After over a decade of world-building consisting of 21 movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to hit its most pivotal moment ever when Avengers: Endgame is released at the end of April. Although the plot of the Infinity War follow-up is being kept under strict lock-and-key, fans do know that Endgame marks the end for many of the original stars of the MCU. That brings up the big question: What's next for Marvel after Avengers: Endgame? Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently revealed what the superhero universe has planned for its reinvention-focused Phase 4.
In case you did not know, Marvel Studios and its fans break down the decade-spanning film saga into phases, all of which end with or shortly after a tentpole Avengers team-up movie. Phase 1 introduced the six original Avengers (Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow), and Phase 2 delved deeper into their relationships to one another while also introducing the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man on the side. Avengers: Endgame will mark the conclusion of Phase 3, which has been the most expansive phase yet, introducing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel.
But unlike the end of other phases, Phase 3's conclusion will also be the end of some of the MCU's original cast of heroes. Captain America is heavily predicted to die, and Iron Man will be flying away from the superhero game as well. And as the universe of heroes has exponentially grown, Marvel will shift focus away from its other core heroes like Thor and the Hulk for the first time to further develop more recently introduced heroes... as well as some new ones.
Now that the Disney-Fox merger has gone through, many Marvel fans are curious about if/when the MCU might introduce the X-Men. When io9 asked Kevin Feige about the X-Men, not only did the Marvel boss reveal that the mutants would likely not appear in Phase 4, but he also spilled some new details about the mysterious upcoming phase:
It’ll be a while [before we see the X-Men]. 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, it sounds like Phase 4 may span the next five years of Marvel movies, meaning the next Avengers team-up after Endgame may not hit theaters until 2024.
We also already know a lot of the new movies that will premiere in Phase 4. As usual, there will be plenty of sequels for the more recently introduced Marvel heroes: Spider-Man: Far From Home will kick off Phase 4 months after Endgame, and the studio has also confirmed upcoming sequels for Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange. It seems likely that Captain Marvel will get a sequel as well, and Black Widow is getting a standalone movie. As for new superheroes, Phase 4 will also very likely include the Angelina Jolie-starring The Eternals as well as the kung fu movie Shang-Chi. There have also been murmurings about Wesley Snipes possibly reprising his role as Blade in a new MCU standalone, but there has not been any real update on that in the past several years.
Basically, Marvel fans still have a ton of new movies to look forward to after Avengers: Endgame premieres on Friday, April 26, even though they will shift focus away from the original stars.