Marvel Studios officially announces that the end of Phase 4 will be Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, with Phase 5 then beginning in 2023. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will officially be the end of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios kicked off its post-Infinity Saga storytelling in 2021 after many delays to projects caused by COVID-19, with WandaVision serving as the first entry in Phase 4. The movie side of Marvel’s plans kicked off with Black Widow in May 2021, which became the first year that four MCU movies were released in a single year. 2022 has already seen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder debut as well.
One of the big questions lingering over the MCU, though, has been when exactly Phase 4 ends and Phase 5 begins. When Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios originally announced new projects at SDCC 2019, it was said that the Phase 4 slate was only two years long. However, Marvel Studios continued to announce new projects with release dates in theaters and on Disney+, which created the belief that the slate had expanded. Movies like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Marvels releasing in 2023, as well as upcoming films like Fantastic Four were widely assumed to be part of Phase 4 too.
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MCU Phase 4 Is Bad? Blame Avengers: Endgame Many have criticized the MCU’s Phase 4 for lacking a clear direction. The reason lies with Avengers: Endgame, which posed too great a challenge. Avengers: Endgame is the reason the MCU’s Phase 4 feels so disconnected. The MCU’s phased approach is loosely inspired by the comic book “Civil War” event. Each Phase features a major event, that serves as the launchpad for everything that follows. Phase 2 explored the direct consequences of The Avengers, with each hero’s life transformed after the Battle of New York; the destruction of Sokovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron ultimately led to the passing of the Sokovia Accords, which drove the narrative of Phase 3.
Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were undoubtedly the most spectacular events in the MCU to date. Thanos erased half the living creatures in the universe, and it took the Avengers five years to find a way to reverse it. According to Marvel producer Richie Palmer, those events drive the story of Phase 4. “Phase Four is all a reaction,” he explained, “and I don’t mean on our part as filmmakers, I mean the characters…It’s a reaction to the trauma of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. We’re still feeling those effects in these movies years later.” Ironically, in the case of Phase 4, the approach doesn’t seem to have been quite so successful, with many complaining the MCU has lost its sense of narrative momentum. The core problem is that Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame operated on too great a scale, and involved too many characters, for the arc to be a simple one. It feels rather more disjointed, simply because there are so many different ideas to explore.
Marvel Studios Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, it was officially announced that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the final project of MCU Phase 4. The movie is one of two upcoming MCU Phase 4 projects yet to be released, with She-Hulk becoming the final Disney+ Phase 4 show.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ending Phase 4 in 2022, it means that the first Phase in the Multiverse Saga lasted less than two years. Black Panther 2 will be the seventh and final movie of Phase 4, while it also becomes the 16th MCU Phase 4 project overall. It now gives the anticipated sequel an even bigger importance in the overall Marvel slate. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the movie brings back Shuri, Okoye, M’Baku, Nakia, and others. The Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer even showed the first look at Namor and Ironheart’s MCU debuts, which sets up them becoming bigger characters in Phases 5 and 6.