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Today marks the eighth birthday of the most successful movie franchise of all time - the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the last eight years, Marvel have delivered success after success. In 2014 Kevin Feige took to the stage at a Marvel Studios press conference and announced their upcoming slate of films through 2018. While that slate has had some major changes since the big announcement (Spider-Man!), everyone has still been wondering one thing. What happens after Phase 3?

While speaking to Entertainment Weekly during press for Captain America: Civil War, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige confirmed that the end of Phase 3 will form a “complete first saga.” He went on to say:

"I think there will be a finality to moments of Phase 3, as well as new beginnings, that will mark a different, a very different, a distinctively different, chapter in what will someday be a complete first saga made up of three phases."

So, what does all that mean for Phase 4? Well, let’s rule out Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth because we know their contracts will be up soon. So we can look to the newer Avengers - Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Spider-Man to name some, to take up the mantle of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This new lineup of Avengers will attempt to continue the legacy of the heroes that came before them, but a new big bad in the shape of The Skrulls will try with all their might to derail the new team. This would be yet another perfect way to combine the Earth-based and intergalactic sides of the MCU, and here’s how it will happen.

So What Happens Next?

During Infinity War, Steve Rogers and Thor will unfortunately meet their end at the hands of Thanos. This will lead to Bucky Barnes picking up the shield and becoming the new Captain America, while Jane Foster will find herself worthy enough to wield Mjolnir and take over Thor’s mantle (per the comics). These events will lead to Captain America 4 and Thor 4, albeit with different heroes at the forefront. Marvel will more than like continue Avengers films as two-part epics, so we’ll get Avengers 4: Part 1 which will set up The Kree-Skrull War in which Earth is caught right in the middle of a huge, intergalactic conflict. At the end of Part 1, Hulk will get banished into space which will set up the long-awaited Planet Hulk solo movie (finally!). Avengers 4: Part 2 will switch things up a bit as it focuses on an adapted version of the Secret Invasion storyline which will see several of The Avengers replaced by The Skrulls – a shape shifting alien race.

Of course, we’ll see several sequels in Phase 4. Kevin Feige has already confirmed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and we’ll more than likely be getting sequels to Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange as long as they all perform as well as expected at the box office. We may even get one or two solo films focusing on characters we haven’t been introduced to yet – who else really wants to see a She-Hulk courtroom drama?

You don't have long to wait for your next dose of MCU action - Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6th and Doctor Strange follows on November 4th.

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