Phase 2 is over, long live phase 3! But here at Third Act Film, we can’t help ourselves from speculating. We’re that old lady at the end of road putting our nose into other people’s business; we know this. So, let’s point our canes and shout loudly at children and discuss Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Let’s Commence: Phase 1 and 2

Before we start predicting which films are going to happen let’s figure out a good number to start with. A number of films that’ll probably occur in Phase 4. Let’s take a look at the previous phases:


Phase 1:
Iron Man (2008),
The Incredible Hulk (2008),
Iron Man 2 (2010),
Thor (2011),
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011),
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Phase 2:
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),
Ant-Man (2015)

Phase 3:
Captain America: Civil War (2016),
Doctor Strange (2016),
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017),
Untitled Spider-Man film (2017),
Thor: Ragnarok (2017),
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 (2018),
Black Panther (2018),
Captain Marvel (2018),
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 (2019),
Inhumans (2019)


Now, that’s a lot of films. Okay, so we have six films for Phase 1 and 2. Phase 1 works out as just over one film a year with six films over five years. Phase 2 works out as being two films a year with six films released in three years.Ten films planned for Phase 3 in four years making it just over two films a year. Using that knowledge, it would be a fair assumption that they’d want to do more films and release them more often. The three-to-four year gap also seems to work strong for them.

If we up the total films to twelve films for Phase 4 with three films released a year over the course of four years gives us our estimates.


Phase 4:
Untitled Project #1 (2020),
Untitled Project #2 (2020),
Untitled Project #3 (2020),
Untitled Project #4 (2021),
Untitled Project #5 (2021),
Untitled Project #6 (2021),
Untitled Project #7 (2022),
Untitled Project #8 (2022),
Untitled Project #9 (2022),
Untitled Project #10 (2023),
Untitled Project #11 (2023),
Untitled Project #12 (2023)


Marvel’s Phase 4 Release Dates Prediction

Avengers Assemble?

Okay, we have a rough idea of release dates (not exact dates, we’ll get to that later), now we need to attempt to fill in the blanks. A constant between each Phase is Avengers films, they appear toward the end of the Phase but not necessarily the last film; with Phase 2 and 3 not having Avengers a the final film. So we can surmise that the second from last film would be an Avengers movie. The Avengers films make a lot of money with both titles making over $1 billion, for Phase 3 they want to double that income by splitting the film into two. For Phase 4 we can expect the same to occur, especially when they get the nearly $3 billion paycheck from the Avengers: Infinity War.

As they film the two parts at the same time, we could see the two films released in quick succession. A year gap seems to be popular when it comes to splitting films, so we’ll assume Marvel will do the same. Phase 4 is shaping up:


Phase 4:
Untitled Project #1 (2020),
Untitled Project #2 (2020),
Untitled Project #3 (2020),
Untitled Project #4 (2021),
Untitled Project #5 (2021),
Untitled Project #6 (2021),
Untitled Project #7 (2022),
Avengers: Untitled – Part 1 (2022),
Untitled Project #9 (2022),
Untitled Project #10 (2023),
Avengers: Untitled – Part 2 (2023),
Untitled Project #12 (2023)


Marvel’s Phase 4 Release Dates Prediction

Sequels

A common thread between the three announced Phases is that they all have a sequel within them of one of the popular solo ventures. Phase 2 and 3 also don’t have a the same sequel franchise repeated, so there isn’t two Iron Man films in the same Phase for instances.

In Phase 3, there is always one sequel per year with the remainder being either new properties or sequels. The products that already had sequels, have no reason not to continue having sequels so that allows us to add in: Iron Man 4, Captain America 4, Thor 4 (awkward to say) and Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol.) 3.


Phase 4:
Iron Man 4 (2020),
Untitled Project #2 (2020),
Untitled Project #3 (2020),
Captain America 4 (2021),
Untitled Project #5 (2021),
Untitled Project #6 (2021),
Thor 4 (2022),
Avengers: Untitled – Part 1 (2022),
Untitled Project #9 (2022),
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (2023),
Avengers: Untitled – Part 2 (2023),
Untitled Project #12 (2023)


Now, the absences of an Iron Man 4 already in Phase 3 may put doubt on this sequel idea. Perhaps one of Marvel’s rules are not to go higher than three films with one character. After doing their own trilogy they’re relegated to cameos in the other heroes films like Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. However, with Iron Man being the only evidence for that and Disney/Marvel love for making money it would silly not to do a sequel for all these popular franchises.

Marvel’s Phase 4 Release Dates Prediction

Solo Films (and their sequels)

Now we’re getting somewhere. How about the solo films from Phase 3, would they be owed sequels? I reckon so. However, out of the original twelve slots, we’re left with only six slots left. As agreed upon, Marvel has had one sequel from an existing property per year. With Phase 3 they have also had a new Marvel property per year.

With the six slots remaining, if a new hero is introduced once every year for four years that leaves us with only two slots left to be sequels for Phase 3 introduced films. Plus you still have little ol’ Ant-Man and Incredible Hulk waiting for sequels from Phase 2 and 1 respectively. This is getting crowded already. Let’s add in another year. Making it a total of fifteen films, still at three films a year.

So five years for Phase 4, a sequel a year (including Avengers) takes up six spots leaving nine. If five new heroes are introduced (one new hero a year), then we have four slots left for sequels of the successful solo films of the past. Just by going with the oldest first, the four new sequels would be: The Hulk, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man. Time to update!


Phase 4:
Iron Man 4 (2020),
The Hulk 2 (2020),
New Hero #1 (2020),
Captain America 4 (2021),
Ant-Man 2 (2021),
New Hero #2 (2021),
Thor 4 (2022),
Doctor Strange 2 (2022),
New Hero #3 (2022),
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (2023),
Avengers: Untitled – Part 1 (2023),
New Hero #4 (2023),
Spider-Man 2 (2024),
Avengers: Untitled – Part 2 (2024),
New Hero #5 (2024)


Now it’s really shaping up.

Marvel’s Phase 4 Release Dates Prediction

Actual Release Dates

Now it’s time to get serious. Lets attempt to guess the release dates of each property. Now, to look forward you must look to the past (said some old wise man), the release dates do follow a pattern. I’m going by the U.S. release dates, typically the release dates in the UK are a week before but I don’t want to end up confusing things.

For my predictions, I also will assume a Friday release.


Phase 1
Iron Man (May 2, 2008)
The Incredible Hulk (June 13, 2008)
Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010)
Thor (May 6, 2011)
Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22, 2011)
Marvel’s The Avengers (May 4, 2012)

Phase 2
Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013)
Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015)
Ant-Man (July 17, 2015)

Phase 3
Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017)
Untitled Spider-Man film (July 28, 2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017)
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 (May 4, 2018)
Black Panther (July 6, 2018)
Captain Marvel (November 2, 2018)
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 (May 3, 2019)
Inhumans (July 12, 2019)


Phase 3 has the most interesting release dates which follow a pattern; May, July and then November. Between all 3 phases, there is always a Marvel film released the first week of May. The same applies to the November release dates. The July releases go from the 3rd week, to the 4th week to the 1st week to the 2nd week, following this pattern we could expect the following two July dates to be the 3rd and the 4th week and then after start back to the 1st week.

Another insight, 2019 has a release for May, July but not November as the Phase ends. To keep in trend of the May, July and November releases, there must be a November release which kick-starts Phase 4. Now, deciding what film will be the 2019 release is a tough one. They could follow the trend and start with a known popular property like Iron Man or Captain America, but in the same year they have already had Avengers: Infinity War which will no doubt make them a killing. They could allow a new property to kick-start the Phase, or they could have a sequel to one of the newer heroes.

I think they’ll have a sequel to a newer hero to start of the Phase, like Ant-Man, this allows there to be more sequels to the other newer franchises such as Black Panther. It still leaves Captain Marvel forgotten and without a sequel, but I may have a solution to that later.


Phase 4
Ant-Man 2 (November 1, 2019)
Iron Man 4 (May 1, 2020)
The Hulk 2 (2020) July 3rd week
New Hero #1 (November 6, 2020)
Captain America 4 (May 7, 2021)
Doctor Strange 2 (2021) July 4th week
New Hero #2 (November 5, 2021)
Thor 4 (May 6, 2022)
Spider-Man 2 (2022) July 1st week
New Hero #3 (November 4, 2022)
Guardians of the Galaxy 3(May 5, 2023)
Avengers: Untitled – Part 1 (2023) July 2nd week
New Hero #4 (November 3, 2023)
Black Panther 2 (May 3, 2024)
Avengers: Untitled – Part 2 (2024) July 3rd week
New Hero #5 (November 1, 2024)


Marvel’s Phase 4 Release Dates Prediction

A little housekeeping

Okay, we’re pretty much done. Just a little housekeeping. We have a few issues, such as sequels to the newly introduced heroes in Phase 3, primarily Captain Marvel. The other issue is that with the suggested layout there is massive gaps between sequels. Black Panther 2, according to my prediction, is due for a 2024 release date with the first film being release 2018 that makes a six-year gap between films. I can propose a solution: crossover events.

Just like they’re doing with Captain America: Civil War by having Iron Man and the majority of the Avengers cast involved also. I can imagine many of the films featuring cameos and possible versus titles like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice over at the DC Cinematic Universe. For instance, I can imagine Captain Marvel’s story line linking in with the Guardians of the Galaxy story line. Making the third Guardians of the Galaxy film a crossover event, which means more money in the bank for Disney/Marvel. You could also expect the gaps between sequels to be buffered by having appearances from those heroes in other films. With the Black Panther gap of six years, you could imagine him making an appearance after three years in Captain America 4 for example.

The other thing I’ve missed out, intentionally, is the heroes that’ll feature in the New Hero films. I will get to this in a separate post.


Okay, here is my final prediction for Phase 4:

Ant-Man 2 (November 1, 2019)
Iron Man 4/Spider-Man Crossover Event (May 1, 2020)
The Hulk 2/Thor Crossover Event (July 17, 2020)
New Hero #1 (November 6, 2020)
Captain America 4/Black Panther Crossover Event (May 7, 2021)
Doctor Strange 2 (July 30, 2021)
New Hero #2 (November 5, 2021)
Thor 4 (May 6, 2022)
Spider-Man 2 (July 1, 2022)
New Hero #3 (November 4, 2022)
Guardians of the Galaxy 3/Captain Marvel Crossover Event (May 5, 2023)
Avengers: Untitled – Part 1 (July 14, 2023)
New Hero #4 (November 3, 2023)
Black Panther 2 (May 3, 2024)
Avengers: Untitled – Part 2 (July 19th, 2024)
New Hero #5 (November 1, 2024)


What do you think? Do you think I’m right? What do you think will be the Phase 4 films?