It’s been over a year, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally gearing up for its return next week. Phase 4 of the MCU officially kicks off with the release of WandaVision on Disney +, with the live-action series debuting January 15. That wasn’t always the plan, but 2020 forced Disney and Marvel Studios to shift things quite a bit. Be that as it may, fans who have been eagerly awaiting more MCU content will have enough in the pipeline over the next few years to more than make up for lost time.
When we last left the MCU heroes, it was in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, which was released in theaters in 2019. The film was the culmination of more than a decade of interconnected stories. It became the highest-grossing film of all time and lived up to the high expectations placed on it. Spider-Man: Far From Home, the last MCU Phase 3 movie, followed. In some ways it played out as an epilogue for Endgame. Again, the movie was a huge success and set pieces for the future.
That future was originally supposed to arrive in the form of Black Widow in May 2020. The highly anticipated solo film for Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff was set to kick off phase 4. But with theaters closed for much of the year and the box office on life support, Black Widow, along with the rest of Marvel Studios’ upcoming slate, has been delayed several times. Titles were shifted and things were uncertain for a while. Fortunately, the dust has finally settled and it is on its way to the races here in a few days.
One of the biggest changes on the way to MCU Phase 4 is the addition of live-action TV shows. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and other shows existed before, but they always felt far removed from the movies. No longer. WandaVision will begin a trend where these shows are strongly tied to the rest of the MCU, with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany returning as Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively. Other live-action shows announced for Phase 4 include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, Mrs. Marvel and the animated one What if?. Other Disney + shows such as She-Hulk, Moon Knight, Armor Wars and Secret invasion have been announced, but some of these may be part of phase 5.
On the film side, phase 4 will consist of Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the currently unnamed Spider-Man 3 in 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black panther 2, Captain Marvel 2 and a mysterious MCU title to follow in 2022, making the Sheet restart with Mahershala Ali. Other projects such as Fantastic four, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and a X-Men reboot is part of phase 5. It all starts when WandaVision arrives on the Disney + streaming service on January 15.
Topics: WandaVision, Disney Plus, Streaming