Marvel Studios was absent from last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but they sure made up for it this year. When one saga ends, another (even bigger one) begins!
The Hall H Marvel Studios panel, which seated 7,000 fans that had been anxiously awaiting the presentation for over 24 hours, began with Kevin Feige acknowledging the elephant in the room: Endgame has changed everything forever.
“The Infinity Saga is complete!” Feige exclaimed after a montage of the 23 films that made up the last 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He then attributed the success to the fans and announced that, within days, Endgame would become the highest grossing film of all-time. Little did Feige know that title was awarded to the movie that same night. Nearly three months after its release, Avengers: Endgame has become the biggest film in history, beating 2009’s Avatar at the box office.
Then, Feige turned to the future—specifically, just 2020 and 2021 in this presentation. What is different about the next phase of the MCU is that not all the projects are films, nor are they all live action. Thanks to the upcoming Disney+ platform, Marvel Studios can turn its attention to several returning characters in the form of TV series, something unprecedented in the studio’s history.
As each project was announced, some of the directors and cast members came out to briefly speak about the titles, much to the audience’s excitement. After all was said and done, a whooping 11 new projects were announced—and in the span of two years, to boot. Phase 4 really will be uncharted territory for fans and creators of Marvel cinematic properties.
For Disney+, the following shows were highlighted:
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie appeared, both attempting to share the weight of Cap’s shield that was bestowed upon them at the end of Endgame. Footage featuring Daniel Bruhl was also screened, showing audiences that Baron Zemo will be returning since his original stint in Civil War. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere in Fall 2020.
Feige confirmed that Loki is indeed very much alive despite his death in Infinity War. Tom Hiddleston then walked on stage to a standing ovation and a chant of “Loki.” According to Hiddleston, Loki will be “a new world” and “new challenges.” The series will show Loki fans what happened after he disappeared with the Tesseract in Endgame and will debut in Spring 2021.
WandaVision will feature a grownup version of Monica Rambeau, played by Teyonah Parris, who we saw as a child in Captain Marvel. Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen also took the stage as they will both reprise their roles as the Vision and Wanda Maximoff. Even though Vision is seemingly still dead after the Infinity Saga finale, it appears that the series will take place after Endgame. (Bettany says he has no idea how Vision will come back to life, though!) The series will also premiere in Spring 2021 as part of a “mega-event,” says Feige.
Jeremy Renner walked through the entire Hall H crowd before coming onstage to talk about Hawkeye. Not much was said, except for the important fact that the show will introduce fellow-archer Kate Bishop. We will also learn more about Hawkeye’s time as Ronin in between Infinity War and Endgame. The series will premiere in Fall 2021.
The first animated series from Marvel Studios will feature several “what if” scenarios throughout the MCU, narrated by the Watcher, who will be voiced by Jeffrey Wright. Not only will the Watcher discuss the “what if” scenarios, but he’ll also touch upon sideline-events that happened throughout the MCU that we may not have seen before. Some new characters were teased, but the biggest draw will likely be the giant voice cast of MCU actors who will also be part of the series. What If…? will debut in Summer 2021.
Now, onto the movies…
We’ll have to wait over a year for the newest MCU characters to be introduced, but they will likely make a splash if the cast who appeared onstage is any indication. The Eternals, a race that has been present on Earth for 35,000 years according to Feige, will finally be taking the spotlight late next year in a film directed by Chloe Zhao. Cast members present included Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, and Don Lee. The Eternals comes to theaters November 6, 2020.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Simu Liu will play the MCU’s first Asian superhero, and he officially scored the role only a few days before the announcement! Director Destin Daniel Cretton explained that the film will feature the real Mandarin as the villain, not the comedic version we saw in Iron Man 3 played by Tony Leung. Awkwafina will also co-star, and the movie will premiere on February 12, 2021.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Scott Derrickson will return to direct the sequel to Doctor Strange, intended as a foray into the horror genre mixed with humor, with Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as the sorcerer. (The audience sang “Happy Birthday” to the actor, who danced around on stage to accept the well-wishes.) Elizabeth Olsen will also co-star as Scarlet Witch, with this movie directly following her character’s stint in WandaVision, so we’ll see how this duo plays out. The film hits theaters May 7, 2021.
Thor: Love and Thunder
The continuation of Thor was announced a few days before Comic Con, but the audience still got the chance to hear new information. Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, and Tessa Thompson all came on stage for a Ragnarok reunion. Waititi revealed that the fourth Thor film will be based around the comicbook arc The Mighty Thor, which creates the first-ever female Thor. With Valkyrie as the new King of Asgard, she’s got her own priorities (namely “finding her queen,” according to Thompson), so it leaves the mantle open for someone else. Natalie Portman will return as Jane Foster, only this time she will seemingly be the one wielding Mjolnir (or some kind of Asgardian hammer).
We all knew this film was coming, but the details have been under wraps until now. Joining Scarlett Johansson for her long-awaited standalone film will be Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, and O.T. Fagbenle. The movie’s villain will be Taskmaster, and although most details of the plot are still unclear, Hall H did get to see a bit of footage from the upcoming film. Black Widow is currently in production in London and will be the next MCU film to come out; it will hit theaters in less than one year, on May 1, 2020!
The Blade announcement came as the biggest surprise because it actually broke the pattern of the 10 prior announcements of Phase 4. There is no set release date for this movie yet, so it will presumably take place after 2021, but the lead was introduced: Mahershala Ali, who appeared on stage in a Blade baseball cap as a nod to the titular half-Vampire character.
After the announcements, all the guests took a group photo, and the grand timeline appeared on the screen for the audience. Ladies and gentlemen, Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has begun!
Without more specifics, Feige did acknowledge that other sequels like Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and Black Panther 2 are in the pipeline, as well as the eventual inclusion of mutants and the Fantastic 4. There will also be a Marvel Studios panel at D23 Expo in one month, so we may learn more about what Disney’s Fox merger means for Marvel characters in the near future; the placement of other MCU characters from the past three phases such as Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Bruce Banner, and more will also hopefully be addressed at some point. You can check out the comprehensive plans for Marvel Studios’ 4th Phase below: