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MCU phase 4 unveiled at Comic-Con: Natalie Portman to portray female Thor and other major announcements

San Diego Comic-Con 2019: Marvel Studios has revealed the Phase-4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, including the films and web TV shows for Disney+. The announcements include Thor: Love and Thunder, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness among others.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 21, 2019 4:01:16 pm
marvel studios panel comic-con There were some huge announcements at the San Diego Comic-Con 2019’s Marvel Studios panel.

A few major projects were announced on the Marvel Studios’ panel in Hall H of San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Before the event, Marvel had stayed mum regarding the Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe apart from unconfirmed reports of movies being filmed and actors joining various upcoming projects.

Here are all the big announcements:


Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor 4’s title was announced at the ongoing San Diego Comic-Con. The film will be called Thor: Love and Thunder. Another major announcement was that Natalie Portman will be back as Jane Foster and would take up the mantle of Thor or goddess of thunder and wield Mjolnir.

Taika Waititi will be back to helm the fourth film as well along with actors Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. iO9 was told by Marvel that Thompson will be the first LGBTQ superhero in the MCU

Thor: Love and Thunder will hit theatres on November 5, 2021.

The Eternals

The casting reports regarding The Eternals were indeed true. As the reports said, the film will star Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek. The actors will play the role of Ikaris, Kingo, Thena and Ajak. Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, Don Lee and others are also part of the film’s cast. If MCU really takes the storyline forward, The Eternals might become the next Avengers.

Created by legendary comic-book writer and artist, The Eternals are godlike and effectively immortal beings who were tasked by the Celestials (like Ego in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2) to be defenders of the earth. They come in conflict with their destructive counterparts called the Deviants (like Thanos).

The Eternals will be directed by Chloé Zhao and will hit theaters on November 6, 2020.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Stranger’s sequel might take the character to the Lovecraftian heights just like in the lore. That is what the title says, at least. Doctor Strange, though perfectly capable of fighting villains like Thanos, is best known for protecting the earth from mystical threats like Dormammu, horrors that the daylight world cannot even conceive, and he is the only one who can do it.

Interestingly, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme will be joined by Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda and the movie will crossover with Disney+ series Marvel Studios’ WandaVision.

Helmed by returning director Scott Derrickson, the film will release on May 7, 2021.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Simu Liu will play the lead role in the long-awaited Shang-Chi movie. Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina has been cast in an undisclosed role and Tony Leung will play the role of (real) Mandarin, and not the impostor played by Ben Kingsley. The film will explore the shady terrorist organisation Ten Rings in detail. Destin Daniel Cretton will direct. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will release on February 12, 2021.

Black Widow

We have seen set photos and videos so we knew it was being shot, but the Marvel Studios panel revealed more details about the movie. Scarlett Johansson, after a decade of playing a side role, will lead the cast. David Harbour (Hopper of Stranger Things) will play the role of Alexei Shostakov, also known as the Red Guardian, the Soviet equivalent of Captain America. Florence Pugh is cast as Yelena, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina. Directed by Cate Shortland, the film will release on May 1, 2020.

The first footage from Black Widow was also screened at the panel. It began with a montage of scenes involving Black Widow in MCU movies. Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff says in a voiceover, “I used to have nothing. Then I got this job. This family. I was better because of it. I’ve made mistakes. I can’t go back.”

The word Budapest appears on the screen. A mission involving Budapest has been mentioned in many conversations in the previous MCU movies. So the Black Widow movie is indeed a prequel, and Widow is dead forever.

We see Widow walking into a building with a gun and hear a voice saying, “I know you’re out there.” Natasha replies, “I know you know. So do you want to talk like grown ups?”

She turns a corner and comes face-to-face with Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, also wielding a gun. They fight. It has Widow trying to choke Yelena by a towel. Yelena smashes a plate into Widow. The fight ends with both lying on the floor trying to choke each other. Then they appear to pass out.

The next scene has Black Widow pouring a drink for Yelena. She says, “Good to see you too, sis. You just had to come to Budapest.”

Another scene shows a masked man (likely David Harbour’s Red Guardian), following Natasha as she stumbles out of a car crash. They engage in a duel and the fight ends in a standoff.


Mahershala Ali will play the role of half-human, half-vampire superhero Blade in the reboot. There were no further details, though.

TV shows for Disney+

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

The web TV series will be the first Marvel show to arrive on Disney+, Disney’s upcoming streaming service. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will reprise their MCU roles of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. It was also revealed that Daniel Brühl will return as Baron Zemo, the villain of Captain America: Civil War. The series will arrive in the fall of 2020.


A spinoff of Avengers movies, WandaVision will, as the title suggests, be about Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision. Teyonah Parris will play the role of adult Monica Rambeau. Akira Akbar appeared in the role as a child Monica in Captain Marvel. The series will arrive in the spring of 2021.


Tom Hiddleston will be back as everybody’s favourite trickster, though it was not revealed whether he is alive or the series will be set in the past. We all saw him leaving with the Space Stone in Avengers: Endgame, and perhaps the series will kick off from there. Loki will also arrive in the spring of 2021.

What If…?

Inspired from the alternate scenario storylines of the same name in Marvel Comics, What If…? will be an animated series for Disney+. Jeffrey Wright will voice The Watcher. The Watchers are a race of extraterrestrials (and one of the oldest) whose purpose is to watch over the multiverses. They appeared briefly in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.


In addition to Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Kate Bishop will also be a part of this series. Kate Bishop is, like Hawkeye, archer superheroine who has taken up the mantle of Hawkeye in comics. Hawkeye is scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2021.

Apart from these, Kevin Feige also perfunctorily announced at the end that Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Fantastic Four, and mutants (X-Men) are also happening.

We know already that James Gunn will return to helm Guardians of the Galaxy 3 once he is done with DC’s The Suicide Squad. Black Panther 2 and Captain Marvel 2 were also confirmed before. With Disney’s takeover of Fox properties, it is only a matter of time until we see the Avengers rubbing shoulders with the X-Men. But it might be a while.

None of these projects, however, have a release date, and thus were not part of the main presentation.

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