The MCU: Five Storylines To Look Out For In Phase 5
By Anthony Canton
With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) ended in a truly emotional way. As we learned about Toussaint (a.k.a. T’Challa), it was the symbolism of renewal. Things have truly changed, and we’ve gotten new heroes and villains alike.
With new characters come new stories and we have plenty to sink our teeth into. As we head into Phase 5 of the MCU, these are five of the most important storylines to watch going forward.
1. What does Kang The Conqueror want?
It can be argued that the most consequential thing to happen in Phase 4 was Sylvie’s choice to kill He Who Remains in the Loki finale. Jonathan Majors, who plays the future big bad and his variants, delivered the most electrifying singular performance of Phase 4 in a conversation. “If you think I’m evil, well, wait till you meet my variants,” He warns Loki and Sylvie. That time is near. On February 17, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will premiere.
The second season of Loki will expand on this as well. How is Sylvie living with her choice? What will Loki try to do to correct the issue? Where does Kang fit into that equation now that the choice has been made? There are plenty of questions, but here are some more.
What does Kang want? Seemingly, since the trailers lead us to believe that Kang is in the Quantum Realm, why is he there? Is he trapped there and needs Ant-Man’s assistance? There has to be something nefarious at play. “Your reality, everything you’re holding on to…I know how it ends,” Kang threatens in the trailer. Simply put, this is the biggest plot in the MCU going forward. The road to Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars has begun, and it couldn’t be more fun with Majors at the helm as the architect of this character.
2. Back To The Streets
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, one major thing was accomplished. Peter Parker was separated from the Avengers. As the spell erased the world’s memory of his existence as the web-slinger, Spider-Man is out of the limelight and back to the friendly neighborhood. Granted, that allows new potential relationships–both friend and foe.
When it comes to foes, we know the black symbiote is in the MCU after the events of No Way Home. It’s only a matter of time before it makes its way to Peter and then perhaps to a different Eddie Brock. Or, if you really want to get crazy, Mac Gargon. There are places we can go along the way, but all paths lead to Venom.
As far as friends are concerned, we’ve seen Matt Murdock helping both Peter and Jennifer Walters. Now with them being in the same vicinity, we’re long overdue for a Spider-Man/Daredevil team-up. We know Daredevil: Born Again is coming in 2024, and another Spidey film doesn’t feel like it should be too far behind. Maybe they’ll run into Wilson Fisk, someone who, in comics canon, has given both heroes a lot of trouble. We know both Fisk and Murdock are in Echo, so the streets will be alive with conflict again in Marvel.
3. More Mutants
In the MCU, we know that in Earth-616, we have two announced mutants in both Kamala Khan and Namor. As we head down a path to a day where the X-men are a prominent player again, when will we see more? Deadpool and Wolverine will be hanging out in 2024, and there’s bound to be more around with the multiverse at play. It’s also fair to say that the 616 will produce some more as well.
If you think about some of the MCU projects that are on the way, we have a supernatural element coming through in Blade. We’ve already seen Jack Russell and Man-Thing. The Fantastic Four will be here before you know it. With all these types of beings popping up, more mutants can’t be too far behind. From government experiments to cosmic entities, more mutants feel like a formality. Who knows, they may pop up right under our noses in places we may not expect. Remember the She-Hulk Easter egg with the newspaper discussing a man with claws in a bar fight? Let’s put two and two together.
The hints will only get louder as we move along in Phase 5, and eventually, we will get there. Just remember the journey along the way.
4. What Can Your Government Do For You?
In Wakanda Forever, we had multiple governments attempting to steal vibranium from the Wakandans. With Ms. Val de Fontaine on the warpath as director of the CIA, what is her endgame? As the path is laid towards Thunderbolts and her assembled team, what will they be after? How will that affect the world? There’s distrust and multiple agendas at stake.
One of those agendas is Thunderbolt Ross. As we know, Harrison Ford is taking over the role, and Ross will return in Captain America: New World Order. Ross wasn’t a fan of the Avengers when we last saw him, and the guess here is with a new Cap, it won’t be any different. What if Ross is able to become the Red Hulk like the comics to gain an edge? He becomes an even more powerful enemy, and he’s already the Secretary of State.
Finally, there’s Secret Invasion, as Nick Fury will finally return to an earth that’s quite different than what he left it. As one could surmise, there are plenty of Skrulls on earth we don’t know about. It’s certainly possible they could’ve infiltrated many governments and high-security positions. Assuming this becomes a huge problem it will only enhance the issues between heroes and the people they’ve dedicated themselves to protect.
5. There’s a big Celestial in the Ocean…what’s up with that?
It definitely feels like that plot line from Eternals has to come back at some point and mean something. After all, it’s a humongous being just stuck there in the ocean. You can’t assume that people won’t be investigating it or mining it for parts because that’s what people do. Let’s keep our eyes peeled on that because that wasn’t just left there for us not to go back to.
As a reminder, multiple governments in Wakanda Forever were after vibranium. If one of these discovers that the remains of this being have something important, it’ll be a full-on race to the prize. If anything, it’ll be a full-on war. It feels like many nations are tired of sitting on the sideline and want to gain any advantage they can against heroes and for their own purposes. Again it can’t be stated enough that Tiamut was not left in the ocean for sightseeing. There’s something it possesses that everyone will want.
Between the multiverse, mutants, and much more, Phase 5 promises to be a transformative one. The stakes are building once more, and the multiverse saga seems to be adding a bit more spice to the party.