All the MCU movie series still active as we head into Phase Five

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Avengers: Endgame shook up the MCU when it was released in 2019. Since then, multiple heroes have retired or died, depending on the hero, while many new heroes have been introduced in Phase Four. With Avengers: Secret Wars on the horizon, and as some of Marvel’s slate has not yet been revealed, let’s take a look at which franchises within the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be getting sequels in Phase Five or beyond. 

Thor

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The end of Thor: Love and Thunder set up a fifth Thor film in more than one way. First of all, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Love (India Rose Hemsworth) were paired up and could easily go on new adventures. Then, the post-credits scenes set up both Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) following her Valkyrie storyline from the comic books, as well as Hercules (Brett Goldstein) hunting down Thor for embarrassing Zeus (Russell Crowe). 

Hemsworth himself has said that he is taking a break from acting but if he were to film a fifth Thor movie, he would want it to go in a new direction. While this might point to Taika Waititi not helming a fifth project, it certainly leaves the door open for Thor 5. There are still movies sitting unannounced on Marvel’s slate, so this certainly could be one of them. 

Captain America

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During the events of Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) took up the mantle of Captain America. After the Disney Plus series was released, it was announced that Mackie would be starring as Captain America in the fourth film in the franchise, Captain America: New World Order. The film will be directed by Julius Onah, and it is slated to release on May 3, 2024. 

It is also worth mentioning that while the MCU did kill Black Widow and Iron Man, they did not kill Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), the original Captain America. There is a slight chance that he could come back by the time we reach Avengers: Secret Wars, either by traveling in time or descending back to the Earth from his time on the moon. But either way, the Captain America franchise is still active going into Phase Five.

Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
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Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) had a solo film in Phase Four with the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Not only did he not die at the end of the film, but it actively set up another movie, with Clea (Charlize Theron) appearing in a post-credits scene.

While no third Doctor Strange film has been announced yet, it is most likely a safe bet, especially as they seem to be setting up Doctor Strange as one of the figureheads in the MCU. This is because he has appeared in other projects like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Thor Ragnarok. So, the Doctor Strange series remains open, even though we have not gotten an announcement of Doctor Strange 3.

The Avengers

Avengers Endgame
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Even though we have not had an entry in the Avengers franchise since 2019, it has been confirmed that we will be getting at least two more Avengers films. Both Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars are confirmed to be a part of Marvel’s Phase Six lineup. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is set to release on May 2, 2025, whereas Avengers: Secret Wars is set to be released a year later on May 1, 2026.

It is very likely that the members of the Avengers in at least The Kang Dynasty will be vastly different from the Avengers in the first two films, as some are dead and some are retired. Even though we will be getting an all-new, all-different Avengers lineup, the Avengers franchise is definitely still active moving into Phase Five, even if we are not getting an entry until Phase Six.

Eternals

Makkari, Gilgamesh, Thena, Ikaris, Ajak, and Sersi in 'Eternals'
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The Eternals appeared in Eternals, which was directed by Chloe Zhao and released in 2021. The ancient space beings were first introduced in Phase Four and easter eggs from the film are all over the most recent MCU projects. While we have not gotten an official confirmation regarding a sequel to the Eternals or any of the Eternals appearing in another movie, the film’s ending was open-ended and suggested that they would return. It would seem unfortunate if the movie established the Celestials and the Eternals only for it not to get a follow-up, especially considering Sersi (Gemma Chan), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), and Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) were taken by the Celestial, Arishem. So, while we do not have confirmation of an Eternals 2, we can still mark the franchise as active.

Ant-Man

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This one might be the most obvious of all of the franchises here because Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the first film of the MCU’s Phase Five. The film is set to release on Feb. 17, 2023, and it will be the first film to feature Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror. It is unclear whether Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man will survive the film, so we might not get an Ant-Man 4. But there should be one shrinking hero remaining, as the franchise boasts three heroes, Ant-Man, The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), and the soon-to-be-introduced Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton). Either way, the Ant-Man series is still active going into Phase Five.

Guardians of the Galaxy

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We can be sure that the Guardians of the Galaxy series is active going into Phase Five, as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is one of the movies on the Phase Five slate, and it is scheduled to be released on May 5, 2023. But, because the auteur behind the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, James Gunn, is now heading up the DC Universe, we will probably not be getting another entry in the series after that film.

It is likely that the Guardians will return in a future Avengers film, but Gunn himself has said that the lineup of the cosmic team will be shaken up after the third entry. So, there could always be another film in the series, in Phase Six or beyond, but it probably won’t be made by James Gunn, and it will probably be missing a few of the team members.

Black Panther

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The future of the Black Panther franchise, like the Thor franchise, is up in the air. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was released at the end of Phase Four, so it is not as if a Black Panther 3 will be right around the corner. But, as there are movies on the MCU’s slate that have not been announced yet, we could get Black Panther 3 in Phase Six. 

Ryan Coogler, the director of the first two films, has stated that he would return to the series, so we are marking Black Panther as active. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ended with Shuri (Letitia Wright) taking up the mantle, after Chadwick Boseman’s death. It also set up Toussaint, who is T’Challa’s son, and the future King of Wakanda and future Black Panther, so there are definitely areas a Black Panther 3 could go.

Captain Marvel

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel
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Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel will be returning in Phase Five just not in a movie called Captain Marvel 2. Instead, together with Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), she will be returning in The Marvels. It is unlikely that another Captain Marvel film will be called Captain Marvel 2 or that another entry will be released in Phase Six. Regardless, the Captain Marvel franchise is active because of The Marvels, which is set to release on July 28, 2023, directed by Nia DaCosta.

Shang-Chi

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
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Another franchise that debuted in the MCU’s Phase Four was Shang-Chi with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. A follow-up to the first film has been confirmed to be in the works, with Simu Liu set to return and Destin Daniel Cretton returning to direct. Although he was recently tapped to direct Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and as that has a release date of 2025, unless Shang-Chi releases in the next two years, which is very unlikely, we probably won’t get a sequel until late Phase Six at the earliest. 

Spider-Man

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The MCU Spider-Man franchise is the one on this list that is the most up for discussion. While we did get Spider-Man: No Way Home and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) did manage to live another day, the contractual relationship between Marvel Studios and Sony complicates things. Sony has said that they want to make more films, while Tom Holland has stated in the past that he wants to take a break.

Technically there has been no news regarding a fourth Spider-Man movie, which will most likely see Peter in his college years. But they did leave the character in a way where we could let him enjoy a year or two of college before getting another film. Either way, we’ll count the MCU Spider-Man series as active.

With all that in mind, there are also multiple movie franchises that will be introduced in Phase Five and Phase Six. For example, we will be getting a new Fantastic Four film, a Blade film, and a Thunderbolts film. Technically Deadpool 3 will also be the start of Deadpool in the MCU. As we mentioned before, there are unannounced projects in the slate as well, so there could be one or two franchises yet to be announced for the future Phases. We only have to wait and see to find out what they might be.