Disney Delays MCU’s Phase 7: Marvel’s New Timeline Explained

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Marvel Studios, Scarlet Witch, Wolverine, Fantastic Four

Marvel Studios surprised everyone back at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 when it revealed not only its Phase 5 slate of films but also part of Phase 6 as well. In turn, that meant fans knew exactly when Phase 7 would start: following the event of the decade, Avengers: Secret Wars.

However, as fans expected, some recent delays have pushed the sixth Avengers film back half a year. Unfortunately, this means that whatever the next Saga was going to be, it would have to wait just a little longer.

MCU's Phase 7 Gets Delayed

Marvel Studios, Avengers
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Originally, Marvel Studios had Phase 7 movies scheduled for 2/13/2026, 5/1/26, 7/24/26, and 11/6/26. With Avengers 6's recent delay from November 7, 2025 to May 1, 2026, the first Phase 7 movie, which is still untitled, has been delayed almost six months, from February 13, 2026, to July 24, 2026. A second post-Avengers 6 film is now set for a November 6, 2026 debut.

Here are all the shifts in Marvel's Phase 7 release timeline that were caused by the delay:

  1. Untitled Marvel Movie: February 13, 2026 moves to July 24, 2026
  2. Untitled Marvel Movie: May 1, 2026 moves to November 6, 2026
  3. Untitled Marvel Movie: July 24, 2026 becomes undated
  4. Untitled Marvel Movie: November 6, 2026 becomes undated

With two untitled Phase 7 movies now set to arrive for the second half of 2026, here's what we predict they could be...

Will the X-Men Finally Arrive?

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The biggest question fans have had for Marvel Studios for years, ever since Disney's purchase of Twentieth Century Fox, has been when will mutants arrive in the MCU?

Sure, there was a slight tease at the end of Ms. Marvel, and Deadpool 3 will star both Deadpool and Wolverine—but when will Marvel Studios truly introduce the X-Gene to its fictional world? As the slate stands now, it doesn't seem like it will happen at any point in the Multiverse Saga. However, when it comes to Phase 7, it's all but a certainty. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if the next Saga is called the Mutant Saga.

The bigger question is how Marvel Studios will go about introducing them. When it comes to the four untitled Marvel movies, it's hard to see them all being X-Men based. More than likely, one of them will be the establishment of the X-Men as a team—something that could even come after a few Disney+ Special Presentations introduce the world to various members of the team.

However, there is a chance that some of the bigger members, such as Wolverine, could get some solo adventures. The cast of Marvel mutants is ginormous, so not every character will be afforded a movie.

The Fantastic Four's Continued Story

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Aside from Mutants, one of the biggest properties Marvel Studios acquired was the Fantastic Four. Currently, they aren't set to hit movie theater screens until February 14, 2025. Seeing as their first outing will be right before the end of the Multiverse Saga, there'll be plenty more stories to tell with them going into Phase 7.

The recent rumors of a Silver Surfer Special Presentation also indicate that Marvel Studios has every intention of using Galactus in the future. So if he hasn't already been used, it'll certainly be one of the first things the family will have to deal with coming out of the Multiverse Saga.

Then there's Doctor Doom, who goes hand-in-hand with Richard Reeds and his family. It's unclear as of now if Victor Von Doom will play an integral role in Secret Wars as he does in the source material, but if he doesn't, the villain will almost certainly be a key focus going forward.

When it comes to those new 2026 slots, it's not likely that any of them belong to a Fantastic Four sequel. However, a spot in 2027 could be enough time for Marvel to get the team back together—however, a 2028 spot is far more likely.

The Cosmic Standing

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After everything settles down post-Secret Wars, Marvel will want to establish what the cosmic scene looks like. The first person to come to mind would be Carol Danvers or the members of The Marvels in general. Depending on how next year's team-up movie goes, it wouldn't be hard to see Marvel Studios commissioning a third movie for Captain Marvel and her teammates.

Then there's the Eternals—a franchise and set of characters whose future remains murky and unknown after the 2021 movie didn't land as well as Marvel had liked. But the cast and their associated plotlines are all too big to ignore, so they'll have to be utilized in some way.

While it's not clear how Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will end, it's safe to assume that having some version of the team active will be a constant throughout the MCU's history, much like the Avengers. A project centering on them could easily be one of the four untitled Phase 7 projects—especially as they'll be coming 4-5 years after James Gunn's final film.

There have been a handful of rumors that Marvel Studios will finally be introducing Nova to the MCU in the form of a Special Presentation—one that doesn't seem like it would arrive until 2024 at the earliest. The character could also serve to start a much larger cosmic story involving Annihillus and his Annihilation for Phase 7. 

Hitting the Street-Level

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So there's the Fantastic Four and re-establishing the cosmic scene, so what about those on the street level? One of the big possibilities is another Tom Holland Spider-Man film. Sony tends to try to pump them out fairly often, and the fourth installment is currently rumored to hit in July of 2024.

This means that either the 7/24/2026 to 11/6/2026 dates—or just that time frame in general—could make for a great debut timeframe for a fifth movie. The project could also introduce Miles Morales to the MCU if he hasn't already been.

Then, there's the Thunderbolts, which one could argue is a little above street level. However, given the participation of Bucky, US Agent, Yelena, Red Guardian and Kingpin's probable involvement, this team of questionable folks could count. After their 2024 film, they're also going to be primed for a sequel of some sort.

Then, of course, the world will still have a Captain America. But will it be Sam, Steve Rogers, both, or someone else entirely? By the time 2026 and 2027 roll around, it will be prime time for another Cap adventure to grace the MCU.

The Supernatural World

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Werewolf by Night promised to only be the start of the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, looking at the expansive slate of upcoming projects, not many of them seem to involve that part of the world. So when The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars come to an end, maybe there'll be more time to jump into the proverbial deep end.

Marvel could start Phase 7 off with a bang and showcase the Midnight Sons, a group of heroes who protect the waking world from the worst of the supernatural. The team's concept could be first teased in Secret Wars (or a spinoff project), where it could be one of the alternate universes on Battleworld before becoming a real thing in the new Phase 7 status quo.

This could also all happen or be set up in the form of a sequel to 2024's Blade, starring Mahershala Ali. While the hero usually focuses on vampires, his work does get him into trouble with other monsters. Not to mention, what in the world was he recruiting Dane Whitman for in Eternals?

The Wonderful World of Magic

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The magic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will also need to be addressed entering this new phase of projects. For one, there will always be the Sorcerer Supreme, who'll have his role to play. This could still be Wong, Doctor Strange himself, or someone else entirely. This isn't even mentioning their role with the Illuminati, which may or may not be formed already by this point.

Then there's Simu Liu's Shang-Chi. Currently, the character is expected to lead a sequel to his 2021 movie at some point toward the end of the Multiverse Saga. This would make it unlikely that his third movie would land in 2026 or 2027—so seeing a third entry is probably a good way off. A potential third Doctor Strange would find itself in a similar situation.

However, this corner of the MCU could also intersect with the X-Men and introduce Magik, who has the ability to utilize the black magic from Limbo. That certainly sounds like something the Sorcerer Supreme at the time (which could still be Wong, a newly promoted Strange, or someone else) would be interested in and could lead to an update on the mystical world before any of its leading characters get another movie.

The MCU's Exciting Future

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With Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror theoretically in the rearview mirror, what stands to be the key over-arching threat for the next saga? 

The two leading candidates would be Doctor Doom and Magneto. Though some other guesses could be Apocalypse, Annihilus, Magus (Adam Warlock's darker half), or Molecule Man. Whoever it is will have a massive legacy to live up to. No doubt the shadow cast by Josh Brolin and Majors will be a long one.

With the next saga likely to focus on Mutants, that means its big culminating Avengers films will have to revolve around the X-Gene. Could fans be looking at a potential Avengers vs. X-Men project? Perhaps the eighth entry in the series could even focus on the mighty Onslaught, who, in the comics, is described as a sentient psionic entity created from the consciousness of Professor Xavier and Magneto.

While fans thought it was an exciting time to be a Marvel fan back in the Infinity Saga, things have only escalated from there. Now fans probably can't help but ask themselves, what could come after all that?

Avengers: Secret Wars is currently set to hit theaters on May 1, 2026.

- In This Article: Avengers: Secret Wars
Release Date
May 07, 2027
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.