When does the fourth phase of the MCU end?

The content and direction of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the best kept secrets in Hollywood. Fans know a lot: the list of planned releases has been around for a while, and Marvel wasn’t the least bit shy about where the journey was headed. The stylized number “4” at the end of a sizzle reel was too obvious for a fan to miss.

However, there have been a number of bumps along the way that even the MCU has struggled with, most notably the disruption to production and release schedules caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This suddenly leaves a large number of previously resolved issues up in the air and the release schedule will be revised multiple times in the wake of an ever-evolving reality. Most of the remaining Phase 4 projects are in a bit of a flux in terms of release schedules. And with five theatrical releases and six streaming series already, the question is when will Phase Four actually end?

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Film studios traditionally fix release dates years in advance. That allows the big blockbusters to claim pole position while less safe bets compete for alternate dates. That war of stars and Indiana Jones Movies, for example, opened earlier on Memorial Day weekend as an unofficial start to the summer movie season. More recently, the MCU claimed the first week of May, a tradition that’s being maintained this year Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, the rest of Phase Four played out a little differently. That was the official start Black widow, which was originally slated for a May 1, 2020 release. The COVID pandemic changed all that, and with cinemas around the world feeling unsafe at the time, the film’s release was delayed by a year. It eventually opened on July 9, 2021, along with a simultaneous release on Disney+ in a short-lived experiment with multi-platforming.

That impacted the entire schedule, and when new dates were set to reflect the pandemic disruption, not all could be met. The multiverse of madness and Black: Panther: Wakanda Forever Both experienced delays and re-recordings, further complicating the schedule. Meanwhile, the success of the MCU streaming series on Disney+ — all of which are integral parts of the franchise’s story — gave Phase Four an additional wealth of content to fit into the ever-evolving timeline. It’s no surprise that the exact status of Phase Four has become more of an open question.

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Officially, there are five other films – including love and thunder — and six other streaming series are on the way, along with an untitled Halloween special and those previously announced The Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special. All the films have release dates set, although the streaming series are still up in the air. And as has already been proven, these dates are subject to change due to production delays or similar concerns.

A few things can be inferred based on what has come before. Interestingly, no Avengers movies are planned for Phase 4 and that doesn’t seem to be changing either. Phases one through three each ended with a – phase three with a double bill – but after the events of Avengers: Endgamethe status of the team is in serious doubt. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 can serve as a substitute, how could The wonders, This is the last film in the cycle at the time of this writing. still Guardian is a far enough corner of the MCU to make such an anchor position unlikely at best The wonders seems to focus more on three individuals than a team of the same nature as the Avengers.

In the end, though, it’s hard to believe that the Anchor Project is what Marvel pretty much announced from the start. Pure coincidence to end phase four with it The fantastic Four in 2024 is just too big to let happen (it’ll be another decade before the year ends with the correct number), and while the specifics may be debatable, the MCU will likely deliver with the same panache, in which they did it endgame. Marvel’s first family can then anchor phases five and six much like the Avengers, possibly before passing the torch to the X-Men to begin a new cycle sometime thereafter. It’s the smart game, and while the MCU isn’t always perfect, smart games are still a big part of their brand.

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