Fans recently gathered at CCXP 19 in São Paolo, Brazil to see new footage and hear from Marvel Studios President and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige about what’s up next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After a blockbuster year in 2019, with the three final MCU Phase 3 films, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel Studios is taking a slight step back in 2020 and only releasing two films, Black Widow and The Eternals, and one Disney+ television series, Falcon and Winter Soldier. However, by 2021 Marvel will have an even busier schedule of four films, which is unprecedented for them: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man 3, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Plus, two new Disney+ series debut that year, Loki and WandaVision, as well as the new animated series What If?
Feige insists there’s a master plan for it all, as well. “It is always fun to see them come together in a master plan. Which is, I promise you well-underway,” he told fans.
How the planned Hulu live action series Helstrom, animated Tigra & Dazzler and the other planned Marvel animated series will fit in or not is still being determined.
For now, it might be best to focus on 2020, and speculate how Black Widow, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and The Eternals will begin the much-anticipated Phase 4 of the MCU.
As previously addressed in my article about the Black Widow trailer, it is odd that the first entry of Phase 4 is a film based on a major character’s recent past. Again, the film takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.
How exactly will Natasha’s past affect the oncoming Phase 4 of films, with the much-promised multiverse coming to the fore? Feige did admit that “the multiverse is the next step in the evolution of the MCU,” so this will be interesting to see. Further, how will The Falcon and The Winter Soldier continue to open up the possibilities of Phase 4 of MCU? The show will obviously address Sam Wilson taking up the shield and legacy of Captain America and how the role of America’s Super-Soldier can be fulfilled in the post-snap and subsequently restored universe.
Without a doubt, Winter Soldier’s continued drive to make up for a past full of dark deeds will also loom large throughout the series. Will these two, plus a new Black Widow in the form of Yelena Bolova, played by Florence Pugh, be the cornerstone of a new Avengers team, of which Thor, Hawkeye and Hulk will no doubt remain honorary members? As Feige said this past April at a Disney investors presentation: “These will be major storylines set in the MCU with ramifications that will be felt both through the other Disney+ series we’re producing and are features on the big screen.”
As for the third entry, The Eternals, well I think that’s where Phase 4 will really ramp up.
Based on a comicbook series created by comics legend Jack Kirby, The Eternals came out in the mid-1970s but never really found its audience. A more recent (2006) comicbook mini-series by famed author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by John Romita Jr. was a solid success and brought Kirby’s creations back for Marvel fans. No doubt the original, unfinished Kirby epic and some of the story of the Gaiman/Romita Jr. series has impacted the plot for the movie version.
Feige has confirmed that the creators of the Eternals, known as the Celestials, will play a big part in the movie and doubtless the many films to follow. “Celestials are a big part of it,” Feige said. “Nowhere is the severed head of a Celestial. We will see the Celestials in their full, true enormous power in The Eternals.”
It’s also on record that the Eternals’ story spans over 7,000 years of galactic history. No doubt this unprecedented dive into the ancient history of Earth and the MCU as we now know it is a major aspect of Phase 4. According to Feige, the Eternals may have had a profound effect on the Asgardians as we know them today. Who knows how deep their influence is on the other galactic races of the MCU, including the Kree, Skrulls and the race of Titans that spawned Thanos? And where does humanity fit in, since the Avengers are primarily human in origin? Maybe The Eternals, and Phase 4, will eventually reveal humanity’s place in the greater universe, or multiverse.
The groundwork looks to be well laid out in 2020, with Black Widow, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, then finally The Eternals on the schedule. Next year at this time, we should have a better idea of what Phase 4 might entail, just in time to be swept up by over a half dozen Marvel film and TV installments of the MCU Phase 4 in 2021.