|Based on||Characters published|
by Marvel Comics
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a group of American superhero films and television series produced by Marvel Studios based on characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. Phase Four features all of the Marvel Studios productions set to be released in 2020 and 2021. It is the first phase in the franchise to include television series, with Marvel Studios developing several event series for the streaming service Disney+ in addition to the feature films that it was already set to produce.
The phase is a sequel to The Infinity Saga which comprised Phases 1 to 3 and will begin in May 1, 2020 with the release of the film Black Widow by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, starring Scarlett Johansson. That will be followed by ensemble film The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings starring Simu Liu, sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with Benedict Cumberbatch returning as Dr. Stephen Strange, a sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home with Tom Holland returning as Spider-Man, and concluding with another sequel, Thor: Love and Thunder, with Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster / Mighty Thor. During that time, the television series of the phase will be released on Disney+. These include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in the title roles, WandaVision with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany in the title roles, Loki starring Tom Hiddleston, animated series What If...? narrated by Jeffrey Wright, and Hawkeye starring Jeremy Renner. Three other series, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk, have also been announced for the phase.
By October 2016, Disney had scheduled multiple release dates for untitled Marvel Studios films for 2020 and 2021. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said some of the films for those dates were already known, explaining, "We know what [films] we'd like them to be for 2020. Over the years, where we're aiming we've been lucky enough that it's usually been the same thing but we always leave ourselves the opportunity to bob and weave and adapt if we have to." Feige was not sure if Marvel would continue to group the films of the MCU into phases once Phase Three concluded in 2019, saying that "it might be a new thing", but by December 2018 Marvel was believed to be using the term Phase Four. Feige said Marvel hoped to reveal some upcoming films after the release of Avengers: Endgame (2019), with Disney CEO Bob Iger later indicating that Marvel would reveal its slate of post-Avengers: Endgame movies in mid-2019.
By November 2017, Disney was developing a Marvel series specifically for release on its new streaming service Disney+, which it planned to launch before the end of 2019. In September 2018, Marvel Studios was revealed to be developing several limited series for the service, to be centered on "second tier" characters from the MCU films who had not and were unlikely to star in their own films; the actors who portrayed the characters in the films were expected to reprise their roles for the series. Stories for each series were still being decided on, but the series were expected to be six to eight episodes each and have a "hefty [budget] rivaling those of a major studio production". The series would be produced by Marvel Studios rather than Marvel Television, who produced the previous television series set in the MCU. Feige was taking a "hands-on role" in each series' development, focusing on "continuity of story" with the films and "handling" the actors who would be reprising their roles from the films. Feige stated in February 2019 that the series would be "entirely interwoven with both the current MCU, the past MCU, and the future of the MCU", and a month later he elaborated that the series would take characters from the films, change them, and see those changes reflected in future films, unlike the weaker relationship the films have with the Marvel Television series. He also said that new characters introduced in the Disney+ series could go on to appear in films. In May, Feige compared the Disney+ series to the Marvel One-Shots short films that Marvel Studios had previously released alongside their films, saying, "The best thing about the One-Shots is that we got to flesh out other characters. It's tremendously exciting that we now have Disney+ series where we get to do that on a grand scale".
In July 2019, Marvel Studios held a panel at San Diego Comic-Con where Feige announced the full Phase Four slate. This included five films to be released through 2020 and 2021--Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder--as well as five event series to be released on Disney+ in that time--The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, What If...?, and Hawkeye. He confirmed that there would be connections between the films and series, with the events of both WandaVision and Loki set to tie directly into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Feige also announced further projects that Marvel was developing at that time, but confirmed that those ten projects were the full Phase Four slate at that point. A month later at D23, Feige announced three more Disney+ series that would be released as part of the Phase Four slate: Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk. In September, Disney and Sony Pictures announced that Marvel Studios and Feige would produce a third Spider-Man film for Sony following Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), set for release during this phase.
|Film||U.S. release date||Director||Screenwriter(s)||Producer(s)||Status|
|Black Widow||May 1, 2020||Cate Shortland||Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson||Kevin Feige||Post-production|
|The Eternals||November 6, 2020||Chloé Zhao||Matthew K. Firpo & Ryan Firpo||Filming|
|Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings||February 12, 2021||Destin Daniel Cretton||David Callaham||Pre-production|
|Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness||May 7, 2021||Scott Derrickson||Jade Bartlett|
|Untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel||July 16, 2021||TBA||Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers||Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal|
|Thor: Love and Thunder||November 5, 2021||Taika Waititi||Kevin Feige|
After exploring the backstory of Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Kevin Feige expressed interest in exploring it further in a solo film. By January 2018, Jac Schaeffer was hired to write the script, with Cate Shortland hired to direct that July.Ned Benson was rewriting the script the next February. Filming began in May 2019 in Norway and the United Kingdom, and ended in October.Black Widow is scheduled to be released on May 1, 2020.
By April 2018, Marvel had met with multiple screenwriters to craft a film based on the Eternals, with a focus on the character Sersi. A month later, Matthew and Ryan Firpo were hired to write the script for the project. By late-September, Marvel hired Chloé Zhao to direct the film. Filming began in July in London. The main cast, headlined by Angelina Jolie, was announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, with Gemma Chan cast as Sersi a month later.The Eternals is set to be released on November 6, 2020.
By December 2018, Marvel was "fast-tracking" development on a Shang-Chi film, which would be their first Asian-led film. Chinese-American writer David Callaham was hired to work on the screenplay, and by March 2019, Marvel hired Destin Daniel Cretton to direct the film. At the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, Simu Liu was revealed to be cast in the titular role, with Tony Leung portraying the Mandarin. Filming for Shang-Chi is set to begin in early 2020, in Australia.Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to be released on February 12, 2021.
The Ten Rings organization has been referenced in 2008's Iron Man, 2015's Ant-Man, and one of the Marvel One-Shots. An impostor posing as the Mandarin was portrayed by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3 (2013), while the existence of the Mandarin in the MCU as a real character was revealed in the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King.
By December 2018, Scott Derrickson had completed a deal to return to direct a sequel to Doctor Strange (2016), with Benedict Cumberbatch reprising the title role. The sequel's title was officially announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, along with Derrickson's intention to explore more of the "gothic" horror elements from the comic books than the first installment. In October 2019, Jade Bartlett was hired to write the film.Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to be released on May 7, 2021.
The film will co-star Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch, and will tie directly in with her Disney+ series WandaVision, as well as with the series Loki, making this the first MCU film to be directly tied to any television series.
In April 2017, it was announced that a third Spider-Man film is planned. In June of the same year, Spider-Man actor Tom Holland announced that the film would take place during Peter Parker's senior year of high school. In July 2019, Feige stated that the third film would feature "a Peter Parker story that has never been done before on film" due to 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Homes mid-credits scene. Both director Jon Watts and Holland have hinted at Kraven the Hunter being the main antagonist of the film. In August 2019, it was reported by Deadline Hollywood that Disney and Sony could not reach a new agreement for Marvel Studios and Feige to have continued involvement in Spider-Man films, with The Hollywood Reporter adding it would see the end of Holland's Spider-Man in the MCU. However, Variety noted negotiations had "hit an impasse" and a new deal could still be reached. Sony announced that the media "mischaracterized" recent discussions about Feige's involvement in the franchise, expressed disappointment over Disney's decision, and confirmed that Feige would no longer be the lead producer on the next live-action Spider-Man film. By September, Sony had hired Far From Home writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers to work on the sequel. Later that month, Sony and Disney jointly announced that Marvel Studios and Feige would produce the third film, with Holland starring. The film is scheduled for release on July 16, 2021.
In January 2018, Chris Hemsworth indicated his interest in continuing to play Thor, despite his contract with Marvel Studios being scheduled to end after Avengers: Endgame (2019). By July 2019, Taika Waititi had signed on with Marvel to write and direct a fourth Thor film after previously directing Thor: Ragnarok (2017). At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, the film's title was announced along with the return of Natalie Portman, who did not appear in Ragnarok, with her character Jane Foster taking on the mantle of Mighty Thor in the film.Thor: Love and Thunder is set to start filming in August 2020, in Australia, and is scheduled to be released on November 5, 2021.
|First released||Last released|
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier||1||6||Late 2020||TBA||Malcolm Spellman||Filming|
|WandaVision||1||6||Early 2021||TBA||Jac Schaeffer||Filming|
|Loki||1||6||Early 2021||TBA||Michael Waldron||Pre-production|
|What If...?||1||23||Mid 2021||TBA||A. C. Bradley||In production|
|Hawkeye||1||TBA||Late 2021||TBA||Jonathan Igla||Ordered|
|Ms. Marvel||1||TBA||TBA||TBA||Bisha K. Ali||Ordered|
|Moon Knight||1||TBA||TBA||TBA||Jeremy Slater||Ordered|
At the end of October 2018, Malcolm Spellman was hired to write a limited series that would focus on Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson / Falcon and Sebastian Stan's Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier. The series was officially announced and titled in April 2019, with Mackie and Stan confirmed to be starring. Filming began in October 2019, in Atlanta, Georgia, with Kari Skogland directing the six episodes. The plot of the series takes place following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019). The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set to premiere in late 2020;Deadline Hollywood previously reported that the series would be released in August 2020.
With the September 2018 report of the limited series, one was expected to follow Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch. By the end of October, Paul Bettany's Vision was expected to play a large role in the series, which would focus on their relationship.Jac Schaeffer was hired to write the first episode and serve as showrunner in January 2019. The series was officially announced and titled in April 2019, with Olsen and Bettany confirmed to be starring. Filming started in November 2019.Teyonah Parris will appear as an adult version of Monica Rambeau. The character was previously portrayed by Akira Akbar, as a child in Captain Marvel (2019). The plot takes place following Avengers: Endgame and leads into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (also featuring Wanda) while exploring where the character's alias Scarlet Witch comes from.WandaVision is set to debut in early 2021. At D23, Randall Park and Kat Dennings were announced to reprise their MCU roles as Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis in the series. Kathryn Hahn was also cast in an undisclosed role described as "a nosy neighbor". Matt Shakman was announced as the series' director.
With the September 2018 report of the limited series, one was expected to star Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed in November that the series was in development, with Hiddleston returning to reprise his role. Michael Waldron was hired as the series' showrunner in February 2019. During the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, it was revealed that the series will follow the version of Loki who stole the Space Stone in 2012 in Avengers: Endgame. Production is set to begin in early 2020. In August 2019, Kate Herron was announced as the series' director.Loki is set to debut in early 2021. The series along with WandaVision will tie-in with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
By March 2019, Marvel Studios was planning to create an animated series based on the What If concept from the comics for Disney+. The anthology series, which is not canon to the MCU, explores how the MCU would be altered if certain events had occurred differently, such as if Loki wielded Thor's hammer. The series will star Jeffrey Wright as the voice of Uatu / The Watcher, with many of the actors from the films also voicing their respective characters. A.C. Bradley serves as showrunner of What If...?, with Bryan Andrews directing the series.What If...? is set to debut in mid 2021, and consists of 23 episodes.
In April 2019, a limited series focused on Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton / Hawkeye was reported to be in development, with the plot involving Barton passing the mantle of Hawkeye to the character Kate Bishop. The series was officially announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic Con, with the plot taking place following the events of Avengers: Endgame. Hawkeye is set to premiere in late 2021, with Jonathan Igla serving as the series' showrunner. In September 2019, Hailee Steinfeld was announced to be in consideration to portray Kate Bishop.
In August 2019, a series focused on Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel was announced to be in development, with Bisha K. Ali hired to write and serve as showrunner. The character's involvement in the MCU was first discussed in September 2016, when Marvel Creative Consultant Joe Quesada stated that Marvel Studios has plans to implement Ms. Marvel in "other media" as a result of the character's rapid success and popularity amongst comic book readers. In May 2018, Feige discussed the arrival of Ms. Marvel to the MCU, stating that she would be introduced following the release of Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson also expressed interest in introducing Khan into the eventual sequel to Captain Marvel.
During the 2019 D23 Expo, Marvel Studios announced that a series centered around Marc Spector / Moon Knight was in development for release as a Disney+ exclusive. In November 2019, Jeremy Slater was announced as the series showrunner.
At the 2019 D23 Expo, Marvel Studios confirmed that a series centered around Jennifer Walters / She-Hulk is in development for exclusive release on Disney+. The miniseries revolves around Bruce Banner's cousin, who gains superpowers after receiving a blood transfusion from him. In November 2019, Jessica Gao was announced as the series showrunner.
This section shows characters who will appear or have appeared in multiple films and/or television series within Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and have appeared in the billing block for at least one film or have been a member of the principal ("main") cast for at least one series.
|Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
|Thor: Love and Thunder
|The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
|Robert Downey Jr.||Robert Downey Jr.GV|
|Sebastian Stan||Sebastian StanGV|
|Jeremy RennerGV||Jeremy Renner|
|Natalie Portman||Natalie PortmanGV|
|Loki||Tom Hiddleston||Tom HiddlestonGV|
|Elizabeth Olsen||Elizabeth Olsen|
|Thor||Chris Hemsworth||Chris HemsworthGV|