Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters this week, and since it's been repeatedly dubbed as 'the end chapter' of this first installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as wee know it, fans have naturally been looking ahead to what comes next.
Avengers 3 and 4 will bring Phase 3 to a close, with Phase 4 serving as something of a new beginning for the MCU. As such, there's expected to be a big "changing of the guard" transition in Phase 4, as old heroes fade away (or are killed off), and a new generation steps up to take their place.
Here are the Marvel characters that are most likely to show up in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Marvel Studios just revealed that it already has plans for Nova in the works, and it seems the character's debut will be a natural part of the Avengers 3 & 4 aftermath. Infinity War sees Thanos start out with the Power Stone in his possession - which does not bode well for the Nova Corps officers that were protecting it. In Phase 4, there may just be one Nova Centurion left in the universe - and fans are eager to greet him!
Marvel's Batman knock-off is nonetheless a favorite that fans have been wanting to see in the MCU for quite some time. There's been a lot of debate about how it should happen - whether in a feature film, or something like a darker, more violent Netflix series. Whatever the case, fans want their mystical Marvel Batman, and it's past due time that they got him. A great headliner option for Phase 4.
Another recent report has put Marvel's The Eternals on deck for a big debut in the MCU. It would make sense: The Inhumans didn't quite take as a successful property, while The Eternals have ties to so many other elements that are being brought into the MCU. The race of long-living superpowered humans is tied to The Celestials (who created the Infinity Stones), the Kree and Skrull empires (which are about to debut in Captain Marvel), and are even the explanation behind earthlings' capacity for mutation (an easy way for the MCU to explain the X-Men and other mutants). In short: it's a great "bridge piece" for Phase 4.
Adam Warlock was a major cosmic figure that emerged from the original Marvel Comics "Infinity Gauntlet" storyline. After Thanos' defeat, Warlock briefly held the Infinity Gauntlet, before it was dismantled, and the stones distributed between Warlock and five other individuals who became part of his "Infinity Watch" team. Given that history, and how Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 already established Warlock's presence in the MCU, this is a natural pick for the Phase 4 cosmic saga.
Marvel Studios seems to realize the potential of getting into the horror genre, but it will require the right property to keep things scary and Marvel-friendly, at the same time. Man-Thing has been floated as a possibility for a long time, as the character could combine creature-feature horror with bigger social issues like the environment. DC Films has its own Swamp Thing movie to potentially launch, so the race is on!
The godfather of the modern superhero movie - and the trailblazer for how to successfully merge the superhero and horror genres - is now back in the hands of Marvel Studios. Given the reverence for the character and his movie franchise, this would be an easy win for Marvel to get up on the screen, using the vampire underworld to open a doorway to larger supernatural elements of the MCU.
The deal between Disney and 20th Century Fox means that the X-Men movie franchise will now be imported into the Marvel Cinematic Universe - and a lot of fans think that Phase 4 will offer that opportunity. It may come later in the larger storyline - possibly as the next big Avengers crossover event - but with Infinity War directors the Russos already teasing a "Secret Wars" movie, there already seems to be ground work laid out for how the Fox Marvel universe and MCU finally come together.
Last but not least, are the Fantastic Four. They've been treated like the redheaded orphans of the Marvel brand, with three lackluster films (four if you count the failed '90s attempt), while also being sidelined on the Marvel Comics front. The inter-dimensional travels of the Jonathan Hickman-era F4 are also an easy method to explaining how the MCU goes through some radical changes - and/or why the Fantastic Four have been missing from action throughout the first chapters of the MCU.
Those are our picks for characters we might see in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - were there any additions you would add? Any of these characters you don't have any interest with seeing on the big screen? Let us know in the comments!
Avengers: Infinity War releases on April 27. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengersmovie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, andGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.