Marvel Studios' hot streak may have continued this summer with Captain America: Civil War, but the Hollywood powerhouse has its sights set firmly on the future. We already know that following the two-part Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel plans to use its Phase Four films to inject a different flavor into its cinematic universe. And while we don't know how different things will get, that certainly opens the door for some unique possibilities.
Marvel already has three films scheduled for 2020, with slated release dates for May 1, July 10 and November 6 of that year. With that in mind, we're mapping out our picks for the first entries in Marvel's Phase Four.
Marvel initially planned to release Inhumans in November 2018, then pushed the date to July 2019, only to remove the film from its ever-growing schedule. But we know the project is still happening, which points to the possibility of Inhumans as part of Phase Four. For those unaware, the Inhumans are essentially a group of space mutants with powers resulting from ancient genetic experiments. And while there are plenty of Inhuman characters Marvel could pull from, a film would most likely feature the Inhuman Royal Family, who lead the race from their intergalactic home Attilan.
Recent storylines have seen a steep rise in the number of Inhumans in Marvel Comics, with their additional inclusion in ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which certainly sets the stage for the Inhuman Royal Family to make their big-screen debut. Inhumans would be a bold kickoff for Marvel's next phase, acting as a perfect segue between the galaxy-spanning adventure we're likely to see in the two-part Phase Three finale Avengers: Infinity War and something new.
We know Phase Four will push the MCU in a new direction, so it only makes sense for Marvel Studios to produce its first outright comedy, featuring Squirrel Girl. The hero is a college student who studies computer science by day and fights crime with her squirrel-based powers, which include superhuman agility and senses, razor-sharp claws and a bushy prehensile tail. Marvel's recent Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series has proved a hit for the publisher, drawing fan appreciation and critical acclaim for its hilarious plots and relatable protagonist. A Squirrel Girl movie would give Marvel the chance to go all in with a comedy while also introducing a new, fun and most importantly relatable female hero to the masses.
Adding a new team to the MCU would offer the chance to bring in a slew of fresh characters, and the Thunderbolts would serve as perfect counterpoint to the Avengers. Though they've had a rotating roster over the years, the Thunderbolts are typically a group of reformed villains (and antiheroes) ready to make good. At times they've been a government-sponsored group, similar to DC's Suicide Squad, though that hasn't always been the case. Most interestingly, the Winter Soldier leads Marvel's current iteration of the team, and with his increased importance in the MCU post-Civil War, a Thunderbolts movie could really put the Soldier in the spotlight.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
This is the only movie we actually know that Marvel has considered for Phase Four. In an April interview with io9, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said:
“We’re only working on what’s been announced through the end of 2019. And it is still a big chess board for 2020 and beyond, but certainly I would say 'Guardians 3' is [one film that’s] up there. I don’t know what exactly the order will be.”
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel's most unique films, and with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 set to expand the series, fans can anticipate that the Guardians will be a staple in the MCU for years to come. While we'd prefer Phase Four to be filled with original films, this is one sequel we'll wholeheartedly embrace.
There are a lot of possibilities for Phase Four, which is likely to include more than the three untitled 2020 releases, and we'll only know what's coming for sure once they're announced. Still, with so many great comic book characters and storylines to pull from, there's no doubt that filmmakers will be able to deliver fresh ideas and bold visions come Phase Four.
What characters do you want to see introduced in Marvel's Phase Four? Let us know in the comments.