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Everything We Can Expect In Marvel Phase 5

Although the MCU's "Infinity Saga" came to a close as it brought its wide collection of heroes together to face off against Thanos (Josh Brolin) for the fate of the universe, the cinematic story of Earth's Mightiest Heroes continues toward a new era and equally dangerous threat. Phase 4 of the MCU not only tackled some of the lingering feelings and story threads from those who were lost during the fight against Thanos, but also saw some big changes and additions to the hero roster. With the MCU making the big jump to the small screen in Phase 4, there were even more stories and characters fleshed out in a post-"Endgame" world. 

Along with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) becoming the new Captain America and Black Panther respectively, there were plenty of new heroes introduced during Phase 4. From prominent young heroes like Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) to once "low-tier" Marvel heroes like Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), The Eternals, and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) getting the spotlight, Phase 4 has seen the MCU take a big shift. Now, with "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" being the last film of Phase 4, the MCU is ready to shift into Phase 5 with the upcoming "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." So it's worth looking into what to expect with Phase 5, as the MCU goes deeper into the multiverse. 

The Multiverse Saga begins ... for real this time

While Phase 4 might be a part of the "Multiverse Saga" that encompasses Phases 4 through 6, there hasn't been much that's actually touched on the multiverse yet in the MCU. Sure, it might have been a core element of films and shows like "Spider-Man: No Way Home," "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," and "Loki," but it's rarely been touched on in anything else. Now, however, with Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) being formally introduced in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and starting to have a looming presence within the MCU, the Multiverse Saga can really start to live up to its name. 

Although Kang's plans have yet to be revealed, if we're going by the comics, then it's likely that he's building a multiversal army made up of soldiers that basically look like himself. Based on the first "Quantumania" trailer, it seems like Kang is going to task Ant-Man with some kind of mission that could easily work toward that goal. Plus his presence was teased at the end of the first season of "Loki," so it's possible that we'll get more multiverse storylines there as well. Outside of "Quantumania" and "Loki," there are plenty of opportunities for more multiverse moments as multiple Marvel heroines come together, the Guardians continue to explore the Marvel cosmos, and Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) delves deeper into her dark mysticism. 

Kang rises as a Thanos-level threat

There's been a lot of talk about Kang the Conqueror being the MCU's next big baddie, and given what's coming up, that seems to be the case. In Phase 6, "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" will likely see Kang take on the MCU's mightiest heroes in a huge cinematic brawl. While he didn't have much of a role in Phase 4, only being referenced in "Loki" through He Who Remains (also played by Jonathan Majors), he's set to make a big on-screen debut in Phase 5. 

Currently, Kang will make an initial appearance in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" and then likely have a big presence in Season 2 of "Loki," since he was heavily teased in the season finale. Outside of that, it's tough to say where Kang will appear next, but with films like "The Marvels" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" further exploring the Marvel cosmos, it's certainly possible that more characters will start to interact with Kang. Phase 4 might have simply hinted at Kang the Conqueror, but Phase 5 will really plant the seeds for him to become the MCU's next big threat and start to see his bigger plan unfold. 

Ant-Man and The Wasp explore the Quantum Realm

"Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," the first entry in Phase 5, hits theaters this coming February. Its group of size-shifting heroes will not only be joined by Scott Lang's (Paul Rudd) daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton) — who is now older because of The Snap and will likely become a hero like her father — but will traverse the Quantum Realm to interact with some strange and dangerous new entities. 

As noted earlier, Ant-Man and company will run into Kang at some point, but details about what the rest of "Quantumania" entails have been pretty scarce. It's certainly going to be a big film in terms of both establishing the multiverse and Kang as a prominent MCU villain, but he's not going to be the only nemesis around. As stated in the trailer, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) has been harboring some secrets about her time in the Quantum Realm and could be facing some old enemies, which might pave the way for Bill Murray's secret villain role. There are also rumors circulating about MODOK making his MCU debut in "Quantumania" as well, so it seems like Ant-Man and The Wasp's (Evangeline Lilly) latest voyage to the Quantum Realm will not only bring fans into another new world in the MCU, but also bring a bevy of new villains. 

Secret Invasion happens on the small screen

Marvel's "Secret Invasion" is easily one of the biggest series coming to Disney+ in 2023 and should deliver some solid conspiracy thrills, which is only fitting for an adaptation of one of Marvel's most iconic storylines. For the first time in the MCU, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will assume a leading role as he deals with a rebel sect of Skrulls led by the mysterious Gravik (Kingsley Ben-Adir), as they infiltrate different parts of humanity. 

Along with Jackson reprising his role as Fury, Colbie Smulders, Martin Freeman, Ben Mendelsohn, and Don Cheadle will return as Maria Hill, Emmett Ross, Talos, and James "Rhodey" Rhodes/War Machine respectively. "Secret Invasion" could have a strong impact on the MCU going forward, with some major revelations likely of who Gravik's Skrull rebels have been posing as and what his master plan is. The series will also introduce new characters played by Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, and Christopher McDonald, who might impact not just the series, but the wider MCU going forward. The Marvel universe is facing its own alien invasion — who knows what kind of chaos it could bring? 

The Guardians have one last dance

After delivering a fun and funny holiday special, James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy are set to deliver their third and final adventure together on the big screen with the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3." As they continue to go on misadventures to protect the galaxy, they find themselves in a fight to protect one of their own while dealing with new friends and foes. Although there haven't been many details fleshed out for the latest Guardians adventure, the latest teaser trailer actually gave us a lot to chew on. 

With the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) as the film's main villain and Lyla, an anthropomorphic otter friend of Rocket's, clearly seen hugging the talking raccoon in the trailer, it's safe to say that "Vol. 3" will likely focus more on Rocket's origins and see him collide with the High Evolutionary, who created him. The film will also introduce Adam Warlock (Will Poulter), who plays a major role in Marvel lore and will likely be one of the most powerful entities in the MCU. More importantly, this will likely be the last time we see this Guardians team all together. Dave Bautista has publicly said that this is his last "Guardians" film, so there will likely be some kind of send-off for Drax. And with Gamora (Zoe Saldana) now leading the Ravagers, who knows where everyone will land by the end of "Vol. 3." 

Echo gets her big series spotlight

Echo (Alaqua Cox) made her debut back in "Hawkeye," where she acted as a minor antagonist for Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and confronted her adoptive father Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio). Now she's set to star in her own series on Disney+ that will continue to flesh out her character and see her start to rise as a new hero in the MCU. While fans are still eagerly awaiting their first look at the upcoming series, there are already some details we know about the show. including the return of two fan-favorite characters. 

The series will see Maya Lopez/Echo return to her Oklahoma hometown to not only confront her past and reconnect with her Native American roots, but also find new inspiration as Kingpin's shadow looms over her. Along with D'Onofrio returning as Kingpin, which will be pretty interesting to see considering the final blow Maya dealt to him in the finale of "Hawkeye," Charlie Cox is also set to reprise his role as Matthew Murdock/Daredevil. With the MCU's roster of young heroes quickly growing, Echo could easily be a strong candidate for a Young Avengers team, if one ever forms. 

Loki and the TVA return ... in a new universe

"Loki" is the first MCU show on Disney+ to get a second season, and it's set to return in Phase 5 with the titular God of Mischief getting into more multiverse hijinks. The series will pick up after Sylvie's (Sophia Di Martino) hasty decision to kill He Who Remains, forever altering the timelines and sending Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back to a Time Variance Authority where a variant of He Who Remains now rules. Along with Hiddleston and Di Martino, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wumni Mosaku, and more will be returning from the first season, alongside some new additions, including "Everything Everywhere All at Once" star Ke Huy Quan and Rafael Casal from "Blindspotting."

Not much is known about what Loki's next adventure has in store, but there's plenty to theorize about given the state of how things ended. With the final few episodes seeing Loki interact with more variants of himself, the series should delve deeper into the multiverse. If Season 2 of "Loki" can match the same energy and ambition of the first season, then MCU fans are definitely in for a treat. With Kang's presence being clear already. it'll likely play an important role in building towards some of the big conflicts in Phase 6.

Is Loki going back to the main timeline?

Although Loki died back at the beginning of "Avengers: Infinity War" when Thanos crushed the life out of him, he's been alive and thriving in a separate timeline during the "Loki" series. However, with the MCU now starting to directly tackle the multiverse, it's worth wondering if there's an opening for Loki to return to the main timeline at some point during Phase 5. Without knowing the full details of Season 2 of "Loki," it's tough to say at the moment, but there's certainly enough reason to believe that it's possible. 

Aside from Doctor Strange, America Chavez, and maybe Ant-Man and The Wasp by the end of "Quantumania," Loki is actually one of the most experienced MCU characters in traveling through the multiverse and could be a vital asset in fighting against Kang. If Loki does eventually return to the main timeline, it could be a surprise saved for Phase 6, but it wouldn't be surprising to see something teased at the end of "Loki" that could hint at that. Plus the reactions from the MCU alum seeing Loki back would be priceless. 

A trio of Marvels collide

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) has made a few small appearances throughout Phase 4, but is gearing up for a big cinematic return in the upcoming "The Marvels," which will see her star alongside two rising forces in Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Kamala Kahn/Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani). "The Marvels" is not only going to be a pivotal Phase 5 film because it sees these three heroes coming together for the first time, but also because it'll likely tackle some of the biggest hanging story threads currently in the MCU. 

The last time we saw Monica was when she suddenly gained powers at the end of "WandaVision." Her return will likely see her getting to fully utilize these new abilities in battle, while also maybe becoming known as either Photon or Spectrum like in the comics. As for Ms. Marvel and Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, the film will likely tackle the reason why they switched places at the end of "Ms. Marvel," and it's going to be pretty amazing to watch Kamala meet her childhood hero. There aren't many plot details to delve into at the moment, and in terms of villains, all we know is that Zawe Ashton from "Velvet Buzzsaw" has been cast as an unknown villain. Surely fans are eagerly awaiting to see this trio of Marvels collide. 

Blade slashes his way into the MCU

Although Marvel Studios has faced some production obstacles with its upcoming reboot of "Blade," the film is still set to be a part of Phase 5 and will now act as its finale. The film will see Mahershala Ali step into the big shoes of Wesley Snipes' performance as the titular vampire hunter. New director Yann Demange recently stepped in to helm the film after Bassam Tariq's sudden exit, while bringing on a new writer in Michael Starrbury to help pen a fresh script.

Thanks to director Chloe Zhao confirming it, we now know that Blade was teased in the post-credits scene of "Eternals," meaning that Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) could also show up in "Blade" somewhere and possibly become his alter ego Black Knight. The MCU has teased Marvel's horror lineage throughout Phase 4, but Blade will likely be one of the MCU's most horror-tinged projects to date, with all the bloodshed that comes with Blade slashing and blasting through vampires. Although Phase 4 introduced plenty of heroes, none are as highly anticipated or beloved by fans as "Blade," which should easily be one of the most eagerly awaited debuts in Phase 5. 

Marvel's horror heroes collide?

As said before, Phase 4 touched on Marvel's horror-themed heroes, like Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac) and Werewolf by Night (Gael Garcia Bernal), and Phase 5 will now formally introduce Blade into the MCU. So is it possible that we'll start to see this horror corner of the MCU start to collide? It's not totally out of the realm of possibility, since these characters do match each other's tone well and could easily form their own section of MCU lore. 

At the moment, the MCU's horror side has more or less been its own offshoot — compared to other things happening in the franchise — and it's not clear where exactly certain characters could fit into the MCU's future. Since the end of "Moon Knight," the biggest question has been whether we would see the titular hero again, only for Isaac to promise that Moon Knight's time in the MCU is far from over. We haven't seen any hints since, and the placement of "Werewolf By Night" in the MCU is definitely a big mystery since it doesn't feel like anyone is going to fight werewolves any time soon. Blade's introduction could offer a tentpole for all of Marvel's horror-themed heroes and villains to work around, and perhaps even lead to the long-awaited introductions of characters like Ghost Rider and Mephisto as well.

Ironheart gets a proper debut

While showing Shuri's transformation into the new Black Panther, "Wakanda Forever" also introduced another promising young hero in Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), who will eventually become Ironheart. It wasn't exactly a grand introduction: while she does get a suit to fly around in and Thorne does kill it in the role, she acts more like a plot device in the film and doesn't exactly get enough of the spotlight to make her own impact. However, that's all set to change with the upcoming Disney+ series "Ironheart." 

The series will take place after the events of "Wakanda Forever" and will see Riri return to her hometown of Chicago to build a new suit and interact with a rising villain known as The Hood (Anthony Ramos). Aside from that, not much is known about what "Ironheart" will contain, but it'll very likely see Riri fully become her titular superhero persona. Perhaps Ironheart will play a key role in the formation of the Young Avengers — that's got to happen at some point with all these young heroes stepping into more prominent roles. 

Daredevil is born again

After multiple appearances throughout the MCU in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," "She-Hulk," and the upcoming series "Echo," Charlie Cox's Daredevil is finally ready to lead his own series again with the upcoming series "Daredevil: Born Again." The series will not only see Matthew Murdock (Charlie Cox) return to his role as protector of Hell's Kitchen, but also the return of Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin as his main opponent. With Daredevil already interacting with so many MCU characters and the series' hefty 18-episode order, there's a lot of potential for crossovers and cameos. 

With the series being a reboot of "Daredevil" rather than a continuation of the Netflix series, it's tough to say if many or any of the characters from that series will return or be recast, but it does open the door for characters that Daredevil has interacted with to appear. Characters like She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany), Echo, and even Spider-Man could easily make an appearance. Murdock appearing in "No Way Home" shows that the MCU isn't afraid to pair these two together, and Spider-Man fighting the Kingpin alongside Daredevil could be the perfect way to have Spidey finally interact with his well-known foe. Regardless if that happens or not, "Born Again" is easily one of Phase 5's most highly anticipated events and will bring a fan favorite back to life.

Old enemies resurface

The MCU is never afraid to bring back old enemies, but Phase 5 will see a lot of old villains rise again to take on new forms, cause more destruction, and even lead their own series. After all, Phase 4 saw the returns of Loki and Abomination (Tim Roth), and who could forget seeing Red Skull reappear back in "Infinity War" and "Endgame." Now though, Phase 5 sees a lot of old faces return with Agatha Harkness from "WandaVision" getting her chance in the spotlight with the upcoming Disney+ series, "Agatha: Coven of Chaos."

Plot details are currently under wraps for the series, which just added Aubrey Plaza as a villain, and it remains to be seen how the series and instant fan-favorite character will impact the MCU going forward. Meanwhile, a villain from 2008's "The Incredible Hulk" is also set to make a return in the MCU. Tim Blake Nelson's Samuel Sterns will follow his comic book storyline and become The Leader, which was teased in that film, in "Captain America: New World Order." "Thunderbolts" will also see a lot of old villains come together on a new team, including John Walker/U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), and Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen). 

Sam's first outing as Captain America

Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) will finally soar as the new Captain America in the upcoming "Captain America: New World Order," after he donned a new suit and shield in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier." The film will see Sam continue to traverse the world as Captain America and face off against a new threat in the form of The Leader. Other familiar faces from "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" will also return, including Danny Ramirez as Joaquin Torres and Carl Lumbly as Isaiah Bradley. 

The film will also be the first time that fans see Harrison Ford step into the role of Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross after William Hurt's sudden passing earlier this year, while introducing another new young heroine in Sabra (Shira Haas), a super-powered mutant from Israel. "The Cloverfield Paradox" director Julius Onah will be behind the camera for "Captain America: New World Order," which will likely feature some of the conspiracy thriller feel of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Fans of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" will definitely be looking forward to this one, which could be a promising start to Sam's tenure as Captain America in the MCU. 

The Thunderbolts come together

A new team is forming in the MCU and it's the Thunderbolts. Finally, after watching Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) pop up here and there to gradually build her team of ragtag heroes and villains, it seems like they're ready to take action with the upcoming "Thunderbolts" movie. The film will see the titular team made up of Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Red Guardian (David Harbour), Taskmaster, The Winter Soldier, Ghost, U.S. Agent, and Fontaine, led by Thunderbolt Ross, embark on a secret, dangerous mission together. 

Plot details have been kept under wraps, but the MCU has been building toward this team-up throughout Phase 4. It's pretty interesting that we'll get to see more of Taskmaster and Ghost, especially since we haven't seen the latter since "Ant-Man and the Wasp." More importantly, it'll give us the best glimpse yet of Harrison Ford's depiction of Ross, which could head in some intriguing directions if it leans towards the comics. While working within the Thunderbolts, Ross is usually seen in his Red Hulk form, so fans will eagerly wait to see if Red Hulk comes to fruition onscreen. With more than one Hulk running around nowadays, it's more possible than ever. 

The different directions of the MCU become clearer

To say that there's a lot going on in the MCU would be an understatement. From new heroes cropping up left and right to some fan favorites taking on new roles in a post-"Endgame" landscape, the many different story directions haven't made for a fully cohesive feel. Perhaps that's been the point, as there have been rumors (via The Direct) about the MCU splitting into different branches and storylines to focus on different themes and threats. It certainly feels that way at the moment, given all the different tones, potential story routes, and combinations we're seeing. 

With Blade's introduction in Phase 5, there's certainly potential for the more supernatural horror-themed characters to converge around him. Street-level warriors like Daredevil and earthbound teams like the Thunderbolts could end up fighting enemies closer to home, while cosmic heroes like Captain Marvel and the Guardians will face larger threats. Phase 5 might be part of the Multiverse Saga, but there are certainly different routes forming and big seeds being planted for future storylines within the larger framework, all of which should start to become a little clearer. 

Hints of Fantastic Four

As anticipated for quite some time, the MCU's long-awaited reboot of "Fantastic Four" is on the way. While the film won't debut until the start of Phase 6, it's very likely that we'll get our first hints and maybe a cameo from them sometime in Phase 5. At the moment, there are no plot details for "Fantastic Four" and there haven't been any casting announcements either for who will be playing both the titular foursome and their iconic nemesis, Doctor Doom. But it was confirmed recently that "WandaVision" director Matt Shakman will now be helming the film.

We've already seen one variant of Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards, in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," although there's no guarantee that this version (played by John Krasinski) will reappear again. Likewise, heavy rumors about Doctor Doom showing up in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" also proved false. It's tough to say where a cameo or subtle hint could happen going forward, but as production begins ramping up for the February 2025 film, the arrival of Marvel's First Family in the MCU will no doubt loom large over Phase 5.

Updates and loose threads

Phase 4 introduced plenty of new heroes and storylines, but also left some lingering questions about when we'll see specific characters again and if a certain "m" word being thrown around will have bigger implications going forward. Two main entities of interest are Shang-Chi and the Eternals, since they had big introductions but have uncertain futures in the MCU. With Shang-Chi's ending hinting that we will see the Ten Rings again, they're likely to show up somewhere soon. As for Shang-Chi himself, a second solo film is in development and it's likely he'll make an appearance outside of his own movies as well, just to feel more ingrained in the MCU. 

The same can be basically said for the Eternals, who last we saw are currently split, with one group trapped by Arishem The Judge and another in search for other Eternals. With more cosmic storylines in Phase 5, it's possible that they could show up for a hot second somewhere just to check in. The bigger question is whether Phase 5 will directly tackle all the talk of mutants that's been going on throughout Phase 4. We currently know that both Ms. Marvel and Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia) are the first major mutants introduced in the MCU. With the X-Men likely to appear after the Multiverse Saga, we're almost certainly going to hear more about them sooner rather than later.