The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four is its most highly anticipated set of projects yet. Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, officially announced the MCU Phase Four in 2014. WandaVision set off Phase Four in January 2021 and Agatha: House of Harkness, a Disney+ series, is the latest project to be added with no current release date.
There are countless characters from the comics who have yet to show up in Phase Four. Here are the characters we are most excited to see that have (and have not) been confirmed for the MCU Phase Four lineup. Along with how they could fit into Marvel’s cinematic universe with their comic storylines.
Will Namor The Sub-Mariner Appear in Black Panther 2?
- First Comics Appearance: Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (April 1939)
- May Appear In: Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever (2022)
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To start with, Namor is Marvel’s first mutant character. In the comics, Namor is the son of a ship captain, Leonard McKenzie, and Princess Fen, daughter of the Emperor of Atlantis. He grows up in the underwater kingdom hating people who live on land and, eventually becoming its King.
Although he hates “land-dwellers,” in one storyline, he fights alongside other superheroes, including the Invaders in WWII. Therefore, Namor will make exceptions to his hatred of those on land as long as it benefits Atlantis in some way. Such as keeping Hitler and the Nazis out of Atlantis, for one. The question is…how could Namor fit into the MCU Phase Four plans?
Atlantis & Wakanda Are Rarely At Peace:
In the comic Avengers vs. X-Men from 2012, Namor, on the side of the X-Men, destroys most of Wakanda to end the Avengers. They defeat Namor but later on, he works with Black Panther and the Illuminati when an incursion occurs. An incursion is when the universes of two different Earths in the Multiverse collide.
This forces the two to work together despite their history in order to face the threat. The Illuminati group consists of Earth’s most influential superhuman leaders like Doctor Strange and Reed Richards.
Tensions between Wakanda and Atlantis rise once more when Shuri, now Queen of Wakanda, rejects a peace treaty. Namor then aligns with Thanos in his quest for the Infinity Stones to get revenge on Wakanda, so he constructs a lie about a hidden stone there.
In the comic Secret Wars from 2015, Namor and Black Panther come together again to overthrow a bigger threat, Doctor Doom. Then attempt to rebuild the Multiverse.
If Namor appears in Black Panther 2, will he be another hero, a villain, or an anti-hero? How will he get along with other superheroes? The ongoing conflict between Wakanda and Atlantis would definitely be an interesting storyline for the sequel to explore. It would also allow us to get our first look at Marvel’s Atlantis and Namor overall.
Shuri Becomes The Black Panther
- First Comics Appearance: Black Panther (Vol. #5) #5 (June 2009)
- May Appear In: Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever (2022)
In the comic Black Panther from 2009, Shuri, sister to the King of Wakanda T’Challa, takes over his mantle. While T’Challa recovers from an almost fatal attack from Doctor Doom, Shuri goes through various challenges to prove she is worthy of the mantle. She defeats Morlun, a supervillain that can absorb the life force of any living creature.
Even after T’Challa awakens after being in Limbo, Shuri continues as the Black Panther until she sacrifices herself in a battle for her brother in Klaws of the Panther #1 from October 2010. In the New Avengers (Vol. #3) #7, Shuri is Queen of Wakanda and wages war against Namor.
Letitia Wright May Only Take Over the Role for One Project:
Although there is no confirmation yet, many fans speculate that Letitia Wright’s Shuri is likely to take over the mantle after the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman. Marvel Studios executive Kevin Feige confirmed T’Challa will not be recast in any way, to honor Boseman. Thus, we WILL see a new Black Panther soon.
However, some fans feel disappointed about the news after the actress Letitia Wright’s recent anti-vaccine controversy.
Additionally, Letitia suffered from a serious injury that paused filming for months. The movie’s release date had to be changed from July to November 2022 as a result. Although, it was likely that this was planned to come out later than the Summer due to other Marvel projects.
There are rumors that Shuri will only be Black Panther for one movie and hand the mantle over to someone else. This mantle could possibly go to an original character or someone who has previously been in the movies like M-Baku, Nakia, or Okoye.
Despite some fans being upset about the casting, the role of Black Panther being handed over to Shuri next makes the most sense for the MCU Phase Four plans because of her history in the comics. Plus, Marvel Studios had always planned to go in this direction to start with. As Black Panther 2 was supposed to even be Chadwick Boseman’s final time in the T’Challa role anyway.
The Comics Where Dr. Jane Foster Becomes The Mighty Thor
- First Comics Appearance: Thor: God of Thunder #25 (September 2014)
- Will Appear In: Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
In the upcoming fourth installment of the Thor movies, Dr. Jane Foster wields Mjolnir. This film might be one of the most important in the MCU Phase Four lineup too.
It is likely the film will take a lot from the comic series The Mighty Thor from 2015, where Jane suffers from breast cancer. In the comic series, during chemotherapy, she ends up gaining Thor’s powers. However, this only came after Thor lost his powers due to no longer being “worthy.” That is when Mjolnir calls to Jane.
Whenever she uses her powers, her chemotherapy reverses and her illness worsens when she returns to her normal state. As the “new” Thor, she fights with the Avengers, in the Secret Wars, defeats Mangog, a monster threatening Asgard, and more. Once her human form dies due to her illness, Thor resurrects her and she becomes a Valkyrie.
Taika Watiti claims he is a fan of the comic, although it is a lot darker than his usual work. With Mjolnir destroyed in the MCU, how does Jane piece it back together? Will Jane remain with Mjolnir now that Thor has Stormbreaker? There are several possibilities for how the movie will handle this situation.
Plus, we have to wonder if Natalie Portman will remain as the Mighty Thor or if this is her last return to the MCU.
What Will Nova’s Storyline Be Like in the MCU?
- First Comics Appearance: Nova #1 (June 1976)
- May Appear In: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023), The Marvels (2023), Secret Invasion (2023)
The writer for Moon Knight, Sabir Pirzada, is in charge of the MCU Phase Four Nova project. In the comics, Nova is a mantle held by other characters before its primary user, Richard Rider comes along.
An alien named Rhomann Dey, leads the space exploration militia known as the Nova Corps. He’s the one who recruits Rider to join the Corps. Think of the Nova Corps as Marvel’s version of the Green Lantern Corps, only with helmets rather than rings.
Richard uses his Centurion Suit and the Nova Force powers, consisting of regenerative healing powers, flight, speed, strength, energy blasts, and more to restore Xandar, Rhomann Dey’s planet. The Nova Corps appears in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, so there is a high possibility that the hero may appear in the third installment.
In the comic storyline, Nova works with Star-Lord, so the collaboration is likely to appear in the next film. This is because James Gunn confirmed the third installment of the film to be the last one with the current lineup. Another popular character who fans could see holding the mantle is Sam Alexander, a teenager who is a part of the Champions.
However, it is likely Marvel uses Rider first. Although, they could switch things up and go straight to Sam.
Ironheart May Appear As An MIT Student in Black Panther 2
- First Comics Appearance: Invincible Iron Man (Vol. 4) #3
- May Appear In: Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever (2022), Ironheart (2023) on Disney+
MIT student Riri Williams, also known as Ironheart, is a young super-genius who builds her own Iron Man suit as a teenager. She continues Tony Stark’s legacy who supports her through an A.I. version of him, which she builds. Riri joins other teenage superheroes within the Champions, a group comprising of Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, Nova (Sam Alexander), and more.
In Ironheart #8 from July 2019, Riri meets Shuri in Wakanda, where Riri helps defeat shadow creatures with Okoye and Silhouette. She also works with Wakanda to build a space armada and fight a battle against Killmonger. It’s likely that she could show up in Black Panther 2 before her series, as a friend and or a guest of Wakanda.
There’s also the possibility that she could appear in a short cameo as an MIT student that has not yet become Ironheart. After Iron Man’s death, it makes sense for there to be a similar character to take up that mantle just like the others from Phase One. However, fans might dislike the idea of seeing such a character this soon. We’ll have to wait and see what Marvel Studios decides.
How The Blade Reboot Could Fit Into MCU Phase Four
- First Comics Appearance: Tomb of Dracula #10 (April 1973)
- Will Appear In: Blade (TBA)
Blade is officially coming to the MCU in Phase Four, but there isn’t much news on it yet. Wesley Snipes stars in the original Blade trilogy from 1998, but the reboot will now star Mahershala Ali. Fans are excited to see what the two-time Academy Award winner will bring to the classic character and what storyline the project could follow.
The idea of vampires in the MCU is fascinating and could show a darker side to the MCU like other recent series and films with a grittier tone like Moon Knight and The Punisher. It would also allow us to be introduced to Marvel’s Dracula, who happens to be a pretty big deal in Marvel Comics.
In the comics, the half-human, half-vampire Eric Brooks grows up in London hunting other vampires. It is important to note his dhampir status. Vampires cannot go out during the day, have issues with garlic, do not have reflections, stuff like that. But a Dhampir can be in the sun just fine as their half-human status allows them to have the best of both worlds.
Blade has run-ins with Mighty Avengers, Spider-Man, The Punisher, X-Men, and more. Some people speculate the MCU could now set up the Midnight Sons. This is a group of superheroes led by Dr. Strange and Wong with members like Blade, Ghost Rider, and The Iron Fist.
What Happens When A Captain Marvel Fan Becomes A Hero?
- First Comics Appearance: All-New Marvel NOW! Point One (Vol. 1) 1.NOW (January 2014)
- Will Appear In: Ms. Marvel (2022) on Disney+
Kamala Khan is a teenager with the ability to stretch and expand her body. She calls these powers “embiggening,” which is better than just calling it a “nice stretch.” It also differs her from other stretchers like Reed Richards.
In G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel from 2014, Terrigen Mist releases into Kamala’s neighborhood. She is caught in it, and it activates the Inhuman powers she did not know she had. Of course, this happens to many people at the same time. That leads to several new Inhumans that end up being heroes as well as villains in the Marvel Universe.
Crucial to her identity is her background as a Pakistani Muslim living in New Jersey and as a superfan of Captain Marvel, which she names herself after. Already, she isn’t the typical superhero, but that is what makes her so unique and loved. In comics history, other characters also took the same title after Carol Danvers, like Sharon Ventura and Karla Sofen. But most would say Kamala is the most notable to hold the role other than Carol.
After Shang-Chi, this is another project that could show that representation matters to a wider audience. In the comics, Ms. Marvel joins the Avengers at one point and is a key character to the Champions, as she is the group’s leader. She’s also known for being close friends with Miles Morales’ Spider-Man and Ironheart.
The Disney+ show is the first MCU Phase Four project that has a TV-PG rating, meaning it will target the youngest of Marvel’s audiences.
Adam Warlock Could Be A Friend Or Foe to the Guardians
- First Comics Appearance: Marvel Premiere #1 (April 1972)
- May Appear In: Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)
Adam Warlock is a classic comic book character that has been around since the 1960s. A group called the Enclave created him as the perfect human being. He is considered one of the strongest beings in the Marvel Universe and is quite literally his own worst enemy.
In the comics, he has run-ins with the Avengers, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Gamora, and more. His run-ins with the Guardians are likely the most notable and even led to him joining the group for a while.
In Warlock and the Infinity Watch from 1992, he’s the leader of the Infinity Watch. This is a group of superheroes that guard the Infinity Stones so no one can use them together. There isn’t much news about the next Guardians of the Galaxy installment yet outside of confirmation Adam will be in the movie. However, director James Gunn comments that:
“People are going to really love Adam – or love? They’re going to appreciate Adam Warlock, I’ll say.”
Gunn’s statement may suggest that Warlock could be a foe to the guardians and not their ally. With the confirmation that the third installment is the end of the Guardians trilogy, Adam Warlock and Nova could be the next superhumans from space to take their place.
Can The MCU Redeem The Fantastic Four’s Return To Film?
- First Comics Appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (August 1961)
- Will Appear In: TBA
It is quite interesting that there are rumors the Fantastic Four could be part of the MCU Phase Four plans. This would bring Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, and Human Torch into the MCU for the first time. Of course, this time they will come in with a lot more enthusiasm. Plus, Marvel Studios will be behind it rather than Fox Studios executives.
When Marvel Studios regained the rights to the Fantastic Four characters in 2019, they hired Jon Watts as its director. As of now, Watts has left the project and there is no news on a title or casting. However, people have already been fan-casting the characters.
Likely the biggest push is for John Krasinski to play Mr. Fantastic and his real-life wife (and phenomenal actress) Emily Blunt to play the Invisible Woman.
The previous Fantastic Four films had such negative reception that the studios canceled both projects and planned spin-offs. In 2015, Marvel Comics canceled the Fantastic Four comics for years because of their disagreement with Fox to get the rights. Due to this, Fox rushed the second Fantastic Four reboot and it quickly became a box-office bomb.
Hopefully, the MCU will redeem these characters so that fans can look forward to seeing how they will fit into the other heroes’ storylines. Marvel’s First Family has been involved in many stories, such as Secret Wars among others. Plus, they have worked with others like Ant-Man, Black Panther, the Inhumans, and more. They are critical for the MCU, absolutely critical!