When Marvel releases their fourth Avengers movie in 2019, that specific film will end Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It also will end the stories for many beloved, favorite characters in the film's 10-year run. Names like Iron Man and Captain America are rumored to be leaving the franchise and there will be new heroes to take their place. From the sound of it, the climax of the upcoming Avengers movie will change everything about the MCU and it will give Marvel a chance to move its franchise in a fresh new direction, focusing on new heroes and giving fans something different to fall in love with.
With that said, not all the characters in Phase 4 will be new and there will be many beloved characters returning with new movies. While most of these were characters introduced over the past few years, there are also rumors that some of the OG Marvel characters will be sticking around as well, continuing their journeys for fans to enjoy. At the same time, there have been lots of rumors of new characters that might be coming on board as well as those beloved characters that fans are still waiting to see make their first appearances in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie -- especially with the Fox Marvel heroes coming aboard soon. Here is a look at heroes that fans can expect to see return in Phase 4 as well as those that we hope might be coming on board as well.
16 CONFIRMED - SPIDER-MAN
The first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that arrives after Avengers 4 is Spider-Man: Far From Home. This makes sense because, from the sound of it, everything will change after that final Avengers film. The idea is that the fans will want to see what the new Marvel Universe looks like and Marvel will accommodate those fans two short months after Phase 3 ends.
Also, Spider-Man is the best character to achieve that with. Peter Parker is a high school kid and easily the most relatable superhero in the entire MCU. To see the new world and what it means to the superhero community, there is no one better to see it through the eyes of than Peter Parker. This is the movie that starts Phase 4 and will set the table for the MCU for years to come.
15 RUMORED - THOR
While Captain America and Iron Man are rumored to be leaving the MCU in one way or another, one of the original three big men in the Avengers looks like he might be sticking around. Thanks in large part to Taika Waititi creating the most entertaining Thor movie of the hero's entire trilogy, it looks like Marvel wants to see more of that and might be pairing him and Chris Hemsworth up again for another rip-roaring adventure.
There are also rumors that the Disney streaming service wants to make a live-action series based on Tom Hiddleston's Loki, so that means that both Thor and his trickster brother might be around for more adventures once Marvel Phase 4 gets underway. Out of the three main Avengers members, it seems that Thor is the one with more stories to tell.
14 REALLY WANT - THE X-MEN
When it comes to the Disney acquisition of Fox, the one thing that comic book fans talked about the most was the chance for the X-Men to interact with the heroes of the MCU. Sadly, it is likely too late for the big guns to cross paths. Anyone who wanted to see Chris Evans' Captain America, Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man and Hugh Jackman's Wolverine cross paths will likely be disappointed.
However, that is no reason to worry. There is a great chance that Marvel will be bringing the mutants into the fold as soon as they can. Originally, most fans assumed that Phase 4 was out of the question due to the timing, but with two X-Men movies coming out in 2019, there is a chance that they could make an appearance in some way or another before Phase 4 ends since each phase averages about three years.
13 CONFIRMED - BLACK PANTHER
While it hasn't officially been announced yet, Black Panther 2 is coming and the biggest idea is for it to hit in 2020. For now, Kevin Feige refuses to acknowledge any release dates past 2019 but Marvel has said that there will be more Black Panther movies and for good reason. The first Black Panther movie had the largest box office internationally of any solo Marvel effort and ranked fourth behind the Avengers movies.
Even more impressive is that Black Panther was the top-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe movie of the entire franchise when it comes to the North American box office, making over $20 million more than Avengers: Infinity War. As the biggest money making superhero for the MCU, T'Challa will be back sooner rather than later, the question is just when that date will be.
12 RUMORED - BLACK WIDOW
It seems almost amazing that Black Widow has been around since almost the start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, debuting in Iron Man 2, and the MCU has still never made a female-led superhero movie. Finally, in 2019, the first female Marvel superhero will get her own movie and it is one that no one has seen before in Captain Marvel. Meanwhile, Black Widow is still just a supporting player.
Kevin Feige has said on more than one occasion that Marvel would consider a Black Widow superhero movie, but time is ticking on that opportunity. There were deleted scenes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that could have teased an espionage storyline for a Black Widow movie but if it doesn't finally come in Phase 3, the time might have run out on this opportunity.
11 REALLY WANT - ADAM WARLOCK
When the word came that Thanos was arriving in Avengers: Infinity War, fans of the comic book stories hoped to finally see Adam Warlock appear. James Gunn even teased fans twice in his Guardians of the Galaxy movies. In the first film, there was the cocoon in the Collector's museum and in the second there was the cocoon in Ayesha's room where she said she would name him "Adam."
With Guardians of the Galaxy 3 coming in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems there is finally a chance to bring Adam Warlock to the MCU. It will be too late to have him be any part of the Thanos storyline in Avengers 3 but there is a great chance to see him maybe in the new Guardians movie -- if Marvel still wants to push their Cosmic Marvel Universe without James Gunn onboard.
10 CONFIRMED - DOCTOR STRANGE
Doctor Strange was originally rumored to be the hero that Marvel was bringing in to replace Iron Man as the new face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Black Panther is the one who ended up as the more popular of the two, Doctor Strange was still a very important character, as was shown in Avengers: Infinity War. The first Doctor Strange movie set up a future villain in Baron Mordo, and that will likely happen in Phase 4.
Scott Derrickson has said that he had plans for a sequel and mentioned Nightmare as a possible villain, continuing to make that specific Marvel franchise a little more about the horror and fantasy elements. In 2017, it was reported that Derrickson was indeed coming back for the second movie and it is likely to be one of the films on target in 2020 for Marvel.
9 RUMORED - SCARLET WITCH
The rumors for the Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are a little puzzling. For one thing, she is a member of The Avengers, although she did go on the run in Avengers: Infinity War with The Vision. As fans know, all the Marvel Netflix live-action series are part of the MCU as well -- although they will possibly never make appearances in the big screen movies. With that said, there are rumors of a Scarlet Witch small-screen series.
This is supposed to be part of the Disney streaming service, along with one possibly about Loki. This means that Marvel is keeping Scarlet Witch around as a character and one would have to think that, even though she will be part of the MCU on their streaming service, there is no reason that she won't also be able to pop back up on the big screen if another team-up movie is in the works.
8 REALLY WANT - NOVA
There are a lot of rumors about the Marvel Cinematic Universe launching their Cosmic world, spinning off from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. In that first Guardians movie, James Gunn introduced fans to the Nova Corps, which was basically Marvel's version of the Green Lantern Corps. In the comics, there were two major Nova Corps members that mattered on Earth -- Richard Ryder and Sam Alexander.
The best bet for Marvel in the movie world is to focus on Richard Ryder and his adventures. However, if the rumors of Marvel going younger with the next generation of Avengers are true, Sam Alexander could be the key to bringing heroes to a younger age group. Sam is a child who developed the powers of Nova and pairing him up with Ryder could connect the Cosmic Universe with that of Earth.
7 CONFIRMED - THE ETERNALS
Marvel has greenlit a movie based on the Eternals for Phase 4. This was a bit surprising considering the controversy surrounding James Gunn's place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as he was the man shepherding the Cosmic Universe in. However, The Eternals is supposed to come after Phase 3 ends and is supposed to be part of Phase 4 -- so prepare to meet the next group of cosmic superheroes.
Chloe Zhao has signed on to direct The Eternals and it will have the cosmic heroes in battle with a monstrous offshoot called the Deviants. Ego already mentioned the Celestials in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and both the Eternals and Deviants were created by these godly beings. In some fun trivia, Thanos himself was part of a splinter group from the Eternals.
6 RUMORED - BUCKY AS CAPTAIN AMERICA
As mentioned, Iron Man and Captain America seem to be the two lead Marvel heroes that will bow out after Phase 3 ends. While there is no telling what will cause their departures, the biggest rumors are that Steve Rogers will either perish or he will end up displaced in time -- maybe finally returned for that date he missed decades ago. With that said, there is a good reason to believe that with Steve leaving, a new Captain America will step up.
There are two bets on who could take the shield and become the new Captain America. The first is Sam Wilson, who is Falcon in the movies and was Cap in the comics for a time. The second is Bucky Barnes and he makes the most sense. The MCU has teased Bucky with the shield in the past, once in every one of Captain America's solo films. Taking over the role from his best friend would be the perfect redemption arc for the character on the big screen.
5 REALLY WANT - FANTASTIC FOUR
While most fans are looking forward to seeing the X-Men debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there has to be a home for Marvel's First Family. It seems that, over the years, the Fantastic Four have fallen out of favor for a number of reasons. What always made the group fun was when they were explorers who discovered things, battled aliens and always faced a real threat from Doctor Doom.
There have been three Fantastic Four movies produced by Fox since they gained the rights. The first was fun but it failed to compare to Spider-Man and The X-Men while also disappointing fans of Doom. The second was critically panned and the 2015 reboot is widely considered one of the worst superhero movies of all-time. It is time that Marvel produced their own Fantastic Four movie to bring the family back to the prominence they deserve.
4 CONFIRMED - GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will be a part of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although how and when it will arrive is still unknown. That is, of course, because James Gunn was removed as the director after some personal controversies arose. With Gunn off the movie, the cast showed their displeasure and Dave Bautista even went as far as to ask Marvel to just eliminate his character if they used anything but Gunn's script.
Now, Marvel is looking for a new director and is trying to figure out how to move forward. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is still confirmed for Phase 3 of the MCU, and it will be the last movie for the team as it is, but the movie might come a bit later than many fans had hoped.
3 RUMORED - CAPTAIN MARVEL
There are still two movies confirmed for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before Avengers 4 promises to change everything by ending the phase, Captain Marvel will take fans back to the '90s when Nick Fury still had two eyes and a hero arrived on Earth to help save the day. Presumedly, this movie will explain why Fury has known about Captain Marvel for two decades and never felt the need to mention her before now.
Without the movie ever coming out, Kevin Feige is assured of its success, calling Captain Marvel the most powerful hero that fans have seen so far. He also has made it clear that she will play a large part in the future of the MCU. While she won't appear on the movie screen for the first time until 2019, expect the sequel to get fast-tracked if the box office is anything close to what Marvel expects it to be.
2 REALLY WANT - YOUNG AVENGERS
The Avengers have mostly been strong powerful men, with Steve Rogers easily closing in on 100-years-old, Thor an ancient God and Iron Man a rich businessman. Add in the military members of Hawkeye and Black Widow and an older scientist in Bruce Banner/The Hulk, and the Avengers were really a group of older heroes saving the world.
Maybe the next generation of The Avengers needs to be a little more on the younger side. Someone like the Scarlet Witch is a perfect person to include here but there are so many others that could fit in. Spider-Man, possibly the Sam Alexander version of Nova, and new characters that have not been introduced yet like Kate Bishop's Hawkeye could make great Avengers for the next generation.
1 WON'T HAPPEN - HUGH JACKMAN AS WOLVERINE
While there are many hopes and dreams for additions to Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is at least one hero that will almost definitely not show up at all. That character is Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Now, there could be a Wolverine that is in the MCU version of The X-Men when they greenlight that, but when it comes to Jackman, he has made it clear that he is finished.
That is too bad as well. Jackman always said that it was his dream to appear in the Avengers movies and work alongside Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man. However, with Avengers 4 likely to be the last time fans see Downey Jr. as Iron Man, there seems to be no reason for Hugh Jackman to return after the perfect swan song of Logan for his character.