What’s Next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

What’s Next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Photo by VadimXS, CC0 1.0

WARNING: A few spoilers will follow…

If you’re reading this, chances are you are one of the 100 million people who saw Avengers: Endgamea thrilling (and cathartic) bookend to a phenomenal 22-film saga. Ever since the series began with 2008’s Iron Man, the studios have introduced new heroes, interwoven their storylines with other characters, and even forced the audience to mourn the losses of some beloved characters. In short, Endgame was the consummate end to an era of superb superhero filmmaking, and nothing will ever be the same again.

To the delight of Marvel fans across the globe, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 to reveal the two-year schedule of planned films for Marvel’s upcoming “Phase 4” releases. As such, here is a list of the Marvel movies that are set to be released most imminently.

The New Mutants (April 3, 2020)

Universe: X-Men

20th Century Fox has been steadily building a cadre of fledgling talents to fill the void in the X-Men movies when veteran cast members like Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy ultimately exit the franchise. (Note that the aforementioned actors are already among the second batch of X-Men’s recurring faces. Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman were among the first group.)

The New Mutants will add a slew of fresh actors to the franchise, including 13 Reasons Why’s Henry Zaga, Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, and Split’s Anya Taylor-Joy. But unexpected reshoots—as well as Dark Phoenix’s abysmal box office results—have resulted in a number of delays in the film’s completion. There are even rumors marinating that The New Mutants will go straight to a streaming service.

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Black Widow (May 1, 2020)

Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Caption: Your favorite nimble, leather-clad martial arts expert will be back…

Confirming our predictions, Marvel announced that Black Widow, led by the inimitable Scarlett Johansson, will be the next project to emerge from the studio. Needless to say, those of us who were heartbroken by Natasha Romanova’s valiant sacrifice in Endgame will jump at the chance to see the saucy Russian resurrected in her own prequel.

With a script written by Jac Schaeffer and Lore’s Cate Shortland signing on as director, this film became Marvel’s fastest-track project ever. Black Widow is currently in production, with Rachel Weisz, O-T Fagbenle, David Harbour, and Florence Pugh playing Melina, Mason, Alexei (aka the “Red Guardian”), and Yelena, respectively. This welcome installment will predate Endgame in the Avengers timeline; some have reported that it will be set after Captain America: Civil War (but we have not confirmed the same). We’re voraciously looking forward to how this flick will elucidate new revelations about Natasha’s past.

Eternals (Nov. 6, 2020)

Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Directed by Chloe Zhao, this gem will feature Angelina Jolie (as Thena), Gemma Chan (as Sersi), Richard Madden (as Ikaris), Kumail Nanjiani (as Kingo), Lauren Ridloff (as Makkari), Brian Tyree Henry (as Phastos), Salma Hayek (as Ajak), Lia McHugh (as Sprite), Don Lee (as Gilgamesh), and Kit Harington (as Dane Whitman—aka the Black Knight). 

If hearing “The Eternals” means nothing to you, then let us help. The comic book series was created by Jack Kirby, and it revolves around a group of superpowered beings who are nearly immortal. The acclaimed director of The Rider, Chloe Zhao, will take the helm.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Feb. 12, 2021)

Universe: Marvel Cinematic Universe

If you’re a Marvel Comics junkie like me, then nothing would be more thrilling than to appear in cartoon form alongside your favorite comic book heroes. I always imagined myself gracing the pages of a limited edition Black Panther series as T’Challa’s brilliant, sarcastic (yet lovable) ride-or-die warrior sidekick. The bad news is that I will have to wait until May 2022 to see the sequel to the trailblazing movie that put a spotlight on my fave Marvel character. The good news is that another groundbreaking superhero film is on the horizon: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Shang-Chi will be Marvel’s first Asian superhero to get a solo film. Studio execs likely anticipate that Shang-Chi can make as much of a cultural impact as Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians did.

Best known for his role on the CBC sitcom Kim’s Convenience, Simu Liu will be playing the lead role. He will face off against the Mandarin, played by Tony Leung (not Ben Kingsley, who played the actor who pretended to be Mandarin in Iron Man 3). Awkwafina will also appear in the film, although her exact role has yet to be announced. Marvel has tapped two up-and-coming filmmakers for the project. The screenplay will be written by Dave Callaham, who also wrote the upcoming DC Extended Universe film Wonder Woman 1984. Destin Daniel Cretton (who directed the critically-acclaimed Short Term 12) will direct.

So, there it is! MoviePass might temporarily (or permanently) be out of commission, but that won’t stop me from seeing each and every Marvel movie that’s released in the coming years. I’m sure you’ll be grabbing your popcorn as well…

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