Wonderland.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE: PHASE 4

With Marvel dropping the trailer for the Eternals yesterday, we rounded up all the superhero films expected to drop in the next 3 years, including Black Panther 2.

Marvel Studios Phase Four
Marvel Studios Phase Four

If we’re going to be honest we don’t how we made it through 2020 without any Marvel content, maybe it was the influx of Normal People and I May Destroy You that kept us occupied, but either way 2021 is the return of the superheroes and they’re spoiling us with the content. Dropping a surprise bombshell yesterday, the company – owned by Disney – revealed the upcoming slate for the next 2 years and there is plenty to be excited about.

Titled Phase Four, Marvel revealed in the next two to three years we will be getting a Doctor Strange sequel titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a fourth Thor film labelled Thor: Love and Thunder, and surprisingly, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. While these projects are slated for release next year, this year we are going to be blessed with the long-awaited Black Widow solo project, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao’s Eternals.

With so much news on the projects flying around on the TL, we’ve summed up everything you need to know on each upcoming project.

Black Widow

We’re not going to lie to you, this has been a long time coming. Dating all the way back to 2004 when Lionsgate first acquired the rights for the film, Marvel has been “in talks” for years on the project, going back and forth with casting and creative differences. With Scarlett Johansson signing on to the role back in 2009 for Iron Man, we thought the solo project would come a lot sooner, but with The Avengers, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy taking up the company’s time, the film didn’t come to fruition until late 2017. With filming wrapped in 2019, it was revealed that the film will follow on from the events of Captain American: Civil War, whereby Natasha Romanoff finds herself alone and forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy from her past. Set to feature Midsommer’s Florence Pugh and Stranger Thing’s David Harbour, the film is due to land in July this year after three COVID-19 delays.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

An all-Asian superhero film? Production houses, take notes. Having first entered development in 2001, the film focuses on a skilled martial artist who at a young age trains to become an assassin at the hands of his father and the Ten Rings organisation. But wanting to leave and live a normal life, the star is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the film was fast-tracked in 2019 as calls were made for there to be an Asian superhero film and more representation. Starring Awkwafina, Simu Liu and Tony Leung, the film is set for release this September.

Eternals

From when Jack Kirby first wrote the comic book back in the 70s, calls have been made to make an adaption in the Marvel Universe and producer Kevin Feige answered. First entering development in 2018 with Chloé Zhao as the director, the film has been one of the most anticipated superhero films since The Avengers, due to its all-star cast and thrilling storyline.

Following on the events of Avengers: Endgame, the Eternals – an immortal alien race created by the Celestials who have lived on Each for over 7,000 years – reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. Advocating for a project that included the swapping of genders, sexualities and ethnicities of some of the characters from the comic books, Zhao revealed that this film will create a “marriage of Eastern and Western cultures” and describes the film as a “melting pot of influences”. With Angelina Jolie as the lead, Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden and Kit Harington, and Spring 21 cover star Salma Hayek all involved in the project, we can imagine it becoming another box office success for Marvel.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Zendaya Tom Holland Jacob Batalon Spider Man 3 looking at computer
Zendaya Tom Holland Jacob Batalon Spider Man 3 looking at computer

After Tom Holland, Zendaya and J.B. Smoove baffled us with various titles of the film, Marvel revealed that the third upcoming MCU Spider-Man film will be titled, No Way Home. First beginning development in 2019, it was revealed that Tom Holland had only one more film left under his MCU contract, but due to outpours from both the fanbase and the production house, Marvel revealed that the star will be back for two more films in the cinematic universe, the first being No Way Home. Filming began late last year with news that Zendaya, J.B. Smoove, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina will all be returning to the film franchise.

With rumours circulating online that Emma Stone, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield could potentially be returning to the franchise under the guise of a crossover universe, Holland quickly shutdown the talks in an interview, stating that he had “no knowledge” of the crossover and it would be “highly unlikely” that they would return. With filming wrapped in March this year, the film is due to be released this December.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness

Cumberbitches, our time is near, as Doctor Strange is set to get a sequel next year. First beginning development in 2018, the film signed on Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Elizabeth Olsen for what is set to be a continuation of the TV series WandaVision. Beginning filming late last year under the title Stellar Vortex, the film is set to give a “horror show vibe”, with director Sam Raimi labelling it “absolute bonkers” and “unpredictable”. Due for release on March 25 next year, we can expect a snippet hopefully towards the end of the year, as filming is set to move from Richmond in London to New York in the coming weeks.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor love and thunder
Thor love and thunder

Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale and Chris Pratt? The holy trinity of “Chris” is here. Having first discussed the sequel to Ragnarok in 2018, Hemsworth and director Taika Waititi agreed upon another film in 2019 with Tessa Thompson and Natalie Portman both retuning to the franchise. Following the OG comic book Mighty Thor, the film will focus more on Jane Foster (Portman) as she takes on the powers of Thor after suffering from cancer. With Valkyrie to assigned the king of New Asgard, the film will also explore her sexuality, making her Marvel’s first LGBTQ superhero. Additionally, various Guardians of The Galaxy heroes will be making a crossover into the film, with Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Dave Bautista all making their Thor debut. Describing the film as a romance film rather than another action film, Waititi started production in January this year with the release set for May 2022.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

When news first broke that Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer back in 2020, we thought that would be the end of the franchise as no one could possibly step into the shoes of T’Challa. But with a sequel planned way back in 2018, Marvel said the show must go on and the franchise will continue without main star T’Challa being recast. Confirming late last year, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Angela Bassett are set to reprise their roles in the film, with Shuri (Letitia Wright) set to take on a more prominent role. With no other cast updates or plot revealed just yet, the film is due to be released in July 2022.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE: PHASE 4

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