Phase Four ends in November, but where do this year’s films and TV shows fall in the plan? Here’s what Marvel has on tap for the rest of 2022.
San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, and, boy, did Marvel Studios provide the fireworks. Kevin Feige and company caused tidal waves with one exciting announcement after another. He effectively laid out the MCU’s game plan for the next two phases, and there are some seriously intriguing entries.
As we close out summer, here’s the full lineup for 2022.
Release date: March 30
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, Maya Calamawy, F. Murray Abram
In the three-and-a-half months between Spider-Man: No Way Home and Moon Knight, what did we do with our lives? Since last year, Marvel has churned out the movies and streaming series at a steady pace. For the MCU devoted, going almost four months without a new addition to the spawling universe likely caused withdrawal.
At least during that dark time, we had Moon Knight to look forward to. This entry in the Disney+ lineup arrived with much fanfare. Comic readers had been wishing for Moon Knight to join the MCU practically since Marvel opened its studio. Starring Oscar Isaac, the show centered on the dueling personalities of MK’s alter ego, Marc Spector. He wrestles with the bumbling Steven Grant along with the brutal Jake Lockley. They follow the Ancient Egyptian god, Khonshu, who had saved Marc’s life in exchange for his allegiance. The god imbues him with magical powers in the form of a white suit and mask. Besides finding balance between Marc’s personalities, Moon Knight must stop Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow before he unleashes Ammit’s judgment on the world.
Release date: April 1
Starring: Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona, Jared Harris
It’s morbin’ time!
This is not a Marvel Studios project, mind you, but it does exist within the MCU Multiverse thanks to No Way Home’s trippy interdimensional magic. Along with referencing Venom and his adventures in San Francisco, Michael Keaton appeared as his Spider-Man: Homecoming character, Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture. That puts Morbius smack dab in the MCU’s Multiverse.
Jared Leto stars as Dr. Michael Morbius, a brilliant scientist who suffers from a rare and dangerous blood disease. On his path to a cure, he experiments with vampire bats. While conducting his research, he is accidentally infected with vampirism. His body is seemingly cured while also having superhuman strength, senses, and flight, though at the cost of transforming into a bloodthirsty monster. His childhood friend, Milo (played by Matt Smith), is infected as well, and the two are set on a collision course.
Release date: May 6
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams
The rumors and gossip surrounding MOM were perhaps more entertaining than the movie itself. Practically every character and actor from outside the MCU confines was speculated to appear in the film. Although we all knew there was no way those cameos could happen in a two-hour movie, it was fun to dream.
Benedict Cumberbatch returned for his second starring role as the Master of the Mystic Arts, the titular Doctor Strange. This time around, he must rescue America Chavez, a teenager with the power to punch her through the Multiverse. Strange isn’t the only one looking for America. Under the evil influence of the Dark Hold, Wanda Maximoff has fully transformed into the Scarlet Witch. The trouble is the book’s dark magic has warped her mind, turning Wanda into a full-fledged villain. She is on the hunt for America, and the Scarlet Witch wants those Multiverse-hopping powers for herself in order to find her children, who were taken away at the conclusion of WandaVision.
Release date: June 8
Starring: Iman Vellani, Matt Lintz, Zenobia Shroff
Less than two weeks ago, the Ms. Marvel season finale turned the fandom on its ear. When Kamala Khan was revealed to be a mutant (not to mention the iconic riff from X-Men: the Animated Series’ theme song), suddenly Ms. Marvel became the most talked about name in the MCU.
The show itself centers on the teenage Kamala, who daydreams of following in the footsteps of her idol, Captain Marvel. With aspirations of being an Avenger, she accidentally discovers that she can access the power within a magical bangle. It sets Kamala on a path she never thought possible. Of course, being a superhero is more complicated than she ever imagined.
Release date: July 8
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe
Maybe we didn’t get to see Beta Ray Bill on the big screen, but Christian Bale’s Gorr the God Butcher made up the difference. In fact, many fans and critics ranked Gorr as one of Marvel’s best villains, if not the best.
At the center of Love and Thunder were two intersecting stories. First, in one of Marvel’s best and most dramatic openings, is Gorr’s drive for revenge against the gods who abandoned their faithful servant when his daughter was dying. Meanwhile, Chris Hemsworth suits up as Thor to protect Asgard from the God Butcher. What he didn’t expect was Jane Foster not only to return, but she found herself worthy of Mjölnir and the power of the Thunder God.
Release date: August 10
Starring: Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
I Am Groot isn’t a full series, but rather a five-episode series of shorts. Produced by Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, the spinoff is a kid-friendly romp into the misadventures of Baby Groot as he grows up. With Cooper’s name in the cast, we are guaranteed to see Rocket Raccoon at least once, and that is always a treat. We should see some familiar faces from Marvel’s cosmic side, and it is bound to be filled with hijinks along the way.
Release date: August 17
Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Mark Ruffalo, Jameela Jamil, Tim Roth
Marvel unveiled an extended trailer for She-Hulk’s Disney+ show that takes inspiration from her fourth-wall-breaking comics from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Advertised as Marvel’s first legal comedy, the series follows Tatiana Maslany as attorney Jennifer Walters, who receives a blood transfusion from her superpowered cousin, Bruce Banner, once again played by Mark Ruffalo. Bruce’s gamma powers transform Jennifer into a Hulk in her own right. She is then enlisted by the United States government to handle legal cases involving superhumans. Sitcom hijinks are guaranteed.
Release date: November 11
Starring: Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Tenoch Huerta, Martin Freeman, Lupita Nyong’o, Dominique Thorne, Winston Duke
One of the highlights of Marvel Studios’ San Diego Comic-Con bombshells, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s trailer wowed audiences worldwide. The sequel to the Oscar-nominated Black Panther, the film has big shoes to fill, and it would appear director Ryan Coogler is up to the task.
Following the events of real life, the tragic passing of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, King T’Challa has died. As the nation mourns his death, T’Challa’s mother, Queen Ramonda, rallies her people to stand together as world powers look to encroach on Wakanda. The real threat, however, comes from the ocean. Tenoch Huerta brings Namor the Submariner to life as the King of Atlantis leads his invading army into Wakanda. And so arises a new Black Panther, though who is under the mask remains a mystery.
Release date: Likely December
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista
No official premiere date has been set for The Holiday Special, though the indication is that it will arrive just in time for Christmas.
What does James Gunn have in store for the MCU in the GOTG Holiday Special? It’s anyone’s guess, but it is safe to assume that it will be a clever tongue-in-cheek affair. After all, the title is a play on the bane of George Lucas’ career, 1978’s The Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired on CBS. That cash-grab opportunity was so bad that Lucas attempted to pull an Order 66 on any and all known copies in existence.
With Gunn paying tribute to the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, we can expect plenty of SW jabs. Teasing the GOTG Holiday Special in October, Gunn tweeted that he will introduce “one of the greatest MCU characters of all time.” Who could it be? My money is on the Marvel Comics canonical omega-level mutant, Santa Claus.