Marvel Studios recently revealed its slate of upcoming Phase Four Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and the planned lineup is their craziest yet. Instead of returning to a well of familiar characters and concepts, Marvel seems to be expanding to territory only seen in the comics. Chief among these may be an attempt to correct an earlier creative mistake, all the while pushing the MCU to its creative limits.
Thor: the only Phase one hero to receive to get place in Phase Four
One of the remaining founding Avengers, Thor will be the only Phase One hero to receive a fourth film. Titled Thor: Love and Thunder, the final film in Phase Four will explore a recent concept from the comics: Jane Foster as The Mighty Thor. While this might not be too weird, especially for longtime fans, what is sure to be weird is the direction the film will likely take.
Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi will return, likely bringing with him the hallmark colors and cosmic explosiveness that defined the third Thor film. Ragnarok was a Jack Kirby comic come to life, and with more Thors there’s bound to be even more magical mayhem.
Multiverse to become a Central Concept in Phase Four
Introduced in the first Doctor Strange movie, and alluded to further in the recent Spider-Man: Far From Home, the multiverse will also become a much more central concept in Phase Four. The second Doctor Strange will explore the multiverse and all of the eldritch horror elements it entails. This creates the possibility of seeing off the wall variations of familiar characters, such as an evil Iron Man, the Maestro version of The Hulk or Capwolf! Lovecraftian monsters such as Shuma-Gorath could definitely make an appearance, as well.
Another medium for these weird what-ifs will be Marvel’s What If? Featuring alternate reality stories that change specific elements of the Marvel Universe, one notable series that it’s hinted at adapting is Marvel Zombies. With so many fan favorite characters now retired or even dead, what better time to see them undead?
Marvel’s also using the absence of teams like the Avengers to push lesser known properties such as Eternals. One of several powerful hidden races in the Marvel Universe, The Eternals operate on a typically cosmic level. By putting this larger-than-life franchise on the big screen, Marvel may be able to rectify not doing so with the reviled TV show adaptation of The Inhumans. Instead of being hamstrung by marginal creativity and an even lower budget, Eternals can bring to life all that Jack Kirby envisioned for the concept.
The best part of all of this is that fans will be able to see avenues of the Marvel Universe that have never been glimpsed outside of the comics. As new characters are introduced to the general audience in Phase Four, the legacy of existing ones is expanded beyond their current status quo. Let’s just hope that Heroes Reborn isn’t one of the universes visited…