The Infinity Saga has been and gone, so it’s time for the next phase of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). It won’t be a totally clean slate of course, but along with returning favourites, we’ll also get a host of new characters and groups, now expanding onto the smaller screen thanks to the new Disney+ shows.
The Marvel films and shows that are being released between 2021 and 2023 will make up Phase 4 of the MCU. We don’t know exactly where Phase 4 will end and Phase 5 will begin, so for the time being we’re counting everything officially confirmed by Disney so far, with unconfirmed plans like the X-Men as Phase 5.
As so much has been announced, it can be hard to keep track of what exactly is on the way. This is especially true with all the delays due to the pandemic, which has had a massive effect on TV and film production and release dates.
Fortunately, we’ve done all the research for you and collated all the titles, information and release dates, and arranged them in chronological release order so you can plan out your cinema trips and TV binges for the next few years – though we have a separate guide to watching all the Marvel movies and TV so far in order too. Phase 4, assemble!
Spoiler warning for previous Marvel films & TV shows.
It may initially seem confusing to have a series that focuses around Wanda Maximoff and Vision, as the latter met his demise in Avengers: Infinity War. The premise of this show is that the pair are trying to live a suburban fifties lifestyle, but something much more sinister is bubbling beneath the surface.
Starring: Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Emily VanCamp, Wyatt Russell
Following the resolution of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes team up to take on new foes together. Sam is trying to deal with the responsibility of being given the shield from Steve Rogers, whilst Bucky is trying to make amends for his past mistakes. Their fight against a dangerous group of violent enhanced fighters leads them to Civil War villain, Baron Zemo.
Loki has become one of the most beloved characters of the MCU, swinging back-and-forth between being a hero and a villain throughout the Thor and Avengers films. In his debut series, we see more from the God of Mischief in a new timeline that was opened up in Avengers: Endgame.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh
Finally, Natasha Romanoff has a standalone film. In the MCU timeline, this film is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, following Black Widow as she is on the run for not obeying the Sokovia Accords and assisting Steve Rogers. The movie features the character Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian (played by David Harbour), who has a history with Romanoff, and Yelena, who is played by the brilliant Florence Pugh.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Black Widow is available in both cinemas and via Disney Plus Premier Access. You can read more about the Black Widow release here.
Starring: Hayley Atwell, Jeffrey Wright, Samuel L. Jackson
The first animated title in the Phase 4 lineup, this anthology series explores alternative universes for each of the MCU films. For example, the debut episode tells the story of what would happen if Peggy Carter got the Super Soldier serum as opposed to Steve Rogers in Captain America, while another sees T’Challa (aka Black Panther) become Star-Lord.
The second season of What If…? has been confirmed, which is coming to Disney+ “soon”.
Starring: Simu Liu, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Awkwafina
Simu Liu shot for the stars and asked Marvel openly on Twitter to include Asian American hero Shang-Chi in the MCU, and ended up bagging the role for himself. Shang-Chi is known as ‘The Master of Kung-Fu’, and goes head-to-head with the REAL Mandarin (not Ben Kingsley’s version as seen in Iron Man 3) and the terrorist group, The Ten Rings.
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington
A new area of Marvel Comics is explored through Eternals. This film follows a race of immortal aliens created by the Celestials, who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following Avengers: Endgame, a tragic turn of events brings them out of hiding to fight against an ancient enemy called the Deviants.
Jeremy Renner may not be getting his own standalone film, but he does have a full Disney Plus series. Clint Barton is joined by Marvel Comics character Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), who becomes the protégé of the current Hawkeye, and eventually, takes on the name of the sharpshooting Avenger. Find out more in our roundup of the Hawkeye series.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is the first film to really crack open the multiverse in the MCU. The end of Far From Home featured the shocking return of J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), who revealed Peter Parker’s identity to the rest of New York. The consequences that this has for Peter are enormous, especially for his family and friends. So, Peter makes a deal with Doctor Strange to try and revert things back to the way they were.
In doing so, the two mess with the multiverse and cause other characters from previous Spider-Man films to come into the MCU. This includes Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus, Willem Dafoe as The Green Goblin and Jamie Foxx as Electro.
Moon Knight tells the story of Steven Grant, a gift shop employee who struggles with blackouts. Steven soon learns that he has another personality that he shares his life with. This is a mercenary called Marc Spector, a man with many enemies. On top of all that, Steven also has mysterious powers that have been granted to him by the Egyptian God of the Moon, Khonshu.
Out now in cinemas (releases on Disney+ on 22 June 2022)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen
The sequel to the 2016 film Doctor Strange surprisingly fits under the horror genre. Dr. Stephen Strange continues to investigate the workings of the Time Stone after the events of Endgame – but his plans are thrown into disarray when a friend-turned-foe ends up triggering events that unleash a new evil upon Earth.
Kamala Kahn (AKA Ms. Marvel) is a relatively recent addition to Marvel Comics, and also the first Pakistani American, Muslim superhero. In the comics, she lives in New Jersey, idolises Captain Marvel and can alter her appearance at will. We imagine that this series will explore her origin story before she also pops up alongside Brie Larson in The Marvels.
Cinema release date: 7 July 2022 (UK), 8 July 2022 (US)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Chris Pratt
After Taika Waititi revamped the Thor films with Ragnarok and gave a new comedy angle to the Norse branch of the MCU, Thor will be the first Marvel character to get a fourth film in this franchise. However, there’s a big twist, as Jane Foster will be returning, taking on the role of another Thor – Mighty Thor. We’ll also see the return of the original Thor and the new King of Asgard, Valkyrie, as they team up to fight Gorr the God Butcher, played by Christian Bale.
I Am Groot
Disney+ release date: 10 August 2022
Starring: Vin Diesel
Clearly, Baby Yoda was enough of a hit that Baby Groot is getting his own turn in the limelight. This series of animated shorts will see the little tree meet “several new and unusual characters,” but that’s all we know so far. As you may expect, Vin Diesel is back to voice the little guy.
Disney+ series release date: 17 August 2022
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Roth, Jameela Jamil
Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters will star as She-Hulk. In the comics, Walters is an attorney for her full-time profession but struggles to balance her uncontrollable gamma-radiation powers that she’s inherited from her cousin. Excitingly, Mark Ruffalo will also appear in the series, as will Tim Roth – reprising his role as Abomination from that Edward Norton Hulk movie way back when.
Despite the tragic death of lead Chadwick Boseman, Marvel is moving ahead with a new Black Panther film – though has confirmed that it won’t be recasting his character, T’Challa. Instead, the sequel will explore the rest of its Wakandan cast, and no doubt see someone else step into the now-iconic armour.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Disney+ release date: Holiday 2022
James Gunn is back to write and direct this seasonal special starring the Guardians. We don’t know which members of the cast will appear, but we do know that it will count as canon and tee up Guardians 3, making it essential watching for MCU fans.
Disney+ release date: 2022
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn
Nick Fury is back, and joined by Ben Mendelsohn’s Skrull Talos from Captain Marvel, in a new Disney+ series that will explore one of the comics’ iconic arcs: the Skrull secret invasion of Earth, when shapeshifters surreptitiously replaced countless political figures (and superheroes!) across the planet in a bid to take it over.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Cinema release date: 17 February 2023
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton, Jonathan Majors
Peyton Reed is once again directing the third Ant-Man movie, which is apparently going to lean hard into that dumb joke about putting ‘quantum’ in front of everything. Perhaps most excitingly, Jonathan Majors is confirmed to appear as Kang the Conqueror – a big bad we’re now expecting to be the Thanos of Phase 4 and beyond.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Cinema release date: 5 May 2023
Starring: Christ Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
James Gunn is back in the Marvel fold for his third Guardians movie, long-delayed thanks to Disney firing and then re-hiring him. Vol. 3 will follow on directly from the Guardians Holiday Special, and could well be the final outing for the gang.
Cinema release date: 28 July 2023
Starring: Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris
Captain Marvel’s second outing will be directed by Nia DaCosta – the creator behind the 2021 Candyman reboot. Brie Larson will of course be back in the lead role, but she’ll be joined by the new Ms. Marvel, Iman Vellani, and Teyonah Parris’s Monica Rambeau following on from her appearance in WandaVision. In addition, Zawe Ashton has been cast as the villain – though we don’t know who.
Disney+ release date: 2023
Starring: Cal Dodd, Lenore Zann, George Buza, Alison Sealy-Smith, Chris Potter, Catherine Disher, Adrian Hough, and Christopher Britton
It was only a matter of time before we saw the X-Men land in the Marvel universe, and here we are. X-Men ’97 is a revival/sequel to the original nineties cartoon, with lots of the original voice cast set to star. Whilst exploring a new plot, the tone of the show will be familiar to fans of the show.
Disney+ release date: TBC
Starring: Dominique Thorne
Another recent comics addition, Ironheart follows Riri Williams, a genius young inventor who creates a suit of armour that puts Tony Stark to shame. No word yet on whether anyone from the Iron Man movies will make an appearance, but we’d be surprised not to see Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan turn up somewhere.
Disney+ release date: TBC
Starring: Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle returns as War Machine in this adaptation of a popular comic arc that delves into the late Tony Stark’s biggest fear: what happens when his armour falls into the wrong hands? Expect lots of big clank Iron Man suits fighting each other. We’re sold, even if we’ll have to get used to the American ‘armor’ spelling.
Cinema release date: TBC
Starring: Mahershala Ali
It’s been years since Wesley Snipes put down the katana, and now Mahershala Ali is back for his second Marvel role (he was in Luke Cage on Netflix, remember?) to play the Daywalker. The half-vampire vampire hunter is coming to the big screen, but we don’t yet know when, or who else will join him.
Cinema release date: TBC
Marvel’s first family is getting its third outing on the big screen, but hopefully this time they’ll get it right. Jon Watts – director of the MCU Spidey films – was attached to direct, but has since stepped away. Marvel is currently searching for a replacement.
Echo is a character that was introduced in Hawkeye, and she’s getting her own spin-off. Maya Lopez will be the first Native American hero in the MCU and one of the few deaf characters in the franchise.
Spider-Man: Freshman Year
Disney+ release date: TBC
This animated series will be a prequel to Civil War and will follow the origin story of the MCU’s Peter Parker as he became Spider-Man in high school at the age of fourteen. No cast has so far been confirmed.
Agatha: House of Harkness
Disney+ release date: TBC
Starring: Kathryn Hahn
The character in the MCU with the best theme song ever is getting her own series. Agatha Harkness was first introduced in WandaVision, and has a rich history to explore as a witch – something that will no doubt be detailed in this new original.
Disney+ release date: TBC
If What If…? didn’t quite meet your MCU zombie expectations, then never fear. There’s an entire series dedicated to this plot, coming soon to Disney+.
If we look even further ahead in the MCU, there are other films and shows on the way that we expect are more likely to be part of Phase 5.
Ryan Reynolds is working with Marvel Studios on Deadpool 3 according to Collider, now that Disney has control of Fox. Allegedly the film will still be rated R, despite being under the Disney label. Pre-production is currently underway.
The Fox partnership means that X-Men movies will probably be in the works.
Producer of Spider-Man, Amy Pascal, has confirmed to Fandango that Tom Holland will be back for another trilogy of films, set in the MCU. There are rumours that both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire could be making a return, after their appearance in No Way Home.
There was a worrying bout of negotiations between Disney and Sony over the MCU Spider-Man films, and it seemed as if Holland’s future with Marvel was coming to an end – especially considering how Sony is continuing to build up its own spider-universe with Venom, Morbius and other titles.
Nonetheless, many Spidey fans will be pleased to hear that this is not the end of Peter Parker’s story.
There is a fourth instalment in the Captain America series, penned by Malcolm Spellman, creator of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. It will star Anthony Mackie (playing Sam Wilson) in the titular role.
Ryan Coogler – the director of Black Panther – will also be directing a new series for Disney+ all about Wakanda (via io9). The series is part of a five-year television deal that the writer-director has signed with Disney.
Nothing is yet known specifically about the plot. We may encounter brand new characters, or delve back into the past and meet a young T’Challa.
There is a confirmed sequel for Shang-Chi, with Destin Daniel Cretton returning to pen the script and direct. Cretton will also be developing original TV series for Disney. Doctor Strange will also be getting a third film.
Whilst not officially confirmed by Disney, Variety has reported that Disney+ is moving forward with a new Daredevil series, with Matt Corman and Chris Ord attached to write and executive produce. This does make sense, considering that both Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock/Daredevil) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Wilson Fisk/Kingpin) have appeared in other Marvel properties.