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Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 revealed: Thor, Shang-Chi, Blade, and more

By Team GameAxis - 23 Jul 2019

2021 - Shang-Chi, WandaVision, Doctor Strange, Loki, What If...?, Hawkeye & Thor

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – February 12, 2021

Shang-Chi! First off, Simu Liu of Kim’s Convenience fame will be the titular hero. It’s splendid casting and in fact, began with Simu Liu taking to Twitter to ask for the part. 

This movie will also see the real Mandarin’s debut in the MCU, played by Tony Leung. We did have Mandarin previously played by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3, but of course that didn’t really turn out to be everything we hoped. In Marvel’s short All Hail the King, it was revealed that The Mandarin was alive and well, and not at all happy with actor Trevor Slattery’s shenanigans in Iron Man 3 under his name. 

We’ll definitely be seeing the Mandarin in full force here, possibly having a more familial connection with Shang Chi than usual. This is due to the Shang Chi originally being more closely related to the villain Fu Manchu, whose racial connotations haven’t quite aged well today. 

Awkwafina will also be in the movie in some capacity, and Destin Daniel Cretton will be in the director’s seat here. I expect the Mandarin’s ten rings to be the movie’s focal point. Each of these rings were alien in origin and gave the Mandarin a specific ability — the easiest McGuffin a movie writer could ask for. 

 

WandaVision – Spring, 2021

Alright, now this… is going to be interesting. Set aside for a moment that Vision is completely, utterly dead. Set aside that this TV show is set in a post-Endgame Marvel universe. You can even set aside that the series is set to tie into the next Doctor Strange movie, for reasons I’ll explain in a bit. 

The most exciting thing about this show is the comic book it’s almost certainly based on. That is Tom King’s Vision, a comic that was so bizarre and so strange, and exceptionally well made. From Paul Bettany to Elizabeth Olsen, everyone on stage during the reveal kept stressing how weird and strange the series was going to be, and that just tells me they’re pulling from this particular Vision comic, the one that has defined the character to this day. 

In the comic, Vision and Scarlet Witch have broken up, and the poor android in his incapability to register human feelings properly, decides to create an android family of his own complete with a robot dog. They move to the suburbs, settle down, and then the bloodshed begins. Everything goes wrong almost immediately, and it all turns into a high stakes thriller very quickly. 

Obviously the series won’t follow this storyline to a tee, but I think if Vision ever comes back without the Mind Stone, he’s going to come back a little wrong. Wanda is probably going to struggle with this new, different version of the Vision, and they’ll have to deal with the changes together. If they do this right and pull from that comic, this could be the best thing Marvel has ever done. Period. 

 

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – May 7, 2021

WandaVision won’t be Scarlet Witch’s last appearance in the MCU. No sir, she’s sharing the big screen very soon in Doctor Strange’s next big outing. With such a great title, I might not even need more details. I’m already sold just based on that and the Scarlet Witch team up. 

Some more information was released on the movie too, though. Scott Derrickson will be returning to helm the movie, and described it as the MCU’s first horror film. That makes sense, considering his horror roots go all the way back to Sinister. As harrowing as that film was (the lawnmower!), I expect this movie to be have an added mind-bending twist to it. I mean, it is called the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange will face off against Nightmare, the terrifying ruler of an entire dream dimension. Think Freddy Krueger – but much, much worse. The movie will also tie into WandaVision, which makes it one of the few movies to actually acknowledge the MCU’s many television shows. We’ll likely see Baron Mordo return as well, considering his villainous turn was teased back in the first Doctor Strange

 

Loki – Spring, 2021

Marvel MCU Loki

Loki? But… he’s dead, isn’t he? Well yes, but actually no. See, we’re not following the Loki who died at the hands of Thanos in Infinity War. We’re following the Loki that escaped with an Infinity Stone in Avengers: Endgame. The logistics of all that is a bit confusing. For example, if he escaped in Avengers, how would he have been imprisoned during the events of Thor: The Dark World?

It’s all a bit murky, but we’ll definitely be following the adventures of Loki after he escaped with the Infinity Stone in Endgame. Knowing him, he would’ve gotten into heaps of mischief and wiggled his way out of it all somehow. Tom Hiddleston will return as Loki, but who knows? Maybe it’ll be animated, and that’s how they’ll get past how high budget it would have to be. 

 

What If…? – Summer, 2021

One of the most exciting announced at SDCC 2019 was What If…? This animated series will be based on one of Marvel’s best comic books, the What If…? series, dealing with many different alternate Marvel events. For example, What If Spider-Man Joined the Fantastic Four?

Jeffrey Wright will voice Uatu, or the Watcher. The Watchers do exactly that, they watch. They are an extraterrestrial race of cosmic beings that simply observe the development of the universe as a whole, and Uatu the Watcher is assigned to our solar system. A massive amount of the MCU’s biggest names will also be returning for the show, including Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Josh Brolin, Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Rudd and much more. 

The first episode will center around “what if Peggy Carter got the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers”. The show will just snowball from there, definitely going into much weirder and stranger ideas. Having it be animated was a brilliant idea, because now they can get a whole bunch of big names do big things with very little time commitment. 

 

Hawkeye – Fall, 2021

Hawkeye, everyone’s favourite underpowered Avenger, is getting his own TV show! This series will explore his time as Ronin before Endgame, but will also see him tutor the next Hawkeye: Kate Bishop!

Kate Bishop was Clint Barton’s successor in the comics during Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run. Although don’t tell him, because he’s still very much sporting the purple bow and arrow to this day. It’s a widely celebrated run, due to it being incredibly well written and sporting a distinctive art style. 

As a result, Kate Bishop has become hugely popular, even going on to lead her own team of Avengers recently, the West Coast Avengers. The series will deal with Clint raising the next generation of hero Rocky/Creed-style. That could mean big things for Hawkeye’s future in the MCU, due to his personal familial commitments. 

 

Thor: Love and Thunder – November 5, 2021

What a fantastic name. Years ago, Thor: Ragnarok breathed new life into the character and the franchise as a whole, revitalizing both Marvel and Chris Hemsworth’s interest in the God of Thunder. This new outing aims to do more brand new things for the franchise, one of the more controversial things being to introduce Female Thor. 

In the comics, this would be Jane Foster, who became cancer-ridden and getting the hammer when the original Thor became unworthy. While Thor went off on his own gritty journey to become worthy again (and find out why he ever stopped being worthy in the first place), Jane stepped in to be the new Thor. 

She was plastered everywhere for quite a while, being a new Avenger, a new Thor, a new everything, everywhere. It was quite a celebrated time for the character as well, as she got many great stories. Currently, Jane has gone from being Thor to becoming Queen of the Valkyries while Thor has become King Thor, but that’s comics for you.

The big twist in all this is that Natalie Portman will be making her triumphant return to the MCU as Jane Foster, and she’ll be the new Thor. Personally, I’m as surprised as the next guy, but a little disappointed as Jane has always been a terribly bland character in the movies. 

I trust Taika Waititi though, as he’s returning to helm the movie, to make the character as fresh and exciting again as he did with Thor. Tessa Thompson will also be returning as Valkyrie, and confirmed that we might be seeing the more LGBT friendly elements of the character in this sequel. It’s a lot to take in, but where’s my main man Hulk? Poor big green dummy.