While Avengers: Endgame may be the most eagerly-anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet, once it arrives in theaters in April it also marks the end of an era. The film is set to resolve not just the events of Avengers: Infinity War, but to close out the current chapter of expansive MCU that was begun with Iron Man in 2008.
While the film isn't the end of the MCU, with Endgame being as much a finale as a sequel, the next phase of the MCU will see new stories from a few existing heroes -- such as Spider-Man, Black Widow, and Black Panther -- while also introducing new faces and spaces within the universe, such as The Eternals.
There aren't a ton of details about what all of those future films will be. While we do have an idea of the theatrical release dates Marvel Studios has on its books for the next few years, solid plans for what films slide in to those slots are being kept pretty close to the vest, something Kevin Feige has said is deliberate until after Endgame hits theaters.
"As we've been doing for years, we aren't going to announce anything post Avengers: Endgame or Spider-Man [Far From Home] until post Endgame and Spider-Man," Feige told ComicBook.com at a press event for Captain Marvel. "As you know as a fan, there's a tremendous amount of potential and a tremendous amount of additional characters and storylines and groups of characters that we're going to keep playing with. And again, that's a testament to Marvel and to the amount of storylines and characters and amazing, amazing runs that have been in the Marvel comics."
As the catalog of Marvel characters which Feige can pull from is about to get a lot deeper with the Fox-owned X-Men characters heading over to Marvel Studios, the possibility of more than three movies per year becomes greater. "We've always said there are no mandates to make any more than two films a year," Feige explained. "But, as we've seen the last couple years, when it naturally happens, and when there are ideas and when there are teams ready to go, we're not going to hold something back."
So what does the future of the MCU hold? Read on for six Marvel films coming after Avengers: Endgame.
The first film after Avengers: Endgame closes out the current chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and presumably resolves the situation created when Thanos snapped his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Far From Home will open in theaters in July. Not only does this give fans a fresh, new Marvel film soon after Endgame blows our minds and breaks our hearts (c'mon, you know it will) but it will also give fans their first entry in the so-called Phase Four.
It's not yet clear exactly how Spider-Man: Far From Home fits into the overall MCU. Some have theorized that the film is set in a new, separate universe from the rest of the MCU as the trailer for the Tom Holland-starring film features exclusively characters who were either snapped in Infinity War or whose post-snap status remains unknown. Others, specifically ComicBook.com's own Brandon Davis, has suggested that the film is both an Infinity War prequel and an Endgame sequel thanks to the heroes of Endgame creating a brand-new timeline. Either way, fans are already excited to see where things go after Endgame, and Far From Home will be our first look.
Spider-Man: Far From Home opens in theaters July 5.
While it doesn't yet have a target release date, one of the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe films in the works post-Endgame is the Black Widow film.
There aren't a lot of details about the project at this point, but this is what we do know. According to Production Weekly, the film's working title is "Blue Bayou" and production is set to begin June 2019 in the United Kingdom with Scarlet Johansson staring. Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome) will direct with Robert hardy serving as director of photography. In addition to the usual trio of Marvel bosses -- Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, and Victoria Alonso -- receiving producer credits, Brad Winderbaum has also been tapped as a producer. Serving as Vice President of Production & Development at Marvel Studios, Winderbaum previously received producer credits on Ant-Man and Thor: Ragnarok.
The reported production synopsis for Black Widow teases a prequel set in 2005-2006, which would place it just a few years ahead of Iron Man (2008) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline.
"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 movies 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."
Black Widow is expected to take Marvel Studios' first available theater date next year: May 1, 2020.
As one of the biggest box office hits of 2018, Black Panther was quickly given a sequel with writer/director Ryan Coogler set to come back and make it happen.
When it comes to what to expect from Black Panther 2, that may be one of the bigger question marks in all of the future MCU films. After all, fans did see Black Panther/T'Challa turn to dust in Infinity War and the first trailer for Endgame hinted that Shuri's fate remains unknown. However, what we do know is that Coogler hadn't started work on Black Panther 2 as of last November, but he's definitely taking the process seriously, acknowledging that he's feeling the pressure of making a sequel for such a massive and important film.
“I think the pressure is kind of always going to be there,” Coogler told IndieWire. “I’ve had a chance to make three feature films, each one of them had its own very specific type of pressure. In the process of it, it feels insurmountable each time.”
“When it comes to making a sequel, I’ve never done it before, a sequel to something that I’ve directed myself,” he continued. “So I think there’s gonna be a lot of pressure there, but what we’re going to try to do is just focus on the work, like we always do. Really try to go step by step and try to quiet everything else around us, really focus on trying to make something that has some type of meaning.”
Target release date for Black Panther 2 is unknown, though it could be the mystery Marvel movie set for February 12, 2021.
Another sequel in the MCU, Doctor Strange 2 is set to hit theaters in May 2021.
Given the mystical, magical nature of Doctor Strange as a character there are pretty much endless possibilities for the plot of Doctor Strange 2, but we do know that Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has signed on to helm the sequel.
According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter late last year, Marvel is looking for a writer to pen the script, Benedict Cumberbatch will return as Stephen Strange, and filming is expected to commence in the spring of 2020.
For some Marvel fans, one of the most exciting future films in the MCU is The Eternals.
Initially introduced to the Marvel Comics mythos by the King himself, Jack Kirby, The Eternals are an ancient race of science experiments created as a direct result of experimentation by Celestials, the supreme beings initially introduced by Benicio del Toro's The Collector during the events of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Eternals opens up a lot of interesting possibilities for the MCU. A recent report from That Hashtag Show indicates that Chloe Zhao and Marvel Studios are hoping to cast their first openly gay man in a lead role, potentially as Ikaris of the Eternals. Additionally, the report indicates that filming on The Eternals is set to begin in the United Kingdom this September, potentially putting it in position to be the film slated for Marvel's November 6, 2020 date.
The Eternals also presents an opportunity to further expand the characters and settings of the MCU, with Marvel boss Keven Feige having noted that the lesser-known group is perfect for the big screen simply because of how unfamiliar most viewers are with the characters.
"You're reaction about not being familiar with the Eternals is perfect, because most people weren’t familiar with Guardians [of the Galaxy] and believe it or not there were people that were not familiar with Avengers or with Iron Man,” Feige told Bionic Buzz. “So for us, its finding great stories whether people have heard of them or not and bring them to the big screen in as amazing a way as we can.”
The MCU broke new ground with Black Panther as the first Marvel Studios film to center around a black superhero and in the post-Endgame cinematic landscape, they plan to do the same with a film centered around an Asian superhero: Shang-Chi.
A report from Deadline late last year revealed that Shang-Chi is being fast-tracked through Development at Marvel Studios. Dave Callaham, an Asian-American screenwriter, has been tapped to handle the script; reports are that an Asian or Asian-American director is being sought for the project. The reported goal is for Marvel to do for Asian / Asian-American culture what the studio did for African / African-American culture with the unprecedented success of Black Panther in 2018.
In comics, Shang-Chi is the son of Dr. Fu Manchu. Raised by his father to be part of an evil empire bent on world conquest, Shang-Chi instead converted from evil to good after meeting his father's nemesis, Sir Denis Nayland Smith. Having been a secret agent and an adventurer, Shang-Chi has joined teams such as Heroes for Hire and even the Avengers. He doesn't exactly have a superpower, but he is an unparalleled Kung Fu master who has long been expected to make his appearance somewhere in the MCU. While his martial arts background made him a perfect fit for a spinoff of the Netflix Iron Fist series, the cancellation of all of the Marvel Netflix series gives the character a clear shot at the big screen as part of the next chapter of the MCU.
What do you think about these upcoming, post-Endgame Marvel Cinematic Universe films? Let us know in the comments below.