While the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to dominate the worldwide box office, there are plenty of other Marvel movies on the horizon – from Sony Pictures and Disney’s acquired subsidiary 20th Century Fox – that have release dates set in between future MCU films. In 2019 alone, audiences saw five Marvel movies released. Things understandably stalled in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite that, the box office looks set to bounce back, with a fair share of spinoffs, reboots, and even more sequels scheduled for the coming years.
The superhero genre has never been stronger in Hollywood. As well as equating to positive critical reception, it has amassed massive box office returns. Avengers: Endgame was the latest testament to that — accumulating an absolutely staggering $1.2 billion opening weekend. On the other hand, there have been several calls regarding superhero fatigue. Anyone suffering from such things, however, should seriously consider bracing themselves. Even without accounting for the MCU expanding the franchise into canonical Marvel TV shows, the amount of content on offer cinematically looks set to only grow exponentially.
Studios have become substantially more confident in the genre following the massive success of franchises like The Avengers and X-Men. As a result, we’re now in the midst of seeing studios take bigger (and necessary) risks. They’re adapting standalone properties, offering lead roles to women and people of color. They’re confidently choosing directors with distinct trademark styles. And, all the while, they’re also offering them more creative control (see: Thor: Ragnarok). The cinematic superhero genre is constantly evolving, and this upcoming slate is just a taste of things to come.
After multiple delays, a solo Black Widow movie will finally hit theaters in early July. Cate Shortland took the reigns as director, thus becoming Marvel Studios’ first solo female director (after Anna Boden co-directed Captain Marvel). Fans have been clamoring for a standalone movie for Black Widow with Scarlett Johansson since Natasha Romanoff first turned up in Iron Man 2. After ten years, it’ll finally happen, albeit after Natasha’s death in Avengers: Endgame. The Black Widow solo movie is set following the events of Captain America: Civil War, and sees the former KGB assassin confronted by the ghosts of her past and the mysterious Taskmaster. David Harbour joins the MCU as Red Guardian, while Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz play Yelena Belova and Melina Vostokoff, respectively.
Promising to bring hardcore martial arts action into the MCU, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a priority for Marvel in Phase 4. The movie is based on comics about the son of Fu Manchu, who has his eyes opened to his father’s wickedness and decides to become a superhero instead, fighting for those who need him instead of the father who would command him. Shang-Chi will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and hit theaters in Fall 2021. Simu Liu stars as the MCU’s first Asian superhero. Meanwhile, Tony Leung has been cast as The Mandarin (the real one, not his Trevor Slattery imitation), replacing the problematic Fu Manchu as Shang-Chi’s mystically-empowered father. The first trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has already been released, teasing the rest of the cast including Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Florian Munteanu, and Meng’er Zhang.
Though many doubted it, and reviewers panned it, the Tom Hardy-led Venom proved to be an unstoppable juggernaut, grossing $855 million at the worldwide box office and more than securing a sequel. Venom: Let There Be Carnage will see writer Kelly Marcel returning to pen the script. With director Ruben Fleischer too busy with Zombieland 2 to come back for the sequel, duties passed to mo-cap legend Andy Serkis. The Venom sequel is headed to theaters in Fall 2021, and will see the proper introduction of popular villain Cletus Kassady a.k.a. Carnage (Woody Harrelson). Stephen Graham and Naomie Harris also feature as Patrick Mulligan and Frances Barrison a.k.a. Shriek, respectively. They join returning cast Michelle Williams as Anne Weying, Reid Scott as Dan Lewis, and Peggy Lu as Mrs. Chen.
In late 2021, Marvel Studios introduces Eternals to the MCU, in a film that sees Nomadland‘s Chloe Zhao in the director’s chair. Written by Zhao and Patrick Burleigh, Eternals’ story will cover over 7,000 years of time while chronicling the lives of the titular immortal alien race. It’ll also presumably become the launchpad for a more cosmic MCU in Phase 4 and beyond. Gemma Chan leads the cast as Sersi. She’ll be joined by Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, a newly buff Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Salma Hayek as Ajak. The film will also feature Kit Harington as Dane Whitman (a.k.a. Black Knight) and Barry Keoghan as the villainous Eternal named Druig.
Officially titled Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third MCU solo Spidey film in will release in late 2021. Director Jon Watts and writing duo Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers are returning on the creative end, while Tom Holland reprises the title role. Picking up where Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s wild post-credits left off, the film was already expected to be an intense affair — with Peter and others potentially on the run. As if that wasn’t enough, the installment will tie into the multiversal drama running throughout Phase 4, with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) serving as Peter’s latest mentor. Alfred Molina’s version of Doc Ock and Jamie Foxx’s iteration of Electro are also already confirmed to be returning. Alongside them, it’s heavily rumored that Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, both Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Men, and several more will make appearances.
Another property most casual viewers may not have realized belonged to Marvel Comics is the Kingsman franchise. Originally created by Mark Millar, it was released as part of the Icon Comics imprint. The King’s Man is a period prequel set within that same world, and once again directed by Matthew Vaughn. Ralph Fiennes stars as the Duke of Oxford, while Harris Dickinson plays his protégé, Conrad. Their early version of The Secret Service must stop Rasputin and his evil alliance from causing a war that kills millions. The King’s Man was originally scheduled to be released in 2019, but was later delayed to February 2020, and then September 2020, before settling on December 2021.
After reprising his role as The Joker in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Jared Leto is returning to the world of comic books in a role that should offer him a bit more screen time. Sony’s Morbius, the Living Vampire movie has finished filming and, after several delays, will drop at the start of the new year. Leto plays Michael Morbius, a doctor who tries to cure himself of a rare blood disease but instead imbues himself with vampire-like traits, including a lust for human blood. Morbius is directed by Daniel Espinosa and will also star Doctor Who alum Matt Smith as the villainous Loxias Crown. The rest of the cast is rounded out by Adria Arjona, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson, and Michael Keaton seemingly reprising Adrian Toomes (a.k.a. Vulture) from previous MCU outings.
Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War earned him widespread acclaim, which is partly why Marvel Studios finally moved forward with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With Sam Raimi signed on to direct from a script by Jade Bartlett and Loki‘s Michael Waldron, Doctor Strange’s second solo adventure won’t see him entirely alone. Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) will play a large role in the story, the bulk of which is still being kept under wraps. Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams will return, as Wong, Baron Mordo, and Christine Palmer, respectively. They’ll be joined by MCU newcomer Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez.
With Thor: Love and Thunder, the Asgardian warrior becomes the first MCU hero to get a fourth solo movie. Thor: Ragnarok‘s Taika Waititi returns to write (alongside Jennifer Kaytin Robinson) and direct the proceedings. Love and Thunder will mark the return of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster to the MCU. Jane will become a female version of Thor, while new Asgardian king Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) will be on the hunt for her queen. With several other familiar faces set to flit in and out of the story, Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) will serve as the central source of conflict.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther quickly became one of the biggest movies of all time, and while its international gross wasn’t on the same level as Avengers: Infinity War (which no one expected it would be), there’s no denying that it was an astounding success – critically and commercially – for Marvel Studios. So, it’s no wonder that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to happen, with Coogler back in the director’s chair. Despite the tragic passing of Chadwick Boseman, there are no plans to recast the role — with the film and planned spinoffs set to shine a light on other areas of Wakanda. As usual, story details are scarce this far out from its summer 2022 release. However, Namor the Sub-Mariner will reportedly join the MCU in the Black Panther sequel.
In addition to developing the story, it took several years to create the animation style that’s seen in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which released in December 2018 and quickly became one of the most beloved superhero movies ever released. Shortly before Into the Spider-Verse hit theaters, Sony Pictures confirmed plans to produce a sequel. While story details are scarce, Into the Spider-Verse set up two sequels that allow for Miles Morales’ story to branch off in multiple directions. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2 has officially webbed up a 2022 release date and will include the addition of Japanese Spider-Man.
While not a hit quite as big as a Black Panther or Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel’s first adventure was still a massive success. As such, it’s no surprise that Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers is set to return for a sequel towards the end of 2022. As usual for Marvel, almost nothing is known about Captain Marvel 2‘s plot this far out from release. It will, however, take place in the modern day. Equally, now officially retitled as The Marvels, the sequel will see Carol join forces with a now grown-up Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani). The latter will make her debut in the Ms. Marvel Disney+ series and together they will square off with Zawe Ashton’s mystery villain. Nia DaCosta has signed on to direct, with WandaVision‘s Megan McDonnell officially penning the script.
Following in the footsteps of Venom and Morbius, the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters will continue with Kraven the Hunter. The idea for the solo movie was first broached in 2018. By 2020, it had a script written by Richard Wenk, and then re-written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway. Soon after, J.C. Chandor entered talks to direct the film. Little was heard in the months that followed. Production took a huge leap forward in May 2021, however, when Aaron Taylor-Johnson landed Kraven’s titular role. Set for an early 2023 release, the move sparked endless questions about the film’s potential place in MCU’s multiverse, given his previous turn as Pietro Maximoff (a.k.a. Quicksilver).
Following on from Ant-Man and The Wasp, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Evangline Lilly) were confirmed for a third outing. The duo will once again be joined Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Janet van Dyne. Despite being played by Emma Fuhrmann in Avengers: Endgame, the character of Cassie Lang will be assumed by Kathryn Newton. With an early 2023 release date confirmed, filming has already begun in England. Peyton Reed once again took on directorial duties, working from a script penned by Rick and Morty‘s Jeff Loveness. The shrinking superheroes will face their biggest challenge yet, with iconic Marvel villain Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) making his MCU debut.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has already had a rocky road to production, with director James Gunn being fired by Disney after offensive jokes he made on Twitter years earlier resurfaced. After both fans and colleagues came out fiercely in support of Gunn, the decision was ultimately made to rehire him – though not before he’d already been snapped up by Warner Bros. to direct upcoming sequel/soft reboot The Suicide Squad. Gunn moved swiftly from that to a Peacemaker TV spinoff centered on John Cena’s titular character. As a result, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 reportedly won’t start filming until 2021’s final months, at the earliest. Therefore, it’ll be a while before we see the team back in action and any story details are revealed. However, the full cast are confirmed to be returning, following on from cameo appearances in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Marvel Studios has currently booked two unassigned MCU release date for 2023. These are July 28 and November 3, 2023. It’s unclear which films will take those slots, but the most likely candidates from the MCU development slate are Blade and Fantastic Four. A script for the former has been underway, written by Stacy Osei-Kuffour. Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali will embody the titular, vampire-slaying hero. The latter project, meanwhile, has already named a director in the form of Spider-Man helmer Jon Watts. A cast, though, has yet to be announced.
Another Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follow-up movie is going to be an all-female Spider-Man film, which will see Gwen Stacy’s Spider-Gwen return at the forefront. Furthermore, the spinoff movie will introduce audiences to Silk and Spider-Woman. While the Into the Spider-Verse spinoff is in development, it’s unclear when it will release or if it will even be put into production before the Into the Spider-Verse sequel releases in theaters.
Alongside the aforementioned prequel, Kingsman: The Secret Service will also get a direct sequel. Once again set to write (alongside Jane Goldman) and direct, Vaughn has some ideas as to how the trilogy will end (assuming it does end). He previously stated that he had been unofficially prepping Kingsman 3 while working on the first sequel: Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The potentially concluding chapter was originally planned to arrive before The King’s Man but’s currently without a solid release date. It was revealed, however, that it’ll be subtitled “The Blue Blood.” Colin Firth and Taron Egerton are expected to reprise their roles. Vaughn also previously revealed that his first choice to play the villain would be Dwayne Johnson — though it’ll obviously remain to be seen whether such ideas ever come to fruition. There are likely more Marvel movies in development that will be released at a later date but, for now, fans have a lot to look forward to.