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Everything You Need to Know About the MCU’s Future After Comic-Con 2019

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You’d think we’d all be used to it by now. “Oh, Marvel Studios has made some major announcements and are going to dominate the box office for years to come,” we always seem to tell each other. 

 

However, Kevin Feige and Marvel continue to amaze us. 

 

At 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con—the Super Bowl for nerds—Feige anchored the panel that was full of announcements, teasers and surprises all about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future. The slate for the next two years of movies and shows was announced. While most, if not all, of the projects were already known to be in production, there were still some shockers. 

 

As evidenced by the panel, Marvel has big plans for the next two years and is riding high on the fact that Avengers: Endgame is officially the highest-grossing movie of all time. Feige and the team at Marvel basically have a license to do almost whatever they want to do and, true to form, they are going to do what they want, when they want and how they want. 

 

“Phase 4” of the MCU will take place over the course of the next two years, with five movies and five TV shows encapsulating the overall narrative, similar to previous phases. There was no announcement of an Avengers-type team movie at the end of this phase, confirming previous statements from Feige that the MCU would be changing things up. 

 

Also, one of the biggest bombshells that came out of the San Diego Comic-Con, although it didn’t get a release date, was the reveal that Mahershala Ali would be portraying the legendary character of Blade in a future MCU movie. Fans have been clamoring for a new Blade movie and now it looks like they’re going to get one. Blade’s primary enemies are vampires, so this is another brand-new direction that Feige and Marvel are taking themselves.

 

We’ll be seeing new actors and characters joining the fray and plenty of familiar faces as well. So with that, let’s break down everything that happened and what it all might mean for the future.

‘Black Widow’

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What is it? The next project on Marvel’s calendar is 2020’s Black Widow. The character’s long-overdue solo movie will see the return of Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, one of the founding Avengers, as she fights the villainous Taskmaster.

 

Johansson will be joined by David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle and Rachel Weisz in the film. It will be directed by Cate Shortland. 

 

What will it be about? We know that this movie will be a prequel, given the fact that Black Widow sacrificed her life to secure the Soul Stone in Avengers: Endgame. At the Comic-Con panel, Marvel revealed that this film will take place in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, so Romanoff will be operating outside of the law in this movie, as a member of Captain America’s “Secret Avengers.” 

 

The movie will also dive into Black Widow’s past in Eastern Europe, further fleshing out her backstory, and she will cross paths with Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, a character who eventually did take up the Black Widow mantle in the comics. David Harbour will be playing the Red Guardian, described as the Russian Captain America and a presumed antagonist for Black Widow.

 

In the comics, the Taskmaster is a genius warrior who’s highly skilled in combat and strategy, as well as a master of disguise. Whoever plays him (or her, if some theories about who Rachel Weisz is playing are to be believed), the character should prove more than a match for Black Widow. Oh, and he has a pretty baller skull mask.


Black Widow will be released on May 1, 2020.

‘The Eternals’

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What is it? This movie is going to be a big one and not just in scope. The cast for this film is jam-packed will A-list actors as well as some up-and-coming stars. 

 

Directed by Chloé Zhao, the cast includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh and Don Lee. In what is a first for the MCU, the movie will feature a disabled superhero. Ridloff’s character, Macary, is deaf and Ridloff herself is deaf, a remarkable step in the right direction for Marvel.

 

What will it be about? In the comics, the Eternals are an ancient group of humans who were gifted with superpowers and immortality by the Celestials. For context, Peter Quill, the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, fights and kills a Celestial (also his father) named Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

While little is known about the film’s plot, the Eternals will be fighting a major threat known as the Deviants. Although not confirmed in the movies, our old friend Thanos was actually a Deviant in the comics.

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

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What is it? Another milestone for Marvel, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will feature the franchise’s first superhero of Asian descent. Starring Simi Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as the Mandarin and Awkwafina as an undisclosed character (as of now), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. 

 

What will it be about? In the comics, Shang-Chi is a master martial artist who was originally trained to be a bad guy but decides to go good. He’s been a member of the Avengers, the Secret Avengers and the Heroes for Hire. 

 

He will be fighting against the Mandarin (the real Mandarin, not the Ben Kingsley/Guy Pearce version from Iron Man 3). The Mandarin is one of the more well-known, infamous villains of Marvel Comics. He wears ten rings that give him control over things like ice, fire, wind and lightning. Oh, and they also let him control minds. 

 

How far the movie leans into all of that remains to be seen, but the fact that we are getting a true Mandarin in the MCU is very exciting.

‘Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness’

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What is it? Returning as the Master of the Mystic Arts will be Benedict Cumberbatch, who has portrayed the character in Dr. StrangeAvengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame and made a cameo appearance in Thor: Ragnarok

 

This film will see Dr. Strange join forces with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch as they battle the villain Nightmare. Director Scott Derrickson has described the movie as the MCU’s first “true horror” film, a brand-new direction for a universe that has leaned toward making movies that are lighter in tone. Derrickson has experience with horror, having worked on movies like Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, so needless to say he’s got the background to make a film like this work.

 

What will it be about? The fact that the movie will have a horror-themed tone opens up a world of possibilities for the writers. Nightmare is essentially Marvel’s version of Freddy Krueger, hence his name. He haunts people’s dreams, the ruler of a different dimension that is completely centered around dominating the minds of his victims. 

 

Yeah, that sounds pretty scary to us.

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’

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What is it? Prior to SDCC, it had been announced that Taika Waititi would be returning to helm Thor 4 (now titled Thor: Love and Thunder) after his stellar MCU debut with Thor: Ragnarok. After the character’s resurgence in popularity thanks to Ragnarok, people were ecstatic that the duo of Waititi and Chris Hemsworth would be teaming up again for another movie. 

 

Joining Hemsworth will be Tessa Thompson, returning as the heroic Valkyrie (and new King of Asgard). What fans weren’t expecting, and what proved to be one of the biggest surprises of the panel, was the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Not only will Portman be returning but she will find herself worthy of wielding Mjolnir and will take up the mantle of Thor. And not just Thor, but the Mighty Thor, according to Waititi

 

What will it be about? Love and Thunder will be debuting on November 5, 2021, making it the final installment of Phase 4. Now, at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor found himself riding off into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy. With Guardians director James Gunn recently confirming that Love and Thunder will take place before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, it remains to be seen how and why Thor will split from the Guardians. 

 

Thompson has described her character as a “king looking for her queen,” confirming the speculation that Valkyrie would be the MCU’s first openly LGBTQ superhero. With this storyline in play, as well as Thor and Jane Foster’s past, the “love” portion of the movie just might prove to be the most intriguing aspect of it.

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’

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What is it? The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was one of the first Marvel shows that was announced for Disney’s new streaming platform, Disney+. Taking place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, we’ll see Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon teaming up to take on Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo, the villain from Captain America: Civil War. In addition, making her return to the Marvel universe is Emily VanCamp’s Sharon Carter.

 

The series will be directed by Kari Skogland and will be premiering in fall 2020.

 

What will it be about? After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon, had officially taken up the mantle of Captain America following Steve Rogers’ decision to go back in time and retire in the past with Peggy Carter.

 

Now, the series will still be titled The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so it doesn’t sound like Sam is using the Captain America namesake just yet. But he sure is running around with that fancy shield.

 

In the comics, Baron Zemo is a longtime enemy of Captain America—oh, and he also wears an awesome purple mask that will be making an appearance in the series.

Baron Zemo was shown in Civil War to be a master manipulator, and one could make the argument that his plan that tore the Avengers apart helped contribute to Thanos’s success in Infinity War. What sort of schemes could he have cooked up for Sam and Bucky?

‘Loki’

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What is it? This Disney+ series will mark the return (yet again) of one of Marvel’s greatest villains, Loki. Played by Tom Hiddleston, this series will follow the God of Mischief in the alternate timeline that was created in Avengers: Endgame where he came into possession of the Tesseract. 



What will it be about? Not much is known just yet about the show, but we do know that it will follow Loki as he bounces around through different time periods, manipulating people along the way (supposedly). So this show will be a prequel of sorts, and given what we know about the character, the adventures he’s about to go on will be nothing short of crazy.

‘WandaVision’

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What is it? Everyone’s favorite android-witch couple will be back in the Disney+ series WandaVision. You might be saying to yourself, “Hey! Vision died in Infinity War! How could he come back to life?” A great question that we, as of now, do not have an answer to.

 

Elizabeth Olsen will return as the Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, and Paul Bettany will also be coming back to play the Vision. The series does not have a director right now, but according to the panel, the show will premiere in spring 2021.

 

What will it be about? In the comics, the Scarlet Witch is one of the most powerful heroes in the universe. In one of the more famous storylines, The House of M, she literally depowered millions of heroes across the globe, all at once. 

 

The scope of her powers has really only been hinted at in the movies, but she has been getting progressively more powerful as time goes on. She destroyed an Infinity Stone in Infinity War and very nearly defeated Thanos single-handedly in Endgame. So it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that she is able to bring Vision back to life.

‘What If…?’

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What is it? One of the more intriguing announcements from San Diego Comic-Con, What If…?, sees Marvel dipping into the animated world for another Disney+ series. The cast is extensive, with a good amount of Marvel stars, from Chris Hemsworth to Chadwick Boseman, returning to voice their animated selves. 

 

Jeffrey Wright, perhaps best known for his character Bernard from Westworld, will be voicing The Watcher, an alien observer that, well, watches all the happenings within the Marvel universe.

 

What will it be about? Marvel, not one to shy away from risks, is banking on the fact that enough of its fan base is interested in a sort of “alternate history” type show, one that will showcase what would have happened had certain events played out differently.

‘Hawkeye’

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What is it? Jeremy Renner is back as one of the founding Avengers, Hawkeye, and is getting his own shine, albeit in a TV show and not a full-fledged movie. We will see Hawkeye’s continued adventures post-Endgame and perhaps a little bit more of the darker side of his personality, Ronin.

 

What will it be about? The biggest takeaway from the announcement of this series was the introduction of Kate Bishop, one of the characters that takes up the Hawkeye identity after Clint Barton. Will Barton be training Bishop to become a member of the Avengers? Will Barton finally get to enjoy retirement with his family? Guess we’ll have to wait until fall 2021 to find out.

 

Related: 5 Best Fan Theories About the Future of the MCU After ‘Endgame’

Related: 4 Best Theories About the Future of the MCU After ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’

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