Marvel Studios at San Diego Comic-Con 2019
Marvel Studios returned to Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday with a bang. Here’s every reveal about their Phase Four lineup.
Warning: major spoilers ahead.
Phase. Fucking. Four.
Now that the 23-film Infinity Saga—which began with Iron Man and concluded with Spider-Man: Far From Home—is complete, Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios finally thought it time to put their cards on the table and show the world, the aces up their sleeves.
Upon revealing that Avengers: Endgame was to dethrone Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time (as of this very second, it has officially taken the number one spot—congratulations, Marvel!), Feige announced 10 (!) new Marvel projects during their highly anticipated Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, July 20.
Let’s break down the insanely exciting queue of movies and Disney+ series, to be released in the next two years.
Eternals, November 6, 2020.
The long-rumored movie has been greenlit and is heading to production! The Eternals will follow a race of immortal beings, created by the Celestials, who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilizations. Think of them as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s equivalent of the ancient gods of Greece.
Serving as an MCU prequel, Chloe Zhao has been confirmed to direct the movie, while its cast includes some familiar faces—Salma Hayek as Ajax, leader of the Eternals, Maleficent’s Angelina Jolie as Thena (think, Athena), Cinderella’s Richard Madden is Ikaris (think, Icarus), and Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo. Actors Brian Tyree Henry, Don Lee, Lauren Ridloff, and Lia McHugh complete the cast.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Fall 2020.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set for a Fall 2020 release on Disney+, and will be the first of the Marvel series to be released on the streaming platform.
Alongside Anthony Mackie, who revealed that he has been fitted for a Captain America suit, and Sebastian Stan, Daniel Brühl is making his return to the MCU, reprising his role as Baron Zemo from Captain America: Civil War. During the panel, the studio unveiled a video prerecorded by Brühl, in which he said, “I can’t imagine what you all must be thinking. A villain seizes control of the panel and you expect me to threaten some unspeakable act of violence. I simply wanted to say hello to some old friends. Gentlemen, I’ll be seeing you very soon.”
His character’s costume will have a more comic-accurate take, this time around, for it’ll include the purple mask.
Emily VanCamp, who was rumored to be in talks for the series, was not present in the panel, nor was her MCU return announced.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, February 2021.
With reports circulating since 2018 that Shang-Chi was in development, it has been now confirmed as part of the studio’s Phase Four lineup. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is slated for a February 12, 2021 release, with Simu Liu, who casting was just finalized days before SDCC, as the titular martial artist.
Tony Leung, meanwhile, will be playing the real Mandarin, who was first teased in Iron Man 3 and in the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King.
The movie will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
WandaVision, Spring 2021.
WandaVision is a confirmed Disney+ series centered around Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision, to be released on the streaming service in the spring of 2021.
Taking place after Endgame, the series is reported to be “weird” and not like anything they’ve ever done before.
Alongside Olsen and Bettany, whose role in the series is still under wraps, is Teyonah Paris, who plays the adult version of Monica Rambeau, Maria Rambeau’s daughter in Captain Marvel. It was also revealed that the series will connect to a Doctor Strange sequel, to be revisited below.
Loki, Spring 2021.
Loki was the first MCU series that was confirmed for Disney+, with Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as the God of Mischief.
Unfortunately, Loki’s death is Avengers: Infinity War is seemingly permanent, and the series will instead focus on the 2012 Loki who, in Avengers: Endgame, stole the Tesseract.
Loki is also scheduled for a Spring 2021 release.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, May 7, 2021.
If you thought the multiverse was fake due to Mysterio’s lying in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will probably make you doubt your doubts. After all, the word ‘multiverse’ is in the name.
Set for release on May 7, 2021, Doctor Strange 2 will be the MCU’s first “horror” movie. Scott Derrickson is returning to direct and Benedict Cumberbatch, who got sung “Happy Birthday” to by the Hall H audience, is returning to star.
As aforementioned, the movie is supposed to tie into the WandaVision series. Additionally, Elizabeth Olsen is set to appear alongside Cumberbatch.
What If…?, Summer 2021.
What If…? will be the first ever animated series on alternate realities based on MCU events and the MCU world.
It’d already been confirmed that Hayley Atwell will be voicing Peggy Carter, as she becomes Captain America in the series, but during the panel, it was revealed that 24 other MCU actors would be reprising their roles as voice talent, including Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L. Jackson. Actor Jeffrey Wright will voice The Watcher, a Celestial assigned to look after Earth.
Early reports held that Chris Evans would be a part of the series, with his Steve Rogers to become Iron Man, but during the panel, he was not revealed as part of the voice cast.
Hawkeye, Fall 2021.
The last of the confirmed MCU Disney+ series, Hawkeye will debut in the fall of 2021, with Jeremy Renner reprising his role as Clint Barton/Hawkeye.
It was revealed that Clint will be training a young protégé named Kate Bishop, a fan favorite comic book character, in the series. Casting for Bishop has yet to be revealed. (My personal fancast goes to Aladdin’s Naomi Scott.)
It was also revealed that the series will feature more of Ronin’s backstory, the identity that Clint embraced in Endgame.
Thor: Love and Thunder, November 5, 2021.
Just days before SDCC, it was confirmed that Taika Waititi will be returning to write and direct Thor 4. Waititi appeared at the panel on Saturday, assisting Feige in revealing the movie’s actual title, Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as announcing the contract extension of Chris Hemsworth, who is set to reprise his role as the God of Thunder.
Tessa Thompson is also set to return, who, at the panel, subtly but unmistakably revealed Valkyrie, the newly-coronated King of New Asgard, to be the first open LGBTQ+ MCU character, “looking for her Queen.”
However, the biggest reveal about Thor 4 (or, perhaps, of the entire panel), is Natalie Portman’s official return to the MCU, as the first-ever female Thor. Cue my screaming and flailing when Portman came onstage and lifted Mjölnir.
Apart from her cameo in Avengers: Endgame, Portman’s Jane Foster was last seen in Thor: The Dark World. She and Thor have been broken up since Thor: Ragnarok, but here’s to hoping that they get back together. After all, the title is Love and Thunder.
Thor: Love and Thunder is to be released on November 5, 2021, which will seemingly be the last installment of Phase Four.
Black Widow, May 1, 2020.
A rumor no more! The first movie of Phase Four, which is slated for a May 1, 2020 release date, Scarlett Johansson is, of course, back as Black Widow, but in her own standalone movie of the same name. Finally, right?
Its plot has been tweeted by Fandango to be “diving into Natasha’s past,” where “she gets to put all the pieces of herself back together and become a whole person.”
In a film being directed by Cate Shortland, Johansson is supported by a cast that includes Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz as Red Room assassin Melina, whose actual role in the movie is still under wraps, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, “a potential love interest” for Natasha, and David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, who, in the comics, is actually Nat’s ex-husband.
Harbour, who was wearing a Captain America T-shirt to the panel, addressed that he had “complicated feelings” for Cap and said that “we’ll understand a bit of that ‘later’.” Is it because he’s playing the Soviet version of a Super Soldier, or is the Cap connection more literal? Could it be possible for Evans to make a cameo? After all, the movie is rumored to take place in-between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and Nat did end up on the run with Cap. We can only hope.
It was also revealed that Taskmaster is the villain, and the footage show in Hall H was of a fight scene between Nat and Belova, which takes place in Budapest. We can also only hope to finally know what in the hell happened to her and Clint then and there.
Blade. Is. Back.
In the final reveal, Feige invited two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali up on stage, and revealed that he’ll be staring in an upcoming Blade movie. Further details were withheld, but the news shocked the room and the world.
Other reveals (and non-reveals)
Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 were briefly mentioned and confirmed at the end of the panel. Though with no further details, the three mentioned movies are likely to kick off Phase Five. Feige also name-dropped the Fantastic Four and the “mutants”—what he meant by that is still up in the air, but with the 20th Century Fox deal now complete, it’s safe to assume that the X-Men is coming to the MCU.
An Ant-Man 3 was not revealed, though previously suggested. Of course, we’re hoping for one—as is Paul Rudd, who had asked us fan to campaign. And with what happened at the end of Far From Home, a Spider-Man 3 should be expected.
Finally, there was no talk of a possible Avengers 5, nor was there a proper Original Six reunion (only Hemsworth, Johansson, and Renner were present for the panel). Whether it’d be the OG Six or a new class of Avengers (Dark, New, Young, whatever), I’d take another Avengers movie, any day.
But, let’s face it, I’d give every organ of my body up for another OG Six movie. Wouldn’t you?