Marvel's new future has officially begun with the opening of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” – The Maneater

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September 25th, 2021
By Kara Ellis
Graphic by CJ Christy

With movies returning to theaters, the most anticipated compilation of movies in the next year is the new phase of Marvel movies. Throughout the timeline of Marvel’s releases, the films have been divided into phases, with the last, Phase Three, ending dramatically with “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018, “Avengers: Endgame” in 2019 and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” The first film raked in $640.9 million globally opening weekend and the second earned $357.1 million. This shows just how involved Marvel is to current pop culture and the movie industry all together. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was released this past Labor Day weekend, highlighting Marvel’s start of their next phase with plenty of new characters and plenty of unanswered questions. 
What does this mean for the future of Marvel, and will it hold up to the previous movies’ impact before the COVID-19 pandemic?
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” opened on Sept. 3, while “Black Widow ” was the first movie Marvel released since the pause of movies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Shang-Chi” is now the first movie for Phase Four. It is also the first Asian-led superhero film for the Marvel cinematic universe. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Simu Liu alongside Awkwafina, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Meng’er Zhang and Michelle Yeoh, this new movie highlights a much more inclusive phase for Marvel’s future. Diversity has been a concern in the past for the casting of Marvel movies, and because of this, many fans of the franchise are excited for this promising future.
In a recent interview with Collider, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige spoke on what fans can look forward to for the film.
“What we love about it is not just the individual character Shang-Chi, but the world that he is from, and the family sort of Shakespearian element of his entire family history,” Feige said. 
And with the opening weekend of “Shang-Chi” earning $74.1 million at the box office, it is clear that this new character and Phase Four altogether are going to dominate the theaters.
Along with the release of “Shang-Chi,” fans now have two new trailers: “Eternals” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The former is a completely new set of heroes that will hit the theaters on Nov. 5. With a strong cast including Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kit Harrington and more, “Eternals” is about an immortal race coming out of the shadows after living on Earth throughout all of its history. It will be directed by Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao, which hints at a promising film. 
Zhao spoke with Variety about how taking on a large, creative project like a Marvel movie is and the excitement of working with them to make the film her own.
“…there is what Marvel Studios has built, this incredible journey they have going on. And then on top of that is me as a fan of the MCU.” Zhao stated. “And then, me as a fan of the genre, but also growing up with sci-fi and manga and fantasy films. And how can we have this big melting pot and cook up something that may just taste a little bit different?”
With the promise of a great director and cast, “Eternals” is creating buzz for how these heroes will connect with the rest of Marvel. 
The other new trailer is Tom Holland’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” , who was introduced in the previous phase. The sequel was the first to hit theaters following “Endgame.”  The third Spider-Man movie will release Dec. 17, but the trailer highlights a larger future for Spider-Man and his role with other new heroes. The trailer shows him reuniting with Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. With these characters together, and mentions of changing the universe’s timeline, “Spider Man: No Way Home” gives the first hint of the multiverse concept. 
The multiverse concept seems to be a prevalent idea in Marvel’s future movies. The concept was introduced in the Disney+ series “Loki” released in June. Many fans have already started theorizing on how this will bring all the heroes together, but so far nothing is certain until more movies are released.
However, before a new set of Avengers or any combined movies comes to theaters, Marvel has several movies releasing in the next two years. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” will be released on March 25, 2022. The fourth and final Thor movie, “Thor: Love and Thunder” will follow with its release on May 6 of the same year. 
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is releasing July 8, 2022. This movie has been highly anticipated since the unexpected passing of Chadwick Boseman in August 2020. Fans are curious to see what the future holds for these movies, and how director Ryan Coogler will honor Boseman. 
Following “Black Panther” is the second Captain Marvel movie, “The Marvels,” on Nov. 11, 2022, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” in Feb. 17, 2023 and “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” arriving May 2023. These movies will introduce new characters alongside fan-favorites from previous movies.
There are also other unscheduled projects such as a new “Fantastic Four” movie, possibly more “X-Men,” “Blade,” “Captain America 4” and “Deadpool 3.” These movies and their plot-lines are uncertain for now, but fans can look forward to the new Captain America played by Anthony Mackie to take on one of the original Marvel cinematic characters. 
For now, fans should go see “Shang-Chi” to start this new phase and get ready for the other upcoming movies. If any reader has not yet seen the previous movies, now is also a great chance to revisit the others in order to understand what is to come.
Edited by Shannon Worley, [email protected]
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