Brace yourself! We’re getting close to the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, this iteration of the MCU, at least. While Marvel Studios has no plans to end its 10 year run of success with 2019’s Avengers 4, that doesn’t mean things will stay the same after it.
In fact, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said as much in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, where he dropped clues regarding the future of the MCU. Feige said the studio is “22 movies in, and we’ve got another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before — intentionally.” That’s right folks, we’ve got at least 20 more films starring our favorite superheroes to look forward to!
With Avengers 4 bringing Phases One through Three to a fitting close, Phase Four and beyond will obviously look to establish new heroes as some familiar faces most likely walk off into the sunset. At least, we hope they’re still walking and not left dead after Avengers 4‘s final showdown with the Mad Titan Thanos.
So what are the next 20 Marvel movies we have to look forward to? A large number of them will be sequels to ongoing franchises, but a few should introduce those new heroes we mentioned above. Below is a list of 20 films that we feel have a pretty good shot at making their way to the big screen, along with dates Marvel Studios has already laid claim to, and the decision to debut three films a year.
Feige already revealed the first film to follow Avengers 4 in 2019 will be the sequel to this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, with a release date of July 5, 2019. That’s not the only Spidey news, however; Homecoming producer Amy Pascal said the sequel “will start a few minutes after Avengers 4 wraps as a story.”
Marvel Studios understands how important Spider-Man is to its fans, and will look for him to lead the charge into its future. Anyone looking for the first glimpse of what the MCU will look like post-Avengers 4 will have no choice but to check out this film. Plus, after being hinted at in Spider-Man: Homecoming, we could finally get our first look at other Spider-Man supporting characters like Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy (more on them later).
Director James Gunn has stated that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the third film in the cosmic franchise, will help kickstart the new chapter for Marvel’s superheroes. The previous two films were mega-hits with fans, debuting a similar ragtag group of mercenaries called the Ravagers and teasing Adam Strange in a post-credit scene when Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) reveals a storage unit containing a being who she dubs Adam.
If we take Gunn at his word, and we will, then Adam Warlock isn’t confirmed for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. “And despite so many people thinking Adam will show up in Vol 3 that is something that we have never confirmed,” Gunn has said.” Who knows how long it will take him to bake in that cocoon. That said, I love Adam. But the time must be right.”
Unless Adam Warlock pops up in Avengers 4, we’ll go out on a limb and say he appears in Vol. 3. Also, we believe so heavily in Adam’s future that he shows up later on this list.
The status of the Captain America film franchise will be up in the air after Avengers 4. Chris Evans’ contract will be up, and he will look to hang up Cap’s shield for good. But will Marvel Studios look to retire the mantle of Captain America when it has two worthy successors standing by in Bucky Barnes’ Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson’s Falcon?
Marvel Studios can’t go wrong with either Bucky or Sam as the new Sentinel of Liberty, but if we had to choose one, it’d be the Winter Soldier. Bucky is a fellow super soldier just like Cap, so he can recreate some of the phenomenal superhuman moments that Steve Rogers is known for, like taking down a S.H.I.E.L.D. quinjet all by himself. Placing a Captain America 4 a year after Avengers 4 positions it to follow-up on the latter’s events and begin a new era for Cap.
With stars like Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth on the final stages of their MCU contracts, Marvel Studios has to be looking to slide new actors into starring roles. Obviously, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange is one of the individuals that will play a pivotal role in the MCU going forward.
The Sorcerer Supreme has introduced brand new concepts to the MCU, including the mystic arts and alternate dimensions. The Marvel Universe is chock full of stories from the comics that deal with different dimensions and parallel worlds, which are ripe to be adapted for Doctor Strange 2.
The King of Wakanda was a breakout character in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Black Panther, his first solo film, lands in theaters in February, and there are theories the film’s story may involve one of the fabled Infinity Stones that Thanos is pursuing.
Black Panther will no doubt receive a sequel to his ongoing adventures, letting fans learn more about the African nation of Wakanda and its rare metal, Vibranium. As someone who will have appeared in four MCU films by the time Black Panther 2 arrives, T’Challa will be another of the newer stars Marvel Studios will look to with the hopes of making fans forget the likes of Tony Stark.
A third Spider-Man film will look to surpass its previous two entries while giving Spidey’s supporting cast a chance to shine. We can expect any story threads established in Homecoming and Homecoming 2 to be resolved here, and one great way to do that is opening the floodgates with a trip to the Spider-Verse.
Spider-Verse was a 2014 event that saw Spider-Man team up with web slingers from across the multiverse to take on the villain Morlun and his Inheritors. A Spider-Verse film can introduce Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman, while also letting Miles and Gwen suit up as Spider-Man and Spider-Gwen, respectively. The comics have shown that Spider-Man’s world is big enough for other Spider men, women… and pigs.
We have to wait until 2019 to see Carol Danvers rocket into theaters in Captain Marvel, but a sequel will almost be a given. With her solo film set to take place in the ’90s, the only other time we can see her interact with the other heroes of the MCU is in 2019’s Avengers 4.
Carol Danvers will be one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU by the time she teams up with the Avengers. Whatever shape the team takes after Avengers 4, Captain Marvel will be lined up to be one of its leaders.
Natasha Romanov was the first woman to stand among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and has been a linchpin of the MCU, with Black Widow making appearances in Iron Man 2, Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War. Marvel Studios needs to give the fans what they want, and that’s a Black Widow standalone movie.
Fans have clamored for Black Widow to receive a solo film, and Kevin Feige has gone on the record stating that when it comes to new standalone movies, “the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.” If that’s really the case, Black Widow should be on the short list of 20 movies Marvel Studios is considering for Phase Four and beyond.
For a third Doctor Strange film, Marvel Studios should mine a current storyline unfolding in the comics, where Stephen Strange hands over the title of Sorcerer Supreme to the Asgardian God of Mischief, Loki.
Of course, we don’t know whether Tom Hiddleston will be brought back as Loki in future MCU films, but the opportunity to see Loki headline his own film while dueling with Strange might be too good to pass up. This also could be enough incentive for Hiddleston to consider continuing on as the lovable trickster.
Let’s be honest; Avengers 4 won’t be the last time we see an MCU film with the name “Avengers” in the title. Heroes like Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange will be established as the new guard, with many slots open to new characters to take on new threats.
Whether they are referred to as the New or Mighty Avengers, the legacy of heroes assembling to face the threats no one can tackle alone will live on.
Much like Avengers 4 will mark an end to the MCU as we know it, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will also bring this iteration of the Guardians to a close, according to director James Gunn.
“It means it’s the end of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Yeah,” he confirmed.
Marvel Studios has a couple of options if it wants to keep telling stories from the Guardians corner of the MCU: It can change up the roster, or use the franchise as a springboard to let the Ravagers get the spotlight.
We learned in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that Yondu (Michael Rooker) was a part of another intergalactic team of misfits prior to tussling with, and then joining up with the Guardians. Yondu, Stakar (Sylvester Stallone), Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh), Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus), and Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames) were known as the Ravagers. This unit called themselves the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, hailing a thousand years in the future. With such a star-studded roster, it makes sense to spin them out into their own film to keep exploring the cosmic side of the MCU.
Characters like the Ravagers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and others farther down on our list are examples of the type of stories Marvel can tell in the cosmos. But what if a current Earth-based hero planted a flag on another planet? Marvel Comics teased this in Marvel Legacy #1 with Black Panther.
A planet named Bast, the Panther God worshiped by Wakandan, shows a thriving society that’s inspired by Wakanda. The rise of the Wakandan space empire is a throwback to the very first issue of Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers when a group of Wakandan teenagers succeeded in a trial to unlock the secrets of an undiscovered solar system. Wakandan is ahead of the curve when it comes to scientific discovery, and that can continue as Black Panther head’s into the stars.
The sequels continue on with July’s Ant-Man and the Wasp concluding its trilogy of films. Though we never saw him in the first trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, something tells us Scott Lang is a survivor and will live to fight another day.
Scott’s young daughter Cassie will be much older by the time Ant-Man 3 comes out, and may be ready to step out of her father’s shadow to don a shape-changing suit as well. She can look to Scott to show her the superhero ropes, or look for some womanly advice from Hope van Dyne’s Wasp.
We’re going off the assumption that Adam Warlock appears in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and makes such a lasting impression that Marvel Studios looks to him as the first candidate for a solo cosmic film.
The character was introduced in 1967 as “Him” in Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four #66-67 before his name was changed to Adam Warlock in 1972. He was tied to the Soul Gem in the comics, and ran afoul of Thanos, as well as Magus, an evil version of himself from the future. Look for Marvel Studios to cast another A-list actor to fill the role of Adam Warlock.
Marvel Studio has a couple of different routes it can take Captain Marvel’s adventures. She’s from Earth, but also has connections to the alien Kree, therefore also making her a cosmic character. Whether she’s a member of the Avengers or the leader of Earth’s Alpha Flight space program, Captain Marvel is a name we should all get comfortable seeing more of.
Depending on whether the young Ms. Marvel’s MCU debut happens on TV or in the movies, she would make a great addition to Captain Marvel’s cast as a wide-eyed fan who gets to team up with her idol.
Which leads us to our next entry…
At this point, there should be a handful of teen heroes making a name for themselves fighting crime and saving the world from destruction. What if a group of them were so inspired by the Avengers that they decided to join together and call themselves the Young Avengers?
There are rumors that Avengers 4 will star Young Avengers members Wiccan and Speed, who are the children of Avengers teammates Vision and Scarlet Witch. All the Young Avengers would be missing are a Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), a Captain America stand-in (Patriot), Ant-Man’s daughter Cassie Lang as Stature, and a time-traveling Kang the Conqueror as Iron Lad.
There’s a new God of Thunder in the comics, and it’s Thor’s former flame, Jane Foster. Writer Jason Aaron’s current run on Thor will go down in the record books for changing the status quo while also keeping the stories fresh and exciting.
Marvel Studios should do the same with the Thor franchise and bring Jane Foster back for a starring role. We haven’t seen the character since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, with the studio choosing to cut any future appearances for the time being. If Odinson should ever find himself unworthy to lift Mjolnir, Jane would be the perfect replacement.
Adding to Marvel Studios’ roster of young heroes will be Sam Alexander aka Nova. Sam has appeared on different media platforms over the last few years, from animation to comic book series. Marvel is obviously high on the young human rocket, and his inclusion in the MCU will broaden its space reach and help offer a “fish out of water” approach as Sam travels from Earth to space.
Another Nova that can help mentor Sam is Richard Rider, who starred as Nova in the early ’90s and has recently returned from the dead in the comics.
The women of the MCU recently assembled for a 10-year anniversary photo, bringing together actors from across the studio’s many films. While together for the photo, the women made sure to catch Kevin Feige’s ear and let him know they’re up for a superhero flick that brings all of the MCU’s fiercest warriors together. Feige should listen to them and make this happen, naming the film after the Marvel comic A-Force.
Think of all the characters who could essentially appear in an A-Force movie: Black Widow, Gamora, Wasp, Nebula, Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel, Okoye, and many more. A-Force would be the equals of the Avengers, and could help launch another film franchise.
We’re leaving our last entry open, with the hopes Marvel Studios continues to push the envelope and introduce new amazing characters from its massive library. Disney CEO Bob Iger told Vanity Fair that Marvel Studios “has rights to 7,000 characters, who can travel anywhere their creators wish to take them.” With that many characters, the studio can pick and choose where it wants to take its shared universe in the future.