Marvel's Phase 4 releases may seem too disconnected when compared to the Infinity Saga, but MCU’s mastermind Kevin Feige’s tease of a bigger plan should ease anyone’s concerns. While the MCU is still using phases to separate each era of releases, Phase 4 has not followed the same structure as Phases 1, 2, and 3. One obvious reason is that now there are Marvel Studios shows on Disney+, something that significantly expanded the amount of MCU content in just one phase, and the other is the lack of Avengers 5 at the end of Phase 4.

After the MCU Phase 1 focused on introducing the heroes who would form the Avengers, a movie that ended with a Thanos post-credits scene, Phases 2 and 3 were dedicated to setting up the Infinity Stones and the Mad Titan’s eventual quest. For example, even origin stories like Doctor Strange, who at the time had no connection with other heroes, still felt like part of a larger plan thanks to the Time Stone storyline. All of that setup was eventually paid off in the high-stakes two-part finale Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, in which almost every hero and supporting character had a role to play.

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In contrast, Phase 4 still does not feel like it is moving towards an end goal – at least not one as simple as the quest for the Infinity Stones. Right from the start, the MCU Phase 4 aimed at expanding the universe with the additions of characters who had yet to appear in the MCU. The Eternals and Shang-chi were brought in through the big screen, and Disney+ has seen the debuts of names like Kate Bishop, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel. There has also been a great deal of worldbuilding and lore setup, with Kang in Loki and the incursions in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness being important examples. Between all those different fronts on which Phase 4 is happening, the concern over the lack of a clear plan made sense. However, Kevin Feige confirmed during an interview (via Total Film) that there is indeed a bigger storyline already in motion, with pieces of the puzzle present throughout the MCU Phase 4 timeline, and that such a plan will be made clear in the coming months.

One safe prediction to what the MCU is now heading to is Secret Wars. The comic book storyline about universes colliding would work as Marvel’s next Endgame, and the multiverse has already been front and center in Phase 4 thanks to releases like Loki, What If...?, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange 2. In fact, Doctor Strange 2’s incursion tease suggests that Secret Wars could happen sooner than many are predicting. There is also the possibility that the multiverse is so far only a red herring and that the real conflict in the near future of the MCU is actually the creation of several new super teams. The current Avengers lineup is still a mystery, the Thunderbolts are already being put together by Val, and a lot of potential Young Avengers members like Kate Bishop and America Chavez have been introduced.

So far, it is impossible to say how the many Phase 4 storylines will combine into a bigger one – but Kevin Feige’s statement is an assurance that they will. Still, considering how big the MCU is now, something as straightforward as the Infinity Saga was is probably never going to happen again. Instead, the MCU is now closer to the Marvel Comics than it has ever been, meaning that it may be more challenging to anticipate where all the stories are going.

Next: Is Thunderbolts Replacing Avengers 5 As The MCU's Next Crossover Movie?

Key Release Dates
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
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