Marvel's Phase 5 Schedule Has Already Shifted
Re-mark your calendars.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe first began the idea of sections of overall storytelling in Phases when it moved house to Disney in 2009. One part marketing branding, one part way to keep all the films straight, these phases then join together to form sagas, with Phases 1-3 now referred to as The Infinity Saga. On Saturday, July 23, 2022, the superhero franchise took over San Diego Comic-Con and announced the Saga title for Phases 4 through 6, along with a complete look at the highly-anticipated Phase 5 timeline of movies and shows that will roll out over 2023 and 2024.
Phases 4-6 will be titled The Multiverse Saga, and although the production studio was forced to delay and rearrange the release order of Phase 4, it already officially concluded, with Nov. 11’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as the final title released, both for the Phase and for 2022. Phase 5 will begin in 2023, with Marvel listing the titles of what it expects to release as part of it.
However, audiences should remember that nothing in the MCU is written in stone. Marvel has always been flexible; changes such as adding Spider-Man to the franchise in 2015 bumped back the original Phase 3 release dates announced in 2014, while the theatrical shutdowns forced Phase 4 and the passing of Chadwick Boseman upended the initial 2019 Phase 4 schedule. It’s better to think of this current lineup as a working draft, subject to change as events warrant.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
The third installment of the Ant-Man and the Wasp series, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, brings back Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and Hope van Dyne (the Wasp), alongside a few new faces like Jonathan Majors, who will play Kang the Conquerer. Majors’ character was introduced in Loki as He Who Remains and is being set up as the main antagonist of The Multiverse Saga, so Quantumania is going to be a pretty big deal.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania arrives in theaters on Feb. 17, 2023.
Nick Fury finally gets the recognition he deserves in the Disney+ series Secret Invasion. The show will follow Nick Fury as he works to uncover a massive Skull invasion that goes to the very top. Ben Mendelsohn will reprise his role as Talos from Captain Marvel and the post-credit scene from Spider-Man: Far From Home. The series will also feature multiple characters from other Marvel films and series, including Cobie Smulders, Martin Freeman, and Don Cheadle, as well as newcomers Olivia Colman and Emilia Clarke.
Secret Invasion will run six episodes weekly, streaming on Disney+ in early 2023.
What if... ? Season 2
The second season of What If... ? will also hit Disney+ in the early months of 2023. The animated series explores the multiverse of possible realities within the MCU, and its stories were tied into Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness. Many of the original MCU stars lend their voices to their animated counterparts, giving the show a stronger grasp on the core of their character. Like Season 1, it is expected to tell stand-alone episodic stories instead of having an overall arc.
What If...? Season 2 will run nine episodes weekly, premiering on Disney+ in the spring of 2023. Season 3 is already greenlit for 2024.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
The long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will finally arrive after long delays in the spring of 2023. Still reeling from the loss of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the team rallies to save the universe, only to find themselves on Counter-Earth. The cast will feature the return of all the franchise’s regular stars, including Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, and Karen Gillan as Nebula. The film is expected to close out the Guardians section of the MCU franchise, and it is unclear if any of the actors will return after its conclusion.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will premiere in theaters on May 5, 2023.
The Disney+ series Echo, named after the main character played by Alaqua Cox, is the first official spinoff of a previous Marvel series, Hawkeye, to arrive, and will bring back Charlie Cox as an MCU regular character for the first time since he cameoed in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Following the events of Hawkeye, Echo makes her way back to her hometown, where she struggles to reconnect with her family and her Native American heritage. Echo is expected to be a stand-alone series like Hawkeye and will be followed by the spinoff Daredevil: Born Again.
Echo will run six episodes, streaming weekly, and is expected to premiere in the late spring or early summer of 2023.
Loki Season 2
A show loved and praised by many, Loki is coming back with a second season that’ll be just as much of a wild ride as the first. Tom Hiddleston will be reprising his role as the God of Mischief, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Owen Wilson, Eugene Cordero, and Sophia Di Martino reprising their roles as well, though in a totally new timeline. The new season is expected to tie back, either directly or indirectly, to the events of Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania.
Loki Season 2 will run six episodes weekly and is expected to be released in the summer of 2023 on Disney+.
Brie Larson returns as Captain Marvel in The Marvels. Ms. Marvel’s Iman Vellani will join Larson as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel and WandaVision’s Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau/Photon; the film begins when the three discover they keep switching places for some reason. Kamala’s family will also co-star: Zenobia Shroff and Mohan Kapur as her parents, Muneeba and Yusuf, and Saagar Shaikh as Khan’s older brother, Aamir. Samuel L. Jackson will also return as Nick Fury, fresh out of Secret Invasion, making this the first big screen film to play off the events of three Disney+ series.
The Marvels is set to release in theaters on July 28, 2023.
Phase 5’s Summer of 2023 is all about the merging of series on Disney+ and the big screen films, as it also will feature Ironheart, starring Dominique Thorne as 19-year-old genius Riri Williams. The character was initially introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as a college student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who secretly built herself a suit modeled after Ironman. Having experienced Wakanda’s tech, she’s heading home to her family in Chicago and her TV series.
Ironheart will run six episodes and is expected to premiere in the fall of 2023.
Agatha: Coven of Chaos
Agatha: Coven of Chaos, renamed from Agatha: House of Harkness, is the first of two spinoffs coming directly out of WandaVision. (The second will be the White Vision-focused Visionquest, starring Paul Bettany.) Kathryn Hahn will reprise her role of fan-favorite witch Agatha Harkness; Emma Caulfield Ford will also return from WandaVision as Sarah Proctor, aka Wanda’s alpha girl neighbor, “Dottie Jones.” Like its previous dark comedies, She-Hulk and WandaVision, Agatha COC is expected to be 30-minute episodes instead of hour-long ones.
Agatha: Coven of Chaos will run nine episodes and is expected to arrive on Disney+ in late 2023. Visionquest is likely to follow in 2024.
Daredevil: Born Again
Matt Murdock rises again in the television show Daredevil: Born Again. The new series was announced four yers after Netflix canceled Daredevil after three seasons back in 2018. Fans were shocked when Murdock made an unexpected cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which hinted at a bigger return to the MCU. Thankfully, Daredevil will live to fight another day in a comeback series that spins off of the events of Echo.
Daredevil: Born Again is set to run a whopping 18 episodes and is currently penciled in to start airing weekly on Disney+ in early 2024.
A spinoff of Marvel’s What If...? famous zombie episode and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel’s Zombies is the first animated Disney+ series that will earn a TV-MA rating. All viewers know so far is that the series will “re-imagine the Marvel Universe as a new generation of heroes battle against an ever-spreading zombie scourge,” per the synopsis. However, there’s a good chance that What If...? Season 2 will have at least one episode, if not more, that will set the stage for the series premiere.
Marvel’s Zombies will only run four episodes and is currently slated to premiere with weekly episodes on Disney+ in 2024.
Captain America: New World Order
Disney+’s Falcon & The Winter Solider is not getting a second season. Instead, the team behind and in front of the camera moves bag and baggage to the big screen with Captain America: New World Order. Mackie will adopt the mantle after his crisis of faith in his country, and though there’s no synopsis, the man behind both the series and the movie, Malcolm Spellman, has suggested the film will function as a sequel of sorts to the TV series. If so, Sharon Carter’s post-credit scene from the series sets her up as the new Cap’s first antagonist.
Captain America: New World Order is set to premiere in theaters on May 3, 2024.
The first Spider-Man MCU trilogy ended on a hard reset, allowing Tom Holland to make three more Spider-Man films now with Peter Parker as a struggling photographer in his early 20s, more in line with the traditional comics. Rumor has it Daredevil: Born Again’s extra length is partly due to the show functioning as a launch pad for the newly forgotten Parker and that it will be more of a “street level” story.
Unlike the rest of the MCU, Marvel does not have complete control over the Spider-Man films since they are a co-production with Sony, who gets to set their release dates. Sony has not yet confirmed when the film will arrive; however, multiple reports have recently suggested it will set a premiere around the July 4th holiday weekend, as has been its traditional berth. If so, all the release dates that follow this entry should be taken with a large grain of salt.
The original Phase 5 schedule set Thunderbolts as the final entry, but that’s already changed. The only team-up film of Phase 5 is something akin to Marvel’s answer to The Suicide Squad, where villains team up to save the day while creating a whole lot of mayhem in their wake. The Thunderbolts team will feature anti-heroes and antagonists viewers already know from around the MCU. Black Widow Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), last seen in Hawkeye; Red Guardian (David Harbour) and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), last seen in Black Widow; Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell), last seen in Falcon & The Winter Soldier; and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), from Ant-Man & The Wasp.
Thunderbolts is currently set to premiere in theaters on July 26, 2024. Emphasis on “currently.”
Spider-Man: Freshman Year
The MCU will introduce an animated Spider-Man series to the MCU canon on Disney+. This one is tricky because the series is MCU canon but not our MCU canon on Earth-616. It’s a chance to go back and explore a different timeline of Peter Parker. It will start with the same post-credit scene where Tony Stark offers Peter Parker an internship at the end of the third Captain America film, but instead of Stark waiting for him, it’s Norman Osborne. Exactly why this happens is unknown, but Marvel producer Brad Winderbaum broadly hinted it would be directly tied to a multiverse event in the films.
Spider-Man: Freshman Year is expected to stream weekly starting in mid-2024, and yes, there’s a chance it could be streaming right when Sony’s Spider-Man 4 arrives. Spider-Man: Sophmore Year is already greenlit for 2025.
As Kevin Feige tells it, Mahershala Ali’s first act after winning an Oscar was to call his office and demand to play Blade in the MCU. That was back in 2018. Since then, Ali’s voice made an unexpected cameo in the Eternals’ post-credits scene, foreshadowing the movie, but production issues and behind-the-scenes turnover kept the film from making it into Phase 4. More recently, the film was shoved back from mid-Phase 5 in 2023 to the back of the line at the end of 2024.
Blade will slash into theaters on Sept. 6, 2024.
BUT WAIT. Blade would have been the closeout of Phase 5 if it weren’t for Marvel’s true agent of chaos, Ryan Reynolds. Since Disney’s wholesale takeover of 20th Century, viewers have been clamoring for Reynold’s Deadpool to survive the X-Men purge. (Or at least Reynolds has been shouting loud enough that no one can tell the difference.) Not only did he win that battle, but he also brought along a friend, as Hugh Jackman will make his MCU debut as Wolverine in Deadpool’s final installment.
Deadpool 3 will close out Phase 5 in theaters on Nov. 8, 2024.
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