As Marvel is forced to make changes to its slate of MCU Phase 4 movies, it continues to impact what Phase 5 was supposed to be – and what it might be now. This, in turn, offers the most significant opportunity for Marvel to up the narrative and cement the shared universe’s filmic legacy for decades to come.
Phases 4 and 5 – the first two “seasons” of the MCU to take place after the overarching Infinity Saga, which covered Phases 1 through 3 – were always meant to be something different, but what, exactly, that difference is has changed remarkably since they were first announced back at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Originally, the two storytelling chunks were, mainly, two halves of one unified whole. In contrast, previous phases incorporated sequels to all the previous franchises and brand-new properties, 4 and 5 divided them roughly in half.
As such, the next installments of Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Thor were announced to be in the former, while Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel were seemingly reserved for the latter.
As initially announced in July 2019, Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was supposed to start in February 2022 and go at least until November 2023, spanning no fewer than eight movies. When incorporating the only confirmed date of Black Panther 2, here’s what that release slate initially looked like:
- February 18, 2022
- May 6, 2022 (Black Panther 2)
- July 29, 2022
- October 7, 2022
- February 17, 2023
- May 5, 2023
- July 28, 2023
- November 3, 2023
The first four of those release dates have remained the same now that they’re part of Phase 4, with the added inclusion of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on March 25, 2022. Marvel did also (separately) announce what most of those eight entries would be, even if the titles weren’t attached to a specific date: Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel 2, Blade, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3, Ant-Man 3, and some mutant-related property now that the studio had just acquired those rights from Disney’s Fox acquisition, whether it be a retooled X-Men or Deadpool 3. (The eighth and final item on the list was, and continues to be, something of a mystery.)
Stay tuned for more updates.