In October, Marvel Studios significantly reshuffled their upcoming theatrical slate. The full ramifications of all the moves can get pretty overwhelming, but the end result of a series of changes is a major shift to the narrative structure of Phase 6.
As first presented at SDCC ’22 (and remains unchanged as far as anyone knows), Phase 6 begins with Fantastic Four and ends with Avengers: Secret Wars. The “SDCC Slate” contained 5 films beginning in November 2024 and ending in November 2025. 2025 was set to be a monster year with two Avengers films releasing within 6 months of one another with one other untitled film releasing between them.
Then came a delay to Blade, the shift of the date of Deadpool and Wolverine from February 2024 to November 2024, Fantastic Four from November 2024 to February 2025 and the move of Avengers: Secret Wars into 2026. The sum certainly looks to be greater than the total of its parts in this case. When placed side-by-side, it becomes clear that the “New Slate” not only stepped into Phase 7 territory but by doing so also added one film to the Phase 6 slate and put two films worth of storytelling between Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, creating a three film gap between them now.
At this point, Marvel Studios has several theatrical projects at varying stages of development though only two of those have been officially acknowledged by the studio. What films should fill that three-film gap between Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars and why? We have thoughts…
For the purpose of this exercise, the most recently updated Marvel Studios slate will be treated as it is “locked-in.” Thinking and speculating about projects four years away from release is tough going because the reality is that the most recent slate will change again, maybe multiple times, before Phase 6 wraps up the Multiverse Saga. However, for simplicity’s sake, this article is working within the slate as it currently stands. Under those conditions, here’s our best guess:
Theories about the true nature of Shang-Chi’s rings have always been interesting, but following the trailer for Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and the undeniable similarity they share with some of Kang the Conqueror’s gear, the game has really changed. Shang-Chi has always been primed to be a major part of the Multiverse Saga, but with Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton now on board to helm Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, it stands to reason Shang-Chi, and his rings, might play a much larger role in the Saga then originally imagined. The first film left the origin of the rings intentionally vague and an upcoming animated series is rumored to connect some dots between the rings, Kamala’s bangle and more. That series, which is being overseen by Todd Harris and potentially directed by Brian Kesinger, revolves around a secret society of earthbound aliens who scour the world for a series of powerful and influential artifacts. The rings are certainly just those types of artifacts and it’s possible that the aliens trying to find them are either affiliated with or working against Kang. Whatever the case, Shang-Chi’s a major player, the sequel is announced and seems like it absolutely must come out ahead of Secret Wars.
Armor Wars has been part of Marvel Studios’ plans for the Multiverse Saga since before fans knew there was a Multiverse Saga. First announced in 2020 at Disney’s Investor Day, Armor Wars was originally developed as a streaming series before shifting gears and becoming a feature film. If the series was planned to be in the Multiverse Saga, it would stand to reason that the film will be too, especially given its close ties to Secret Invasion.
We’ve always had Nomad as a streaming series, so this represents a major shift in thinking though nobody seems to know what to expect of it. However, the best “Nomad” story Marvel Studios could tell would be one following Chris Evans‘ Steve Rogers as he returned the Infinity Stones to their respective timelines. As explained by Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, an incursion can be caused when people travel between multiverses and alter that reality more than the allowable margin for error. If that’s true, that sweet sendoff for Steve and the end of Avengers: Endgame looks like it might be a pretty major problem now that He Who Remains is no longer around to protect the timeline. Could a Nomad feature film center on Steve’s journey to the other timelines where it’s revealed he actually caused multiple incursions?
It’s not out of the realm of possibilities. As Steve told Tony, when he sees a situation pointed south, he can’t ignore it. Could little acts of do-gooderism during his visits to the timelines from which the Infinity Stones were borrowed actually end up accelerating the incursion process and speeding up the timeline to Secret Wars? It’s hard to say because not enough is currently known about what incursions are truly all about in the MCU, but if Evans is truly back for a pair of projects as reported, it’s hard to imagine that one of them is really just about him riding a motorcycle around the countryside and helping people change flat tires. Not with Secret Wars looming…