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MCU Phase 4: Have Faith in Marvel’s Bright Future

Some might be lost at the direction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4, have patience.

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MCU Phase 4
(Marvel Studios)

In 2008, Marvel Studios re-invented how to make a movie based on comic books with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have held this standard through 36 different connected projects and are not slowing down.

In the MCU, each movie or television show connects in some way or another to the other projects within the universe. These films and shows are broken into what they entitled phases. Currently the MCU is in Phase 4.

The Story So Far

MCU Iron ManIron Man (2008) kicked-off Phase 1 followed by The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). These films were building up to the final film of the phase, The Avengers (2012). Origin stories on individual characters to eventually fight together as a team.

The second phase brought 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), and Ant-Man (2015). It was in this phase where we started to see Marvel was working towards an interconnected story-arc, The Infinity Saga. This arc would connect between phases to a culmination big event. This connectivity is what most movie fans consider the main reason for watching the Marvel films.

Kicking off Phase 3 was Captain America: Civil War (2016) followed by 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), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Thanos’ impact during Infinity War and Endgame was 11 years in the making and was some of the best storytelling in history. Marvel grabbed onto the feelings we held over those years and finished with the bang. Endgame became the most successful box office comic book film of all-time and the second highest grossing film of all-time with $2.79 billion.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) was also part of the third phase, but was put after Endgame to help us feel the effects of the Avengers films and to set up viewers for what’s to come to start the next phase.

Each phase of the MCU has had a film not go over well with critics or fans or both. The first phase saw The Incredible Hulk (67% Rotten Tomatoes), in Phase 2 it was The Dark World (66% RT), and Captain Marvel (79% RT) in Phase 3. Now in Phase 4 a few RT scores have landed under the 80% mark, but keep in mind a Rotten Tomatoes score over 60% is considered “Fresh” and one over 75% is “Certified Fresh.” In other words, the overall consensus is the movie is good.

Is Marvel Lost With Phase 4?

Short answer is no.

The fourth phase in the MCU started with Black Widow (2021). This film was a few years too late and is actually slotted back between Civil War and Black Panther. Let’s consider this film a miss phase 3 opportunity.

Phase 4 has released more projects (13) than any other phase (11), and the phase is far from over. However, grumblings from fans and news outlets have been more than ever with these projects. Discussion around not knowing where the story is headed, no overarching story-arc, no “big bad,” and too much content.

MCU Ms MarvelMarvel keeps a lot close to the chest. The recent reveal on the Ms. Marvel (2022) tv series was only known by Iman Vellani and a few key others before the filming of the final episode. Even Matt Lintz, who was part of the scene, was unaware. The Studio likes to build anticipation and has always had a plan, why would that be different in this phase?

The current goal is to move us on from the impact of the Infinity Saga and introduce new characters to the universe. This is little different than the first phase of the MCU. The overall number of projects, characters and threads might seem different, but is similar to introducing Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor. The world of superheroes is much larger than when Marvel released Iron Man and ground work needs to be laid.

Movies such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), Eternals (2021), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) are setting up new important characters, introducing the idea of gods in the universe, and giving us a glimpse of what a multiverse can be in each film respectively.

TV series Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel, along with feature films Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder released this year. Continuing the concept of introducing new characters such as Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, America Chavez and more, plus the big reveal of the effects of the multiverse. Love and Thunder was closing up threads from the third phase and checking in on what is taking place off-earth.

Eternals (47% RT), Love and Thunder (67% RT), and Doctor Strange 2 (74%) have not been as well received as fans and critics had hoped. However, only Eternals landed in the “Rotten” category of 59% or less as the only MCU film to do so. This leaves 97% of projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 83% of releases certified fresh. Does this not give you faith Marvel has a plan?

Disney+ Series Shining Bright in Phase 4

Phase 4 saw the introduction of the Disney+ tv series with WandaVision (2021), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), Loki (2021), and Hawkeye (2021). These series all featured characters from previous phases with the purpose of transitioning to what is next, tying up some loose ends and introducing the successors of previous main characters.

Marvel had attempted to produce shows to intertwine with the MCU, but opted to state they lived outside of the universe. Some of this changed recently with the inclusion of Matt Murdoch in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Kingpin in Hawkeye.

In the fourth phase, the films slipped in critic and fans eyes, as stated above, but the shows have taken center stage. Of the seven tv series, each and every one has been rated certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (75% or higher) with only Moon Knight (86%) and The Falcon and The Winter Solider (83%) below the 90th percentile.

The inclusion of another medium to release stories about Marvel characters has added depth to the universe and the ability to explain things in a different way.

Phase 4 is Setting a Foundation for the Future

Marvel is setting up the next 10 years of projects and has to lay the foundation of new characters, new places and new storylines. This is what we believe is the purpose Phase 4. In order to get to where we ended up with Thanos, we need to have a foundation and the foundation was destroyed in Endgame.

MCU Fantastic FourPlanning, executing and delivering multi-million dollar movies and television shows for many years is not an easy task. Toss into the mix the addition of characters that were previously untouchable, ie. X-Men, Mutants, Fantastic Four. The Marvel Universe went from four major characters and locations, plus villains in the first phase to hundreds of characters or places by the end of the third phase. This takes a special ability and let’s be honest, most of us don’t have these skills.

Yes, we don’t know where this is all headed. We don’t know who the next big bad is going to be at the moment. We don’t have an Infinity War-type massive thread weaving throughout the films, but this seems to be a buffer phase. Something to get us from the gut-wrenching third phase to the what can be expected as a wonderful Phase 5.

If they went right from Thanos snapping half the universe away and the Avengers brining them back in End Game to the next big bad or long storyline it would’ve been too soon. We need to sit in the events of the Infinity War, learn about new characters and worlds and prepare us for the future.

Let’s be honest…Marvel has created something that we all expect to be perfect, because most the first movies were perfect. They will falter, they will stumble, but if history tells us anything, they will make great content and we all will be buying tickets. Marvel is still doing something the likes of DC and other make believe worlds have struggled to duplicate. Let’s sit back, breathe and know us Marvel fans are in good hands. If phase four ends and phase five begins with horrible films, I will admit I was wrong. However, I’ll take it to the bank Marvel will release some unbelievable content over the next 5-10 years.

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Marvel

Marvel Characters Confirmed For What If…? Season 2

The studio has given us an idea of which Marvel characters are expected to appear in the sophomore season.

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What If
(Marvel Studios / Disney+)

Marvel Studios announced at the San Diego Comic-Con what is in-store for the the second season of the hit animated series What If…?. The studio also announced the series has been renewed for a third season.

What If…? doesn’t referenced much in the main Marvel Cinematic Universe, but did serve as the introduction to Captain Carter and gave us glimpses of the multiverse. Kevin Feige, President at Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer at Marvel, does recommend watching the series to get a grip on the entire MCU. This could just be him promoting all their content.

Season two is set to air early 2023 on Disney+ and the studio has now given us an idea of which Marvel characters are expected to appear in the sophomore season.

What If…? Voice Actors Confirmed

Of course What If…? wouldn’t be the same without Jeffrey Wright‘s The Watcher, as the character acts as the narrator of the series. Returning from the first season is Hayley Atwell‘s Peggy Carter, Josh Keaton‘s Steve Rogers / Hydra Stomper, Mick Winger‘s Iron Man, Jeff Goldblum‘s Grandmaster, Taka Waititi‘s Korg, and Lake Bell‘s Black Widow. Joining the fray is Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. Cynthia McWilliams will voice Gamora in an episode original slated for the first season which was moved to season two due to the pandemic.

Hela, Valkyrie, Bucky Barnes, Wenwu, Ying Li, Odin, The Great Protector, Ant-Man, Yondu, Young Peter Parker, Young Peter Quill, Ego, Shang-Chi, and Red Guardian will also appear in season two with unconfirmed voice actors.

What If…? originally boasted the inclusion of the main MCU characters reprising their roles in the animated series, but only a few ended up signing up. However, it is nice to see some voices will remain the same from season-to-season.

Marvel’s What If…? has also spun out a series title Marvel Zombies. The first season will air sometime in the future and will pick up where the fifth episode of the first season left off. The show will be loosely based on the comic book limited series with the same name by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible) and Sean Phillips (Pulp, Reckless).

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She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Season 1 Preview

The final television series of the MCU Phase 4 hits Disney+ on August 17.

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She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
(Marvel Studios)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe gets a tiny bit bigger this August with the addition of She-Hulk in her own comedy television show She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

In the nine-episode first season, Jennifer Walters navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered Hulk.

Created by Jessica Gao, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is the eighth television series in the MCU and will premiere on August 17, 2022. Gao serves as head writer and is joined by Kat Coiro leading the directing team. Tatiana Maslany stars as Jennifer Walters / She-Hulk, alongside Jameela Jamil as Titania, Ginger Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos, Renée Elise Goldsberry as Amelia, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky / Abomination, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / Smart Hulk, and Benedict Wong as Wong.

Roth hasn’t been seen in the MCU since his debut in the 2008 The Incredible Hulk film, while Wong seems to be making an appearance in every MCU project. Not that it is a bad thing.

Additionally, Josh Segarra, Jon Bass, Anais Almonte, Nicholas Cirillo, and Griffin Matthews have been cast in undisclosed roles. Charlie Cox reprises his role as Matt Murdock / Daredevil prior to the release of his own new show, Daredevil: Born Again, coming in 2024.

The comedy series runs nine-episodes from August 18-October 13 and is the second to last Phase 4 project in the MCU, leaving only the feature film Black Panther: Wakanda before the start of Phase 5.

Who Is She-Hulk?

Jennifer Walters, also known as She-Hulk, was created for Marvel Comics by writer Stan Lee and artist John Buscema. Her first comic book appearance was in The Savage She-Hulk #1 (February 1980). Walters is a lawyer who, after an injury, received an emergency blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner, and acquired a milder version of his Hulk condition. As such, Walters becomes a large, powerful, green-hued version of herself.

Unlike the original Banner she largely retains her personality, in particular the majority of her intelligence and emotional control. Like Hulk, she is still susceptible to outbursts of anger and becomes much stronger when enraged. In later series, her transformation is permanent, and she often breaks the fourth wall for humorous effect and running gags. Of course with the addition of Smart Hulk to the comic book and cinematic universe, Banner also has retained some of his personality.

She has been a member of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Heroes for Hire, the Defenders, Fantastic Force and S.H.I.E.L.D. As a highly skilled lawyer who became a superhero by accident, she frequently leverages her legal and personal experience to serve as legal counsel to various superheroes and other metahumans.

Her MCU origin will vary slightly compared to the comics. Walters gets into a serious car accident with her cousin Banner in the car. Somehow Walters gets Banner’s blood into her system by accident, causing her to hulk out. Difference being in the comics it was a blood transfusion in a hospital versus accidental contamination.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Trailer

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Oscar Isaac Teases Moon Knight Season 2

Did Oscar Isaac reveal Moon Knight will be getting.a second season on Disney+?

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Moon Knight
(Disney+)

The first season of Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight ended with quite a cliffhanger, but the series appears to be returning for a second season.

One of the series’ executive producers, Mohamed Diab, tweeted out a TikTok on Wednesday of him and Moon Knight himself, Oscar Isaac, in Cairo seeming to confirm a second season of the show is coming. When asked if the series was getting a second season Isaac stated, “why else would we be in Cairo?”

When originally released, Moon Knight was announced as a limited-series on Disney+ with a six-episode season. However, it looks like we are getting more. With the statement of being in Cairo, does the second season release as part of Phase 5 or will the show be part of the sixth phase?

Kevin Feige, President at Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer at Marvel, recently teased more announcements are coming at Disney’s D23 Expo in September. “There’s so much more to discuss and unveil, and we didn’t want to talk about everything today,” said Feige. Will Moon Knight season two be part of the information revealed at D23?

Moon Knight was created by Jeremy Slater based on the Marvel Comics’ character of the same name. Isaac starred as Marc Spector / Steven Grant / Moon Knight, with May Calamawy, Karim El Hakim, F. Murray Abraham, Ethan Hawke, Ann Akinjirin, David Ganly, Khalid Abdalla, Gaspard Ulliel, Antonia Salib, Fernanda Andrade, Rey Lucas, Sofia Danu, and Saba Mubarak also starring. The Phase 4 show received rave reviews.

Marvel tends to try and keep announcements close to the vest and likes to time them out perfectly. So this video could just be blowing smoke, but we could see more revealed in just over a month.

Moon Knight Season 1 Trailer

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