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Marvel Phase 4: Mahershala Ali is Blade, Natalie Portman returns, and more

You didn’t think that Avengers: Endgame was really the end, did you? At Comic-Con International 2019, Marvel Studios finally shared what’s coming in its highly anticipated fourth phase, offering details on a whopping 10 projects for 2020 and 2021, and giving some very intriguing hints as to what the future holds.

Phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins on May 1, 2020 with Black Widow, a prequel starring Scarlett Johansson as the MCU’s premiere superspy and Florence Pugh as fellow assassin Yelena Belova. Taskmaster, a mercenary with the ability to copy any opponent’s fighting style, will be the villain.

Black Widow will be followed by The Eternals on November 6, 2020. Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden leads an all-star cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, and more. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is next, starring relative unknown Simu Liu as the titular martial artist, Awkwafina, and Tony Leung as the Mandarin (the real one, this time). Shang-Chi premieres on February 12, 2021.

A couple of familiar faces are up next. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives on May 7, 2021, and will team Benedict Cumberbatch’s magical superhero with the Scarlet Witch. On November 5, 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters. Not only will Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson return as Thor and Valkyrie, respectively, but in one of Comic-Con’s biggest surprises, Marvel announced that Natalie Portman will rejoin the franchise as Jane Foster, who will become a new, female Thor.

Marvel also shared more details about its upcoming Disney+ series: Loki, WandaVision, Falcon and Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, WandaVision, and What If…?. Notably, Marvel confirmed that Loki will follow the version of the character who ran off with the Tesseract in Endgame, and announced that Falcon and Winter Soldier‘s villain will be Baron Zemo, who we last saw in Civil War. WandaVision will tie into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and will include a grown-up version of Captain Marvel‘s Monica Rambeau as a member of the cast.

Finally, Marvel closed out its panel by announcing a Blade reboot starring Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali, set to launch sometime after 2021. Blade will actually be Ali’s second MCU role: The actor also played Cottonmouth on the first season of Netflix’s Luke Cage.

Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige also confirmed that Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are also on the way, although he didn’t offer any release dates. Oh, and what about the Fantastic Four and the X-Men? With all of the other news, Marvel simply didn’t have time to talk about them, Feige teased. In other words: They’re coming. Oh boy, are they coming.

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Chris Gates
Christopher Gates lives in Los Angeles, CA and writes about movies, TV, video games, and other pop culture curiosities. In…
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