Marvel Studios just can’t seem to put a foot wrong. On the heels of last year’s Thor: Ragnarok, there’s even more critical and financial acclaim being reaped now thanks to the outstanding performance of Black Panther. The thing is, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, with studio president Kevin Feige admitting that there are “another 20 movies on the docket.”
Well, if you thought he was overselling, think again because his claims are being backed up with Disney booking release dates for six new untitled Marvel films: with three set for 2021 and three for 2022.
These films will follow the current slate of movies, which has Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp rounding out 2018, and Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 wrapping Phase Three in 2019. The sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming (also due in 2019) opens the highly mysterious Phase Four, while 2020 will bring Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and as rumors have it, a Black Widow solo film as well.
While this MCU six-pack may seem a long way off, we do have a rough idea what we should be able too expect when it comes to what these movies could be.
Doctor Strange 2
While Wong might be considered expendable (but probably isn’t, judging by his recent Infinity War prelude comic role), it’s safe to assume Strange will survive Infinity War and its mystery sequel. Seeds have already been sown for the Sorcerer Supreme to go exploring the MCU multiverse, following up on director Scott Derrickson’s desire to dive into “alternate dimensions.” The sequel will also likely tackle Strange having to stop his former colleague Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who has become an extremist hunting those he believes abuse the mystical arts.
Black Panther 2
Black Panther culminated in King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) revealing the true nature of his people to the world, and come Infinity War, an army of unwanted faces will be arriving in Wakanda in the shape of Thanos’ Outriders — for reasons we still don’t know. This means that damage will be inflicted, and Wakanda will likely need rebuilding when the dust clears, which may be one plot point too many for Avengers 4.
Feige already wants Ryan Coogler to return for a sequel, and who better to continue to guide T’Challa’s journey. A sequel could dive further into his rule after Thanos’ invasion, how his romance with Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) is shaping up, Shuri’s (Letitia Wright) potential as a superhero, the status of Wakanda’s outreach programmes, the fates of traitors like W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) and the War Dogs. We’d also love to learn how the Panther legacy moves forward without the Heart-Shaped Herb.
Captain Marvel 2
Many fans hoped Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel would be in Infinity War, especially considering it will be a sprawling battle spanning the entire galaxy. However, this cosmic-powered hero will instead be joining Avengers 4, on the heels of an origins story set in the ’90s –which will be pitting her against the shape-shifting Skrulls and informs why she’s been missing from the MCU all these years.
A Captain Marvel sequel makes sense here, detailing Danvers officially being part of a post-Thanos world filled with superheroes. It can even move past the Kree/Skrull War influences which shaped her, and position the Avenger as a galactic watchdog a la Secret Empire, all in order to protect Earth from future alien threats.
Taika Waititi successfully took the Thor franchise to new heights as an action-comedy, and has hinted that things will only get crazier if he returns, which, honestly, audiences obviously want to see happen. Assuming Thor survives Avengers 4, another chapter in the Odinson’s saga would first perfectly into this newly-announced slate, in order to show Thor ruling Asgard’s survivors after Thanos’ attack drew his people into the Mad Titan’s crosshairs.
Of course, this all depend on whether Chris Hemsworth — whose contract ends after Avengers 4 — signs on. He did admit he’d be interested in working on another Thor flick with Waititi so our fingers are crossed. Story-wise, the possibilities are endless as Thor’s new adventures can take him across the cosmos again, charting even more unknown territory within the Nine Realms and possibly seeking a home for his people.
With Avengers 4 being kept in such secrecy, it’s tough to gauge what a fifth film might look like. However, two things are certain: First, the landscape of the MCU will be very different after the Thanos arc is wrapped. Second, the world will still need Avengers because no matter how many heroes exist out there, there’ll always be genocidal villains waiting.
A New MCU Entry
If all goes according to plan, Disney’s buyout of its now-rival studio will be completed around 2019, which gives Marvel Studios ample time to incorporate and/or reboot the Fox properties. This includes the Fantastic Four and affiliated characters (e.g. Doctor Doom, Silver Surfer), as well as characters from the X-Men universe. It’d be a win-win as fans would now be privy to an MCU roster similar to the comics, while Disney would undoubtedly have yet another cash cow at the box office.