A couple days ago at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige announced the lineup of Marvel films and shows for the next two years.
The proceedings covered many feature-length films and upcoming Disney+ TV shows, some of which we knew beforehand and a few that we didn’t. There is a lots to cover here, so let’s start at the top: The Eternals, a film featuring a new cast of heroes, will make its Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in theatres on November 6th, 2020. After an overview of the film, Feige introduced the director, Chloé Zhao, followed by stars from the film, including, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Angelina Jolie as Thena. This is a lesser-known Marvel property, so let’s hope it gets the Guardians treatment and makes a good first impression.
Next up is The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a show set to debut on Disney+ in the fall of 2020. It pairs up two of the MCU’s most popular heroes – Sam Wilson AKA The Falcon and Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier – in a series of action-filled adventures as they fight together against evil after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Anthony Mackie (The Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier) came on stage to greet the fans, and it was revealed that Daniel Brühl will return as the villain, Baron Zemo.
Following that, we had the reveal of another relative unknown: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which will be in theatres on February 12th, 2021. Feige detailed how the legend has been hinted at in the MCU films since the first Iron Man, before announcing the confirmed casting of Simu Liu in the title role of Shang-Chi. Both the actor and the director, Destin Daniel Cretton, came on stage to greet the audience. Kevin also shared with the audience the casting of Awkwafina in a yet-to-be-disclosed role. Then, Kevin revealed to the audience that the real Mandarin, who was commonly thought to have been done a disservice via a fake in Iron Man 3, will be played by celebrated Chinese actor Tony Leung.
After that came the announcement of WandaVision, which premieres on Disney+ in the spring of 2021. In this original series, Paul Bettany reprises the role of Vision and Elizabeth Olsen returns to her role of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. Bettany and Olsen were joined on stage by MCU newcomer Teyonah Parris, and Feige announced that Parris will be playing the grown-up version of Monica Rambeau, who was introduced to audiences in Captain Marvel.
Afterwards, Feige offered news on Loki, a Marvel Studios original series streaming on Disney+ in the spring of 2021. Tom Hiddleston returns in his role of the mercurial Loki, god of mischief and everyone’s favourite villain. He also took to the stage, receiving a huge welcome from fans, and a big pop when he teased that his character’s current location will be revealed after recent… developments.
Feige then introduced the second film in the Doctor Strange franchise, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, hitting theatres on May 7th, 2021. The director, Scott Derrickson, and star Benedict Cumberbatch came to the stage alongside Elizabeth Olsen, who also stars in this film. They revealed that WandaVision – the aforementioned Disney+ series that Olsen will star in as Scarlet Witch – connects directly to the feature film’s storyline.
At this point, another bombshell was dropped: we received new information on What If…?, the first animated series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What If…? is being created exclusively for Disney+, and features stories that present alternate realities in the Marvel universe (a concept longtime comic book and Spider-Man fans know well). Feige mentioned that many actors from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe will reprise their roles as voice talent in the series. He then surprised the audience by bringing Jeffrey Wright to the stage and introducing him as the voice of the popular character The Watcher. What If…? will join the Disney+ lineup in the summer of 2021.
It was then that Jeremy Renner came on stage, revealing the previously undisclosed title of the Hawkeye Disney+ original series. He joined Kevin Feige to give exciting news about Hawkeye, including details about Kate Bishop, a character well-known in Marvel comics, who will be an integral part of the series. Hawkeye launches on Disney+ in the fall of 2021.
After that, Feige talked about the next Thor film, Thor: Love and Thunder, which will be the fourth feature film in the Thor franchise. It was revealed that Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, will become the Mighty Thor, the goddess of Thunder. Director Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, and Natalie Portman all came on stage for the presentation, eliciting a wild response from the audience who were already looking forward to the film’s November 5th, 2021 debut in theatres. I guess old Thor is probably gonna’ show up elsewhere, eh?
Next came the official announcement of the feature film Black Widow, which is slated for a May 1st, 2020 release in theatres, making it the first film of Phase Four to hit the big screen. Feige surprised the audience with the first footage from Black Widow, which is currently in production. The film is directed by Cate Shortland who was on hand to greet the audience along with Scarlett Johansson, reprising her role of Natasha Romanoff, as well as newcomers to the MCU David Harbour as Alexei AKA The Red Guardian, Florence Pugh as Yelena, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina.
Finally, after the Black Widow reveal, Fiege pulled out one last big surprise. He was joined on stage by actor Mahershala Ali, and they announced the new Marvel Studios feature film Blade that Ali will star in. If you don’t know why this counts as a “big” surprise, I strongly recommend you watch the old 1998 Blade featuring Wesley Snipes. I need to do so myself, as everything I’ve heard from that film is beautifully cheesy. No release window was given for this film.
And that’s the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It may seem rather underwhelming after Avengers: Endgame, but now that it’s the highest-grossing movie worldwide, how could anything else compare? We’ll keep you up to date on all the latest announcements for these shows and films in the coming years, and in the meantime, I’ll be crossing my fingers for a Moon Knight movie.