Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has become one of the biggest hits of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and now fans are eager to know what’s next in the pantheon of the franchise.
Released on 11 November 2022, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks the end of Phase 4 of the MCU, which started with the release of the show WandaVision on 21 January 2021. In all, Phase 4 saw the release of eight shows and seven films.
MCU films and shows of Phase 5 and Phase 6 were first announced at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2022 in July. As per Marvel Studios’ plans, Phase 4 through Phase 6 will together be known as the ‘Multiverse Saga’.
Marvel Studios welcomes you to The Multiverse Saga. pic.twitter.com/HC1b747YPl
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) July 24, 2022
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had announced a slew of titles that fans of the franchise will see through 2025. Among the most anticipated films in the forthcoming phases are two Avengers films.
Some more announcements were made in the months following SDCC 2022.
There will be seven shows and six films as part of Phase 5. The expected release dates of all the films have been announced with the first being Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on 17 February 2023 and the last being Blade on 6 September 2024.
The first film, as part of Phase 6, will be Deadpool 3 with an expected release date of 8 November 2024. It is one of the most-anticipated films in any of the upcoming two phases due to the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and the Australian actor’s first appearance in the MCU.
Phase 6 also has two Avengers films — Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, which is expected to release on 2 May 2025, followed by Avengers: Secret Wars, which is expected to hit the screens on 1 May 2026.
According to Marvel Studios, the film will revolve around Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) exploring the Quantum Realm with Hope’s parents Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).
The film will also feature Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), a version of whom was seen in the first season of Loki.
The second season of the anthology animated series will follow season 1 by continuing with stories of MCU superheroes and other main characters in alternate dimensions and settings.
Samuel L Jackson will return as Nick Fury while Ben Mendelsohn will reprise his role of Talos in this Disney+ series. Cobie Smulders will also be back as Maria Hill.
“This is a darker show,” Smulders told the gathering at SDCC 2022. “We’re going to get deeper into the characters. We’re going to see them in new ways, and it’s going to be an exciting thriller, and you’re never going to know who people are. Are they a Skrull? Are they a human? It’s going to be a bit of a guessing game,” he added.
Other cast members include Kingsley Ben-Adir, Emilia Clarke and Olivia Colman.
A trailer of the film was shown to those present in Hall H at SDCC 2022. It was unveiled by writer and director James Gunn, who confirmed that the film marks the end of the much-loved dysfunctional group of heroes in the MCU.
“This is the end of that story. I’m sorry. Some stories have an end. It doesn’t mean everybody dies,” he said.
Returning cast members include Chis Pratt, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Sylvester Stallone and Pom Klementieff. Among the new faces are Maria Bakalova who plays Cosmic Space Dog, and Will Poulter who essays the superhero Adam Warlock.
The Disney+ series will focus on the character of Maya Lopez aka Echo, the deaf amputee heroine played by Alaqua Cox in the series Hawkeye (2021).
Vincent D’Onofrio will also be seen in the series as Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. Among other cast members are Devery Jacobs, Chaske Spencer, Cody Lightning, Graham Greene, Tantoo Cardinal and Zahn McClarnon.
Echo will also mark the first appearance of Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil before he headlines his own series later in the MCU Phase 5. Cox played Daredevil in the series of the same name that streamed on Netflix from 2015 to 2018. He did a cameo as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
The story of The Marvels will focus on the superhero characters Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani). Teyonah Parris is set to play S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau. The film will be directed by Nia DaCosta.
While Larson headlined her own MCU film in 2019, Vellani became a major star following the critical acclaim of Ms. Marvel (2022) series on Disney+.
One of the most anticipated Disney+ MCU shows, season 2 of Loki is expected to reveal more about the consequences of disturbing the flow of time by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) at the end of season 1.
The Disney+ series is about Riri Williams, a 15-year-old tech wizard who creates her own armour suit and becomes Ironheart. Seen as the heir apparent to Tony Stark in the MCU, Williams will be played by Dominique Thorne.
Thorne made her debut as the character in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Agatha: Coven of Chaos is a spin-off of WandaVision and focusses on the character of Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) who is an evil witch.
Formerly titled Agatha: House of Harkness, its new title was revealed at SDCC 2022. The spin-off was announced in 2021 following positive reception of the character from fans.
The massive series featuring 18 episodes marks the official entry of Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock in Disney+. Vincent D’Onofrio will also be back as Kingpin.
Just announced in Hall H:
Marvel Studios’ Daredevil: Born Again, an Original series starring Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio, streaming Spring 2024 on @DisneyPlus. #SDCC2022 pic.twitter.com/Nrt7xQmqfi
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) July 24, 2022
Cox was recently seen as Daredevil in a guest appearance in the MCU series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022).
Feige’s announcement of a new Captain America film was one of the biggest moments at the SDCC 2022.
It will be the first time that Anthony Mackie will play Captain America on the big screen. In the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), Mackie’s character Sam Wilson is seen struggling with his new identity of Captain America, while still retaining his older superhero alias of Falcon.
A movie featuring the band of Marvel supervillains causing mayhem was announced in June 2022. Officially titled Thunderbolts, Feige said that Phase 5 will conclude with this film.
Not much is known about Thunderbolts. In the comics, several supervillains come together as Thunderbolts. But the most famous of them is the one formed by Baron Zemo. Daniel Brühl appeared as Zemo in the MCU.
Blade is one of the most iconic characters in Marvel Comics. Feige introduced Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali as Blade in Hall H at the SDCC 2019.
The half-vampire was teased off-screen in the post-credits scene in Eternals (2021). Ali will be joined by Aaron Pierre and Delroy Lindo in the film.
Feige had said at SDCC that shooting for Blade will begin in October 2022. But director Bassam Tariq left the project in September 2022, leading to Marvel Studios postponing Blade‘s release from the earlier 3 November 2023 slot to the new date in 2024. This had a ripple effect on Phase 6 films, which, too, had to be delayed.
On 28 September, actor Ryan Reynolds shared a series of videos on social media announcing the return of Hugh Jackman as the X-Men hero Wolverine in the third Deadpool film.
Interestingly, Deadpool 3 is also the first film under the Disney banner. Both Deadpool and Wolverine characters became part of the Disney slate with the acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019.
Among other characters that are now part of Disney following the deal is Fantastic Four. It is not clear if the film will be a reboot of the original franchise which started in 2005, starring Chris Evans as Johnny Storm aka Human Torch in the first movie before he entered the MCU as Captain America.
In 2015, a new Fantastic Four film starring Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell and Toby Kebbell in main roles was released. However, it didn’t do well at the box office.
John Krasinski played an alternate version of the Fantastic Four-character Reed Richards in the MCU film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022). However, it is not clear if he will reprise the role in the Phase 6 Fantastic Four film.
Fantastic Four will be followed by Avengers: The Kang Dynasty on 2 May 2025 and Avengers: Secret Wars on 7 November 2025. Avengers: Secret Wars will mark the end of Phase 6 and, thereby, the conclusion of ‘Multiverse Saga.’
No Phase 6 shows have yet been announced.
(Main image: © cedricdumler ©️MarvelStudios/IMDb; Featured image: Courtesy of Marvel Studios/@MarvelStudios/Twitter)
Manas enjoys reading detective fiction and writing about anything that interests him. When not doing either of the two, he checks Instagram for the latest posts by travellers. Winter is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.
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