Marvel Studios revealed its Phase 4 slate at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20, an ambitious roster that mixes streaming shows starring familiar characters (Hawkeye, The Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch) with major theatrical releases (including a fourth Thor film and the second Doctor Strange) to create a web of content sure to please any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on his or her platform of choice. And yet, despite the exciting lineup, it truly looks like the best is yet to come.
"We didn't even mention that we're making Black Panther 2," Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said after the Comic-Con presentation. "And we didn't mention that Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is coming. We didn't even have time to talk about Captain Marvel 2, by the way. I didn't even have time to talk about the Fantastic Four. And there's no time left to talk about mutants."
It's always possible Marvel and Disney are saving some of the details about those films for Disney's own fandom celebration, D23, which happens in August. But until then, here's everything we know about the future Marvel movies. (For more on the officially announced and scheduled slate, head here.)
While Feige wasn't able to discuss some of the studio's biggest forthcoming films, he did surprise fans and industry-watchers alike by announcing a reboot of Blade with two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali as the star. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Feige revealed the idea for the film came from Ali himself. "When Mahershala calls, you answer," Feige said. No other details about Blade were announced at Comic-Con, nor was the tone of the reboot discussed: The original trilogy of Blade films, which were brought to the screen with Wesley Snipes in the lead role as the half-human, half-immortal vampire hunter, all received an R-rating.
Black Panther II
Back in October 2018, it was widely reported in the Hollywood trade publications that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler had signed a deal to write and direct Black Panther 2, with an eye toward starting production in either late 2019 or 2020. At D23 Expo in August, Kevin Feige confirmed that we will see a sequel to the Oscar-nominated original film in theaters on May 6, 2022. Chadwick Boseman will return to star.
Captain Marvel 2
Outside of its confirmed existence and the expectation that Brie Larson will star once again as the title character, little is known about Captain Marvel 2 -- including when it would occur, who would direct, and who else will co-star. The original film, released in March 2019, grossed more than $1.1 billion worldwide.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
During 2018's Comic-Con in San Diego, director James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after offensive tweets from years prior were resurfaced. "The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," Disney chairman Alan Horn said at the time. In the days that followed, Gunn's starry Guardians cast — including Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, and Zoe Saldana — united to make a public plea to keep the director on the project. It didn't work, and Gunn later signed on to direct a sequel-reboot of Suicide Squad for Marvel's chief rival, Warner Bros.-owned DC Comics.
But Marvel never replaced Gunn — and vowed to use his script for Guardians 3 — and in March 2019 he was surprisingly reinstated as the franchise's filmmaker. All that drama has resulted in a delayed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The second film in the franchise was released in 2017, and Gunn previously said expectations were for Vol. 3 to arrive in 2020. That timeline obviously went out the window after Gunn was fired and hired for Suicide Squad, which is set for release on Aug. 6, 2021. Gunn will reportedly film the DC film first and then Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after, meaning the earliest Guardians 3 could potentially arrive is 2022.
The entire Guardians cast is expected to return — although the Gamora played by Saldana will be much different than the one fans grew to love in the original films. (Original Gamora was killed in Avengers: Infinity War and the current Gamora active in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the pre-Guardians 2014 version. It's complicated!). Avengers: Endgame also teased the possibility of Thor joining the Guardians (the Asgardians of the Galaxy), though with another Thor movie, Thor: Love and Thunder, coming out before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, that storyline feels like it's on the backburner for now.
A co-production between Marvel Studios and Sony, Spider-Man: Far From Home broke $1 billion worldwide and acted as the official end to Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was expected the film's huge cliffhanger — which revealed Spider-Man's true identity to the world — would factor heavily into future Marvel movie installments, including a Spider-Man 3. But when there is a third Spider-Man film with Tom Holland as the webslinger, don't expect to see the Marvel Studios logo: In late August 2019, Disney (which owns Marvel Studios) and Sony (which owns the rights to Marvel's Spider-Man) had a very public split, meaning future Spider-Man movies, even those that star Holland, won't be included in the official Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. It also means the MCU characters who have been such a key part of the Spider-Man films thus far (including Tony Stark, Nick Fury, Happy Hogan, and Captain America) can't appear in future movies. It's possible Disney and Sony are engaging in a very public negotiation, but it's also likely Spider-Man's time in the MCU has come to an end.
Fantastic Four and X-Men
Thanks to the Disney acquisition of 21st Century Fox and its assets, Marvel Studios can officially include both the Fantastic Four and the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The expectation is that both franchises will make a huge impact on the future of the MCU, especially as fans clamor for better versions of the films focused on those beloved characters than have been previously released.
Unmentioned at Comic-Con was Ryan Reynolds' foul-mouthed, R-rated hero Deadpool. Previously, Feige said Marvel had no plans to change the franchise's tone, even though it had become part of the family-friendly Disney corporation. "When we were purchased, Bob [Iger, Disney CEO] said to us, 'If it's not broke, don't fix it,'" Feige said to Variety. "There's no question that Deadpool is working, so why would we change it?"