The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 kicks into high gear with the release of the 24th film in the MCU – Black Widow.

Natasha Romanoff’s prequel solo adventure is just the first in six surprising new Marvel superhero films coming your way between now and 2022. Join us as we preview these Phase 4 Marvel films in the order of release, and finish up with how to watch all the MCU films in release and timeline order. Enjoy!


MCU Phase 4


Black Widow

Release date: 7 May 2021


Black Widow in a nutshell

Black Widow is the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and will be Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow’s first solo adventure. It’s a prequel, set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and sees Black Widow on the run and seeking out loved ones to help her take on a new villain, Taskmaster.

 

Black Widow cast

Joining Scarlett Johannsson’s Black Widow on this explosive adventure are Florence Pugh (Midsommar, Little Women) as Natasha’s fellow assassin Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz (The Favourite, The Constant Gardener) as their mother figure Melina Vostokoff, and David Harbour (Hellboy, TV’s Stranger Things) as their father figure, Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian. It’s also rumoured that Robert Downey Jr. will make an appearance as Tony Stark/Iron Man.

 

Black Widow – what we know

  • Black Widow director, Cate Shortland has confirmed that Natasha Romanoff will be passing the Black Widow baton onto Yelena Belova, beginning a whole new Black Widow storyline in the future.
  • Although Natasha, Yelena, Melina and Alexei bicker like a regular family, they’re not blood relatives. Melina and Alexei are mentors to the two young women. In fact, in the comics, Melina AKA Iron Maiden was Black Widow’s adversary for some time.
  • Taskmaster has ‘photographic reflexes’ meaning he can mimic any opponent’s fighting style. In the Black Widow trailers alone we see him bust fighting moves belonging to Black Widow, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, Black Panther and Captain America. How did he learn their moves?


The Eternals

Release date: 5 November 2021


The Eternals in a nutshell

The Eternals is the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and introduces us to a god-like race of immortal aliens who have secretly lived on earth for over 7,000 years, and who come together again to battle their malevolent counterparts known as The Deviants.

The Eternals cast

Similar to the way Marvel made household names of the previously second-tier Guardians of the Galaxy, The Eternals will break a ready-made superhero team to cinemagoers, and Marvel has gathered an incredible cast to bring their immortal warriors to life.

Richard Madden (The Bodyguard, Game of Thrones) will play all-powerful Eternal, Ikaris, while Angelina Jolie is stepping up as fierce-warrior Eternal, Thena. Gemma Chan, who previously played Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel, is getting to play a second MCU character, the humanity-loving Sersi.

Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) is the Eternal, Kingo, a skilled swordsman who blends in on earth as a Bollywood actor, and The Walking Dead’s Lauren Ridloff will play Makkari, a super-fast Eternal. Incidentally, Ridloff will be the MCU’s first deaf superhero, a fact we’re stoked about.

Salma Hayek is playing Ajak, the Eternals’ wise, spiritual leader, newcomer Lia McHugh will play Sprite, an eternally young Eternal, and Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta, Widows) is going to be Phastos, the Eternals’ resident genius inventor. We’re also happy to report that Phastos will be the first openly gay superhero in the MCU and will have a husband and child in the film.

Last but not least we have Train to Busan’s Don Lee as super-strong Gilgamesh, and Dunkirk’s Barry Keoghan as Druig, the team’s loner and spy, plus Richard Madden’s Game of Thrones mate, Kit Harrington will appear as a mortal warrior with a mystical sword (and the less-than-mystical name, Dane Whitman).

 

The Eternals - what we know

  • While each Eternal has a superpower, they’re able to combine them, Power Rangers-style, to create a powerful entity known as the Uni-Mind. Expect that to make an appearance in The Eternals’ climactic scenes.
  • You may not know The Eternals but their creator, Jack Kirby was the comic-book legend behind Black Panther, Thor, Captain America, X-Men, The Avengers and the Fantastic 4, among many other Marvel greats. 
  • The Eternals takes place in the wake of Avengers: Endgame when an ‘unexpected tragedy’ forces our immortal super team out of hiding. Why, you ask, didn’t these all-powerful immortals help out against Thanos? Well, one comic-book storyline had the Eternals unaware of their true identities so…


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Release date: 9 July 2021


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in a nutshell

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the 26th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and will introduce cinemagoers to Shang-Chi, The Master of Kung-Fu – a martial arts superhero as he goes up against über-baddy The Mandarin’s Ten Rings terrorist organisation. 

 

 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings cast

Simu Liu (TV’s Kim’s Convenience and Orphan Black) is playing Shang-Chi, while the role of The Mandarin has gone to acting legend, Tony Leung (In The Mood For Love, The Grandmaster). As you may remember, Iron Man 3’s Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley) was just an actor pretending to be the terrorist mastermind. The last member of the cast we know about for now is Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s 8) but her role has yet to be revealed. 

 

 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – what we know

  • Stan Lee wanted Brandon Lee to star as Shang-Chi back in the 1980s. That didn’t happen but decades later, Shan-Chi was one of the original characters in Marvel’s plan for the MCU
  • The shadowy Ten Rings terrorist organisation has been popping up in the MCU since the beginning. It was a Ten Rings cell that captured Tony Stark in Afghanistan in 2008’s Iron Man, and the group supported Whiplash in Iron Man 2. They also appear in Iron Man 3 and are behind the scenes in Ant Man
  • In the original 1970s-80s comics, Shang-Chi’s father was Fu-Manchu (a  villain from a racially stereotyped series of pulp novels). In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings it’s rumoured that Shang-Chi’s dad will be none other than The Mandarin, creating some very awkward family dynamics.


Spider-Man 3

Release date: 17 December 2021


Spider-Man 3 in a nutshell

The 27th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is set to conclude the current Spider-Man ‘Home’ trilogy begun with Spider-Man Homecoming and followed up by Spider-Man Far From Home. Jon Watts is directing Spidey for a third time. 

 

Spider-Man 3 cast

Despite Tom Holland’s well-documented tendency to inadvertently let details slip about his MCU appearances, he’s been pretty tight-lipped about the Spidey threquel. We do know, however, that he’s returning as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, of course, as is Zendaya as MJ. Given his memorable mid-credits cameo as J Jonah Jameson in Far From Home, JK Simmons looks likely to be a headache for Peter, and how could Marvel leave us hanging around the whole Happy Hogan/Aunt May romance?   

 

Spider-Man 3 – what we know

Spider-Man 3 has no title yet, but it will definitely feature the word ‘home’. Spider-Man: Home Economics? Spider-Man: Home(r) Simpson? What do you think it’ll be?

The plot of Spider-Man 3 also remains a mystery but let’s not forget the cliffhanger Far From Home left us on: thanks to Mysterio and J Jonah Jameson, the world not only knows Spider-Man’s identity, but thinks he caused all the destruction in London. Resolving that has to feature, right?

Sony and Marvel’s current deal only includes this solo Spidey film plus one more MCU film appearance. Is the end for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man



Thor: Love and Thunder

Release date: 11 February 2022


Thor: Love and Thunder in a nutshell

Thor: Love and Thunder is the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and will officially make Thor the first Marvel hero to have four solo films. It reunites Chris Hemsworth with Thor: Ragnorok director Taika Waititi to tell a story inspired by the Marvel Comics series The Mighty Thor, by Jason Aaron and artist Russell Dauterman. 

 

Thor: Love and Thunder cast

Thor 4 will feature not one but two Thors. Naturally, Chris Hemsworth returns as the hammer-swinging Asgardian but he’ll be joined by Natalie Portman’s Dr Jane Foster who we last saw in 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. In the comic-books, Foster took on Thor’s powers and identity when Thor Odinson found himself unable to lift Mjolnir. 

Tessa Thompson is returning as Valkyrie –  who’s set on rebuilding Asgard and finding a queen to share the throne. Taika Waititi will return as fan favourite Korg, and Christian Bale is heavily rumoured to be Thor 4’s villain. Who he’ll play remains a mystery for now. Last up are the Guardians of the Galaxy. Vin Diesel has revealed at least some of the Guardians will be making an appearance in Love and Thunder

 

Thor: Love and Thunder – what we know

  • We last saw Thor heading off into space with the Guardians (Asgardians?) of the Galaxy at the end of Avengers: Endgame. There’s a chance he’s still with them at the start of Love and Thunder
  • During Dr Jane Foster’s run as Thor one of her main foes was Dario Agger AKA The Minotaur, an energy billionaire who just happens to be a mythological monster, too. Could he be Bale’s character or is that just bull?
  • Taika Waititi has confirmed we’ll also be learning more about Korg the Kronan in Love and Thunder. Marvel, please put a Korg solo movie on the planner!


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Release date: 25 March 2022


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in a nutshell

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the 29th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and will be the second solo outing for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme. It’s also going to be a departure for the studio – a dark blockbuster with horror elements. We can’t wait.

 

Doctor Strange 2 cast

Joining Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange is Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch whose Disney + series WandaVision will apparently intersect with events of Doctor Strange 2 in significant ways. We’re happy to report that Benedict Wong is back as Wong, Doctor Strange’s most trusted ally, as is Chiwetel Ejiofor as the much, much less trustworthy Mordo

 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – what we know so far

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson was due to helm In The Multiverse of Madness but left the project due to creative differences. Happily, his shoes have been amply filled by horror legend Sam Raimi, whose Evil Dead films have an irrepressible, inventive energy that bodes well for the good doctor. 

Mordo could definitely be the villain in Doctor Strange 2 but before he left the production, Dericksson told IGN that he likes the character of Nightmare, Ruler of the Dream Dimension. Feasibly, Scarlet Witch could also have unleashed all sorts of Multiverse weirdness that requires unravelling.  

The concept of the multiverse – multiple different but related universes co-existing also opens up the intriguing possibility that we could see the return of MCU favourites like Black Widow and Iron Man but from other timelines.

 

How to watch the Marvel movies – release date order and timeline order

 

We’re delighted to be bringing back two of the best recent MCU films to ODEON – Black Panther and Captain Marvel.

Want to make seeing them on the big screen part of an MCU movie marathon that’ll get you right up to speed ahead of Black Widow? We can help.

Here are all 23 MCU films to date listed in their release order, and then in the order you should watch them if you want to follow the in-universe timeline order starting way back in 1942 with Captain America: The First Avenger. You’re very welcome…


All 23 MCU films in release order

 

Iron Man (2008)

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Thor (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Avengers Assemble (2012)

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Ant-Man (2015)


Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Doctor Strange (2016)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Black Panther (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Captain Marvel (2019)

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Black Widow (2020)

The Eternals (2021)

Shang Chi & The Legend of Ten Rings (2021)

Spider-Man 3 (2021)

Thor Love & Thunder (2022)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)


All 23 MCU films in timeline order

Captain America: The First Avenger (1942-1945)
Captain Marvel (1995)
Iron Man (2010)
Iron Man 2 (2011)
The Incredible Hulk (2011)
Thor (2011)
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Iron Man 3 (December 2012)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Ant-Man (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Black Panther (2016)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016 - 2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Avengers: Endgame (2018 - 2023)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2023)

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