The future of the MCU beyond the outrageously anticipated Avengers 4 remains shrouded in mystery, but that hasn’t dampened the excitement of the rabid Marvel fanbase in the slightest. The public only knows a fraction of the Marvel “Phase 4” lineup, but fans have latched onto those sparse details and fed them into the ever-churning internet speculation machine. Despite the frequent fan theorizing, nobody knows what's coming in Phase 4 - except, of course, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and the higher-ups at Disney.
If the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe prove anything, though, it’s that whatever Marvel Studios delivers in Phase 4 will be nothing short of incredible.
Several Heroes Are On The Way Out With The End Of Their Contracts…
The end of the MCU’s third phase will also mark the end for several important characters - or, at the very least, the actors who portray them. Chris Evans bid farewell to the role of Captain America as filming for Avengers 4 wrapped up, and he’s not the only founding Avenger with an expiring contract.
Some of the franchise’s heaviest hitters - including Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth - are at the end of their deals, and there’s plenty of reason to believe they’ll be moving on permanently before Phase 4 begins.
…But There Are Plenty Of Rumors About The New Heroes That Will Replace Them
Fortunately for fans despondent about the departure of Captain America and his amazing friends, the pages of Marvel Comics are rife with potential replacement Avengers. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has dropped hints about future appearances from Moon Knight and Kamala Khan, the young hero with embiggening powers known as Ms. Marvel.
Feige has also referred to the character of Nova - whether it be the Richard Rider or Sam Alexander version - as one with “immediate potential” to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Nova won’t be the only addition to Marvel’s cosmic cadre of characters. The birth of Adam Warlock was foreshadowed in a post-credits scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and director James Gunn indicated Warlock was being saved for Phase 4 - before the creator was unceremoniously booted from the franchise.
On October 29, 2018, The Wrap learned that Katherine Langford of 13 Reasons Why fame joined the Marvel family for a secret role in Avengers 4. Some speculate that Langford plays Kate Bishop, the second Hawkeye.
Phase 4 Starts When ‘Avengers 4’ Ends, And That’s Why Details Are Being Kept Hush-Hush
The hotly anticipated Avengers 4 marks the end of Phase 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the beginning of the franchise’s Phase 4. Consequentially, the fourth phase has thus far proven practically impossible to market and promote, as even the most minute details could potentially spoil the grand Avengers finale.
Fortunately, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige promised information would come more rapidly once Avengers 4 hits theaters:
Marketing's coming up with all sorts of things; how to debut [plans for Phase 4], how to debut Captain Marvel, lots of opportunities for fun, exciting stuff coming up. And after Avengers 4, being less cagey about it.
Phase 4 Is Being Marketed As A New Beginning
Avengers 4 is being promoted as a finale of sorts for the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far, with Kevin Feige telling the Toronto Sun, “The best stories do come to an end. Return of the Jedi was an ending for a long time and as a 10-year-old in 1983 that carried me through 30 years until there was a sequel." He continued:
That hasn’t happened before in the superhero genre. A new actor comes in, and a new storyline starts right away. We wanted to do it this way because we think that the best stories have a definitive ending to a storyline. That’s certainly what’s going to happen next year with Avengers 4.
Of course, such a definitive ending will also mark a new beginning for the MCU, as Feige made clear in an interview with Vanity Fair. Still maintaining an air of secrecy, Feige hinted that, “There will be two distinct periods. Everything before Avengers 4 and everything after. I know it will not be in ways people are expecting.”