes in the Netflix Luke Cage series.
Whilst Blade and Mahershala Ali were announced at the very end there isn’t an actual release date or hint at when he will arrive in the MCU.
The Last Bombshell!
As the Marvel Hall H presentation wrapped up Kevin Fiege had a few more Bombshells to drop upon us all.
Kevin Fiege closed out with the following speech:
“There is a lot we didn’t get to talk about today. We didn’t even mention we are making Black Panther 2. We didn’t mention the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is coming. We didn’t have time to talk about Captain Marvel 2. I didn’t even have time to talk about The Fantastic Four and there is no time left to talk about Mutants and how they arrive in the MCU.”
So there it is! The Fantastic Four and the X-Men confirmed for Phase 4 of the MCU!
We knew after the Disney/Fox merger it would be happening but it is great to get an official announcement. Even if it is just a teaser.
So there it is. The entirety of Marvel’s Hall H presentation ( Just missing the actual footage shown I’m afraid.)
As expected it was full of announcements. Set out the road map for Phase 4. Although I feel this is only the first half of Phase 4 as it only covers 2 years.
The last speech for Kevin Fiege confirms there is more to come. And of course, there is no mega team-up Avengers-style event at the end of the announced slate.
The most interesting thing to take from the Phase 4 presentation is the fact that the MCU is branching out. Disney+ series are included in the Phase 4 slate.
What If is not only a twist in the progression of the MCU but also introduces the first animated entry into the MCU.
I am not exactly sure if an animated adventure will fit within the tone and pace of the MCU but I will await its release with cautious optimism. There is no need to put down something we know very little about.
It was great to see a whole host of new franchises entering the MCU. The fact that the first sequel in the slate doesn’t appear till the 6th entry shows just how much the MCU is moving forward and changing into something new and unique.
The MCU already holds a special place in the history of film as the first-ever 23 film connected universe.
Whilst Phase 3 tied everything up (although quite messily) with End Game. It is great to see that Kevin Fiege and the amazing folks over at Marvel Studios aren’t afraid to shake things up and evolve the amazing cinematic universe before it becomes stale.
What are your thoughts on the Phase 4 presentation and the announced films? What do you think of the MCU expanding out into Disney+? Will Disney+ be a permanent feature of the MCU or is the MCU just being used to launch it?
Let us know what you think below and come join our Discord to talk about all things geek with our writers and our community.