Visioning the first five films of Phase 4 of the Marvel universe, a question burns on my lips: Is there another directive in the MCU? Where are Shang-Chi, The Eternals and Doctor Strange 2 taking us? Try to explain it.
The following ruins the events since the beginning of Phase 4 Marvel, from the release of WandaVision to that of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Read on if you’re up to date on all the MCU releases.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now in theaters and the film introduces us to a new superhero, America Chavez, who has a story all his own in the comics. Moreover, as she learns to master her powers related to the multiverse, we also see her training in Kamar-Taj, a place specially dedicated to magicians.
Therefore, it’s not impossible to imagine that by mastering the passage to the multiverse and learning sorcery, America could become a definite asset to the MCU and perhaps even to the next Doctor Strange, where the version played by Benedict Cumberbatch or whether the actor would decide to leave the saga.
Once we’ve said that, one thing is clear: Marvel is using Phase 4 of its movie universe to introduce new characters who will come to replace others who have already left or are about to leave after years of faithful service in the MCU. Past or future films and series already offer us:
– A new Doctor Strange: America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).
– A new Hulk: She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany).
– A new Hawkeye: Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).
– A new Black Widow: Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh).
– A new Captain Marvel: Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani).
– A new Ant-Man: Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), who later becomes Stature in the comics. She is the daughter of Scott Lang and she is actually supposed to be seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023).
– A new Iron Man: Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne, in an upcoming series and Black Panther 2).
– A new Thor? It’s too early to say without seeing Thor Love And Thunder, but Natalie Portman could take the part and Hemsworth’s version, who suffered a lot of drama in the latter films, was able to pull out.
This next team of Avengers is on their way to form the Young Avengers (a relatively young team of superheroes), led by a few veterans like Captain America, played by Anthony Mackie from the Falcon series and the Winter Soldier, Clint Barton or Bruce Banner, awaiting retirement or death in an adventure.
Note that the entire Young Avengers group is made up of women, unlike the 2012 Avengers team, which, with one exception, was 100% male. A rather strong symbolic act of Marvel, who wants to change this image.
However, there are still a few old…
– Natalie Portman could alternate the role of Thor with Chris Hemsworth, allowing these two actors to run their other projects in parallel.
– Brie Larson (Captain Marvel, Busy in the Cosmos) and the interpreter of the new Black Panther (busy in Wakanda) may only be there occasionally.
– War Machine and Nick Fury: Former relatives of Tony Stark, the Secret Invasion series will tell us if they will survive the invasion of Earth by the Skrulls.
– Ant-Man and the Wasp, like Hawkeye and Laura Barton, have a family life they can choose to prioritize and set aside. Shall they?
– The Winter Soldier: No one knows what the character’s future will be in the MCU, except his connection to Sam Wilson in Falcon and the Winter Soldier indicates that we will definitely know more in Captain America 4, which is currently in development.
– Scarlett Witch: In the comics, her children are members of the Young Avengers (Wiccan and Speed), but they currently only exist in her mind. Will the multiverse allow him to adopt the children of a deceased Scarlet Witch in another universe? How will she return from the events of Doctor Strange 2?
– Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr Strange), Mark Ruffalo (Hulk) and/or Tom Holland (Spider-Man) could serve as team leader.
…And some “outsiders”:
– Loki: the god of mischief seems limited to his “multiversian” adventures linked to variants and chronologies.
– Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac): The first season ended without any concrete link to characters already established in the saga. To be continued.
– The ones we haven’t seen yet but have been announced: Blade, the Dark Knight, the Fantastic Four, Deadpool, the X-Men.
A new team, but what to say?
With the gradual arrival of these young heroes and the occupation of older heroes for other themes, Phase 4 patiently prepares Kang’s arc in the Young Avengers comics. Indeed, after several confrontations with the Avengers and his defeat by Captain America, this formidable adversary (already seen in Loki in the guise of Jonathan Majors) decides to go and see his former self in order to make him a conqueror.
Kang shares his plans with him, but the teen gets scared, steals some very powerful armor to protect himself, and takes shelter with the Avengers, except they are disbanded (see the comics Avengers: The Divorce† Ant-Man and Hawkeye are dead (well) and the few remaining heroes decide to disband the hero group. The teenager, who we will call Iron Lad, then finds a new team, the Young Avengers and together they manage to defeat Kang.
But Kang is not dead and recruits terrible allies across the multiverse to defeat the superheroes of Earth 616. It is unknown if the arc Kevin Feige is preparing will go that far, but knowing that it is currently vegetable to prepare for the next ten years of the MCU, it is possible.
It would also explain the fact that Phase 4, of which we’ve already seen half of the planned movies, doesn’t have a major villain and an emerging threat so far. Marvel is preparing the ground, introducing new characters and getting things ready for a Phase 5, which should kill a lot of “oldies” and provide the epic aspect that fans have been waiting for a few movies.
In the meantime, learn more about the multiverse by heading to Doctor Strange 2, in theaters now: