Marvel to Announce First Phase 4 Films This Summer: What Could They Be?

Variety revealed that Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted during the studio’s quarterly earnings call Wednesday that Marvel Studios will likely unveil the first of its Phase 4 films sometime this summer. With that said, let’s take a look at all the films in development at the studio and the two most-likely candidates to secure the two 2020 release dates.

Avengers: Endgame spoilers below.


Black Widow

A solo film centered on Black Widow has been in development ever since the character was first introduced in Iron Man 2 (2010). Here’s what we know:

  • January 2018: Jac Schaeffer was hired to write the script.
  • July 2018: Cate Shortland was hired to direct, with Scarlett Johansson reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow (for a rumored $20 million). Johansson will also serve as a producer on the film.
  • February 2019: Ned Benson was hired to rewrite the script.
  • April 2019: David Harbour, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and O-T Fagbenle join the cast.
  • May 2019: With the Endgame spoiler ban lifted, Black Widow’s death in the film confirms the solo film will be a prequel.
  • June 2019: Filming is expected to begin in the United Kingdom and last until that September.

The Eternals

We first heard about The Eternals back in April 2018. Marvel Studios is looking to cast an openly gay actor in a leading role. The film could be set centuries in the MCU’s past. Here’s what we know:

  • May 2018: Matthew and Ryan Firpo were hired to write the script.
  • September 2018: Chloé Zhao is hired to direct.
  • March 2019: Angelina Jolie is in talks for Sersi.
  • April 2019: Kumail Nanjiani is in talks for an undisclosed role.
  • May 2019: Richard Madden is in talks for the character of Ikaris.
  • September 2019: Filming is set to begin in London and last until January 2020.


Shang-Chi has been in development since the birth of Marvel Studios. It was one of the first properties announced in 2006 alongside Iron Man, Captain America, and Nick Fury when Marvel Studios was beginning to craft the MCU. Here’s what we know:

  • December 2018: Chinese-American writer David Callaham hired to write the screenplay.
  • March 2019: Destin Daniel Cretton hired to direct the film.
  • April 2019: Clint Barton takes on some members of the Yakuza in Tokyo, potentially teasing the Shang-Chi film.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Oh boy, the hotly anticipated sequel was once guaranteed a 2020 release date before James Gunn‘s untimely firing last July. He was rehired this March, so here’s what we know beyond that:

  • 2019: Avengers: Endgame teases that Thor could be part of Vol. 3 and that searching for the 2014 Gamora could factor into the story.
  • 2020: Filming is slated to begin once Gunn has completed work on the DCEU film The Suicide Squad.

Other projects

Doctor Strange sequel: Scott Derrickson completed a deal to return as director in December 2018. Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise his role as Dr. Strange. Filming is scheduled to begin in 2020.

Black Panther sequel: Ryan Coogler was announced to write and direct the sequel in October 2018.

Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel: No concrete details but director Peyton Reed and Hank Pym actor Michael Douglas are hopeful a third film will be made.

Captain Marvel sequel: Just a lot of talk from Kevin Feige and the stars about where a sequel could take Carol Danvers. No concrete details.

Thor: Ragnarok sequel: Tessa Thompson said back in April that she believed a pitch for Thor 4 had been made to Marvel.

That’s it! Black Widow and The Eternals seem to be the farthest along in development, so I’d wager they receive the May 1 and November 6, 2020 release dates. That being said, there’s a good chance The Eternals will require more post-production work than Shang-Chi, so maybe The Eternals will get one of the three 2021 dates and Shang-Chi will secure the November 2020 slot.

What films do you think will be the first out of the gate for Phase 4? What other films do you hope to see get announced for Phase 4 and beyond?


Author: Marmaduke Karlston

"Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, uh, are you telling me you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"