After the start of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the premiere of several series and movies, many fans wonder what big event it is headed for? (spoilers beware)
At the end of WandaVision 2021, the first Marvel Studios production to officially kick off Phase Four of the MCU, we see Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) quietly sipping tea by a lakeside cabin, recovering from the traumatic events of the series finale. However, as the camera pans deeper into the cabin, we see that Wanda is astral projecting as the Scarlet Witch so she can study the Darkhold, a book of corrupting dark magic. Suddenly, she hears the voices of her two lost children and the screen goes black. When the episode aired in March 2021, we wondered how that could happen and what Wanda would do next.
Fourteen months later, those questions have been resolved in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, she actually heard variants of her children somewhere within the multiverse, that drives her crazy and she searches for a way to get back with them, even if it means ending her variant from that universe and taking her place.
This kind of extended and, to some, controversial character evolution has been the promise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inception. It has given audiences the emotional rewards of long-form storytelling that was previously restricted to television, and Disney the financial rewards of a franchise capable of turning out two to three blockbuster movies a year, grossing more than $22 billion in revenue. gross receipts at the worldwide box office.
But while Marvel has dramatically ramped up its output for Phase Four, releasing 11 series and movies in just under 18 months, that sense of a more cohesive narrative woven through each title is gone. Instead of the incremental escalation of the infinity saga, we still don’t know where Phase 4 is headed.
To be sure, the multiverse has played a pivotal role in several Phase Four titles, beginning with the Disney+ series, Loki, which concluded with a single timeline that fractures into an infinite number of alternate realities. That was immediately incorporated into the Disney+ animated series. What would happen if…? as well as setting the stage for multiversal mayhem in the movies Spider-Man: No Way Home Y Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness.
So far, that has been it. And even putting aside that Doctor Strange was already learning about the multiverse five years before the release of Lokiand Mystery’s first mention of the multiverse in spider-man: far from home (although we later found out that he didn’t actually come from any other universe), the multiverse hasn’t played a role in any of the other Phase Four titles.
Instead, the MCU has opened up to 10 separate narrative threads with seemingly no clear relationship to one another, only two of which have so far been perpetuated through other titles. The first: Wanda’s aforementioned trip between Wanda Vision and Doctor Strange 2. The second: Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) receives orders at the end of Black Widow to kill Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), a thread that continues in the series Hawk Eye, when we see her abandoning her mission as Yelena and Clint share their grief over Natasha’s death.
Where do the other releases of Phase 4 lead us?
Falcon and the winter soldier it ends with several villains—Wyatt Russell’s John Walker, Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Valentina Allegra de Fontaine—still alive and loosely ensconced in the US government. Valentina is the one who gives Yelena the order to kill Clint in Black Widow, but we still don’t know who he works for or what he intends to achieve. The only thing we can get clear is the announcement of captain america 4and that these characters were part of the plot, where it will take us, is a mystery.
One mystery is the fate of Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo, after seeing him leave with the dora milaje (perhaps he will return in Black Panther Forever).
Loki ends with the death of the one that remains by Jonathan Majors, causing the sacred timeline to branch off and present himself off-screen, Kang the Conqueror, a Thanos-sized figure with ambitions to rule as much of the multiverse as he can. But we won’t know until Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumaniawhich is currently set to premiere in February 2023.
Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings ends with Wong (Benedict Wong) telling Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) that those strange rings have emitted a signal in the cosmos in the form of a beacon, and it is unknown what threat could reach earth, perhaps it developed from here the saga arc Annihilation from Marvel.
The Eternals it ends with a Celestial turned to stone in the Indian Ocean, causing another Celestial, Arishem (David Kaye), to appear and announce that he has put the entire planet earth on trial. However no one on earth is aware of this. And another important question, are any of the Avengers curious about the huge stone figure that suddenly appeared in the sea? Because there has been no reference in later releases to the appearance of Arishem’s Celestial, or to the figure emerging from the ocean. We also don’t know how this story will influence other UCM releases.
Hawk Eye ends with the reappearance of Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), the main villain of the Netflix Marvel series Daredevil. Fisk has a long history with Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), who will have her own series on Disney +, Threw out, but we still don’t know if Fisk will appear in the series (he was apparently killed by Maya), let alone Daredevil (Charlie Cox), who reappeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Will any of that interrelate with other Marvel Studios titles?
Spider-Man: No Way Home it ends with Strange erasing all of Tom Holland’s memories of Peter Parker from the multiverse, but not Spider-Man’s memories, as Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) shows up inside the MCU long enough to leave behind remnants of the alien Venom symbiote. So it is possible that we will see Tom Holland’s Spider-man in the black suit in a fourth installment.
moon knightthe most recent Disney+ series, ends with no clear link to the MCU beyond a reference to Madripoor, the city of thieves featured in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, or the NGO that deals with relocating those who returned from the snap in the form of an easter egg. It also doesn’t make it very clear where the series will go in a possible second season with Harrow’s death at the hands of Marc Spector’s third personality, Jake Lockley.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness it ends with Clea, a character we’ve never met before, played by Charlize Theron, appearing to Strange on a New York City street, opening a portal to the Dark Dimension and convincing him to join her and try to make amends for the consequences. have caused their incursion into the multiverse, is it the start of the Secret Wars?
And then there are the rest of the MCU titles that are announced and haven’t been released yet, like Ms Marvel Y Thor: Love and Thunder arriving in June and July, which could introduce even more new plot lines in Phase Four. Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) will appear in the marvels in July 2023, while the Guardians of the Galaxy play a role in Thor: Love and Thunder.
The construction of the saga of infinity clearer
If we compare all this with the way the MCU organized the infinity saga: in the sixth movie, The Avengers 2012, we met Thanos. in the tenth, Guardians of the Galaxy In 2014, we first heard the words Infinity Stones and fully understood that Thanos was hell-bent on getting all six gems at all costs.
Every subsequent MCU movie moved toward that larger story in small or major ways, as we realized that at least some of the Infinity Stones had been hiding in plain sight as of Captain America the First Avenger 2011. Each Phase culminated in an Avengers movie, and each MCU movie, while having its own more or less independent story, maintained a narrative purpose of a larger story. Thanos wants those gems, which would be terribly bad – our heroes will have to stop him.
Where does Phase 4 lead us?
After eleven titles in Phase Four, there are several potential great villains: Kang, Valentina, Arishem, and even the overlord of the Dark Dimension, Dormammu, lurking on the fringes. But Marvel Studios has yet to reveal if there is a connection to tie all of these threads together.
That could be a feature, not a bug. With the explosion of MCU content on Disney+, there may simply be too many titles to tie together into one consolidated story, so Marvel isn’t going to try. The introduction of the multiverse even underscores that problem: If there are an infinite number of Wandas and Stranges and Peter Parkers living out their own stories, how could audiences, or storytellers, possibly keep track of all of them?
So far, this issue hasn’t hurt Marvel’s bottom line. To date, his feature films have been virtually the only reliable box office draw during the pandemic, grossing more than $3.6 billion worldwide; and all of its Disney+ series have been a hit. However, at least part of that success is due to the goodwill of a mass of fans consolidated after more than a decade of releases, and with the expectation that investing time and money in each MCU title will be worth it with a mega movie style The Avengers.
Marvel Studios, however, has yet to announce a movie. The Avengers. The only person who knows for sure if or when that will happen is Marvel Creative Director Kevin Feige. But if past precedent is any indication, it could be May 3, 2024 at the earliest, with an announcement that could come during San Diego Comic-Con in July or the D23 Expo in September.
The young avengers a common link in almost all the productions released so far
However, there is a common thread in almost all the released productions of Phase 4: The Young Avengers. Since they have performed for the last year and a half, including America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) in Doctor StrangeKate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in Hawk EyeKid Loki (Jack Veal) in Loki, Eli Bradley (Elijah Richardson) in Falcon and the winter soldierBilly Maximoff (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy Maximoff (Jett Klyne) in WandaVisionand, next year, Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton) in Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Together, these characters make up the Young Avengers in the comics. And one of his enemies (and, oddly enough, members) is Kang the Conqueror.
However, even if it is that possibility, where is Phase Four headed? He still doesn’t explain what’s going on with Arishem’s trial, Valentina’s plans, Shang-Chi’s rings, Venom’s goo, or Clea’s Dark Dimension.