MCU: 8 Most Important Moments In Phase Four's TV Shows
Don't underestimate the small screen!
After Avengers: Endgame brought the epic Infinity Saga, aka Phases One through Three, to a close, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was set to enter new ground with Phase Four, the beginning of what will now be known as the Multiverse Saga. The planning for Phase Four coincided with the arrival of Disney's own streaming service, Disney Plus, which has become the Streaming home of all Disney-owned content, including the Marvel Cinematic universe.
Disney Plus has allowed Marvel to try different storytelling formats in Phase Four, including longer-form TV series, albeit with the extra advantages of a film-level budget. With the shows, Marvel have been able to delve deeper into the stories of characters who had previously been mostly supporting players, such as Wanda Maximoff or Sam Wilson, while taking the time needed to properly introduce new heroes set to feature heavily in the future of the MCU, like Ms. Marvel, and most recently, She-Hulk.
While the shows, like the MCU films, can be watched as stand-alone stories, most feature plot points or Easter Eggs that tie into the MCU's wider narrative. Let's look at the most important moments from Marvel's Phase Four TV series.
1. Monica Rambeau is changed by The Hex (WandaVision)
Suspecting foul play from S.W.O.R.D Director Tyler Hayward, Monica Rambeau is eager to re-enter the Hex in the hope that she can get through to Wanda. However, Darcy Lewis discovers that passing through, and then being expelled from Wanda's hex has had an unusual effect on Monica's DNA, and entering again could alter her entirely. When an attempt to enter the Hex in a protective vehicle fails, Monica decides to forge ahead through the Hex anyway. She emerges inside Westview with new energy-manipulating powers which she later uses to save the lives of Wanda's twin sons, Tommy and Billy.
In the comics, Monica gains the power to convert her body to pure energy as the result of exposure to extra-dimensional energy, currently fighting crime under the codename Spectrum. Her abilities make her one of the Avengers Big Guns, and she is likely to play a similar role in the MCU once her powers are mastered. This will make Monica a very important character going forward.
2. Agatha explains the Darkhold, and the Prophecy of the Scarlet Witch (WandaVision)
In between their battles during WandaVision's finale, Agatha Harkness explains to Wanda Maximoff her prophesised destiny as the Scarlet Witch, read from a chapter in the Darkhold. Apparently, Wanda's destiny is to destroy the world. Agatha also mentions that the Darkhold is sometimes known as the Book of the Damned, which makes sense given it's comic book origins, and goes some way to explaining Wanda's behaviour after she has become corrupted by the evil book in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Scarlet Witch prophecy will most likely be revisited again before the Multiverse Saga is over. Some fans have also questioned how the Darkhold's destruction in Multiverse of Madness could affect Agatha in her upcoming spin-off.
3. John Walker murders a Flag Smasher (Falcon and The Winter Soldier)
After being chosen by the U.S Government as the new Captain America in Falcon and The Winter Soldier, John Walker clearly struggles to find his feet in the role. He comes to believe that things would be easier if he were a Super-Soldier as Steve Rogers had been, and when an opportunity to inject himself with Super Soldier serum presents itself, Walker jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, Walker's partner, Lamar Hoskins, is killed in battle with the Flag Smashers shortly afterwards. Consumed with rage and the new power of the serum, Walker chases down Lamar's killer and beats him to death with Cap's shield, in full view of horrified civilians.
The incident above is a perfect example of what many within the MCU often forget: the Serum enhances everything a person is, whether good or bad. This is why Dr. Erskine was so careful in choosing the first serum candidate in Captain America: The First Avenger. Walker is not necessarily a bad man, but certain character flaws he had displayed throughout the early episodes of Falcon and The Winter Soldier are enhanced when he takes the serum. Earlier attempts to recreate the serum's effects have resulted in the creation of the Incredible Hulk, and the Abomination.
The downsides of the Serum may be important to remember heading into Captain America: New World Order, which will see the return of Tim Blake Nelson as Samuel Sterns/The Leader. The character, last seen in The Incredible Hulk, was interested in the possible scientific applications of Bruce Banner's Gamma-radiated blood, before becoming accidentally mutated by a sample of it.
4. The Multiverse is born (Loki)
For most of the six episode run of Loki's first season, it is believed that the Time Variance Authority, or TVA, were created by the Timekeepers to maintain the single Sacred Timeline and prune any Variants. However, the season finale reveals that both the TVA and the Timekeepers were creations of He Who Remains, a variant of Kang the Conqueror residing in the Citadel at the End of Time.
He Who Remains explains to Loki and Sylvie that he maintains the Sacred Timeline in order to avoid the outbreak of a Multiversal War that had once been caused by his variants. His death would result in the end of the Sacred Timeline. While Loki hesitates in light of the new information, Sylvie goes ahead with her original plan and kills He Who remains, allowing the timeline to split and the Multiverse to be born.
This moment is the true beginning of the Multiverse Saga. The Timeline split results in the alternate timelines seen in What If..?, and according to Kevin Feige, the end of the Sacred Timeline is to blame for mistakes such as the failure of Doctor Strange's spell in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
5. The Return of Kingpin (Hawkeye)
Throughout the events of Hawkeye, Clint Barton is eager to prevent his time as the vigilante Ronin from attracting the attention of a dangerous figure from his past who could threaten his family. While left unseen through most of the series, Hawkeye's penultimate episode, 'Ronin', reveals it to be Wilson Fisk, aka the crime lord Kingpin. A twist in the series ending reveals that it might actually be Clint's Wife, Laura Barton, who would be Kingpin's target, but that is most likely a story for another time.
Kingpin is played in the series by Vincent D'Onofrio, the same actor who played the role in Netflix's much loved Daredevil series. While D'Onofrio's return was our first hint of Daredevil obtaining official MCU status, the impact of his appearance goes far beyond this. In the comics, Kingpin is a major figure in organised crime, frequently bringing him into conflict with street-level heroes such as Spider-Man and, of course, Daredevil. Recent rumours suggest that the MCU's fourth Spider-Man film will be a street-level story, with Kingpin as the main villain.
6. Mutation (Ms. Marvel)
For most of the Ms. Marvel series, it was believed that Kamala Khan gained her connection to the Noor, the source of her new 'hard light' powers, from the use of a bangle once belonging to her Djinn Great Grandmother, Aisha. However, in the final episode of the series, Kamala's friend Bruno reveals that he has discovered a mutation in Kamala's DNA. This mutation goes beyond the fact that Kamala is part Djinn, as it is not something she shares with the rest of her family. The reveal is accompanied by what sounds like a few bars of the beloved X-Men animated series theme from the nineties.
While Kamala is remarkably unfazed by the news, the scene is something of a mic drop moment for Ms. Marvel, especially to anyone who doubted the series' importance to the wider MCU storyline. While in the comics Kamala Khan is an Inhuman, it seems she will be the MCU's first known mutant. It's also a nice reminder to some slightly impatient fans that the MCU's X-Men are coming, even if it takes a while.
7. The Abolishment of the Sokovia Accords (She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law)
After Matt Murdock appeared in a brief cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home, many fans were delighted to discover that actor Charlie Cox would also be reprising the role of Matt Murdock and his alter ego, Daredevil, in two episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law. When Matt arrives in episode eight, 'Ribbit and Rip It!', to face off against Jen Walters in the courtroom, he brings some very important information with him. While arguing against Jen's request that the client list of Superhero-suit Designer Luke Jacobson be released as evidence, Matt reveals that the Sokovia Accords have been abolished.
As all Marvel fans will remember, the Sokovia Accords, which put power over the missions of the Avengers in the hands of the U.N, resulted in the splitting of the team in Captain America: Civil War. The abolishment of the Accords may have occurred in in response to them preventing the Avengers from uniting and mobilising in time to prevent the Decimation. The end of the Accords now leaves our heroes to act as they see fit, and allows heroes who choose to conceal their identities, such as Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel, and Daredevil himself, to protect their anonymity without repercussions.
8. She-Hulk smashes the Fourth Wall (She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law)
After deciding that she doesn't like where the story is going in She-Hulk's finale, 'Whose Show Is this?', Jen Walters Hulks out and smashes the Fourth Wall, escaping into Marvel Studios to confront the Writers with her complaints. Eventually, Jen encounters K.E.V.I.N, a sophisticated A.I (parodying Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige) who is responsible for Marvel's story decisions.
K.E.V.I.N's room is filled with racks of comics, which some fans believe could provide hints at future MCU storylines. Jen's fourth wall breaking could also ease the way for other fourth-wall breakers, such as Deadpool, who will soon be entering the MCU.
With Phase Four of the MCU coming to a satisfying end, we can't wait to see what Phase Five has in store.