In their first post-Endgame appearance, Marvel took to the stage in Hall H this weekend at San Diego Comic-Con to present their plans for Phase 4 of the cinematic universe. After a brief montage of the Infinity Saga, a mysterious timeline appeared on the screen, giving fans hope and near heart attacks at the thought of seven movies in 2021. But as the panel went on, it seems Marvel plans to expand their phases to include Disney+ content, an ambitious move to make the movies and tv shows necessary to experience the cohesive ‘verse.
Kevin Feige kicked off the announcements with The Eternals (November 6, 2020), a film fans were semi-aware of because of it’s big-name cast. The cast joined him on stage, consisting of Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Angelina Jolie.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The first presentation for Disney+ came next, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (fall 2020). Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie–shield in hand–came to the stage. Their segment was fairly standard, we learn they’re having fun filming etc etc, but then the video feed gets interrupted with a video of Daniel Bruhl as Baron Zemo, last seen in Civil War. He announces we haven’t seen the last of him and pulls a purple mask over his face, looking more like the comics version of Zemo we’ve come to fear. I have been trying to find footage of this moment, but the Internet Police are Very Good.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Feige then took us back to the movies with the announcement of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 21, 2021). Star Simu Liu and director Destin Daniel Cretton took to the stage, and Cretton announced that the film will also star Tony Leung as Mandarin (real Mandarin this time) and Awkwafina.
Back to Disney+, the WandaVision (spring 2021) presentation confirmed stars Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen would reprise their roles, as well as introduce an all-grown-up Monica Rambeau (played by Teyonah Parris) who hasn’t been seen since the ’90s in Captain Marvel. WandaVision is confirmed to take place after Endgame, a tricky set-up probably created by the next presentation…
Disney+’s Loki (spring 2021) confirmed its place in the phase 4 lineup and star Tom Hiddleston, who never misses a chance to greet his fans, made sure to let everyone know that the series will tell us what happened to Loki after he disappeared with the space stone in Endgame.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
In the first real announcement that the films and Disney+ shows will be tied together, Feige announced Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021). The sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange will be the first “scary” movie of the MCU and will have connections to WandaVision, as the film will also star Elizabeth Olsen.
The first animated series announced for Disney+ will arrive in the form of What If…? (summer 2021), featuring Jeffrey Wright as the voice of The Watcher as well as many original cast members voicing their own characters. The What If…? comic series features stories about alternate realities in the Marvel universe and the animated series looks to do the same.
Clint Barton will be moving from the big screen to the small screen with Disney+’s Hawkeye (fall 2021). Jeremy Renner entered enthusiastically from the crowd, and it was confirmed that comics favorite Kate Bishop will be integral to the series.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Turning back to films, the hotly anticipated next addition to the Thor series was confirmed with Thor: Love and Thunder (November 5, 2021). This announcement included some wild news, including Taika Waititi returning to direct, Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie will be revealed as LGBTQ, and, most surprising of all, Natalie Portman will return as Jane Foster. But not just any Jane Foster–Mighty Thor Jane Foster.
A movie years in the making, Black Widow (May 1, 2020) finally has a release date and cast! It will be the first film of phase 4 and will include co-stars David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz.
The panel by this point had reached max capacity of knowledge and was just about to end when Feige made one last announcement that rocked Marvel fans in a way no one was expecting. No date is currently set, but Marvel will be bringing Blade back to the big screen starring Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (who apparently, after his Green Book win, called Feige and asked if he could play Blade. Who knew it was that easy??).
Black Panther 2
Some fan favorites were noticeably absent from the panel, like announcements for Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Captain Marvel 2, and Black Panther 2. Feige did tease those at the end of the panel, and even dropped mention of the Fantastic 4 and X-Men. Could big things be on the horizon for phase 5? Only time and a subscription to Disney+ will tell!