Marvel's Phase IV is a black box of mystery post-Spider-Man: Far From Home. This is partially due to keeping everything under wraps from Avengers 4: Captain America Probably Dies, but also due to the Disney-FOX merger, which will add new characters and change the shape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But now, one thing looks to be sure. Black Panther 2 is officially happening, with Ryan Coogler having signed on to return to write and direct.
Even before this announcement, most fans assumed Black Panther 2 was coming. The first movie made absolute bank last February, blowing away record after record and staying at the top of the box office heap for several weeks on end. It is currently the 2nd highest grossing movie of 2018, only bested by Avengers: Infinity War. With numbers like that it was doubtful Disney and the MCU would not work to bring Coogler aboard for a sequel.
The question was merely one of timing. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a co-production between Sony and Marvel, and therefore had to happen in July of 2019, as this deal was in place before the Disney-FOX merger was confirmed last summer. But the massive influx of characters into the MCU, including the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, meant everything else was up in the air when it came to scheduling.
But the MCU's CEO, Kevin Feige has cautioned against rushing new characters in, and broadly hinted in earlier interviews the current roster would stay front and center going into the next phase. With rumors of a Dr. Strange 2 script in the works and talk of Black Widow finally coming to fruition, it seemed the MCU was serious about this. Now it has confirmed Black Panther 2 will be coming, and soon.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news:
[T]he filmmaker behind Marvel’s landmark Black Panther has quietly closed a deal to write and direct the sequel... Typically, a filmmaker is more than willing to quickly sign on for a follow-up, and a studio is eager to snap up a key piece of talent in the lead-up to or right after a successful opening. But Coogler’s camp shook off the peer pressure and took its time in making a deal, which occurred under the radar some time ago.
Apparently, the plan is for Coogler to work on the script starting next year, with a tentative production schedule to begin either in late 2019, or early 2020. But exactly when a release date would come is anyone's guess. For Phase III, Marvel did a special presentation, where they outlined films from 2015-2019. Fans expect Phase IV will be announced in the same manner. But even so, the original Phase III lineup and the final product were fairly different when all was said and done, and any Phase IV release dates will be subject to change.
Still, fans who are eager to return to Wakanda, and not just as a battlefield for a big group fight can rest easy. T'Challa, and his family will return once more to the big screen. Right after Avengers 4 brings him back to life.
Because that is happening, right?
Avengers 4 arrives in theaters May 4, 2019. Black Panther 2 will come in Marvel's Phase IV.