Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the MCU Phase 4, including Spider-Man: No Way Home
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 in full swing, 2021 has been an exciting year for the franchise, with plenty of exciting reveals for future Marvel movies and TV shows as well. The first three phases of the MCU, now dubbed The Infinity Saga, completed an epic eleven-year-long story arc with the widely-successful Avengers: Endgame. 2021 has seen the MCU begin its fourth phase with films and Disney+ television shows proving that the franchise is as strong as ever, even with Endgame signaling the end of an era. With four films and five TV shows released, the MCU has, unsurprisingly, teased numerous upcoming storylines for their future properties on the big and small screen.
The MCU began its new line of television shows on the Disney+ streaming service in January of 2021 with WandaVision. WandaVision, along with the rest of 2021’s MCU Disney+ shows, dealt directly with the fallout of the Infinity Saga, showing how characters like Clint Barton, Sam Wilson, and the Loki of Endgame’s alternate 2012 continued their stories after the death of Thanos and the Avengers’ successful Time Heist. As with all MCU properties, the Disney+ shows are connected to their phase’s films, providing connective tissue and Easter eggs between the two mediums. Loki and Marvel’s What If…? also gave viewers an early introduction to the nebulous multiverse, which is quickly growing in prominence in Phase 4.
The MCU’s Phase 4 films started with the long-awaited Black Widow, finally giving Natasha Romanoff her overdue solo film. Unlike the Disney+ television shows, Phase 4’s movies looked forward rather than focusing on the end of the Infinity Saga, introducing new heroes like Shang-Chi and the Eternals. The MCU ended 2021 on the best possible note with Spider-Man: No Way Home, an epic culmination of all previous Spider-Man films, regardless of continuity. Viewers were treated to three beloved iterations of Spider-Man working together as the MCU finally brought the multiverse to cinemas. Like the television shows, however, 2021’s Marvel movies also promised great stories to come.
Captain America 4 Is Coming
Endgame definitively concluded the story of Steve Rogers, having him step down from the revered title of Captain America and live out the rest of his days with Peggy Carter. Rogers entrusted his shield and title to Sam Wilson, who gradually grows into the legendary role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The series ends with Wilson fully accepting the shield and mantle in his own eyes and the eyes of the world, and the promise that the new Captain America will return for more adventures. While the fourth Captain America film has not yet been officially announced and thus lacks an official release date, the film is in development and Anthony Mackie is set to reprise his role as Sam Wilson, continuing the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Netflix’s Daredevil Is Canon In The MCU
The MCU’s first foray into television included several shows on ABC and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Among the most popular of these was Daredevil, which told the story of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and his nemesis, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). While the shows were initially created to be canonical parts of the MCU, viewers began to doubt this when Marvel’s Disney+ shows began contradicting their continuity in big and small ways. With recent appearances by D’Onofrio’s Kingpin and Cox’s Matt Murdock in recent MCU films and Disney+ shows, however, it would appear that at least one MCU television show from their Netflix lineup has been brought back into the MCU canon.
Hawkeye gradually built towards the surprise reveal that D’Onofrio would be reprising his role as Fisk. Given that Hawkeye introduced a comic-accurate Maya Lopez to the MCU, bringing in Fisk in some form was essential. Canonical or not, the Netflix Daredevil series is beloved by viewers and critics alike, so it was a wise move to bring back that specific version of the Kingpin. D’Onofrio stated in an interview that the Kingpin he played in Hawkeye was intended to be the same Kingpin as the Netflix series (as opposed to a variant played by the same actor, like J. Jonah Jameson), confirming that Daredevil was fully canon. Charlie Cox’s brief but crowd-pleasing scene in No Way Home doesn’t reference any specific moment from Netflix’s Daredevil, but Murdock being the lawyer who represents Peter Parker ties into his role in the show’s second season (in which he represented another vigilante, Frank Castle).
Rintrah Is In Doctor Strange 2
In addition to featuring Sam Raimi’s triumphant return to directing superhero films, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will continue the plots of WandaVision, Loki, and No Way Home, using the concept of the multiverse once more. The film also looks to continue delving into Strange’s corner of the MCU, bringing back Karl Mordo and introducing the MCU versions of classic comic characters like the Minotaur-like being, Rintrah. Rintrah appears very briefly in the first Doctor Strange 2 teaser, and he may be one of Stephen Strange’s many allies in the film’s multiverse-spanning conflict. Rintrah is an aspiring Master of the Mystic Arts in the comics, and the upcoming film may also show his unique ability to shapeshift, allowing him to blend in among humans.
Blade & Black Knight Are Teaming Up
Dane Whitman, also known as the Black Knight, is introduced to the MCU in Eternals, played by Kit Harington. Whitman has a fairly small role in the film, but the ending sets him up as his eventual armored alter ego, with a post-credits scene showing him preparing to wield the Ebony Blade. In a voice-only cameo, Blade, played by Mahershala Ali, makes his MCU debut, asking Whitman if he’s ready to use the sword. The original cinematic incarnation of Blade, portrayed by Wesley Snipes, was the star of three films in the 90s and early 2000s. The Blade trilogy was one of the first successful Marvel superhero films, helping set the stage for the eventual MCU. Mahershala Ali previously played Cornell Stokes in the ambiguously-canon Netflix series Luke Cage, and his brief appearance suggests that Harington’s Black Knight will be his ally in the upcoming MCU Blade solo movie.
Someone Is Making A Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers Team
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has appeared in the MCU twice so far, playing Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, or “Val” for short. In each of her appearances, Val has recruited highly skilled or superpowered beings for nefarious purposes. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Val helped John Walker transition from disgraced former Captain America to her new ally, U.S. Agent. At the end of Black Widow, she hired Yelena Belova to kill Clint Barton, a task that Barton talks her out of in Hawkeye. These appearances make Val something of an evil version of Nick Fury, and strongly suggest that they’re building towards an adaptation of the Thunderbolts or the Dark Avengers.
Both teams are associated with (or created by) Norman Osborn, one of the two most dangerous supervillains in Marvel Comics. With the best possible version of Osborn (Willem Dafoe’s Raimi universe iteration) having come and gone in No Way Home, however, perhaps a new villain is pulling the strings from behind the scenes. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe progresses into 2022, the coming movie and TV releases will no doubt culminate in exciting new Marvel stories on the big and small screen.
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
Harry Potter: The Real Reason Why Dumbledore Made Ron A Prefect
About The Author