Ranking Upcoming Marvel: Phase 4 Features by Excitement

San Diego Comic-Con is over and, with it’s closing, a flurry of announcements for all of geekdom to be excited about. However, the most anticipated batch of announcements came, unsurprisingly, from Marvel. With Phase 4 looming over the horizon, fans really wanted what was next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, when Kevin Feige got on stage at Hall H, everyone wanted to hear what he had to say.

Well, we all heard what Kevin Feige had to say and we now have a good idea of what’s coming. It was a mix of feature films as well as their upcoming slate of Disney+ exclusive shows. Some of them were really exciting. Some of them, well, I wasn’t all that hyped about. Let’s go run through all of them, starting from the announcement that didn’t excite me all that much to the one I can’t wait for!

Oh, and I’m giving advanced warning that this will only include the things that were talked about at length during Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con 2019’s show. So, I won’t be reacting to the news that there might be a Fantastic Four film or that a certain bunch of mutants will formally be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m also not going to mention Blade, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Black Panther 2 because they’re not officially slated in Phase 4 yet. When more details are disseminated for those properties, that’s the only time I can give a fair reaction.

On with the list!

Eternals

Why am I suddenly having flashbacks to the Inhumans television series?

The Eternals are generally a less interesting ripoff of his other work, New Gods. Both Eternals and New Gods share the same DNA since they were spawned from the same guy, the late great Jack Kirby. But DC went with new heights with New Gods, eventually promoting Darkseid to one of DC’s greatest villains, the Eternals pretty much languished in mediocrity. You thought the Guardians of the Galaxy were obscure Marvel characters? Eternals have them beat! Heck, I’m more familiar with the Inhumans than the Eternals… and we all know how the Inhumans fared when Marvel tried to put them on the small screen!

I will admit that I’m not excited for the Eternals because I’m totally not familiar with the property. But Marvel looks like they’re pretty confident with the film since they’re throwing their substantial wallet at it, hiring Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie to be in the movie. There’s a chance it could be Phase 4’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a surprisingly fun movie featuring Marvel heroes no one was particularly familiar with. Then again, I don’t think there’s a talking raccoon or a sentient tree in the Eternals.

Loki

I like the God of Mischief… but I don’t really care for his own show.

Loki will take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame and will follow the (mis)adventures of Thor’s brother after he escaped with the Tesseract/Space Stone. It’s hard to argue that Loki became one of the breakout characters in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is amazing since he was in the abysmal Thor: The Dark World. But the character’s growth throughout the entire run of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from jealous brother with dreams to conquer the universe to a rather benevolent yet reluctant hero, was great.

But that’s the problem for me: the Loki in the Disney+ series will not be that Loki. Which means we’ll have to go through it all again. I have no doubt that the events of the series will link to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, probably culminating with Thor: Love and Thunder. However, we’ll be watching Loki change once again from ne’er-do-well to unwilling good guy. Oh, it could be good but I just think we’ll be getting the Loki we all know and love by the end so what’s the point?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

So, no one’s called Captain America anymore?

This Disney+ series will follow two of Captain America’s closest friends after the events of Avengers: Endgame. I will say that I really liked that time in the comics when Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier took up the shield and mantle of Captain America. I even liked the weird silver lined costume he donned. I also like what Marvel did with Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This show does have the potential to be great. Fantastic, even. The main reason why I’m just not excited for it is because no details were given regarding the plot. Is it going to be a buddy cop show? Are they going to be secret agents working for SHIELD or The Avengers? Nothing has been revealed so I don’t know what to really expect. The only thing that was hinted at was Baron Zemo will be returning for the show and that’s not enough for me to get excited about.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Ten rings? Mandarin, is that you?

Like the Eternals, I have don’t have that much knowledge about Shang-Chi. I know he’s one of those martial arts heroes that tried to capitalized on the kung-fu “exploitation” boom of the ’70s. He’s basically like Iron Fist… but actually Asian. He’s also a relative unknown but, unlike the Eternals, there’s one thing that caught my attention about Shang-Chi’s upcoming movie. That’s the hint that he’s going to go up against The Mandarin.

I will say that I am disappointed that The Mandarin will not be facing off against Iron Man because… well, since Tony Stark will not be appearing in any more Marvel Cinematic Universe outings due to the events of Avengers: Endgame. But we will be getting a “real” Mandarin (although I do like the Ben Kingsley version because it was a good twist). I also like the fact that Marvel and Disney are taking a huge risk by casting an total unknown in Simu Liu in the titular role. Then again, maybe they stretched the budget too much with the Eternals casting and they needed to cut corners somewhere?

Hawkeye

So, Hawkeye isn’t getting his own movie? Aww!

Hawkeye is another Disney+ exclusive and will feature the man with a bow and arrow who faced off against gods and aliens and managed to survive. What makes this show interesting is that it’s going to both take place before and after the events of Avengers: Endgame. This means we’ll get to see Hawkeye’s transformation into Ronin during the five years in between The Decimation and The Blip, which I thought would actually be the focus of the show.

But we’re getting much more than that as Hawkeye will show Clint Barton train his successor, Kate Bishop. This does open up a lot of avenues where the Marvel Cinematic Universe can go. Clint may finally be able to retire and Kate Bishop taking up the Hawkeye codename in future movies and films that takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I would definitely be down for that!

Black Widow

So Black Widow’s getting her own movie after her death? Aww!

Since we all watched Avengers: Endgame and we all know what happens to Natasha Romanoff, it’s certainly no surprise that the Black Widow will be one long flashback. Honestly, I’m fine with that. A lot isn’t known about her past in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and they’ve only hinted at it. So there is a lot of uncover, even though this is technically going to be a prequel.

However, the biggest thing that got me hyped for Black Widow was the inclusion of Taskmaster! If you don’t know who Taskmaster is, he’s a villain with one of the weirdest powers ever. He has the ability to copy any movement precisely once he sees it. Oh, and his costume is so beautifully gaudy, I really want to see what they’ll bring it in real life! Basically, I like the concept of Taskmaster and I’m excited to see what they’ll do with the character in Black Widow.

Thor: Love and Thunder

It’s not called Asgardians of the Galaxy?

Like a lot of people, I really liked Thor: Ragnarok. So it’s nice to see Taika Waititi back in the director’s chair for the next entry of the series. It’s also terrific to see Valkyrie returning alongside with Thor. I also can’t help find it intriguing to see what they’ll do with Lady Thor.

However, Lady Thor is one of the things that is bringing my excitement down. Oh, it’s not Lady Thor herself. Rather, it’s the returning Jane Foster, most specifically, the Marvel Cinematic Universe rendition of Jane Foster. I just dislike the character. Another reason why I’m not super stoked for Thor: Love and Thunder is I was fully expecting the God of Thunder to be palling around with the Guardians of the Galaxy as seen in the ending of Avengers: Endgame. It’s a minor quibble but it’s a quibble nonetheless.

WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

I’m putting them in the same slot since I’m betting they’ll be closely linked together.

WandaVision is going to be on Disney+ and is probably going to be some mind-bending series since Vision was supposed to be killed way back in Avengers: Infinity War. Most likely, it’s going to focus on Wanda creating an entirely new reality wherein Vision is still alive. My personal prediction is that it’s going to follow an anthology format and we’ll see different iterations of both Wanda and Vision. You might see them in one episode where they’re like an ordinary nuclear family and happily married. Then the next you’ll see them as brother and sister or something like that.

This will all come to a head at the end and link to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Sorcerer Supreme will probably appear at the very last episode of WandaVision and warn Scarlett Witch that she’s inadvertently destroying the multiverse or something to that effect. This just opens up so many story possibilities and directions as they’ll have the entire multiverse to discover and work with. And that’s something to get worked up for!

What If…?

Probably the weirdest thing Marvel can put to screen.

Comic book fans are all familiar with the “What If…” style of storylines. These are the stories that are not part of the main continuity but akin to thought experiments. These could be like “what if Odin chose Loki to become his successor?” Or “what if someone else got the Super Serum instead of Steve Rogers?”

I’m incredibly excited for What If…? since Marvel could just whip up a really cool “imaginary story” and let their imaginations run wild. They can also just introduce elements like the Fantastic Four or X-Men in here because anything goes in What If…? stories!

How would you rank Marvel’s Phase 4 lineup? Let me know in the comments section below!

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