Just a week after its premiere in Los Angeles, Avengers: Endgame is well on its way to becoming one of the highest grossing movies of all time, if not the highest. It is a truly stunning achievement in film history, and a testament to the work Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, along with the many talented writers, directors, and actors, have done over the past eleven years. But the craziest part is that they’re just getting started.
Avengers: Endgame isn’t the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — in fact, it’s not even the end of Phase Three. That honor belongs to Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is technically the only MCU movie that has been confirmed after Endgame. And yet, countless rumors, reports, and leaks have made it clear that at least half a dozen other films are gearing up to begin production, so we’ve attempted to put all the puzzle pieces together.
Before we begin, I have to point out that there are significant spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below. It’s hard to contextualize any of the upcoming shows or movies without discussing the events of Endgame, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, just bookmark this page and come back after you’ve been to the theater.
Confirmed MCU Movies:
These are the movies that are confirmed to be in some stage of development, even if the script hasn’t been penned or filming hasn’t begun. Each one of the movies on this list is all but guaranteed to arrive in theaters at some point in the next few years, but we only have a release date for one of them so far.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Technically, Spider-Man: Far From Home is the final movie of the MCU’s Phase Three. Although it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, it seems like Marvel is setting Far From Home up as more of an epilogue than a true step into the future (although it will quite literally take place in the future, as Peter Parker and everyone else we know now live in 2023). That will seemingly have to wait for our 2020.
This will also be the first time that we will hear from Nick Fury since the post-credits scene of Infinity War, as he didn’t actually have any lines in Endgame. As the man who commissioned the Avengers Initiative in the first place, what will he have to say about Tony Stark’s untimely passing? We’ll find out on July 5th.
Black Panther 2
Almost all of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have been critical and commercials hits, but none engendered quite as much enthusiasm as Black Panther. The movie was a phenomenon that stretched beyond the boundaries of comic book and superhero fandom. So it’s no surprise that The Hollywood Reporter heard from sources last year that director Ryan Coogler had signed on to write and direct a sequel, with Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa) and Letitia Wright (Shuri) both slated to return as well. Coogler is expected to begin writing this year, with filming expected to begin in late 2019 or early 2020.
Doctor Strange 2
Doctor Strange ended up being a vital piece of the puzzle in the Infinity Saga (which ended with Avengers: Endgame), but much like the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man before him, Strange doesn’t have quite the name recognition of a Captain America or Iron Man. Nevertheless, Kevin Feige, in an interview with CinemaBlend last year, confirmed that Marvel Studios will “do another Strange one” before all is said and done.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Few MCU franchises have been through as much strife as Guardians of the Galaxy, but after firing director James Gunn due to the digging up of his old tweets in July 2018, Disney and Marvel Studios reversed course in March 2019 and brought Gunn back on to write and direct the third volume of the series.
According to a recent THR report, Guardians Vol. 3 is set to begin filming in 2020, with all five stars (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel) all set to reprise their roles as well.
Rumored MCU Movies:
These are the movies that have been in the rumor mill often enough to get our hopes up about them. That’s not to say any of them will happen any time soon, but we’d be shocked if none of the titles on this list ever came to fruition. The more important question is how long we’ll have to wait for them.
It seems all but certain that the next MCU movie to start shooting will be the Black Widow solo film. Marvel has yet to actually say anything official about a Black Widow movie (which is the only reason it’s in this section and not the one above it), but here is a potential leaked synopsis from Production Weekly:
At birth the Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanova) is given to the KGB, which grooms her to become its ultimate operative. When the U.S.S.R. breaks up, the government tries to kill her as the action ]moves] to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative. The standalone film will find Romanoff living in the United States 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.
If this is accurate (and there’s a chance it isn’t), Black Widow will take place in the mid-2000s — shortly before Iron Man, but a few years after the events of Captain Marvel. Hopefully we’ll learn more soon, as Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland was reported tapped to direct the feature months ago.
The immediate future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will mostly center around characters that we’ve already been introduced to, but plenty of newcomers are set to join the franchise in the years to come as old heroes cycle out. One of those characters is Shang-Chi — a martial artist who was created in the early 1970s by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, the latter of whom also created Thanos, the villain at the center of the first three phases.
Back in March, Deadline reported that Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) has been hired to direct, while Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984, Into the Spider-Verse 2) is writing the screenplay. Similar to Black Panther, Shang-Chi is expected to feature a great deal of Asian-American talent on-screen as well as behind the camera. Filming is expected to begin after The Eternals (which you can read about below).
Between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios has enough superhero teams on its hands to last at least another few phases, but another team appears to be right around the corner. A story from The Hollywood Reporter last September revealed that Chloé Zhao (The Rider) will direct The Eternals, which follows an ancient race of superpowered beings that were created by the Celestials on Earth millions of years before homo sapiens came to be. Honestly, it’s incredibly complicated, but could make for a fascinating film.
And speaking of fascinating, Angelina Jolie is reportedly in talks to star in The Eternals. It’s still not clear who she will play, but the movie is said to involve a love story between Ikaris (“a man fueled by cosmic energy”) and Sersi (“who relishes moving amongst humans”). Kumail Nanjiani has supposedly been cast as well.
“Eternals is one of many many many things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about to see if we believe in them enough to put them on a slate,” Feige told TheWrap while promoting Infinity War.
Possible MCU Movies:
These are the movies we’re genuinely unsure about. While none of them are complete shots in the dark, there have only been a mention or two of these floating around, as opposed to tons of leaks and articles.
Having only had one movie to truly stretch her wings, it would be a shock if Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp didn’t return in either a third Ant-Man movie or her own solo movie. Nothing has been confirmed (or even close to it) yet, but Michael Douglas (who plays Hank Pym in the MCU) hinted at Ant-Man 3 earlier this year.
“There’s been talk [of another Ant-Man]… [but] there’s been nothing formal right now that I know of,” Entertainment Tonight reported. “They always kind of spring it on me. The first time you hear about it, it’s already in its third rewrite.”
“Hopefully we’re going to get to do another film, but we honestly don’t know yet,” director Peyton Reed said last year. “But we definitely have a lot of ideas and things we’ve certainly set up in this movie. There is [an idea for a trilogy]… as we were writing the second one, [we were] coming up with stuff we wanted to set up. We definitely had ideas for character arcs for all the characters, and I certainly have some of my own, some of which I’ve shared with Marvel, some I haven’t. But I really, really hope we get to further their stories.”
Of all the rumored MCU projects, Nova is the one we know the least about. That said, between his membership in Xandar’s Nova Corps and his frequent run-ins with the Kree, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thanos in the comics, Nova seems like an obvious candidate for one of the next breakout MCU stars.
Unfortunately for Nova fans, there hasn’t been much talk of a Nova movie, but as ComicBook.com notes, Adam McKay (Anchorman, Vice) said the following on the Happy Sad Confused podcast last year: “When I was in the fourth or 5th grade I got into Nova of all people, and I think [Marvel is] kicking around a Nova idea now too.”
Disney+ MCU Shows:
Finally, all these upcoming Disney+ shows will tie into the MCU, unlike Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the rest of the Netflix shows. Marvel has made it clear that the events of these shows will directly impact the movies, and vice versa, so if you want the full story of the MCU, you’ll have to sign up for Disney+ when it launches this fall.
Marvel Studios has technically only confirmed three Disney+ shows currently in development, but last month, Variety reported that a Hawkeye series is in the works for the streaming service as well. Sources say that the show will follow Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) as he trains Kate Bishop, eventually passing the torch on to her as the next Hawkeye. The Hawkeye comics have been some of the best in the Marvel catalog in recent years, so here’s hoping the on-screen version will be just as compelling as the stories they’ll be drawing from.
Based on the description of the Loki show (which will star Tom Hiddleston), it seems possible that this Loki series will take place directly after the scene in Avengers: Endgame when the god of mischief got his hands on the Tesseract as the plan of Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man and Hulk fell apart.
The show is said to follow Loki as he pops up throughout human history and influences historical events. That’s all we know about it for now, but Hiddleston did slyly reference it on Instagram last November.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Another show we know very little about, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will track the adventures of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. Although both characters survived the events of Endgame, we don’t know if the show will be set before or after the movie. All we know is that Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are starring.
Apologies if this is starting to sound repetitive, but other than the return of Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision), we don’t know anything about WandaVision either. That said, considering Vision didn’t return in Endgame, it seems likely that this series will be a prequel of some nature.
Finally, as reported by Slashfilm in March, Marvel Studios is producing a What If? series for Disney+ as well. This animated anthology series, like the comics on which it is based, will explore how a story might have unfolded if things went differently. The first episode, for example, asks: What would have happened if Peggy Carter had taken the super solider serum instead of Steve Rogers? Hayley Atwell will return to voice the character.