Marvel’s Phase 5 explained – what’s next for the MCU?

As Phase 4 draws to a close the Marvel Cinematic Universe's next big story arc, The Multiverse Saga begins. Here's everythign we know about Marvel's Phase 5

Marvel's Phase 5 explained: Brie Larson in Ms Marvel

What’s happening in Marvel’s Phase 5? At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Kevin Feige officially confirmed that the current era of the MCU is titled The Multiverse Saga. Yes, Marvel Studios is diving headfirst into alternate universes and introducing different versions of some of the biggest characters from across the Marvel pantheon of heroes and villains.

Marvel’s Phase 4 has focused on expanding the MCU, introducing the likes of Sylvie/Lady Loki (Sophia Di Martino), Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani), Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), and even Hercules (Brett Goldstein). But where is this all heading? Well, the Loki series also set the stage for the next big bad: Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) – a time-travelling despot who is determined to rule all eras of reality itself.

Phase 4 will end with Black Panther 2 on the big screen and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney Plus at the end of 2022. That means Marvel’s Phase 5 will kick off at the start of 2023 with Ant-Man 3, but what other MCU movies are on the way? (Spoilers, there’s a lot).

What movies are in Marvel’s Phase 5?

The next slate of movies features some long-awaited projects, and Kang will start popping up more as a way of seeding him as the next big bad, starting with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which has shifted release dates to February 2023. Not only that, but the Quantumania panel also confirmed that classic villain MODOK will have a role in the film.

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Hot on the Ant-Man sequel’s heels is another trilogy capper: James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Yes, the cosmic band of misfits are back again. The Guardians will go up against Chukwudi Iwuji’s High Evolutionary – the Peacemaker alum told The Hollywood Reporter that his villain is one of “the most complex characters we’ve seen in the freaking Marvel universe.”

Marvel's Phase 5 explained: Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) as Captain America

From there, Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels flies into cinemas in July 2023, as Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani) team up. This marvellous new team will go on a cosmic adventure set after Kamala Khan, and Carol Danvers swapped places in the Ms Marvel post-credit scene.

Meanwhile, the highly anticipated Blade solo film isn’t due for release until November 2023, starring Mahershala Ali as the titular vampire hunter. Although plot details are scarce – production started in July 2022 (via Production List), so hopefully, director Bassam Tariq will reveal something soon.

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Then, Captain America 4 ushers fans into the next year, arriving on May 3, 2024. It’ll pick up with Sam Wilson now that he’s the new Star-Spangled Man after the events of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. And rounding out the theatrical slate for the year is Thunderbolts on July 26, 2024, which will see a new team of vicious heroes take to the MCU for reasons unknown.

What are Marvel’s Phase 5 movies?

  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
  • The Marvels (July 28, 2023)
  • Blade (November 3, 2023)
  • Captain America: New World Order (May 3, 2024)
  • Thunderbolts (July 26, 2024)

Marvel's Phase 5 explained: Charlie Cox as Daredevil

What TV series are in Marvel’s Phase 5?

Marvel’s ambitions have gotten much bigger now that Disney Plus has provided room for more stories and characters in their own TV series. The company has clearly been impressed with Marvel’s output so far because Phase 5 features seven Marvel series for the streaming service.

Although the theatrical slate might not feature too many multiverse adventures, Disney Plus might get a little weirder – starting with What If…? season 2 in early 2023. The animated series will once again take audiences through the multiverse to imagine vastly different takes on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (and villains).

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But Secret Invasion is also set for an early 2023 release, which sees Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) battle a surprising Skrull threat on Earth, based on the comics event of the same name. He’ll be joined by Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke, Ben Mendelsohn, Martin Freeman, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Cobie Smulders, and even Don Cheadle.

Following that, Hawkeye star Alaqua Cox is set to lead her own series, Echo, as the titular warrior in mid-2023. Fans will also be excited to see Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio reprise their roles as Daredevil and the Kingpin in the series – but more on them later.

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The God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston), is also set to return in Loki season 2 in mid-2023. And it’ll presumably pick up after the jaw-dropping Kang reveal in the TVA at the end of Season 1.

This will be a key part of the multiversal puzzle considering one of Phase Six’s movies is titled Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Hiddleston told Total Film that in Season 2, “Loki’s almost more unstable and as turbulent and passionate and chaotic as he’s ever been.”

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Next up is the Ironheart series, starring Dominique Thorne as gifted inventor Riri Williams fills Tony Stark’s iron-shoes towards the end of 2023. Thorne will first appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, presumably setting up the solo series. And at the end of 2023 comes Agatha: Coven of Chaos, with Kathryn Hahn reprising her witchy role from WandaVision.

And finally, the one we’ve all been waiting for, Daredevil season 4. Revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, Charlie Cox will step back firmly into the spotlight as the Man Without Fear. Netflix’s Daredevil season 3 loosely followed the Born Again arc from the comics, so it’s unclear how much it’ll borrow from the source material.

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But it’s likely also a reference to the fact that Daredevil has been reborn for the MCU after a few years away post-Netflix. The more surprising news? The show will have 18 episodes, a huge jump from Marvel’s typical limited approach. Don’t worry; Matt will also show up in She-Hulk well before this, so we don’t have to wait until 2024 to see him again.

What are Marvel’s Phase 5 TV series?

  • What If…? season 2 (2023)
  • Secret Invasion (2023)
  • Echo (2023)
  • Loki season 2 (2023)
  • Ironheart (2023)
  • Agatha: Coven of Chaos (2023)
  • Daredevil: Born Again (2024)

Marvel's Phase 5 explained: Jonathan Majors as Kang in Loki

Where is Marvel’s Phase 5 heading?

So, what’s the goal of Marvel’s Phase 5 slate? Well, since this is the Multiverse Saga, it’s clear that many of these projects are gearing up toward two massive event movies in Phase 6 – Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Kang the Conqueror is hellbent on reshaping the timeline and the multiverse how he sees fit, so it seems likely that we’ll see him show up across some of these projects — even if it’s for cameos and post-credit scenes.

Kevin Feige previously teased what to expect from Jonathan Majors’ villain when speaking to Phaze Zero, saying, “it’s really impressive what Jonathan Majors is able to do. And all the different incarnations, Variants, if you will, of Kang that we will see him do. It’s really pretty cool.”

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The Marvel chief also noted that he’s a different type of bad guy to Thanos, adding, !What I love is that he’s totally different than Thanos. That he’s completely different, that it’s not just, ‘How ’bout… is there a bigger purple guy with a helmet.’ That’s not… you know, that’s not what Kang is. Kang is a very different type of villain, and the fact that he is many, many different characters is what’s most exciting and most differentiates him!!

So while Kang will show up in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (and presumably Loki season 2), hopefully, he’ll pop up in some surprising places along the way ahead of the two multiversal Avengers movies.

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