Avengers: Endgame signals the end of an era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, the MCU does not end with Endgame. There are a lot of projects filming, actors with movies left on their contracts, new characters and many rumored movies.
It is time to disentangle all the news and rumors about Phase 4 and figure out just what the future holds for the MCU.
Where Does Endgame Leave Us?
Avengers: Endgame ends with the Decimation being undone and half the world's population returning after five years of nonexistence. Society appears to be returning to some semblance of normalcy.
However, there are a few loses. Many millions of people are permanently traumatized by the event. Asgard is reduced to a fraction of its former self, with Valkyrie as its new leader. Xandar and Knowhere are in ruins. The Infinity Stones are obliterated, and the various snaps may have also ripped holes between dimensions, allowing people such as Mysterio in.
While many of the heroes will be returning to their regular lives, others won't. Steve Rogers is an old man and has passed the mantle of Captain America to Sam Wilson, who, presumably, will be working with Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. Bruce Banner is the Hulk 24/7, but his arm has been permanently and critically damaged by the Infinity Gauntlet. Hawkeye is with his family, while Thor has joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Natasha Romanoff and Tony Stark are dead.
The Next Films
Far From Home will take place immediately after Endgame, offering audiences a look at the MCU after the defeat of Thanos. We will probably see how the events of the prior films have affected people on a more human level, similar to how Spider-Man: Homecoming offered audiences a view of how the events of the other Marvel films affect regular people.
A Black Widow solo film, produced by Scarlett Johansson, is currently filming, so that's the most likely candidate for release after Far From Home. The Eternals is rumored for after that, with Doctor Strange 2 likely following. There are also different Disney+ series in the works. Beyond that, though, less is certain, with Marvel intending on releasing more details about its slate in the summer of 2019.
Black Widow is filming now. Aside from Johansson, who will reprise her role as Natasha Romanoff despite dying in Endgame, the film stars David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz. Directed by Cate Shortland with a script by Ned Benson, Black Widow is rumored for release on May 1, 2020.
Little is known about the project's plot or even when it takes place. An early report indicated the film would take place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Other rumors indicated it might be an origin story for Black Widow, thus taking place before her first appearance in Iron Man 2. But we know little for sure as of now.
The Eternals will focus on the Eternals, a race of proto-humans with extraordinary powers following long-term experimentation by the Celestials. The film is expected to enter production after Black Widow, with casting already under way. Angelina Jolie reportedly plays Sersi in the film, and she's joined by Kumail Nanjiani and Ma Dong-seok in unknown roles. Additionally, Richard Madden is reportedly playing Ikaris, and Keanu Reeves is rumored to be in talks for a large role, but has yet to sign on.
In addition, it is rumored Marvel intends on introducing an LGBTQA lead in the film, with rumors indicating it might be Hercules. Casting breakdowns indicate the following characters may play a role in the film: Druig, the Forgotten One, Makkari, Starfox and Zuras.
Directed by Chloé Zhao with a screenplay by Matthew and Ryan Firpo, The Eternals is expected in 2020.
Doctor Strange 2
Doctor Strange 2 is expected to enter production after The Eternals. A report in Deadline sparked rumors that the film would be released in 2020. A later comment by Benedict Wong, who plays Wong, indicated that the film might start filming in 2020. If Wong's comments are true, Doctor Strange 2 will likely release in 2021.
Scott Derrickson is expected to return as director. It is unknown who the writer will be. The film is rumored to introduce Brother Voodoo and Clea Strange, with the Ancient One potentially returning. There's a good indication Nightmare will serve as the villain, and Karl Mordo is expected to return.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Once expected to be released in 2020, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was delayed following controversy surrounding director James Gunn. Gunn has since returned to the film, which he will start directing once he finishes work on DC's The Suicide Squad. Presumably, this will be in 2020, meaning Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could be ready as early as 2021.
Gunn will write and direct. All of the original actors will be returning, with the possible addition of Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Rumors indicate Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may feature the High Evolutionary as Rocket Raccoon's creator, as well as Moondragon -- Drax's daughter.
The rest of the slate is as of now unknown. Ryan Coogler will helm Black Panther 2, though very few details are available on that film right now. There's a rumor Michael B. Jordan may return as Erik Killmonger, but that's uncertain at this time.
Finally, Tessa Thompson claims to have heard a pitch for Thor 4. A third Spider-Man film is also expected, which may include Venom. There is also the rumored A-Force film, which would star several female superheroes in their own film. However, none of these films are officially confirmed.
Several MCU series are expected for Disney+. Falcon & Winter Soldier is expected to arrive on Disney+ sometime in 2020. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will return, as well as Daniel Brühl and Emily VanCamp as Zemo and Sharon Carter, respectively.
Loki is confirmed to be in production for Disney+ afterwards. Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role as Loki. Concept art from the series seems to confirm rumors the series will see Loki in different time periods.
Other shows expected to hit the platform include WandaVision (a show centered around Scarlet Witch and Vision), which may involve Wanda Maximoff getting her reality-bending powers. An untitled Hawkeye series is in the works, and should see the introduction of Kate Bishop. Finally there's an animated What-If? series, which will feature theoretical possibilities in the MCU and beyond, in the works. The first story will imagine what would have happened if Peggy Carter had taken the Super Soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers.
Will Fox's Former Characters Appear?
With the purchase of 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios has access to characters once owned by Fox, which include the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool. All prior X-Men projects, save for The New Mutants, have been cancelled, as indicated by the Disney's six-year-slate.
Deadpool, as played by Ryan Reynolds, is expected to return to the MCU, though it is unknown how. Early rumors indicated he might appear in Spider-Man 3, though this is unconfirmed and may very well be a scrapped idea.
While most of the other properties are not expected to be announced anytime soon, a recent rumor indicates that the Fantastic Four may be released in 2022 with Ant-Man's Peyton Reed directing. Reed had previously attempted to direct a FF film with Fox. This rumor, however, is believed to have been debunked.