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The films in Marvel's Phase Four

Check out everything we know about the films in Marvel's Phase Four, now delayed until 2021.

As the might of the MCU has steadily grown over the last decade, fans have grown accustomed to never being more than a few months away from a new film, with three releases a year now the norm.

But then coronavirus happened - and as a result, by the time Black Widow comes out next year, it will have been almost two whole years between Marvel movies (in truth, we probably all needed a bit of a rest after Avengers: Endgame).

The good news is that when the cinema industry finally gets back into business, Marvel is planning to release no fewer than SIX FILMS in the space of a year to get us back on track.

Here, Media Mole previews what to expect from the films of Marvel's Phase Four.



Scarlett Johansson in the Black Widow movie© Marvel

Black Widow

Release date: May 7, 2021

Status: Complete, awaiting release

Starring: Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Florence Pugh (also Black Widow), David Harbour (Red Guardian), Ray Winstone (Dreykov), Rachel Weisz (also Black Widow)

Director: Cate Shortland

What we know: Set primarily in the aftermath of Captain America: Civil War (and somewhat obviously, before the events of Avengers: Endgame), Black Widow follows Natasha Romanoff in fugitive mode as she gets drawn into a dangerous conspiracy that ties into events from her past (cue flashbacks). Johansson has previously stated that "family" will be a theme in the film and in the official trailer, she is seen referring to newcomer Pugh - a fellow Black Widow - as "sis". Spoiler alert: there are also suggestions that Robert Downey Jr could have a cameo as Iron Man.

Watch the trailer below:



Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings logo© Marvel

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Release date: July 9, 2021

Status: Post-production

Starring: Simu Liu (Shang-Chi), Tony Leung (The Mandarin), Awkwafina (TBC), Michelle Yeoh (TBC)

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

What we know: The newest entrant to the Marvel world, Shang-Chi is a martial arts expert often referred to as "the Master of kung-fu". The film - the first Marvel movie to have an Asian lead - will see the superhero take on the villainous Mandarin, who is the leader of a terrorist organisation known as The Ten Rings. The MCU has previously teased the arrival of the Mandarin, with Ben Kingsley memorably playing an impostor version in Iron Man 3.



Eternals movie© Marvel

Eternals

Release date: November 5, 2021

Status: Post-production

Starring: Angelina Jolie (Thena), Richard Madden (Ikaris), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Lia McHugh (Sprite), Don Lee (Gilgamesh), Kit Harington (Dane Whitman), Gemma Chan (Sersi), Barry Keoghan (Druig)

Director: Chloe Zhao

What we know: This film follows a race called the Eternals - immortal aliens who have lived on Earth posing as humans for thousands of years. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, the Eternals reunite to fight off a threat from their malevolent counterparts, the Deviants. The movie will also mark the first MCU film to portray a gay superhero - with eternal Phastos, a "cosmic-powered inventor", having a husband and a child.



A triumvirate of Spider-Men

Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel (title TBC)

Release date: December 17, 2021

Status: Currently filming (November 2021)

Starring: Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Zendaya (MJ), Jon Favreau (Happy), Jacob Batalon (Ned Leeds), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), Jamie Foxx (Electro), Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man - rumoured), Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man - rumoured)

Director: Jon Watts

What we know: The third standalone Spidey movie under the MCU umbrella promises to be a very interesting affair if rumours are to be believed, with both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield slated to return as Spider-Man in a storyline that would see the different versions of the superhero from different universes unite. The theory is given weight by the confirmation that Jamie Foxx's Electro, who previously battled Garfield's web-slinger, is part of the new film.



Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Thor: Love and Thunder

Release date: February 11, 2022

Status: Pre-production, filming to begin in January 2021

Starring: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Taika Waititi (Korg), Christian Bale (TBC), Vin Diesel (Groot - rumoured)

Director: Taika Waititi

What we know: Very little is known about the next standalone Thor outing, save for the confirmation of the big cast returnees - Portman taking on Jane Foster in a female incarnation of Thor; Thompson as Valkyrie, newly-crowned King (yes) of Asgard; and Bale as the villain of the piece. Diesel has also revealed that characters from The Guardians of the Galaxy will appear - fitting in with the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame and suggesting that the likes of Chris Pratt's Star Lord could be part of the cast.



Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange© Marvel

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Release date: March 25, 2022

Status: Pre-production, filming to start this month

Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange), Benedict Wong (Wong), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo)

Director: Sam Raimi

What we know: The second standalone Doctor Strange movie will see the superhero continue to investigate the Time Stone, research that is interrupted by a new enemy, "resulting in unspeakable evils being unleashed". Olsen will be back as Scarlet Witch and the character's new TV series for Disney+, WandaVision, will directly set up the new movie, which will also have ties to the Loki TV spinoff.



Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther© Marvel

Black Panther 2

Release date: May 6, 2022

Status: Unknown

Starring: ???

Director: Ryan Coogler

What we know: Although not confirmed to be part of Phase Four, the second Black Panther movie has been in the works for over two years but its status now remains up in the air following the tragic death of lead actor Chadwick Boseman in August. The team at Marvel have since confirmed that they were unaware Boseman had been battling cancer as they prepared the script for the film, with tentative plans to begin filming in March 2021. Fans have launched a campaign to convince Marvel not to recast the character, meaning that the project could be potentially axed entirely.



Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel sequel (title TBC)

Release date: July 8, 2022

Status: In development

Starring: Brie Larson (Captain Marvel)

Director: Nia DaCosta

What we know: Also not officially confirmed to be part of Phase Four but firmly on Marvel's release schedule is a follow-up to the hugely-successful Captain Marvel, which grossed over $1.1 billion (£840 million) at the worldwide box office when it came out in 2019. Somewhat inevitably, next to nothing is known about the new movie, although it has been confirmed that it will be set in the present day.


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