By Bryan A Westfall

Just…give me a moment to catch my breath.

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OK. I think I’m ready to talk about Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before we jump in, the most important thing you need to know is at the top. Take a few to bask in it.

Announced during Marvel‘s Phase 4 panel at San Diego Comic Con yesterday,¬†Taika Waititi will be returning to direct the fourth installment of Thor. It¬†will feature Natalie Portman as the “Goddess of Thunder” based on Jason Aaron’s¬†“The Mighty Thor“. A lady Thor!!!

Personally, that would be enough to pacify me for a long while. However, as we’ve learned, “way more than is necessary or even seems possible” is Marvel’s style:

That’s a whole lotta Marvel. Anything with the¬†“Disney+” logo will be a series on Disney’s upcoming streaming service. A lot of familiar “Endgame” veterans in that category: “Hawkeye“,¬†“The Falcon and Winter Soldier“,¬†“WandaVision“, and¬†“Loki” will all land on that service, with only Bucky & Sam’s show debuting next year.

Thankfully, the first thing we get in this next phase is less than a year away:

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How nice of them to reunite us with Natasha Romanoff as the first Phase 4 gift after killing her off in “Endgame“. Way to shorten that grieving period!

That cast is very promising.¬†“Stranger Things” fan fav David Harbour¬†and Rachel Weisz are some very exciting additions to the MCU.

I don’t know much about the next few films following¬†“Black Widow” (“Shang-Chi” &¬†“Eternals“), but as I’ve established recently, these films are my way of getting to know these stories.

A few surprise confirmations were saved for last:

Blade” will be rebooted starring¬†“Green Book” actor Mahershala Ali, but no casting has started for the MCU iteration of the¬†“Fantastic Four“. All I have to say on the latter is¬†“surprise me”.

With that big phase 4 list stretching out into 2021, there are certainly some very big vacancies. We know¬†“Guardians of the Galaxy” will get it’s 3rd installment with James Gunn at the helm. “Black Panther 2“, “Spider-Man 3“, and¬†“Captain Marvel 2” are also slam dunks at some point.¬†

But…What about LANG?! Mr.¬†“Time-Heist” himself had no mention, even though it was his idea that saved everyone on Earth in “Endgame”.

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D23 Expo in Anaheim is only a month away, so here’s to hoping we hear more about Scott & Hope in a special¬†“Ant Man 3” announcement…

…or we riot.