The Marvel panel dropped some bomb shells on Saturday night at the San Diego Comic Con. The beginning of Phase 4 was revealed with some good news, a little bad news and some absolutely crazy news. The bad news? We won’t be seeing another Avengers film for quite some time. The good news? Fantastic Four and X-Men are confirmed to be in development. The crazy news? Mahershala Ali will be playing the titular role as Blade in a solo flick. Here are my predictions and everything we know about Phase 4 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Black Widow – May 2020
We’ve known that a Black Widow prequel film was in development for quite some time. It’s been filming for 30 days and Scarlett Johannsson will return as Black Widow. David Harbour, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz have also been cast. Cate Shortland will direct this film, who is officially the first solo female director in an MCU film (YAY!). Black Widow will take place immediately after Captain America: Civil War and be set in the much talked about Budapest (finally!) from other MCU flicks.
Taskmaster has been officially confirmed as the main villain. Who is Taskmaster? The Taskmaster character is a mercenary highly trained in various forms of combat with the ability to memorize specific fight patterns and mimic them. This ability makes him deadly with projectiles, swords and hand-to-hand combat. Taskmaster is well known in the comics for taking on multiple Avengers at once (Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America) and easily coming out on top. His “photographic reflexes” ability allows him to counter every move thrown at him.
The Eternals – November 2020
The Eternals will include Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek and Kumail Nanjiani. It will be directed by Chloe Zhao and will most likely be our first introduction to mutants in the MCU. Angelina Jolie will play Thena (based on the Greek goddess Athena), who has super strength, speed and stamina. The film is making it known that it will have a diverse cast and so far everything looks great.
What does it mean for Phase 4? I’m quite positive that The Eternals will be utilized to set up the concepts such as Demons (Mephisto) and experimentation (Mutants) for Phase 4. Unfortunately we haven’t heard anything regarding setting up Hercules as a character. The Eternals are ancient beings with a vast history but I’m hoping we don’t see anything regarding previous villains. This film needs to push the MCU forward rather than backward.
Thor: Love and Thunder – November 2021
Thor: Love and Thunder will be directed by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarök) and will feature the return of Natalie Portman, who will wield Mjolnir as the first female Thor! In the comics, Jane Foster obtains Thor’s powers and becomes the Goddess of Thunder. Wait what? You mean to tell me that Mjolnir isn’t going to Valkyrie? I’m not the biggest fan of this move for the MCU. This was the only miss for me on Saturday night. Valkyrie was incredible in Ragnarök and was the most logical next step for the franchise.
What does it mean for Phase 4? It seems like Thor: Love and Thunder is a lock to be a love story at the core. We’ll see Jane Foster as the catalyst that brings Thor back to original self. Love and Thunder also throws some more potential for heavy metal songs to add to the mix. Ragnarök brought us “Immigrant Song” from Led Zeppelin. “Rainbow in the Dark” by Dio and “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath seem like locks at this point for Love and Thunder.
Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings – February 2021
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will set up the MCU’s first Asian lead Simu Liu as Shang-Chi. Tony Chiu-Wai Leung will re-introduce The Mandarin (the real one this time). Awkwafina from Crazy Rich Asians will also be joining the flick in an unknown role. It will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who is most well-known for directing drama flicks.
What does it mean for Phase 4? We were robbed of the real Mandarin in Iron Man 3, but Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings will finally bring comic book fans justice. Expect even more references to Tony Stark in this one. The casting of Tony Leung as The Mandarin is going to be huge for audiences in China. The MCU is hoping that Shang-Chi can become the same cultural hit that Black Panther was back in 2018.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – May 2021
I have so many thoughts about this one. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will bring back Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme. It will also include Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. Scott Derrickson who directed and wrote the first Doctor Strange and remain with the sequel, got my juices flowing when he stated “We are going to make the first scary MCU film.”
What does this mean for Phase 4? The first MCU horror film has me incredibly excited. “WandaVision,” the Scarlet Witch TV series on Disney+ will lead her to Doctor Strange on the big screen. Villains such as Mephisto and Nightmare seem to be all on the table for this one. I also have no doubt that we’ll also find a way to run into Blade in this one as well.
Ok, what if Doctor Strange opening up the Multiverse in this flick opens the door (pun intended) for Deadpool to join the MCU? I have so many thoughts. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was my winner of the Marvel panel. Wow.
Here are the most famous events that occurred on July 20th
1A) The moon landing
1B) Kevin Feige announces that The Fantastic Four is in development
It happened! Marvel’s first family is finally coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have no doubt that Kevin Feige has already cast the Fantastic Four. His “I don’t have time to talk about it” statement was clearly a set up for D23 which takes places in August. We won’t know anything until then, but it’s clearly time to start a petition to have John Krasinski and Emily Blunt to play Reed Richards and Sue Storm.
Most importantly we heard nothing about Keanu Reeves, who I have been wanting to play Doctor Doom and has been in talks with Kevin Feige to play a major role in the MCU. Fantastic Four is rumored to hit theaters in 2022 and will be directed by Peyton Reed. Reed (pun intended) was the director of the Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp films. What a moment Marvel. Bravo.
Mutants AKA X-Men
You thought it couldn’t get any better? You were wrong. Kevin Feige officially announced that an X-Men film is officially in development for the MCU. What does it mean for Phase 4? Expect a ton of rogue (pun intended) mutants as side characters in multiple Phase 4 films moving on. Could we see Storm in Black Panther 2? How about Rogue in Captain Marvel 2? What if it’s revealed that we already have our first mutant in Scarlet Witch?
We don’t have a release date yet for X-Men. I expect that we won’t likely see this film until Phase 5. It appears that Marvel will be utilizing Disney+ as a means of introducing mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Take my money, Disney.
My second winner of the night was Blade, who will be played by Mahershala Ali. This was easily the biggest surprise of the Marvel panel. No one saw this one coming. Later Saturday night, Kevin Feige told reporters that he met with Mahershala Ali after he won his Oscar for Green Book. Ali wanted the Blade character. This is great news for Marvel fans everywhere.
What does it mean for Phase 4? We have demons coming to the MCU in Doctor Strange 2. We have mutants coming to the MCU via Disney+. And we now have vampires coming into the MCU via Blade. My guess for the Blade villain at this moment has to be Dracula. It’s lit guys! My last thoughts on Blade: Let’s get Jordan Peele assigned to direct Blade and get this party started!