Over the past several years, Marvel has carefully mapped out its slate of movies, from Iron man in 2008 to the upcoming Avengers: Endgame. After that, however, things suddenly appear much more certain.

Marvel hasn't announced any definitive plans for the future, aside from assuring fans that the next 10-20 years are being planned out behind the scenes. But going into Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we don't really know what the next few years will look like.

What we do know is that Phase 4 of the MCU will shake things up. Characters like Iron Man and Captain America may no longer be around as Marvel starts to focus the spotlight on new faces. Meanwhile, characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel will have more prominent roles.

Here's what comes after Avengers: Endgame.

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April 9, 2019 - Marvel Studios teases 5-year plan following Avengers: Endgame

With Avengers: Endgame just a few weeks away, many people want to know: What's going to happen over the next few years? Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige isn't ready to share the exact details though he did tease a five-year plan. Unfortunately, the immediate future likely won't include X-Men.

Feige revealed the details in an interview with io9:

It'll be a while. It's all just beginning and the five-year plan that we've been working on, we were working on before any of that was set. So really it's much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where (the X-Men will appear) right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they're home. That they're all back. But it will be a very long time.

So, if X-Men won't be part of Phase 4, what should audiences expect to see? Feige wouldn't say, but rumors suggest movies such as Black Panther 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and Doctor Strange 2 will be part of Phase 4. We're also expecting The Eternals and Shang-Chi.

Feige said that all of the information we're looking for will be revealed after Avengers: Endgame hits theaters, which is just a few weeks away.

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What is Marvel's Phase 4?

Think of Marvel's phases like seasons in a year. Each season has its own different characteristics, feeling, and mood. Marvel has broken up the MCU into different phases in order to control the narrative without overwhelming audiences with too much information.

Phase One was all about introducing the core team, including Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. Things culminated with The Avengers, when everyone got together to fight the Chitauri invasion

Phase Two then dove deeper into Marvel lore by exploring the Infinity Stones and the Quantum Realm. Phase Three was all about preparing for the arrival of Thanos.

The past 20+ movies will have all been building to Avengers: Endgame, which will signal the end of Marvel's Phase 3.

That brings us to Phase 4, which feels less like a continuation of the past ten years and more like a soft reboot. Things should feel a lot different in the coming years. For one thing, fans should expect the MCU to get more cosmic.

We've spent a lot of time on Earth, but with the Guardians, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange, things could get really weird.

I think it will vary. I think the overall mythology will begin to grow, as you've already started to see with Guardians and certainly now with Panther and with Doctor Strange. I don't think we'll ever leave our past behind necessarily, but I think the new elements and the new inroads and, by the way, place that we haven't explore yet from the comic universe, will become more and more at the forefront.

Additionally, Feige said that the familiar structure used over the past ten years will get shaken up.

We do know what's coming. We have ideas of the shape of what's to come. But that structure that you laid out was from the comics, right? Everyone had their individual stories. They meet up for a mega event and they go back to their individual stories changed from that event. I think that's a wonderful structure that's worked for decades in the comics, has worked for us now for a decade, so I think it's a good model. But it doesn't necessarily mean we're going to stick to it in stone.

What movies will we see in Marvel's Phase 4?

So far, the only movie with a confirmed release date is Spider-Man: Far From Home. Beyond that, Marvel has quietly confirmed several sequels are in development, but we don't know when they'll be released.

Marvel typically shares a roadmap of upcoming movies with audiences. But the studio seems content to focus on Avengers: Endgame right now, seeing as the movie marks the end of a long and complex narrative arc.

For now, the list of movies below will likely fill Marvel's Phase 4:

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home
  • Doctor Strange 2
  • Black Panther 2
  • Black Widow
  • The Eternals
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  • Shang-Chi

What comes after Phase 4?

Here's where things get really interesting. Disney is close to acquiring the assets of 21st Century Fox, which could open the floodgates for Marvel movies down the road. Notably, the acquisition could see Marvel incorporate X-Men and Fantastic Four into the MCU.

When the deal was announced, Disney teased the possibility of "richer, more complex worlds."

The agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love.

Since the deal is still so fresh, it will likely be a few years before any of these characters are properly incorporated into the MCU. But it opens up a host of new possibilities for Marvel. Fans are no doubt anxious to see Wolverine and Hulk fight side by side.

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Meanwhile, Disney is gearing up to expand the MCU with new TV shows, which will be available through the company's upcoming streaming service. These shows will include characters we've seen on the big screen (played by the same actors), allowing Marvel to explore more corners of the Marvel universe.

There are so many possibilities beyond Phase 4 right now. Hopefully, Marvel will share some details about its plans after Avengers: Endgame is released.

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