Marvel Studios has yet to officially confirm where Phase 4 ends and Phase 5 begins, but everything up to The Marvels, at least, ought to be part of the current chapter as it was initially revealed to be. However, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently teased that "we're nearing the end of Phase 4" and fans will soon "start to see where this next saga is going."
As the currently announced slate nears its end, fans are beginning to turn their attention toward the future and speculating what's next for the MCU. With so many new heroes having been introduced in Phase 4, moviegoers are eager to see what comes next as Marvel Studios builds towards the debut of the X-Men, on top of the revered Avengers 5.
Combining what's currently announced for the future of the MCU with the clues sprinkled throughout Phase 4 - on top of some leaks and rumors - something of a Phase 5 roadmap can be put together. While there may be differences in the slate Feige eventually announces, here are the 30 movies and Disney+ shows likely to be included in Phase 5.
What's Left of Phase 4?
With July 2023's The Marvels being a large-scale ensemble team-up that has been rumored to set up the next Avengers flick, there's a strong chance that will prove to be that endpoint for Phase 4. So, what's left to go before Phase 5 gets underway?
This summer has already seen the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in theaters and both the I Am Groot shorts and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will soon follow on Disney+ in August. Later in the year, What If...? Season 2 will premiere on the streaming service, with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever set to close out the year in theaters on November 11.
Looking ahead to 2023's big-screen Phase 4 releases, Ant-Man the Wasp: Quantumania is set for February 17, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will finally arrive on May 5, and The Marvels will close out the summer, and possibly this chapter of the MCU, on July 28.
Both Echo and Secret Invasion have wrapped principal photography and are expected to arrive in the first half of the year. As the Skrull-centric series is reportedly preparing to begin an unprecedented four months of reshoots soon, chances are the Hawkeye spin-off will kick off 2023 for the MCU on Disney+, before Secret Invasion follows to set up The Marvels.
X-Men '97 won't take place in the main MCU timeline as it will instead be reviving the classic animated series from the 1990s. So, its placement in terms of the phases is likely irrelevant, but with claims that its release is planned for mid-2023, it ought to fall at some point in the summer.
But before 2022 closes out, Marvel Studios will deliver The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and the Werewolf by Night Halloween Special on Disney+. While the former ought to help set the course for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the latter will mark a major development in the MCU's dive into the supernatural.
Below is the predicted release calendar for the remainder of Phase 4:
- August 10, 2022 - I Am Groot
- August 17, 2022 - She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
- Fall 2022 - What If...? Season 2
- October - Werewolf by Night
- November 11, 2022 - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- December - The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
- Early 2023 - Echo
- February 17, 2023 - Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
- Spring 2023 - Secret Invasion
- May 5, 2023 - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
- Summer 2023 - X-Men '97
- July 28, 2023 - The Marvels
2023's MCU Phase 5 Movies and Shows
It's hard to determine precisely where Phase 5 begins, but with Marvel Studios having left release dates open for movies on October 6 and November 3, they're likely to fall in the next chapter. Determining which of the already announced series will land in Phase 5 mostly depends on predicting which side of those film release dates they will land.
Loki Season 2
Tom Hiddleston and the rest of the Loki cast just recently reunited in the UK to begin filming Season 2 of the Disney+ time-traveling epic. As the next set of projects is expected to build towards the Avengers facing off against Kang the Conqueror, Loki Season 2 may be the perfect place to kick off Phase 5, following his introduction in the cliffhanger ending of Season 1.
Jonathon Majors' Kang the Conqueror has yet to be confirmed to return for the next set of episodes, but one can only assume he will. Season 1 revealed a Kang Variant to be behind the TVA, with another still ruling the organization in the alternate timeline Loki has landed himself in, making his return inevitable.
Ironheart just recently began filming within days of Loki Season 2, with both expected to arrive next year. For now, there's no telling which will come first, as that hinges on filming difficulties and post-production requirements. But because of the larger significance that Loki ought to have within Phase 5, it makes sense to get started with that entry.
The Disney+ spin-off from Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man franchise will see the return of Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams, following her debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Thorne will be joined by Solo's Alden Ehrenreich, In The Heights' Anthony Ramos, and more. Dear White People's Sam Bailey and Blindspotting's Angela Barnes will direct, while Black Panther's Ryan Coogler will executive produce.
The series will see Riri Williams take on a group of 'tech bros,' which has been said to include the son or daughter of Iron Man villain Obadiah Stane.
As Marvel Studios' animated department continues to accelerate the development of various projects, Feige revealed at Disney+ Day 2021 that a Marvel Zombies series is in the works. The project has been said to take place in a separate universe to the undead world explore in What If...?, with further news promised to arrive at Comic-Con this year.
Agatha: House of Harkness
A recent listing claimed Kathryn Hahn's WandaVision spin-off, Agatha: House of Harkness, is set to film this October to debut in late 2023 or early 2024. Looking at the current release schedule, it makes sense for the dark comedy to be the last MCU outing of 2023.
WandaVision's Peter Cameron, Cameron Squires, and Laura Donney have all boarded the project as writers under head writer Jac Schaeffer, who also took the lead on the reality-bending sitcom. The last time Agatha appeared, Wanda had just transformed her into the nosey neighbor of Westview, so who knows where she will go next or if the Scarlet Witch will appear.
Mahershala Ali was famously introduced as Blade alongside the original Phase 4 slate in 2019, and yet progress has been rather minimal. But finally, the ball is starting to roll on Blade with filming, reportedly set to begin in October. As the next MCU movie to begin shooting, this will likely kick off Phase 5 and take Marvel's open October 6, 2023, release date.
The two-time Oscar winner will star as the vampire-killer Blade; Bassam Tariq will serve as director, and HBO's Watchmen writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour will take the lead on the script. Delroy Lindo, Milan Ray, and Krypton's Aaron Pierre have all joined the cast in unknown roles, while rumors suggest Dracula will be the main antagonist of Blade.
Blade made his off-screen debut as a voice speaking in a scene with Kit Harrington's Dane Whitman as he picked up the Ebony Blade in Eternals, leaving many to wonder if the British actor will tag along for Blade. There's every chance that plot thread may be saved for Eternals 2 or Black Knight's own solo series, but there's every chance Harrington might appear.
Spider-Man: Freshman Year
Yet another animated series in the works, Spider-Man: Freshman Year will explore the origin story and early days of Tom Holland's web-slinger in the MCU. Jeff Trammel will executive produce the series which has been said to be designed in a style that "celebrates the character’s early comic book roots."
Rumors leading up to the announcement suggested there are big plans for Spider-Man on Disney+, with a series releasing every other year, alternating with a big-screen flick. As of now, there are no signs of Spider-Man 4 coming in 2023, making Freshman Year likely to release toward the end of next year, with Season 2 potentially following in 2025.
Predicted release calendar for Phase 5 in 2023:
- Summer - Ironheart
- Summer - Loki Season 2
- Halloween - Marvel Zombies
- Fall - Agatha: House of Harkness
- November 3 - Blade
- Late - Spider-Man: Freshman Year
2024's MCU Phase 5 Movies and Shows
On the topic of projects that have been confirmed for ages with no progress, Armor Wars has barely progressed since it was announced at Disney Investor Day 2020. The Disney+ series will star Don Cheadle's Rhodey, aka War Machine, in a story about what happens when Tony Stark's technology falls into the wrong hands.
Stand-up comedian Yassir Lester will reportedly serve as head writer after his pitch excited Marvel Studios executives. The Disney+ series was originally expected to release in 2022, but will now film in Atlanta this fall, setting the course for a potential early 2024 release. As two series that related to Iron Man technology, many have theorized Armor Wars will connect to Ironheart.
Four years have passed since Deadpool 2 hit theaters and with Disney's acquisition of Fox having long been completed, the ball is finally rolling on Deadpool 3. Free Guy director Shawn Levy will take the reins with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick back on writing duties, and Ryan Reynolds returning as Wade Wilson.
Marvel Studios is taking a hands-off approach with the team as they develop a fish-out-of-water story that is expected to bring Deadpool into the MCU. Filming preparation just recently got underway with an art director signed on, indicating the start of production isn't far away, placing Deadpool 3 in position to take the vacant February 16, 2024, release date.
A Daredevil revival was just recently revealed with Matt Corman and Chris Ord tackling writing duties, and there's a lot to suggest it will come sooner rather than later. Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock will soon return in Echo in which he will reportedly be on the hunt for Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones, potentially setting up their reunion in Daredevil.
Additionally, Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin is back around in the MCU now, so perhaps he will tag along for the revival too. So far, the Disney+ series has been described as "new but continued," indicating it will take elements from the Netflix show while still being a fresh start. As writing is just getting underway, this series should arrive in early 2024, potentially in the spring.
On the note of the Fox acquisition, Fantastic Four is on the way to the MCU on the big screen, but things are taking a little longer than planned. The blockbuster reboot just recently lost Spider-Man trilogy director Jon Watts, leaving Marvel Studios on the hunt for a "big name" director to replace him.
Despite John Krasinski's Reed Richards showing up in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it's uncertain whether he'll be back. For now, the movie has yet to announce a director, cast, or writer, so who knows when production will begin. But Fantastic Four has long been predicted for a 2024 release, and with the anticipation, it'll likely take the prime May 3, 2024 date.
Ms. Marvel Season 2
So far, Marvel Studios has been rather hesitant about giving Season 2 renewals to its Disney+ series, but Ms. Marvel seems like a no-brainer. The finale left plenty of threads wide open to continue down the line after she teams up with Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau in 2023's The Marvels.
Given lead actress Iman Vellani's young age, only 19 years old, Marvel Studios will likely be eager to develop several seasons of Ms. Marvel while the cast can still pass as children. It's always hard to determine when Disney+ will release its series, but Season 1 saw success in the summer, potentially lining up Season 2 to take a similar slot.
Captain America 4
Looking at all the confirmed Marvel movies in development, Captain America 4 appears the most likely to begin filming in 2023 in time to take the vacant July 26, 2024, release date. Malcolm Spellman was announced as the writer of the sequel last year in the wake of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's finale, meaning the script has been underway for some time.
Anthony Mackie will star as Sam Wilson, the MCU's newest Captain America, with the rest of the cast yet to be padded out. The Cloverfield Paradox's Julius Onah just recently signed on as director, indicating production could begin soon.
Most are expecting Captain America 4 to bring back most of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier's cast of characters, which includes Bucky Barnes, Sharon Carter, Eli Bradley, and Joaquin Torres. Now that Carter has been revealed as Madripoor's villainous crime boss the Power Broker, perhaps she will serve as the main antagonist.
At the start of 2021, Black Panther director signed a five-year television deal with Disney, which includes the production of a Disney+ series centered around the Kingdom of Wakanda. Just a few months later, a report revealed Danai Gurira's Okoye will star in an origin series on the streaming service. There's a high chance these projects are one and the same.
Currently, Coogler's focus remains on finishing up Wakanda Forever and producing Ironheart. Following the completion of those projects, his focus ought to turn to the Black Panther Disney+ spin-off, returning to the world of Wakanda roughly two years after it was last visited.
What If...? Season 3
Since the animated department has so many projects in the works at the moment, there's a high chance that What If...? will skip 2023 to return for Season 3 in 2024. Whether What If...? receives a Season 3 renewal ought to hinge on the response to Season 2, but Marvel Studios can produce an infinite amount of content based on this premise.
There are still a few months until the second batch of episodes hits Disney+, so details on the third are scarce. However, the writers have confirmed Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter will return in every future season. So, fans can look forward to more from the alternate First Avenger, alongside scenarios based on the heroes and stories of Phase 4 and beyond.
Ever since Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina first surfaced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to recruit John Walker, aka US Agent, to an unknown team, fans have been wondering what the end goal of that may be. The mystery only further deepened when Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova was revealed to be working for her, and she sent her after Clint Barton's Hawkeye.
Now, it's finally become clear that the endpoint is the Thunderbolts, which is currently being scripted by Black Widow co-writer Eric Pearson and will be directed by Jake Schreier. Marvel Studios is said to be eyeing a summer 2023 production start, which ought to place it in the vacant November 8, 2024, release date.
Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton was surprisingly recently revealed to be developing a Wonder Man Disney+ series, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine writer Andrew Guest along tagging along. The project has been described as a "Hollywood satire" which is said to be early in development, which might place it before Shang-Chi 2 toward the end of 2024 to round out the year.
Ever since Tom Holland's Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony has released a wall-crawler flick in the MCU every other year. With Holland yet to sign for Spider-Man 4, the odds are slim of it filming this year in time to release in 2023, likely placing it at some point in 2024.
There's no telling exactly when in the year Spider-Man 4 will land as Homecoming and Far From Home released in July, while No Way Home hit theaters in December. Given the success the wall-crawler's latest entry saw in the festive season, Sony may try to replicate that next time around.
As of now, there are no signs of the direction Spider-Man's next adventure will take, but Zendaya's MJ and Jacob Batalon's Ned are both expected to return. Meanwhile, there's now a fraction of Tom Hardy's Venom symbiote crawling around the MCU, so who knows how that will play into things?
Predicted release calendar for Phase 5 in 2024:
- Early - Armor Wars
- February 16 - Deadpool 3
- Spring - Daredevil
- May 3 - Fantastic Four
- Summer - Ms. Marvel Season 2
- July 26 - Captain America 4
- Summer - Wakanda
- Fall - What If...? Season 3
- November 8 - Thunderbolts
- Fall - Wonder Man
- December - Spider-Man 4
2025's MCU Phase 5 Movies and Shows
Going into Phase 4, Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff was already established as a fan favorite. That outlook was only emphasized in WandaVision and Multiverse of Madness. Even with Scarlet Witch currently appearing to be dead, many still believe she is alive and has a solo project on the way, as rumors have suggested.
While it's highly unlikely the fan favorite Avenger will stay dead for long, it does appear Olsen wants a break from the MCU. So, after taking some time off, 2025 may be a reasonable prediction for when Scarlet Witch could return, likely in the form of another Disney+ series after how successful WandaVision proved to be for the service - although this could also go to the big screen.
World War Hulk
Recent reports have claimed a World War Hulk movie is in development, with plans to shoot this year. The blockbuster event will reportedly be set up in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law as Abomination is responsible for creating many Hulk-like beings that Bruce Banner and Jennifer Walters will have to deal with in World War Hulk.
If production does indeed begin this year, World War Hulk could be in theaters in either 2023 or 2024. But as that's looking unlikely, an early 2025 release date may be a fitting guess as the movie has yet to announce a writer or director, and the post-production period ought to be long due to its heavy focus on CGI characters.
The Ten Rings
Shortly after Shang-Chi proved to be a resounding hit, Destin Daniel Cretton was revealed to be developing both a sequel and a Disney+ series. The spin-off is expected to star Meng’er Zhang's Xialing, the new leader of The Ten Rings are she takes charge of the global organization. This ought to either lead into or directly follow the events of Shang-Chi 2.
After Kamala Khan was revealed to be a mutant in Ms. Marvel, it quickly became clear the MCU's X-Men reboot may not be as far away as once thought. The project has been said to be working under the title of The Mutants, but with the writer, director, or cast attached yet, it may not come until 2025 - likely taking the prime May release date as the biggest ensemble blockbuster of the year.
As of now, it's too early to tell which mutants will steal the focus of the MCU reboot, but characters like Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey would be safe bets to appear. In the sense that Wolverine was the audience surrogate going into the Fox franchise, perhaps a younger character like Rogue or Kitty Pryde could do the same for the MCU.
Marvel fans have been waiting to see Nova join the MCU for over a decade now. Some are calling for the classic Richard Rider, while others hope for the younger Sam Alexander to be adapted. Reports indicated Nova will star in his own Disney+ series that films at some point in 2023 and sets up Rider and Alexander existing simultaneously in the MCU going forward.
Destin Daniel Cretton began developing Shang-Chi 2 right after Simu Liu's MCU debut proved to be a resounding success. As of now, there's no telling what direction the sequel will go, but the post-credits scene of Legend of the Ten Rings raised questions surrounding the origin of the ancient weapons - questions that may be answered in the sequel.
It's hard to pin down exactly when the sequel will be ready, but with the director simultaneously developing multiple Disney+ projects, 2025 may be a realistic timeframe. Most of the cast ought to be back for Shang-Chi 2, with some speculating Marvel legend Iron Fist may tag along for the ride.
Hawkeye Season 2
Hawkeye has yet to officially confirm whether Season 2 will be happening, but it's just recently been switched from a limited series to a comedy, indicating it may be on the cards. With Kate Bishop now firmly established as Hawkeye in the MCU, she will likely prove to be the central character this time around, with Clint Barton taking a back seat as he enters retirement.
2025 might sound like a long wait for Eternals 2, particularly after the agonizing cliffhanger of the first installment. Half of the Eternals have been taken to judge Earth by Arishem, the others are traveling through space with Eros in search of the others, meanwhile, Kit Harrington's Dane Whitman has just picked up the Ebony Blade, beginning his journey toward the Black Knight.
Director Chloé Zhao certainly left plenty to keep fans waiting but after the poor critical response to the first film, Marvel Studios ought to take its time to get this one right. That may involve Kevin Feige taking a more hands-on approach to Zhao's sequel, or possibly replacing her altogether. Either way, a late 2025 release should offer plenty of time to make Eternals 2 even better.
Moon Knight Season 2
With Marvel Studios staying hesitant to confirm whether Moon Knight will ever see a second season, all signs point to a long wait to see the story continue. The Season 1 finale left off with the tease of Marc Spector's third identity, Jack Lockley, continuing to serve Khonshu. Who knows where that will take Season 2, but Oscar Isaac's busy career could push the continuation as far as 2025.
Predicted release calendar for Phase 5 in 2025:
- Early - Scarlet Witch
- February - World War Hulk
- Spring - The Ten Rings
- May - The Mutants
- Summer - Nova
- July - Shang-Chi 2
- Summer - Hawkeye Season 2
- November - Eternals 2
- Fall - Moon Knight Season 2
2026's MCU Phase 5 Movies and Shows
Once Marvel Studios begins its X-Men reboot, the MCU will naturally begin to spin many of its new heroes into solo movies and Disney+ series. First up on the pile ought to be Wolverine, starring whichever acting ends up landing the role, with Kingsman's Taron Egerton being the strongest contender at the moment.
Having already had a trilogy with Hugh Jackman, a Disney+ series seems like the natural course of action to explore Wolverine's path through history. With a high chance of Wolverine going solo in Phase 5, perhaps that may come early in 2026, marking the MCU's first mutant spin-off.
Doctor Strange 3
Following the death of Iron Man, Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange has shot to the front of the MCU after playing into two of the biggest adventures of Phase 4. After the introduction of Clea as she recruited the sorcerer to assist with an incursion he caused, Doctor Strange 3 looks to be inevitable.
Marvel Studios has yet to announce its untitled release dates for 2025, but perhaps it will mirror the previous year and fall in February 2026. With the story revolving around Strange and Clea, an iconic romantic duo, the threequel could fall around Valentine's Day, which could also lead directly into Avengers 5 that summer.
Looking at other heroes who have been waiting for an MCU debut for some time, Ghost Rider has been rumored for years to have a project in the works at Marvel Studios. Reports have since circulated to suggest the studio was in talks with an actor for the role, with The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus vocally pushing to play the MCU's Spirit of Vengeance.
Ghost Rider was supposedly close to making a cameo in Multiverse of Madness, but that didn't end up seeing the light of day. Now, a Disney+ series looks to be most likely for the character, possibly appearing in another project before going solo.
Many will naturally be hoping Avengers 5 will arrive sooner rather than later, but with the massive amount of projects currently in the works, it's hard to imagine it fitting anytime before 2026. Although nobody knows exactly what direction Marvel Studios will take the highly-anticipated sequel; Jonathon Majors' Kang the Conqueror is expected to be the next big threat.
After as many as seven years since Endgame broke theatrical records, anticipation for Avengers 5 will naturally be through the roof, and possibly even another record-breaker. There's no telling whether the sequel will be a New Avengers movie more akin to the original team-up, or if Marvel Studios will go big to match Endgame with the Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four.
Predicted release calendar for Phase 5 in 2026:
- Early - Wolverine
- February - Doctor Strange 3
- Spring - Ghost Rider
- May - Avengers 5
What's the Overarching Plot of Phase 5?
With the X-Men and Fantastic Four entering the picture, on top of many other highly-anticipated heroes, Phase 5 appears set to be even bigger and more content-filled than Phase 4. This Phase ought to be yet another chapter in the MCU's newest saga that all appears to be building towards Secret Wars.
There's no telling just yet whether Kang the Conqueror will prove to be the ultimate threat of the saga or just an obstacle the Avengers have to come along the way, but the role of Jonathon Majors' time-traveling villain ought to be a significant one that will cover many projects and Variants.
Much like Phase 4, the Multiverse ought to be a key component of Phase 5, although its role will likely be dialed back after Secret Wars culminates the current saga. Perhaps this will lead to more returning characters such as Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, but only time will tell.
Kevin Feige is expected to reveal the first details of the Phase 5 slate at San Diego Comic-Con during the Marvel Studios panel on Saturday, July 23