The Marvel Cinematic Universe was kickstarted back in 2008 with the first Iron Man movie directed by Jon Favreau. 11 years later, the culmination of years of world-building and efforts led to the release of Avengers: Endgame. The pinnacle of pop-culture entertainment, Avengers: Endgame broke several records and became the highest-grossing movie of all time.
With Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios bid its farewell to Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow. Now in its Renaissance phase, the next mega-event for the Marvel Cinematic Universe comparable to Endgame is yet to be decided. But with a visionary like Kevin Feige at the helm, the next colossal team-up might arrive sooner than you are expecting.
Known for its numerous easter eggs, the Marvel Cinematic Universe might have dropped some major easter eggs during the announcement of its movies and shows for the fourth phase. The hints might evade a casual fan, but if you look closely, the future is here, and it looks bright. So, what does Phase 4 & 5 of MCU have for us? Let’s find out!
11. The Sinister Six
Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man has received widespread acclaim. Making his debut in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker soon returned in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home.
After being exposed after the events of Far From Home, Spider-Man is not safe anymore. Capitalizing on the moment, the MCU has the perfect moment to introduce the Sinister Six and Venom to test the limits of Spider-Man in Spider-Man 3. As Sony has already made a Venom movie, a sequel to it is already in the works along with a Sinister Six movie, which can be introduced in the shared universe.
10. The Thunderbolts
Unlike most groups, the Thunderbolts have a unique history of evil origins and heroic acts. Originally created as the incarnation of the Masters of Evil, the Thunderbolts were led by Baron Zemo. As the Avengers and the Fantastic Four were seemingly killed in a battle with Onslaught, a power vacuum created in their absence was filled by the Thunderbolts.
Despite masquerading as heroes to gain access to top-secret files of the Avengers and the S.H.I.E.L.D., the Thunderbolts started enjoying being real heroes instead of evil supervillains, much to the dismay of Baron Zemo. Ultimately, the group rejected Baron Zemo and instead found their new leader in Hawkeye to start their lives as true heroes.
So, how does Phase 4 set up this unique team of reformed supervillains? The answer might lie in the upcoming Black Widow movie and the anticipated The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series on Disney+. In Black Widow, it has been confirmed that Yelena Belova will be making her appearance. Yelena is the second person to become the Black Widow after Natasha Romanoff. Interestingly, Yelena Belova was a member of the Thunderbolts, who was actually Natasha in disguise. Still, the MCU has never been shy to deviate from original story arcs, thus enabling Yelena to star in the future Thunderbolts movie.
The movie is also bringing Melina Vostokoff into the fold, who is an enemy of Natasha Romanoff. Melina later adopts the moniker of Iron Maiden and joins the Thunderbolts. General Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross will also be returning in the movie, once again confirming the link with The Thunderbolts, as he has been their leader for a brief period of time.
Coming to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the show will bring back the evil genius Baron Zemo from Captain America: Civil War as its main antagonist. As mentioned earlier, Zemo was the original leader of the Thunderbolts before their rebellion. As we have already witnessed Zemo’s strategic genius and manipulative mind, there is a scope for the Thunderbolts on the big screen.
9. Young Avengers
The upcoming Ant-Man 3 is supposed to have much larger consequences than its predecessors if sources are to be believed. While the first two movies were definitely fun, they mostly lacked future world-building elements, except for getting lost in the quantum realm to only be brought back by a rat.
In Avengers: Endgame, Scott Lang gets to meet his grown-up daughter, Cassandra Lang. No longer a sweet and amiable child, Cassandra has grown in the jaded world sans half the population, courtesy of the Mad Titan. But, introducing an adolescent Cassandra in Endgame was not to merely make the viewers and Scott feel about the lost time. It’s something much better, and maybe, with a hint of impending death.
Moving further to the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+, the story will revolve around Clint Barton taking up a protégé going by the name of Kate Bishop. Bishop’s skill with the bow and arrow impresses Barton. In the series, we might actually see Bishop becoming the next Hawkeye, and Clint donning the Ronin suit once again.
Taking the elements from both Ant-Man 3 and Hawkeye, the New Avengers might be on their way as both Cassandra Lang (Stature) and Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) are prominent members of the New Avengers.
8. The Fantastic Four
Once again, Ant-Man 3 might introduce another powerful team who has been away from its real home for a very long time now. If sources are to be believed, Ant-Man 3 might introduce the Fantastic Four, finally.
If this theory is to be believed, the plot might shift back to the early 1980s when Hank Pym, Reed Richards, and maybe Howard Stark can be shown working on something…nerdy. Soon after, the Fantastic Four might get sucked into the quantum realm accidentally, and gaining superpowers in the process.
Back to the present timeline, Scott Lang and Van Dyne might sense a disturbance in the quantum realm and try to retrieve the lost explorers stuck there. Bringing the Negative Zone into the quantum realm is another question, but it’s a possibility which MCU can explore.
Also, since there might be some more time-travelling mumbo-jumbo, we might also get to meet Iron Lad, a member of the New Avengers, and more popularly known as Kang the Conqueror.
After decades, the prodigal mutants are back home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, incorporating such a prominent part of the Marvel Universe into the MCU is a daunting task which should be handled delicately. To maintain the continuity and years of world-building, the MCU might have one trick up its sleeve to bring back the mutants.
Enter, WandaVision. The upcoming show on Disney+ will explore the relationship between Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in sit-com style episodes, as the trailer suggests. But since Vision was killed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, something more dangerous might be at play here.
Scarlet Witch’s reality-warping power makes her one of the strongest mutants in Marvel. In the House of M storyline, Scarlet Witch did alter the reality and almost wiped out the entire mutant race in the process too.
To make things even more interesting, Evan Peters is rumoured to have joined the cast of WandaVision. And, Evan Peters played Quicksilver in Fox’s X-Men movies. Co-incidence? Probably not. As MCU’s Quicksilver was killed back in Age of Ultron, the speedster from the other ‘dimension’ has come to MCU due to reality-warping powers of Scarlet Witch. This might pave the way for the mutants to arrive, and hopefully, keep some of our favourite actors unchanged.
The Illuminati of Marvel Universe has some of the brightest brains coming together to solve issues which normal heroes cannot comprehend. Known for taking controversial decisions, the Illuminati in the comics was composed of Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Mister Fantastic, Charles Xavier, Black Bolt, and Namor the Submariner.
After Tony Stark’s demise in Endgame, the formation of Illuminati in the MCU might be easier said than done. Also, the MCU is yet to introduce Charles Xavier, Reed Richards, Black Bolt, and Namor on the big screen. The solution might lie in two upcoming movies; Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther 2.
Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is probably the most anticipated movie of Phase 4 for various reasons. From exploring fractured dimensions created during the events of Endgame and Scarlet Witch’s reality-warping powers to hopefully showing Tobey Maguire as the Spider-Man one last time, Sam Raimi has a lot riding on his back.
The existence of fractured multiverses can possibly allow sinister characters into the main continuity. Despite being the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange will need help to fend off these invaders which might trigger the formation of Illuminati, led by the wizard himself.
Also, Black Panther 2 might finally bring Namor on the big screen since he was hinted in Avengers: Endgame by Okoye. Black Panther’s vehement opposition for the formation of Illuminati can also be a driving conflict between the King of Wakanda and the Submariner.
One of the most beloved heroes of Marvel, Nova’s appearance in the MCU is much awaited by the fans. But more importantly, is Richard Rider or Sam Alexander representing Nova in the MCU?
Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder might play a pivotal role in bringing the cosmic hero on the big screen. In the comics, Nova and Thor have partnered up several times to fight evil and the opportunity is ripe for the veteran God of Thunder to introduce Nova to the audience.
James Gunn’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is going to be a spectacular space-opera with a multitude of characters making their debut. From Adam Warlock to possible Nova, we might see a new member joining the space bandits alongside the God of Thunder.
In the comics, the destruction of Xandar by Nebula led to Richard Rider becoming Nova, courtesy of a dying Rhomann Dey. In the MCU, Xandar was demolished by Thanos for the Power Stone, thus hinting at the existence of Richard Rider.
4. The New Avengers
Though the MCU is aggressively exploring new territories for its future, dropping the Avengers from its roster is not happening anytime soon.
According to Kevin Feige, Captain Marvel is going to play a major role in defining the future of MCU. The upcoming Captain Marvel 2 might make Carol Danvers as the de-facto leader of the now-disbanded Avengers. With Iron Man and Captain America gone, it’s only natural that Captain Marvel leads the team, the New Avengers.
Once again, Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will play an important role in the creation of the New Avengers. As members of X-Men (Wolverine) and New Mutants (Cannonball, Sunspot) are also part of the New Avengers, the multiverse will finally have some answers for us.
3. Midnight Sons
The MCU has been often criticized for its refusal to tread on darker and mature themes. But soon, that might change with the upcoming Doctor Strange 2, Moon Knight, and Blade.
The Midnight Sons is a group of heroes who are quite different from the traditional set of heroes. From devilish origins to questionable morality, the Midnight Sons are formidable, lethal, and at times, dangerous too.
Some of the notable members of the Midnight Sons are Ghost Rider(s), Daimon Hellstrom, Doctor Strange, Morbius, Scarlet Spider, Black Cat, Punisher, Moon Knight, and Blade. With the upcoming Moon Knight series on Disney+ along with Marvel Studio’s plan to release Blade starring Mahershala Ali, the Midnight Sons might make their debut sooner than we expect.
In Avengers: Endgame, the A-Force was teased in one iconic scene when all the female heroes came together to fight Thanos and his army. But with Carol Danvers playing a major role in the future of MCU, the A-Force might get their own movie soon enough.
The A-Force was originally led by She-Hulk and had powerful members like Captain Marvel, Queen Medusa, Dazzler, Singularity, Nico Minoru, and a female version of Thor from a different dimension. Created to fight Antimatter, the group has gained much attention in recent times.
If Antimatter and Singularity can make their debut in Captain Marvel 2, it is safe to assume that an A-Force movie is on the cards, since Disney+ shall also be releasing a She-Hulk series soon.
1. Secret Wars
The possibility of a future Secret Wars movie has been lately rumbling in Marvel Studios. After Avengers: Endgame, Secret Wars is the next mega event in which the Avengers, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four can team up to fight against a group of supervillains.
In the comics, the powerful cosmic entity named the Beyonder teleports several heroes and villains to a makeshift planet named Battleword and pit them against each other. The winner can have whatever his/her heart desires, and thus begins the skirmishes.
In the MCU, the possibility of Secret Wars can be explored in the upcoming Captain Marvel 2, in case Carol Danvers encounter the Beyonder in some way. Also, the possibility of a Kree-Skrull war breaking out on Earth can be hybridized with the original Secret Wars storyline, where Captain Marvel once again plays a major role. With Secret Wars, the Russo Brothers might return once again for another epic movie.