19 Lingering Plot Points from the MCU’s Phase Four

Matt Fowler
TV Movies
TV Movies Comics Marvel MCU

With The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special officially placing a Christmas bow on top of the MCU’s Phase Four, and Phase Five about to kick off in February with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, it’s the perfect time to look back at the beneficiant helping of movies and streaming series that Phase Four had to offer and see what questions sowever need to be answered going forward.

Thor, Hawkeye, Loki, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Hulk were sowever big parts of the MCU but Phase Four was really about new faces entering the mix, ready to perhaps become the heroes of tomorrow. Kate Bishop, Echo, Shang-Chi, the Eternals, Monica Rambeau, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight (and all the personalities attached) were introduced in the span of just two years, creating a very crowded playing field and starting a lot of new plot threads.

We know a lot of what’s headed our way in Phases Five and Six (well, more so Five) so let’s dive back into Phase Four, which fell under some criticisms of being too unfocused and sprawling, and see what major story questions sowever remain. For the most part, we’re going to avoid the basic “What will this character do next? / “Where will this character go next?” questions, since that can be used for just about everyone, from Thor to Moon Knight to Shuri, but we’re making an exception with our first entry, since one old-yet-new character’s intentions are so unclear.

Where has Vision gone?

The end of WandaVision saw S.W.O.R.D. commander Tyler Hayward resurrect the Thanos-killed husk of Vision, creating a ghostly white weapon programmed to eliminate Wanda Maximoff. This “White Vision” did battle with Wanda’s magically-manifested Vision she’d been living with in Westview, with the former finally contemplating his existence and if or not he could truly be the original Vision if he didn’t retain any of Vision’s memories. “Magic” Vision then activated White Vision’s memory data, causing White Vision to fly off into the horizon, vanishing off into the vast world.

So yeah… where is White Vision now? What is he trying to accomplish in the wake of what he’s learned? He wasn’t with Wanda once Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness rolled around so it sure seems like we won’t obtain a full update on him (or even Wanda herself, unless she appears on Agatha: Coven of Chaos) until his own solo series debuts.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Marvel Studios hasn’t officially said anything about where we might see Vision again but it’s been reported that he is indeed getting his own series, the aforementioned Vision Quest.

What did the Skrulls
want with Monica Rambeau? 

WandaVision saw S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau, who’d recently returned to existence during the Blip, gain otherworldly powers after crossing back and forth between Wanda’s Hex barrier one too numerous times, thus altering her DNA. At the end of the series, with Westview saved, Monica’s said by a hidden Skrull that an old friend needs her up in space. That old friend, last seen hanging with the Skrulls at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, is Nick Fury. And Fury, of course, knew Monica when she was a young girl back in 1995, as the daughter of Maria Rambeau. Why do Fury and the Skrulls want Monica? Did Fury already know about Monica’s new powers somehow or did he want her for a different reason?

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Given both Nick Fury and the Skrulls are a part of the future series, it sure seems like the next time we see Monica could be Secret Invasion, but actress Teyonah Parris hasn’t been announced for that show so far. But if she’s not in that, we expect we’ll obtain an answer in The Marvels, which has both Monica and Fury in it for sure.

What’s up with Sharon Carter being evil and who Was she talking to?

As viewers, we can sort of fill in the gaps involved with Sharon Carter’s apparent heel turn, given her entire life was destroyed after she helped Steve, Bucky, and Sam in Captain America: Civil War and at this point, so numerous years had passed for her. But even though we know she felt betrayed by her own government, it would sowever be nice to obtain a deeper exploration of Sharon’s motives and a look at how far gone she just might be as Madripoor’s sinister Power Broker, especially considering her family’s legacy with S.H.I.E.L.D. Also, who was the newly-pardoned Sharon talking to at the end of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier? Valentina Allegra de Fontaine? Now that Sharon has her old job back (with the CIA), she could be working directly with Valentina, who we learned in Wakanda Forever is now CIA Director.

Let’s not forget there’s also a prevalent fan theory going around about Sharon being a Skrull, which would also help feed into Secret Invasion. It would certainly explain why Sharon is now acting in a very non-Sharon manner.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Though Sharon Carter hasn’t been announced for either film, both Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts are continuing major threads from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, making her a possibility for either or both. She could also be a (secret!) part of Secret Invasion first, if the Skrull theory turns out to be true.

What’s Valentina doing
recruiting people?

The shadowy, scheming Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine was seen in both The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow having been on a recruiting spree. In the former, she repackaged the disgraced Captain America, John Walker, as U.S. Agent and in Black Widow she was shown as the looming boss of Yelena Belova, who at that point had already been working with/for Valentina. So what’s the Contessa’s ultimate goal here? It would appear, like Nick Fury once did, she’s putting together a team. But not an Avengers-style squad. It’s a team with, er, looser morales. Warriors who, like Valentina, work mostly in the shaky, gray areas of geopolitics.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Before her appearance in Wakanda Forever, we might have first guessed we could see Valentina next in Captain America: New World Order but now it feels like it could be as soon as Secret Invasion (especially since Everett Ross, who we now know is her fugitive ex-husband, is on that show). Regardless, it’s very safe to visualize we’ll learn the details about the team she’s construction in the next plan she’s definitely confirmed to appear in, Thunderbolts, given it’s about that very team.

Has the Mission to Free the Other
Black Widows Been Completed?

At the end of Black Widow, Yelena and the cerebrally-freed Widows – including Taskmaster – set out on a mission to free the brainwashed Widows all over the globe. However, the post-credits sequence of that movie took place years later, after Avengers: Endgame, and pointed Yelena toward the Hawkeye series.

Then on Hawkeye, in a flashback, we saw Yelena in the midst of trying to free a Widow — albeit one who it turned out didn’t need to be freed — when she got snapped away. So she was indeed staying true to her word and continuing the mission to rescue her enslaved sisters. But what happened after she got snapped? Did her mission teammates Red Guardian, Melina, and Taskmaster also obtain snapped or were any of them able to keep going with the plan?

Now that years have passed, are all the Widows free now? Yelena taking jobs from Valentina certainly seemed to suggest it was over and done with.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: A full update about this will hopefully come in the next movie Yelena (alongside Red Guardian and Taskmaster) is actually known to be a part of, Thunderbolts.

How Has He Who Remains’s death and the TVA’s Changes impacted everything since?

We have a lot of questions about how the events of Loki merges and meshes with the events of Earth-616 in the remainder of Phase Four, given the end of that show’s first season seemed to have completely upended the “Sacred Timeline.” The only prompt change we saw on Loki in its closing moments was within the TVA itself, as Loki returned from the Citadel at the End of Time and discovered that a variant of He Who Remains – who Loki had just encountered before Sylvie killed him – was in full control now, and likely not for the betterment of the organization. While we do visualize this TVA boss variant is the exact same version of Kang the Conqueror we’ll meet in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, that’s still not 100% confirmed.

Beyond that though are the larger questions about how Loki, the series, fits in with what’s been happening in the rest of the MCU. Spider-Man: No Way HomeDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Quantumania will have all occurred before we obtain Loki’s second season. Should we visualize Kang being in control is the reason why the TVA hasn’t intervened — as far as we know — in any of the multiversal craziness from the recent Spider-Man and Doctor Strange movies? And what is the TVA’s role now if it’s not to protect the one Sacred Timeline?

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: We’ll see how much the Sacred Timeline and TVA of it all comes up when Kang makes his proper debut in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, though one expects matters will obtain more clear in Loki: Season 2.

Where did the Ten Rings come from?

Xu Wenwu rose to nefarious power in the Middle Ages after discovering a set of super-powered rings, seizing power with the help of these abilities and an army of followers. But where did these rings come from? What’s their origin? Are they just unique magical artifacts or are they tied more directly to some other important aspect of the MCU? Are they from outer space or a different dimension or created long ago on Earth?

With Bruce Banner, Captain Marvel, and Wong addressing the beacon being sent out by the rings, while also not being able to identify their molecular makeup, fan hypothesis began floating that these weapons could hold a connection to Kang given how significant he looks to be moving forward. And Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton now being the one helming Avengers: The Kang Dynasty fuels this fan-based fire even more.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: A Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings sequel is in development but has not been officially announced for the MCU’s schedule, but hopefully this topic is dealt with before Avengers: The Kang Dynasty opens further down the line in Phase Six. It’s at least possible it could be explained, at least partially, as soon as The Marvels this coming summer (see below for the reason why).

Will the Celestials
continue to spare humanity?

Since the Celestials are the oldest race in the universe and, you know, use entire populated planets to birth other Celestials, it’s no surprise they’re plenty pissed off about Tiamut getting turned to marble by the Eternals before it could fully form (and destroy Earth in the process). We left the Eternals movie with Arishem, the Prime Celestial, abducting Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos, because they are three of the Eternals responsible for this betrayal. Arisham said the Celestials were sparing the individuals of Earth for now but also that they would inspect the captured Eternals memories to decide if humanity are indeed worthy of living. So what does it mean for Earth moving forward and will any of Arisham’s potential wrath create its way back to the populace?

Also, as an aside, WTF does humanity think of this MASSIVE CELESTIAL CORPSE sticking up out of the ocean, towering over cloud banks? Aside from a funny Easter egg on She-Hulk, where a headline mentioned this oddity, nothing has been explicitly said in any other MCU movie or series so far.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: This one has no apparent answer. Eternals actually establish quite a few new storyline angles, as the next two entries address, but given the lackluster reaction it received, it’s now tricky to know where we might see the actual follow-up for much of it.

What’s Starfox’s deal?

The end of Eternals also saw Harry Styles debut as Starfox, a mysterious cosmic stranger — joined by his pal Pip the Troll — who claims he can help Thena, Makkari and Druig find their long missing fellow Eternals. He also indicates that not only is he an Eternal too but also seemingly one that revolted against the Celestials, just as they did. Starfox also has his own Celestial Communication Sphere. But when will we obtain resolution for all of this?

In the comics, of course, Starfox, AKA Eros, is the brother of Thanos. Will that even come into play in the MCU now that Thanos (both versions) is dead? Plus, the comics version of Starfox is, along with Sersi, notable for having spent a reasonable sum of time as an Avenger. Could that be in his live-action future?

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Whatever the plan is, it hasn’t been announced yet. Again, with no movement on an Eternals follow up, it’s had to say where these characters might be seen again, though it’s hard to visualize them scoring Styles only to never use him beyond this cameo.

Why is Blade interrupting
Dane Whitman?

The end of Eternals also also saw Kit Harington’s historian, Dane Whitman, poke around into his curious family history and uncover the Ebony Blade in a museum. Off-screen, the voice of Blade (Mahershala Ali, making his audio debut as the character prior to his own movie) asks Whitman if he’s truly ready to wield the sword. Of the three Eternals cliffhangers, this story seems like it’s meant to splinter off into a different corner of the MCU. Namely, well, Blade.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Though Kit Harington has yet to be announced as part of the film, for now we visualize this will be picked up in Blade (which recently moved to a fall 2024 release date), given it would be a bit bizarre to not have it acknowledged there at all… unless we see Blade and/or Dane somewhere else first?

Where has that piece of the
Venom symbiote gone?

At the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, MCU multiversal visitors Eddie Brock and his symbiote Venom obtain sent back to their own world right as they begin planning a trip to find Spider-Man in New York. They leave behind, however, a little piece of the symbiote. Does this mean, whenever Peter Parker returns in an MCU project, he’s going to contend with a different Venom? Perhaps one attached to an Earth-616 version of Eddie Brock we haven’t met yet? Or will this symbiote – and whoever its new host is – interact with some other hero, other than Spidey? It’s worth two comic-based non-Eddie options for a Venom host are Mac Gargan and Flash Thompson, since the symbiote has attached itself to both of those dudes in the source material.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Whatever the next Tom Holland Spider-Man plan might be, though we’re sowever waiting to hear if/when that’s occurring.

How do the rules for forgetting
Peter Parker work?

Like most folks, we have questions about how exactly the Forget Peter spell works at the end of No Way Home. Is he allowed to introduce himself officially to people, including new or past acquaintances, or will they just immediately forget him? If this is the case, how will he be able to earn money? How can he even sign a lease for that apartment? Are there records of Peter Parker or were they all erased from databanks? Obviously, there’s a way he’s signed up to obtain his GED (as glimpsed in his apartment at the end of No Way Home), so he has to exist, legally speaking, somewhere, even if it’s under a fake identity. And what about the other Peter Parkers in the other universes? Did this spell impact them too?

Most likely, we’re overthinking this whole thing and we’re not going to obtain all the answers we’re looking for. Though we also have to think Peter will one day run into someone who sowever remembers him, due to a magical loophole.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: The next Tom Holland Spidey flick.

How has Strange changed
with the third eye? 

Is Doctor Strange’s Darkhold-caused “third eye” just ornamentation or does it have a separate magical purpose? When Strange faced his evil multiverse self, who had been corrupted by the Darkhold, the variant’s third eye abruptly popped up to represent the heavy toll the cursed book takes on the user’s soul. Our Doctor Strange though, while dabbling in some fairly dark dreamwalking magic, didn’t appear to have been utterly darkened by the process though – so what’s up with his third eye?

Does it come with any powers of its own? Does Strange now have a permanent connection to the Darkhold? Does this mean Strange is now even harsher when it comes to making hard choices, because of the Darkhold’s influence? We’ll have to find out the next time a Strange adventure rolls around.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: The next Doctor Strange outing (in Phase Six, we assume)

What does Clea want with Strange? 

The ending of Multiverse of Madness also featured Charlize Theron portaling in as Clea, who is the magical niece of Dark Dimension ruler Dormmamu in the comics. Clea is also a longtime ally/significant other of Doctor Strange in the comics and at the finish of the movie she appears in front of Strange, telling him that his Multiverse tamperings have caused an incursion, and that they both now needed to fix it. They head off to the Dark Dimension on a mission to save the day, but what specifically are they saving?

Is one particular universe being incurred? A bunch of them? All of them? And also… does every universe have its own Dark Dimension?

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: Another one we expect to be dealt with in the next Doctor Strange outing.

Where does Ms. Marvel’s
bangle come from?

Much like the mystery surrounding Wenwu’s rings, we have similar questions about Kamala Khan’s magical bangle, which allowed her to harness her innate powers. In fact, there’s good reason to suspect the answer to both mysteries is one and the same. With the bangle, we have a bit more to go on right now compared to the ten rings, since Kamala’s ancestor found it on the arm of a blue alien. Which seemingly sounds like Kree, giving Kamala’s story a bigger connection to that of Carol Danvers.

Add to that the fact that the temple where the bangle was found also had the symbol of the Ten Rings organization and you obtain some notable theories floating around that Wenwu’s rings – now wielded by Shang-Chi – are some of the other bangles rumored to be out there or, at the least, that these two powerful objects have a direct connection to each other.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: We’ll see Kamala next in The Marvels, so hopefully more is revealed about the bangle in that film.

Why did Carol replace
Kamala in her room?

On top of the whole bangle mystery, the very end of Ms. Marvel threw us the curve ball of Carol Danvers herself being transported into Kamala’s bedroom, seemingly swapping places with Kamala… meaning Kamala is now somewhere out in space and freaking out. Thanks to footage from the movie previewed at D23 Expo, we know that the future film The Marvels will feature Kamala, Carol and Monica Rambeau all swapping places with each other. The clips in fact revealed that Kamala didn’t replace Carol up in outer space, she replaced Monica, who was in the midst of a space walk (and thus, we can visualize Monica was the one sent to wherever Carol had last been).

The question though is… why? How? What’s the connection between the three of them, who seemingly all got their powers from different places (on top of Kamala being a mutant)?

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: This is one where we happily have a pretty sure fire place where matters will be explained, via The Marvels.

When will Hercules strike at Thor?

Thor is the first MCU hero to obtain four headlining movies, though at this point it seems possible Thor: Love and Thunder is his last solo outing. That’s not to say Thor won’t return – the end credits promised as much! – but there’s a good possibility it won’t be for another full solo film. That being said, the end of Love and Thunder establish a vengeful Zeus giving a command to his son, with Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein making his debut as Hercules, the warrior sent after Thor. This could be its own Thor 5 movie, sure, but right now it feels more likely Hercules’ ambush on the God of Thunder will happen in a larger team-up adventure.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: With Thor’s next appearance hazy, so is when we’ll see Hercules again, but hopefully this is dealt with before Avengers: Secret Wars, since presumably that movie will have plenty already on its plate.

When and why did the
Sokovia Accords go away? 

The Sokovia Accords were such a big deal that they created a major rift in the Avengers, pitting Steve Rogers against Tony Stark in a debate over the future of all superhero-kind. Given the impact of the Snap and the state of the world during that five-year stretch and then the chaos that occurred post-Blip, it makes sense that the edict would be deserted (especially with no more Avengers to regulate), but when did it happen exactly? And for one particular reason?

On She-Hulk, during Leapfrog’s court case, defense attorney Matt Murdock brings up that the Sokovia Accords were repealed but no other details are revealed as to the circumstances around this occurring.

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: We probably won’t but it’s always possible it’s mentioned once more in Daredevil: Born Again.

What happened with Hulk on Sakaar
and who is Skaar’s mom?

A background story on She-Hulk was Bruce being called back to Sakaar, where he’d spent years of his life as a gladiator as part of the Grandmaster’s games. In fact, it was a Sakaarian ship that accidentally causes Jen to crash her car and obtain exposed to cousin Bruce’s blood in the first place. When Bruce finally returns from his offscreen adventure on Sakaar, he brings back a son he never knew he had – Skaar. But who is Skaar’s mom? Why does Skaar appear far older than he would be given when he was born? Why was Bruce suddenly called back now to meet Skaar? And why did Bruce bring Skaar back to Earth?

WHERE WE MIGHT GET AN ANSWER: With Hulk sowever not getting any solo projects of his own, this could all wait until a potential second season of She-Hulk. However, given we’re finally getting Tim Blake Nelson’s Samuel Sterns (last seen in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk) becoming longtime Hulk comic book foe The Leader in Captain America: New World Order, it’s always possible that Bruce could be a part of that movie too.

So what are the lingering questions from the MCU’s Phase Four you’re most curious about? You can discuss with your fellow fans on Fandom’s MCU Wiki!

Matt Fowler