No sooner has Marvel rolled out their Phase 4 plans than Marvel Phase 5 is barreling right towards us!
For over a year, Disney had a number of release dates on hold for a series of “Untitled Marvel Movies,” so in February, I wrote a speculative piece about what could be in store for MCU Phase Four.
Five months later, Marvel President (now Chief Creative Officer) Kevin Feige appeared at Comic-Con in San Diego to announce Marvel’s complete Phase 4 plans, including four or five Disney+ Marvel series, which would indeed tie directly into the MCU. (No movies from the Fox-Marvel universe were announced at that time, although getting a Fantastic Four movie right seems to be a priority for Marvel.)
There was a recent quote from Feige that Marvel would start releasing four movies a year on top of these numerous Disney+ TV series. This was confirmed over the weekend when Disney scooped up three more dates in 2022: February 18, July 29, October 7, and then four dates in 2023: February 17, May 5, July 28 and November 3.
In fact, it was only ONE new date for 2022, because February 18 and July 29 had already been reserved and were included in my previous piece. Since things have definitely changed from my earlier speculation to reality, it’s time for an update and some more speculation about what movies we might see and when for Marvel Phase 4 and even Marvel Phase 5.
Let’s start by looking at the actual dates for Phase 5, which was presumably going to start with Black Panther 2 in early May, but now may start slightly earlier…
May 6 Black Panther 2 (confirmed)
That would indeed be four Marvel movies a year, going back to 2021, which currently has Shang-Chi and the sequels Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man 3 (produced with Sony) and Thor: Love and Thunder. Since that third Spider-Man movie is intended to be the last one done in conjunction with Marvel Studios, we probably should assume we now have seven dates in 2022 and 2023 open for some of the movies already announced and hinted at.
First, we have Captain Marvel 2, which has to be a definite thing considering the success of the first movie starring Brie Larson, which topped a billion worldwide earlier this year. You don’t leave a movie like that “un-sequelized.” If Marvel wants a sequel in that first 2022 slot, it’s probably going to have find new directors as there’s been no word that Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck would do another one.
We also already know that James Gunn is going to direct a third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and that will only happen once he’s done with The Suicide Squad. That’s scheduled to come out in August 2021, but that doesn’t mean it’ll take up all his time. He could theoretically start a third Guardians sometime next year but maybe he’ll take some time off, and that May 3, 2023 release date would be six years after Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. That seems a bit long a wait, so maybe Marvel will try to get Guardians Vol 3 into that July 22 slot.
Another sequel that’s been teased very recently is an Ant-Man 3 or Ant-Man and the Wasp 2 or whatever it ends up being called with Peyton Reed returning to direct. That doesn’t seem like it will be a priority although obviously, Marvel won’t want to completely lose sight of Paul Rudd’s character. The previous two Ant-Man movies weren’t quite the moneymakers that other Marvel movies were despite last year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp coming out after the record-breaking Avengers: Infinity War (which only had an Ant-Man cameo).
There was a time when the different phases of the MCU centered around an Avengers movie, and one presumes that Marvel won’t want to wait too long to bring together some of the characters from the various films and series into a new Avengers movie. Heck, why not just call it “New Avengers” since we have to presume Iron Man, Captain America and Black Widow will have moved on. (Mark Ruffalo’s contract has also run out but I’m sure Marvel will do whatever it takes to get him back.) Another Avengers movie won’t be put into a fall or spring slot. No, that would have to kick off the summer just like all the other Avengers movies, so that May 5, 2023 slot looks very nice right now, since it will be four years since Avengers: Endgame.
Another Avengers movie would also give Marvel a chance to give Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang even more screentime before trying him out in another solo movie. Maybe third time will be the charm.
There’s also a very small chance that Chloe Zhao’s The Eternals will do very well this time next year, although as Matt O’Keefe mentioned, it’s going to be a tougher sell, and I’m not sure we can guarantee that November 2023 slot for a sequel unless it does gangbusters.
What else? There’s that Blade movie that was announced at Comic-Con, which would probably go nicely in that October 7 slot since that’s just before Halloween and would follow Sony’s Venom and Morbius movies that have previously taken early October dates. (Warner Bros. had great success with Joker in its early October release this year, as well.) Although Blade has its star in two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, no director has been announced yet, but this still seems like a project that can come together fairly quickly.
We still haven’t heard anything definitive about Marvel and Disney’s plans to continue or relaunch the Fox properties it picked up in its big purchase. Feige has hinted that Fantastic Fouris still a priority despite two failed attempts to get it off the ground by Fox, and there’s been hints, rumors and general conjecture that a third Ant-Man movie might be the way to introduce the superhero group who have had quite a few trips to the Microverse themselves. If Marvel plays its cards right, it can have an amazing 2023 by following a fifth Avengers movie with its first Fantastic Four movie, and we’ve seen early November do well for odder heroes like Doctor Strange and presumably next year’s The Eternals.
Even more likely is some form of Deadpool 3 or X-Force movie in order to introduce Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson to the MCU. They can start planning that as early as next year (if they haven’t already) and still have two to three years to get it right. An X-Force movie makes semi-sense since it will allow Marvel to bring over Josh Brolin’s Cable, although who knows how they’ll explain why Cable and Thanos look like they’re played by the exact same actor? Marvel needs to start thinking about the mutants it got in the Fox purchase, so why not start with Deadpool?
Anyway, let’s look at one possible scenario for those two years of Marvel movies, bearing in mind that this is over two years away and some movies might be prioritized (like Deadpool 3) as to not let too much time lapse.
February 18 – Captain Marvel 2
May 6 – Black Panther 2
July 29 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3
October 7 – Blade
February 17 – Deadpool 3 or X-Force?
May 5 – The New Avengers? (Hey, I like this idea for a title, so maybe it will catch on!)
July 28 – Ant-Man 3
November 3 – Fantastic Four
Note that not a single Marvel movie is scheduled for the late December holiday movie season, but that’s because Disney has long ago reserved those dates for “Star Wars” movies and Avatar sequels.
Of course, the above is all conjecture and no one REALLY knows what Kevin Feige is thinking until he holds a big meeting at a comic convention or other place to unleash the hounds. Still, it’s nice to know that Martin Scorsese will have a lot more chances to see a Marvel movie over the next four years, right?
Let us know in the comments what you think of the way we see the MCU line-up arranging itself for Marvel Phase 5 in 2022 and beyond.