Marvel Studios spent the better part of a decade building up its cinematic universe, to the point where it can now support two or three interconnected sequels and spinoffs each year. With the first generation of heroes mostly stepping back after Avengers: Endgame, here’s a timeline of Marvel’s upcoming movies in Phase 4 – many of which have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marvel movie release dates
Black Widow, Nov. 6, 2020
After years of fans clamoring for a Black Widow movie, we’re finally getting one starring Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Cate Shortland and written by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, it takes place earlier in the MCU timeline. The cast includes Stranger Things star David Harbour as the Russian supersoldier Red Guardian, Midsommar star Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova (another Black Widow), and Rachel Weisz as a spy named Melina. Formerly scheduled for May 2020, it’s been moved up to a later release date, replacing The Eternals in November.
The Eternals, Feb. 12, 2021
Directed by indie filmmaker Chloé Zhao, The Eternals is an ambitious sci-fi/fantasy epic with a star-studded cast including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, and Korean actor Ma Dong-seok/Don Lee (Train to Busan). Lauren Ridloff will play the MCU’s first Deaf character, and the movie is rumored to feature an openly queer actor as a gay superhero. The Eternals is also the first sign of Marvel’s new direction for Phase 4, opting for more supernatural fantasy stories over military/crime-fighting heroes. Out in Feb. 2021, it’s another casualty of 2020’s unavoidable delays.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, May 7, 2021
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and written by David Callahan, Shang-Chi is Marvel’s first martial arts movie, and first film to star an Asian-American lead. Kim’s Convenience actor Simu Liu will play the title character, with Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung as the Mandarin, marking his Hollywood blockbuster debut. It was only delayed three months from its original release date in Feb. 2021, despite a pause in filming after the director self-isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Nov. 5, 2021
The Doctor Strange sequel was originally described as the MCU’s first horror film, playing to the strengths of director Scott Derrickson. However, Derrickson left the project due to creative differences in January 2020. Spider-Man trilogy director Sam Raimi will reportedly replace him. Elizabeth Olsen will co-star as Scarlet Witch.
Thor: Love and Thunder, Feb. 18, 2022
Taika Waititi returns to write and direct another Thor movie, the only member of the original Avengers team to get a fourth film. Thor: Love and Thunder brings back Natalie Portman to co-star as the Mighty Thor, echoing the comics storyline where Jane Foster takes over the title. Tessa Thompson and producer Kevin Feige have confirmed that Valkyrie is still the King of Asgard after Avengers: Endgame, and that she’ll have a female love-interest.
Untitled Black Panther sequel, May 6, 2022
Ryan Coogler has signed on to write and direct a follow-up to the worldwide phenomenon Black Panther, but the sequel doesn’t have a release date yet, and no new casting announcements have been made.
Untitled Captain Marvel sequel, July 8, 2022
Captain Marvel will obviously star in another movie, but Marvel hasn’t revealed anything just yet, including when in the MCU timeline that film will take place.
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Originally slated for a 2020 release, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was put on the backburner after old tweets from director James Gunn resurfaced by the alt-right led to Disney firing him. Eight months later, Disney reversed course and rehired Gunn. It’s unclear what the film’s new release date will be now that Gunn is also slated to direct Suicide Squad 2, which will be in theaters Aug. 6, 2021.
Mahershala Ali (who previously appeared in the MCU as Luke Cage‘s Cottonmouth Stokes) will play Blade in an upcoming reboot – the first time Marvel has announced a movie with just a star, rather than a director, writer, or release date. He pitched the idea to Kevin Feige after winning his second Oscar in 2019.
Marvel movie lineup: The rest of the MCU schedule
The upcoming Phase 4 movies arrive alongside a new sub-franchise of live-action shows on Disney+, with some tying into the movies. For instance WandaVision will be connected to Doctor Strange, because Scarlet Witch co-stars in both.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.