With Avengers: Endgame putting an end to the story Marvel Studios began in 2008, one might wonder what they have planned next. The answer would seem to be “oh, quite a lot, actually.” Since the studio was born from Marvel Comics – the self-proclaimed House of Ideas – the possibilities are endless. From prehistoric jungle protectors to a group of Guardians 1,000 years in the future, thousands of characters are still waiting to be discovered as the MCU heads into its fourth and fifth phases.
Sometime this summer – possibly at Disney’s D23 convention or San Diego Comic-Con – Marvel will announce its new 5-year plan, but based on reports making its way to the film press, we have some idea of what these next few years of the plan will look like. Below is a handy list of those Marvel Studios movies set for release in the not-too-distant future, which, for the sake of clarity, does not include Sony’s Marvel-adjacent Spider-Verse.
First, we dig into the last confirmed MCU movie of Phase 3, then look at what we know about the untitled MCU movies headed our way (we’re taking a stab at guessing what those movies are, and providing the details/bits of info that led us to those conclusions). We’ll be updating this page frequently as new titles are announced and the schedule firms up. And careful, if you haven’t seen Endgame, there are spoilers ahead. (Want to see what the other camp is up to? Check out our full breakdown of upcoming DC movies.)
What’s Marvel got in the can, in production, or in active pre-production? One final film set within Phase 3.
Release Date: July 2, 2019
What We Know: After being Snapped for five years, Peter Parker and most of his classmates return to the high school milieu for a summer trip to Europe. Though dedicated to preserving Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) legacy, he intends to leave Spider-Man at home and spend more time with MJ (Zendaya). But a mysterious group of elemental monsters – and a summons from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – quash his vacation plans. As it turns out, the Snap left a rupture in the fabric of reality and Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) needs Peter’s help in closing it. Or, considering Beck is Mysterio, it could be a long con to get Spidey once and for all.
How It Fits in the MCU: Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige promised long ago that the film will be our “first taste” of the Phase 4, post-Avengers: Endgame MCU. But just ahead of Endgame’s debut, he amended that statement to declare Far From Home as the final Phase 3 film. Considering Peter’s reaction to Tony’s death – and the way it haunts him in the most recent trailer – we can totally see why. Beyond Spider-Man dealing with the personal implications of Endgame, there is also the five-year gap to consider. Almost all of Peter’s classmates disappeared with him, which means they will be our first look at how the world adapts to recovering people thought lost after Avengers: Infinity War. Additionally, all that business about a multiverse in the recent trailer suggests those tangent timelines teased in Endgame will continue to matter in Phase 4. Unless, of course, Marvel is pulling a Mysterio-like con of its own with that idea.
Despite their legendary veil of secrecy, Marvel Studios has acknowledged a handful of films are currently in development. Some seem certain while others await a good script. With eight(!) release dates reserved for unannounced films between the Spider-Man sequel’s 2019 release and summer 2022, it is only a matter of time before some of these projects slot into those dates. Here are the untitled releases, and what we think they may be.
Release Date: May 1, 2020
What We Think Might Happen: First revealed in January of 2018 with Jac Schaeffer writing the script, a Black Widow film emerged as Marvel’s fastest-track project with Lore’s Cate Shortland signing on to direct in July of last year. More recently, Fighting with My Family’s Florence Pugh was said to be in talks to play Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlet Johansson) rival in the spy game. At this point, we’re assuming the film will be a prequel as Nat died in Endgame. )Or, at least, her soul is trapped on Vormir in a tangent timeline.) We’re also going to assume Jeremy Renner will appear as Clint Barton. All their Endgame talk about old adventures just screams “get ready for Black Widow.”
How It Fits in the MCU: Flashbacks to Nat’s training in Avengers: Age of Ultron tie back to ideas explored in the short-lived Marvel television series Marvel’s Agent Carter – a series we know the films acknowledge thanks to Edwin Jarvis’s (James D’Arcy) cameo in Endgame – in which a Soviet-trained deep cover agent is assigned to eliminate Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Investigating the operative, Peggy discovers the brutal facility charged with creating these sleeper agents using methods teased in the Ultron flashbacks. Since we’re sticking with the idea that the film will be a prequel, we’re guessing it will focus on how Nat went from Soviet operative to a key S.H.I.E.L.D. asset. Who knows? Maybe Agent Carter fans will get a resolution to that show’s cliffhanger ending.
Release Date: July 31, 2020
What We Know: In April of 2018, Feige revealed a film based on the Eternals comic book and concept is in development. The project appears to be on the fast track now that The Rider’s Chloe Zhao has agreed to direct the film. Based on characters and situations imagined by Jack Kirby, the Eternals are a race of fantastically powerful proto-humans engineered by the Celestials (more on them in a moment) to harness vast amounts of “cosmic energy.” Generations of infighting and wars against another Celestial experiment, the Deviants, followed. According to reports, the film will center on an Eternal named Sersi with the powers of flight, strength, immortality, and molecular manipulation. The cast will reportedly include Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, and Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden.
How It Fits in the MCU: Because the Eternals and the Celestials are old and powerful — the Celestials are some of the oldest creatures in the universe — they run into just about everyone. When the Kree happened to learn about the Eternals, they tried duplicating the Celestial experiment and created Inhumans on Earth. In Marvel’s 616 universe, Thanos is himself related to the Eternals thanks to their colonization of Titan in the distant past. Meanwhile, the Celestials have already appeared in passing during both Guardians films. In the first film, one appears in a hologram during The Collector’s (Benicio Del Toro) explanation of the Power Stone. And in the second film, Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father Ego (Kurt Russell) self-identified as a Celestial. Whether or not this means Ziran the Tester will feature in Eternals or any other MCU film remains to be seen.
Release Date: February 12, 2021
What We Think Might Happen: Thanks to Endgame’s five-year gap, we’re pretty confident the Black Panther sequel will address T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) reclaiming the throne. Since the moment we saw him turn to dust in Infinity War, we’ve assumed M’Baku (Winston Duke) took power. Then again, considering how quickly Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) mobilized Wakanda to fight Thanos in Endgame, it is also possible the throne sat empty as the country hoped for T’Challa and Shuri’s (Letitia Wright) return. If he resumes his duties with a minimum of fuss, then the film’s plot will probably arise from T’Challa’s decision to reveal Wakanda to the world. Whatever stress that might’ve caused before the Snap will no doubt come to a head with the return of 3 billion-plus people.
How It Fits in the MCU: Since Captain America: Civil War, T’Challa has been a popular figure in fan circles, but the stunning success of Black Panther suggests there will be more Wakanda throughout the MCU. Shuri and Peter Parker could be fast friends, while the embassies and outreach programs T’Challa proposed at the end of Black Panther open for business in other films.
Release Date: May 7, 2021
What We Think Might Happen: In March, Short Term 12’s Destin Daniel Cretton emerged as the director a film based on Marvel’s 1970s comic book The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu . In the comics, Shang-Chi was the son of legendary villain Fu Manchu. Learning the truth about his dad’s business, he used his martial arts prowess against his father and any other Marvel baddie ready to go against his mighty hands. But considering Fu-Manchu is one of the few IPs not owned by the Walt Disney Company, fans online are already speculating Chang-Shi’s father – whom Marvel later turned into a different immortal villain in the comics – may turn out to be the “real” Mandarin teased in the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray short film “All Hail the King.”
How It Fits in the MCU: Should Marvel Studios go with this elegant idea, it resurrects the Ten Rings, an idea seeded in Iron Man, but never carried out to fruition as the Infinity Saga took shape. As a crime league embedded across the world, but owing allegiance to no country, the group gives Shang-Chi a nice international opponent with an established MCU footprint. Also, for as fun as Ben Kingsley was as the fake Mandarin, it would be nice to see the Ten Rings and its leader get a proper spotlight.
Release Date: November 5, 2021
What We Think Might Happen: It all depends on when the film is set. It could continue with Carol’s (Brie Larson) adventures in space as she chases Ronin (Lee Pace) back to the Kree border. It could be set after Endgame with Carol finally building an Avengers-like coalition on other worlds. It could also be an unknown tale about her returning to Earth sometime in late 1990s or early 21st century to teach Monica Rambeau how to fly. Her complete lack of concern for Monica or Maria (Lashana Lynch) in Endgame suggests she knew exactly where they were the whole time. But fans of Carol’s family would certainly love more clarity on that issue.
How It Fits in the MCU: At one point, it was said Phase 4 would concentrate on more of the cosmic elements of the MCU. Perhaps Captain Marvel 2 will follow-up on ideas from Guardians of the Galaxy and The Eternals. But as the Captain Marvel story spans decades, the possibilities are endless.
Release Date: February 18, 2022
What We Think Might Happen: Following his return from non-existence, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) will no doubt face Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as he tries to amass all the magic for himself, a notion teased in the first film’s post-credit stinger. Director Scott Derrickson finally signed on to return in December, suggesting the film will end up as one of the Marvel releases for 2022 (as we’ve always assumed).
How It Fits in the MCU: The mystic realm of the MCU is still ripe for exploration, even as Endgame tied it closer with the underpinning of its universe. It is also an unexpected avenue from which Doctor Doom could emerge, should Marvel Studios choose to introduce him within their five-year plan. There are also those tangent timelines to consider. Will monitoring those alternate worlds become the purview of Strange and the Sanctum Santorum?
Release Date: May 6, 2022
What We Think Might Happen: Now that the saga of James Gunn’s expulsion from the film has ended with him back in the director’s chair and Endgame has revealed the Guardians’ fates through Phase 3, we can speculate wildly about Vol.3 – or will it be called Asgardians of the Galaxy? Either way, it’s pretty clear Thor (Chris Hemsworth) will be part of the team as Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) presumably searches for the Gamora who slipped through the timelines in Endgame. There is also the often delayed debut of Adam Warlock. The character very nearly appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Infinity War, but fell away as both movies were stuffed to the air ducts with characters. It is possible he will finally do something in the MCU besides sit in an egg. Also, before Gunn’s temporary departure, he referred to the film as a conclusion to the story he began telling in the first installment; so it is possible the film will have an Endgame-like resolution. Is Peter long for this universe?
How It Fits in the MCU: It all depends on Gunn’s plans for Vol. 3 and if it takes place during the Infinity Saga. Like the way Vol. 2 occurred shortly after the first Guardians film, it could take place not long after the death of Yondu (Michael Rooker) and detail how the Guardians found, stole, or were awarded with the Benatar. More likely, it will be set after Avengers: Endgame – as we suggest above – and see the Guardians finding a new normal with Thor in their midst.
Release Date: July 29, 2022
What We Think Might Happen: Disney’s updated release calendar omits Spider-Man’s customary July release date until 2022, making this the most likely time Peter will have another solo outing. For the moment, we’re jokingly referring to it as “Home 3,” but it is entirely possible the film will be something more akin to a graduation day with Peter preparing to join the Avengers (or whatever the team will be called) full-time when one last menace threatens the neighborhood, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), MJ, and Ned (Jacob Batalon). Although, that idea certainly fits thematically in this July’s Far From Home as well.
How It Fits in the MCU: Assuming this Spider-Man film takes the place of an Avengers 5, it could be the moment the MCU pivots from establishing new characters and status quos to focusing on a Phase 4 threat. Peter could discover this seemingly hometown opponent is bigger than he can tackle and, potentially, fail during the film’s climax. As a result, he would have to round-up people like Falcon (Anthony Mackie), the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange to investigate and stop this new Thanos-level menace. Considering this film only gets us through three years of Marvel’s five-year plan, giving it a Big Moment would be pretty good pacing. The films following it would see the heroes getting ready for the coming battle. And, maybe, the villain will get his own film. There was talk not too long ago that Feige was interested in the Doctor Doom script Noah Hawley wrote for Fox. Maybe Doom’s time is coming sooner than we think.
Of course, any of the films lacking a release date could shift in the schedule. Inhumans was once meant to be a Phase 3 feature before Marvel and Sony agreed to share Spider-Man. Black Panther and Captain Marvel also shifted their release dates to accommodate the web-head’s MCU debut. Additionally, a Runaways film was once in development, but fell off the schedule as Phase 2 plans firmed up. Nonetheless, this roadmap is the beginning of Marvel Studios’ continued march into space and box office domination in the decade to come.
July w, 2019 – Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel
May 1, 2020 – Untitled Marvel Movie 1
November 6, 2020 – Untitled Marvel Movie 2
February 12, 2021 – Untitled Marvel Movie 3
May 7, 2021 – Untitled Marvel Movie 4
November 5, 2021 – Untitled Marvel Movie 5
February 18, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 6
May 6, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 7
July 29, 2022 – Untitled Marvel Movie 8