marvel-cinematic-universe-next-phase
Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and Brie Larson as Carol Danvers star in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Alamy (3)
April 27, 2022 4:51 PM EDT

Marvel is still breaking records at the box office: last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home had the second-highest grossing opening weekend ever, despite debuting during the Omicron surge in December 2021.

But it’s getting hard to keep up with everything that’s going on—and I’m not just talking about keeping track of multiple Spider-Men. Now, to understand the plot nuances in each film, you have to catch up on all the TV shows. The details of the Disney+ series WandaVision will inform the plot of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The events of the series Loki are setting the stage for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. And it’s only getting bigger. Kevin Feige told a crowd at CinemaCon on Wednesday that the folks at Marvel Studios were convening for a creative retreat where they will lay out the next decade of Marvel movies.

Here are all the movies and TV shows set to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the next several years.

Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight
Gabor Kotschy—Marvel Studios

When to Watch

March 30, 2022 on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Moon Knight is already well underway. Oscar Isaac plays Marc Spector, a character with dissociative identity disorder. One of his personalities works at a gift shop at a British museum. But another is ex-military. Spector also wields the power of the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu, and can turn into a superhero (sort of) at will. Marc squares off against a cult-like figure played by Ethan Hawke who decides whether his acolytes live or die based on the movements of the scales of justice that he has tattooed on his arm.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

So far, no other superheroes have popped up in Moon Knight. It seems, for now at least, to be its own contained story.

Read More: Moon Knight Is Very Weird. That’s a Good Thing

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Benedict Cumberbatch in the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer
Marvel Studios

When to Watch

May 6, 2022 in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Sam Raimi, the director of the original, iconic Spider-Man trilogy, is returning to superhero fare with the Doctor Strange sequel. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) struggles with the fracturing of the multiverse and the chaos that comes with it. He’s aided by Wong (Benedict Wong), the head of the Sanctum Sanctorum, and Xochitl Gomez (from The Baby-Sitters Club), who makes her MCU debut as the superhero America Chavez, the first openly queer Latinx character to headline her own comic book series. Chiwetel Ejiofor returns as Mordo. Last we saw Mordo, he had decided there were too many magic-wielders in the world and is on a mission to cull that group. But the real Big Bad seems to be Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). More on her below.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Wanda Maximoff, who in the show WandaVision leveled up her powers and took on the persona of Scarlet Witch, will play a major role in this film. As she tells Doctor Strange in the trailer, when he breaks the rules, the world calls him a hero. But when she does, she’s cast as the villain: “That doesn’t seem fair.” Wanda will presumably be on a mission to find her twin sons, whom she created with her magic in WandaVision but disappeared at the end of the show.

The trailers also revealed that Patrick Stewart will be reprising his roles as Professor X from the X-Men movies. He sits on a council called the Illuminati that presumably draws its numbers from many different dimensions. Most likely, this is how Disney will introduce the X-Men (characters they newly acquired when they merged with 20th Century Fox) to the MCU. Rumors are swirling that John Krasinski will play another Illuminati member, Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic Four. And some keen-eyed fans have spotted the shield of Captain Carter (an alternate universe version of Captain America’s love interest Peggy Carter who takes the super-soldier serum). It’s possible Hayley Atwell, who played Peggy Carter in the first Captain America movie and her own television series on ABC, will pop up in the movie as well.

This is a multiverse story, so we can expect lots of variants of these main characters and even some cameos. We already know from the trailers we’ll meet an inter-dimensional space octopus that played an important role in the Disney+ animated TV series What If…?; a zombie version of Wanda (also from What If…?); and an evil version of Doctor Strange.

Read More: All of Your WandaVision Questions, Answered

Ms. Marvel

(L-R) Iman Vellani and Matt Lintz in Ms. Marvel
Daniel McFadden—Marvel Studios

When to Watch

June 8, 2022 on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Ms. Marvel was Marvel’s first comic with a Muslim lead. Kamala Khan, a New Jersey teenager, worships Captain Marvel and discovers her ability to shape shift, grow, and stretch while in high school. Necomer Iman Vellani will play Kamala.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Marvel has not yet confirmed this, but Ms. Marvel could feature a cameo from either Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) or Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris from WandaVision), since the three of them will star together in the upcoming Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels.

Thor: Love and Thunder

Chris Hemworth in the Thor: Love and Thunder trailer
Marvel Studios

When to Watch

July 8, 2022 in Theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is back for another comedic take on the God of Thunder. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is on a journey of self-discovery after the events of Avengers: Endgame. He and his alien buddy Korg (Waititi) traverse the cosmos, while Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) acts as King of New Asgard back on earth. At some point, Christian Bale will show up as Gorr the God Butcher, who wants to, well, butcher gods like Thor and the Greek God Zeus (played by Russell Crowe).

Thor will have to surround himself with some long-lost allies, including Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and—here’s the big trailer reveal moment—Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) wielding Thor’s hammer.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Last we saw Thor at the end of Endgame, he was boarding a ship with the Guardians of the Galaxy as Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) set out in search of Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Star-Lord, Nebula (Karen Gillan), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocker (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel) will show up at least for a bit in this movie.

Read More: How Director Taika Waititi Managed to Make Thor Funny

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER. L to R: Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Okoye (Danai Gurira).
Marvel Studios 2018

When to Watch

November 11, 2022 in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler—who helmed the first, historic Black Panther—has remain tight-lipped about Wakanda Forever. Marvel Studios has to re-write and re-conceive the sequel after the tragic passing of star Chadwick Boseman. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has been emphatic about the fact that the studio will not recast Boseman’s role of T’Challa and has said the movie will focus on the ensemble that supported Boseman in the original film. That group includes a power house of talent, including Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Winston Duke as M’Baku, Letitia Wright as Shuri, and Martin Freeman as Everett Ross. I May Destroy You’s Michael Coel is also joining the ensemble as a character Marvel has yet to reveal, and Tenoch Huerta has been cast as the antagonist Namor the Sub-Mariner, an Aquaman-like figure in the Marvel comics.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Dominique Thorne (Judas and the Black Messiah) will debut the role of Riri Williams before she stars in her own Disney+ series Iron Heart, about a young woman who builds her own Iron Man suit.

Read More: In a Year Marked by Division, Ryan Coogler Proved Black Panther Could Bring People Together

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

From left: Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.
©Marvel Studios

When to Watch

December 2022 on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

James Gunn finally returns to the Guardians franchise with this holiday special, which is set to shoot during the production of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3. The Disney+ feature is designed to fill the storytelling gap between 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the long-awaited third installment in the franchise.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Besides the Guardians themselves, it’s unclear if any other MCU characters will appear.

She-Hulk

Taiana Maslany in the trailer for She-Hulk
Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA 2022 on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany plays Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who gets a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner (a.k.a. the Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo) and becomes She-Hulk. Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry and The Good Place’s Jameela Jamil have also been cast in the show.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Ruffalo will appear in the series as Banner. Tim Roth is also set to return as Abomination, the villain from the Hulk franchise that starred Edward Norton and pre-dates Ruffalo being cast in the role as Banner. Abomination briefly showed up in Shang-Chi. It’s unclear if the show will address the re-casting of Bruce Banner with some parallel universe logic or just pretend that Norton and Ruffalo are the same person.

What If…?, Season 2

Peggy Carter in What If...?
Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA 2022 on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

What If…?’s first season consisted of a series of stories from parallel universes. A couple of those stories will carry over to season two, including the saga of Captain Carter, a version of Peggy Carter (voiced by Hayley Atwell) who took the supersolider serum. Another involves a team-up plot between an alternate-universe Gamora (voiced by Cynthia McWilliams) and Tony Stark (voiced by Mick Wingert).

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

It could truly be anyone. The show loves to mix and match different storylines and characters.

Secret Invasion

Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders in Spider-Man: Far From Home
Jay Maidment—Sony Pictures

When to Watch

TBA 2022 on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) first met Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), the leader of a shapeshifting alien species called the Skrulls, in the 90s-set Captain Marvel movie. In modern day, the Skrulls have infiltrated earth and replaced many beloved superheroes. (You may remember Talos masquerading as Nick Fury with Fury’s permission in Spider-Man: Far From Home.) The show boasts an impressive cast that includes Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Olivia Colman (The Crown), and Kingsley Ben-Adir (High Fidelity).

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Feige has teased that Secret Invasion will be a major crossover series, so expect to see many of your favorite superheroes in this show.

The Marvels

Brie Larson in 'Captain Marvel,' 2019.
Chuck Zlotnick—Marvel Studios

When to Watch

February 17, 2023 in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Candyman director Nia DaCosta will team up with Brie Larson for this Captain Marvel sequel. As the title suggests, the film will focus not just on Captain Marvel but her growing family of super-people, including Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau. Fans of the first Captain Marvel movie will remember that Carol Danvers (a.k.a. Captain Marvel) was BFFs with her fellow fighter pilot Maria Rambeau, and an aunt-like figure to Maria’s young daughter Monica. In WandaVision, we find out that Maria has died. The now-grown-up Monica gains powers by entering a forcefield created by Scarlet Witch.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Last we saw Monica Rambeau, she had received an invitation by the Skrulls to go to space. Most likely, she will meet up with Nick Fury, who has allied with the Skrulls to try to stop alien threats to earth, and reunite with her ageless Aunt Carol.

Read More: This Is Not Another Story About Captain Marvel’s Gender

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Walt Disney Co.

When to Watch

May 5, 2023 in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Last we saw the Guardians, they were off to search for team member Gamora, who fled earth after she helped defeat her adopted father Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. The end credits scenes for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 also hinted at the creation of Adam Warlock, who will be played by Midsommar’s Will Poulter. Perhaps Adam will stand in the way of the Guardians’ reunion with Gamora.

Which Characters Will Appear

Thor presumably has some small role to play in this saga, given that he traveled with the Guardians at the end of Endgame.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Walt Disney Co.

When to Watch

July 28 2023 in Theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) just cannot tear themselves away from the Quantum Realm. First, they went sub-atomic to travel into the realm as rescue The Wasp’s mother, played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Then, Ant-Man got trapped in the realm for years, and yet returned again as part of the Avengers’ time travel shenanigans in Endgame. One might think after getting stuck down there so many times and losing so many years, this family may have had enough of the Quantum Realm, but you would be wrong.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Plot details are scarce but Marvel has confirmed that Jonathan Majors, who made his Marvel debut in the TV show Loki, will play the villain in Quantumania. In Loki, Majors played a character named He Who Remains who ensured that there was a single, stable timeline. He’s killed at the end of the show, sending the multiverse into chaos and creating branching timelines from the single “main” timeline. He Who Remains has many different variants, some more evil than others. The one who is set to be introduced in Quantumania is named Kang the Conquerer, a villain who wants to conquer all the branching timelines.

Read More: The MCU Has a Longstanding Villain Problem. Loki’s Introduction of Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror Might Just Solve It

X-Men ’97

Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA 2023 on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox meant that it got a hold of the rights to X-Men. So Marvel Studios is reviving the popular Saturday morning X-Men animated series that ran from 1992 to 1997 and that you may remember from childhood.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Unclear, though you can count on X-Men favorites like Wolverine and Storm.

Captain America 4

Anthony Mackie in Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Chuck Zlotnick—Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson officially took up Captain America’s shield in the Disney+ series Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Now he’s set to debut in his own movie. The cast has not yet been announced, but it’s likely we’ll see Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and disgraced former Captain America John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as possible foes, given their crucial roles in the television series.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

No word yet on which MCU characters could pop up, but Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and maybe even a small cameo from an aged-up Chris Evans as a retired Captain America would be good bets.

More: All Your Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Questions, Answered

Fantastic Four

Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

We know absolutely nothing about the plot. Presumably, the story will center on Reed Richards, Sue Storm, the Human Torch, and Ben Grimm as they battle their old friend-turned-nemesis Doctor Doom after all five characters are exposed to cosmic rays while on a mission in space. We do know that Jon Watts, who helmed the latest Spider-Man trilogy, is directing the film. We also know that Chris Evans and Michael B. Jordan both played the Human Torch in previous versions of this franchise before they were cast as Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger and Killmonger in Black Panther, respectively. So there’s an opportunity to have some parallel universe fun here if Watts is still interested in playing in that space.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Who knows!

Blade

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase Four is announced with cast members during the Marvel Studios Panel during 2019 Comic-Con International at San Diego Convention Center on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California
Kevin Winter—Getty Images

When to Watch

TBA in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

Mahershala Ali, who starred as a villain in Netflix’s Luke Cage before shooting to superstardom, reportedly lobbied Marvel Studios to resurrect the day-walking vampire, Blade, a favorite character first made immortal by Wesley Snipes. Stacy Osei-Kuffour, who worked on HBO’s Watchmen, is writing the screenplay.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Ali made a brief, voice-only cameo in the end-credits scene for The Eternals when Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman discovers his calling to become The Black Knight. Harington might pop up in the Blade movie, especially if Marvel Studios is beginning to explore the dark and mystical underbelly of its cinematic universe.

Deadpool 3

20th Century Fox

When to Watch

TBA in theaters

What We Know About the Plot

When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, the fate of Deapool was unclear. The R-rated superhero doesn’t exactly fit in with the squeaky clean, kid-friendly image of the House of Mouse. But the Deadpool movies are the most financially successful X-Men films ever made, and Disney has wisely decided to preserve the successful superhero franchise. Knowing the fourth-wall-breaking Deadpool, you can expect plenty of jokes at Disney’s expense in his new movie. And, yes, the film will be rated R. Shawn Levy, who collaborated with Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds on Free Guy and The Adam Project, is set to direct the movie.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

My guess is Disney will be eager to prove its in on the joke and lend Reynolds whatever actors he wants to make a few cracks about the MCU

Loki, Season 2

Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson in Loki
Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

The first season of Loki introduced the concept of “variants,” different versions of a single character that live in parallel universes. Loki met a child version of himself, an alligator version of himself, and a female version of himself, among many other variants. He fell for the female version of himself, who goes by Sylvie—which is a very egotistical, Loki thing to do. By the end of the show, Loki and Sylvie discover a man called He Who Remains. This man maintains one universal timeline, called “The Sacred Timeline,” to prevent multiversal chaos. But to maintain order, he kills off some variants who deviate from the “sacred” path. Sylvie kills He Who Remains, and in doing so releases the variants of He Who Remains, one of whom is a very smart, very evil variant called Kang the Conquerer. Loki wakes up in a universe where Kang the Conquerer rules over everyone. Kang is set to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, so presumably Loki, Season 2 will tie into that movie in some way.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Besides Kang, it’s unclear. But now that the multiverse has split, anything is possible. Loki could be reunited with Thor or even his murdered mother again.

Read More: Here’s What the Loki Finale Means for Future Marvel Movies

Spider-Man: Freshman Year

Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Even though Tom Holland is still reportedly mulling over whether to return as Spider-Man—and it’s not even clear if he does whether he’ll operate in Sony’s cinematic universe or Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe or both—this new animated series is reportedly MCU canon. That means that it will likely give Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man the bit-by-a-radioactive-spider origin story that we never got to see on the big screen.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Expect animated versions of Ned, MJ, and Peter Parker’s other friends.

I Am Groot

YouTube

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

The show will feature a series of original stories about the trisyllabic tree voiced by Vin Diesel in the movies. It’s not even confirmed that Diesel will voice the character on the show. We do know he probably won’t say anything besides, “I am Groot,” because, well, that’s Groot’s whole deal.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Perhaps the other Guardians of the Galaxy, but unclear.

Agatha: House of Harkness

Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness in Wandavision
Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Kathryn Hahn, who played the villainous witch Agatha in WandaVision, is getting her own spinoff series. WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer is penning the show and says that it will be a dark comedy. Last we saw Agatha, Wanda had defeated her and trapped her in her own sitcom personality of the nosy neighbor Agnes. Presumably, Agatha will have to get out of that bind.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

It would certainly make sense for Wanda to return to tap Agatha for more witch-y knowledge and resources, especially if things take a turn for the worse in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But nothing is confirmed.

Armor Wars

War Machine/James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) in Captain America: Civil War
Film Frame/Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

In the comics, Tony Stark’s Iron Man technology falls into the wrong hands, and Tony has to clean up the mess. Given that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) died in Avengers: Endgame, it will instead be up to Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes, who still wears the War Machine armor, to stop the bad guys.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

It’s not clear, though one obvious tie-in would be Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) from Ironheart, who in the comics also develops her own Iron Man tech.

Echo

Alaqua Cox in Hawkeye
Chuck Zlotnick—Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Alaqua Cox played the deaf Native American superhero Echo in Hawkeye and is now getting her own series. In Hawkeye, Echo worked for and then broke away from the gangster named Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio). By the end of the series, it’s unclear what her plans will be.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Marvel has not yet confirmed anything, but Echo has a vendetta to settle with Kingpin, who helped orchestrate her father’s death, so that villain could certainly show up in the series. Also, given that Kingpin was the major antagonist in the Netflix Daredevil series starring Charlie Cox, and Cox recently made an appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, it’s likely that Daredevil will appear in this show as well.

Read More: From Hawkeye to Spider-Man: Far From Home, the MCU Is Blurring the Line Between Hero and Villain

Ironheart

Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Dominique Thorne will play Riri Williams, an engineering prodigy who develops an Iron Man-esque supersuit. We don’t know anything else about the specifics of the show.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Riri is set to appear in Wakanda Forever, so it’s possible some Wakandan characters may show up in Ironheart. For instance, Riri and Shuri may bond over their love for tech. It would also make sense for War Machine to make a cameo in Ironheart, given the similarities between their suits.

Wakanda Series

A view of Wakanda, in the movie 'Black Panther'.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Everett Collection

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Ryan Coogler is developing a series based on the Kingdom of Wakanda, the home of Black Panther. Wakanda is a fictional African country unfettered by the ills of colonialism that boasts advanced technology and weapons fueled by the rare substance vibranium.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

It would be safe to assume Black Panther characters will pop up in this show.

Marvel Zombies

Marvel Studios

When to Watch

TBA on Disney+

What We Know About the Plot

Last year, Marvel Studios debuted an episode of What If…?, based on a comic called Marvel Zombies that asked what would happen if an apocalypse turned our beloved superheroes into flesh-eating zombies. Now, Disney+ is spinning the concept off into a whole animated series about undead superheroes and villains.

Which MCU Characters Are Set to Appear

Any character you could turn into a Zombie—so basically anyone but Vision, I guess.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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