The Future of the MCU: What to Expect in Phase 4 & Beyond

by Blaise Tassone

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Kevin Fiege’s presentation at the San Diego Comic Con yesterday didn’t disappoint. Fiege focused on the details regarding upcoming features for the MCU. As usual, there were a few surprises but also a lot of confirmation of what many die-hard fans had already guessed was going to happen.

What do these announcements mean from a comic spec point of view?

To start, among the confirmations reinforcing what we knew was coming, the next ‘Black Widow’ film will appear and is set for release in May of 2020. Scarlett Johansson will return as Black Widow, the film will be a prequel and Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, and David Harbour (who will play the Red Guardian, first appearance Avengers #43), will be her co-stars. The main villain seems set to be the Taskmaster, but we don’t know which version.

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Avengers #196 (June 1980) – First Taskmaster
has already broken the $1000.00 mark. It may soon be time to sell it.






‘The Eternals’ was also announced as ready to go with big stars like Oscar winner Angelina Jolie joining the MCU to help launch this cosmic saga for a November 6th, 2020 release date. Jollie will play Thena. Eternals #5 (November 1976) is the first appearance of Thena. This comic has been picking up in sales, it sold for $745.00 on eBay on 07/06/2019.

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Shang Chi (who will be played by Canadian actor Simu Liu) will indeed feature the Mandarin in the role of villain (the true Mandarin, rather than the ‘Iron Man 3’ fake version, who will be played by Tony Leung) and will be released on February 12, 2021 (full title: ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’). Tales of Suspense #50 (Feb. 1964) – First appearance of the Mandarin, should continue to sell well and for strong prices in anticipation of the upcoming film.

Some of the surprises announced in San Diego included: ‘Thor 4’, which will premiere before the next Guardians of the Galaxy film and will feature the return of Natalie Portman, apparently as Lady Thor (full title: ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ with a November 5th, 2021 release date).

The next Doctor Strange film, was also announced as, basically, the first Marvel Horror film. ‘Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness’ will be set for a May 7th, 2021 release date.





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Finally, and certainly one of the biggest surprises: Blade will join the MCU and will be played, not by Wesley Snipes, but by Mahershala Ali. Tomb of Dracula #10 (June 1973)- First appearance of Blade the Vampire Slayer, at this point we don’t know if Blade will be a small screen or big screen event and it has no release date yet, but this news means that ToD #10 has basically been given the pop culture boost it needed to push this already pricey Bronze Age book (FMV in 9.8 = $8, 250.00) into the next tier. Look for jumps in prices on all grades on this book.

For those who keep track of these things, Marvel’s Phase 1 (2008-2012, 6 films) began in 2008 with ‘Iron Man’ and ended with the 2012 tent-pole mega summer blockbuster ‘The Avengers’. Phase 2 (2013-2015, 6 films) began in 2013 with the release of ‘Iron Man 3’, included the second Avengers film ‘Age of Ultron’ and ended with the 2015 film ‘Ant-Man’. Phase 3 (2016-2019, 11 films) got off the ground in 2016 with ‘Captain America: Civil War’, included no less than two Avengers films and ended last month with the release of ‘Spider-man: Far from Home’.

I’m ignoring all the Netflix spin offs and other Marvel small screen projects good and bad (like ‘Agents of Shield’ and the ‘Inhumans’).

The next few years of the MCU are therefore surprising especially regarding how much shorter Phase 4 will be in comparison to earlier phases (2020-2021, and 4-5 films). However, although no dates were given, Fiege did confirm that the ‘Fantastic Four’ is on the way, and also, there will be Mutants in the future. This is all news that bodes very well for Phase 5.

Another surprising thing about Phase 4, as noted by journalists, was the number of small screen projects announced. The majority of the San Diego comic con Marvel presentation actually focused on small screen projects for Disney+.

Doctor Strange 2, for example, other than featuring the Scarlett Witch, will actually also be directly connected to the Disney+ series ‘WandaVision’. Everyone from Loki to the Falcon, to Hawkeye has a small screen project coming up, but the comic connections to those shows will have to be the topic of another blog post.

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