The confirmed TV shows as part of the MCU’s slate for Phase 5 have one major difference to Phase 4, marking an improvement for the franchise.
The confirmed slate for the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 5 has one key difference from its Phase 4 counterpart in regard to Disney Plus shows, improving on the latter as a result. Beginning with WandaVision, the first project in Phase 4, Marvel Studios began utilizing longer-form storytelling as a way to expand the MCU. Throughout Phase 4, a total of eight MCU Disney Plus shows were released, and Phase 5 shows no sign of slowing down in this regard.
Phase 5 is set to include seven Disney Plus shows to further flesh out the story that will build to the Avengers' battle with Kang. Phase 6 will undoubtedly include a similar amount of TV projects, with the majority of the MCU's success coming from the Disney Plus shows rather than the films of Phase 4, outside of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. When concerning Phase 5's upcoming Disney Plus TV shows though, the projects slated for release in the next few years have one stark difference from the shows that were released as part of the preceding Phase.
The difference in question concerning the confirmed Phase 5 Disney Plus projects is that they are all centered on pre-existing MCU characters. The Phase 5 TV shows set for release are Secret Invasion, Loki season 2, What If…? season 2, Ironheart, Echo, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, and Daredevil: Born Again. As evident from these titles, the MCU's Disney Plus projects in Phase 5 will tell stories about characters who have appeared in the MCU in the past.
Secret Invasion is a pseudo-sequel to Captain Marvel, with characters like Nick Fury, Talos, Everett Ross, Maria Hill, and Rhodey returning. Loki season 2 and What If…? season 2 will continue the stories established in the debut seasons of either show, acting as two of the most important Phase 5 shows due to their ties to the Multiverse Saga. Ironheart, Echo, Agatha: Coven of Chaos, and Daredevil: Born Again will focus on their respective titular characters, all of whom made debut appearances in the MCU during Phase 4.
Conversely, Phase 4's Disney Plus projects were used as vehicles to introduce new characters to the Multiverse Saga. While WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, and Loki centered on pre-existing characters, Phase 4 also had What If…?, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. All of these shows introduced new MCU characters, with all centering on heroes that will undoubtedly become vital to the Multiverse Saga's future.
Beginning with What If…?, the Watcher will likely be important going forward. Serving as the series' narrator, the Watcher is a character who can see between universes, meaning his multiversal powers could be important going forward. In terms of the other three shows, the characters of Moon Knight, Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, and Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk were the focus of the stories. These three characters will almost certainly be important to Phase 5 and beyond, with Kamala set to appear in The Marvels and the other two characters all but confirmed for future appearances.
With Phase 5's shows only telling stories of characters who have previously been part of the MCU, the Multiverse Saga is becoming more focused as a result. If Phase 5 had been similar to Phase 4, and introduced three or four new characters to the Multiverse Saga, the MCU's roster would have become even more overwhelming than it already is. In choosing to continue pre-existing characters' stories, the MCU is showing signs of building towards Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars with the characters already at play in the universe.
While this is not to say Phase 5 cannot introduce any new characters, furthering the stories of some of the more compelling characters from Phase 4 likely means they will be important pieces of the story going forward. As a result, the complaints about Phase 4 being too unfocused begin to dissipate. By taking characters from Phase 4 like Riri Williams, Echo, Daredevil, and Agatha, Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is beginning to feel more cohesive in terms of its Disney Plus shows, leaving theatrical releases like Blade and Fantastic Four to introduce new major characters.