MCU Phase 4: The Past and the Prospective

MCU Phase 4: The Past and the Prospective

Madelena Lapinski, Staff Writer

Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Electro: the villains that have been inflicting chaos since the first Marvel comics, are back for phase four in “Spider-man: No Way Home.” Starting in the early 1960’s, author Stan Lee and illustrator Steve Ditko created these characters, contributing to a future of success for Marvel lasting almost as long as Captain America has been “alive” (if you consider being frozen as alive). The Marvel Cinematic universe (MCU) concluded three phases of action with Iron Man’s noble sacrifice to save half the world, but the story isn’t over yet. The MCU is entering phase four with action packed plotlines, returning villains and new heroes, so as Stan Lee would say,  “Face front, true believers.”

To kick off phase four, Marvel released three hit series during the first six months of 2021: “WandaVision,” “Falcon and the Winter Soldier (FATWS)” and “Loki.” “WandaVision” had fans feeling nostalgic as it sampled cinematic styles from several popular old school sitcoms, while “FATWS” took a more realistic, modern approach to show life after Captain America’s death. The third series, “Loki,” left viewers stunned when the universal timeline splintered into what some may consider a multiverse of madness. However, that’s an issue for Steven Strange in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” coming in May 2022. 

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. First, we must ask… what happened in Budapest? The answer was revealed in Marvel’s first movie of phase four, “Black Widow,” in July 2021, along with a reveal of Natasha Romanoff’s past with the Red Room.  

As of this year, the latest series related to the original six avengers is “Hawkeye,” released weekly since November  24, 2021. However, to some fans’ excitement and others’ dismay, Marvel shifted focus from the original six avengers and released “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” on September 3, 2021, followed by “Eternals” on November 5, 2021. For fans who haven’t read the comics, these movies introduce new, exciting characters that embody the transition into the next phase.  

Planned release dates continue as late as the summer of 2023. The long list of movies includes “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “The Marvels,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” You can also expect series such as “Ms. Marvel,” “Moon Knight,” “She-Hulk,” “What…if?” season two, “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special ” and “Secret Invasion ” in 2022.  With all the new releases, there is hope for the MCU after so much was lost in phase three. Tony Stark says it best,  

“It’s not about how much we lose. It’s about how much we have left.” – Tony Stark, Endgame.  

Although some of the original six avengers won’t be destroying cities while fighting villains in phase four, part of their journey is the end–right? The multiverse is divided and new heroes have stepped in to mend it. There is plenty more Marvel content coming, so get excited. See you at the end of the line.