From the very beginning, Marvel Studios has divided its sprawling cinematic universe into phases, which largely concluded with an Avengers ensemble movie (then a smaller, quieter follow-up film). The first three phases of the MCU ended up completing what Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige refers to as The Infinity Saga, where the heroes banded together to stop Thanos (Josh Brolin). And now we have shifted into Phase Four. But what does that mean?
Kevin Feige doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the concept of Phases in the MCU. Ask him about them directly, and he’ll deflect by claiming that Marvel Studios doesn’t separate their films that way, and it’s more a device used by film journalists. But during a recent interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Feige did share some of his own personal insights into how he perceives the movies and TV shows that make up Phase Four, explaining:
The definition of phases often evolved with the phase. Often, I leave up to writers and journalists to decide. That’s for the film historians to tell us what the phases were about. Truthfully, Phase Four was always about continuing in new ways and new beginnings. Even with films that seemingly are concluding storylines, there are new beginnings within them. That’s what was most exciting to us about the opportunity to make shows for Disney+, about all of us at Marvel Studios choosing to continue past Endgame and past Far From Home, and leaving The Infinity Saga behind to a new beginning. That, I think, is what people will be looking at Phase Four, I hope, as having accomplished.
You can already see it starting. Marvel’s fourth phase kicked off with the TV series WandaVision, which brought witchcraft and spells into the MCU through the introduction of Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn). U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell) and an army of Lokis have also made their way to the MCU, while Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) about to be folded into the grand picture.
And then there’s the first Phase Four movie, Black Widow, which served as a proper sendoff for Scarlett Johansson but also a thrilling introduction for Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), a character we expect to see a lot more of. The Black Widow movie also brought Julia Louis-Dreyfus back and further pushed her down the path to possibly forming The Thunderbolts, a super team from the Marvel Comics that once featured Yelena, U.S. Agent, Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and more. Is this team in the cards for the MCU? That would fit in with what Feige is saying about “new beginnings.”
Currently, just with the films, Phase Four would feature 11 movies that will expand on the MCU. But there are eight other television series for Disney+ that can be considered part of Phase Four, from Moon Knight to Armor Wars. Without question, the MCU is growing exponentially, so make sure you have our guide to Upcoming Marvel Movies handy, because we are updating it often.