I’m not at San Diego Comic-Con this year. I mean, I know it’s the first in-person Comic-Con since the pandemmy, but alas, I just couldn’t make it this time. However, I did monitor what was going on there while doing laundry and watching reruns of The Office.
This Marvel news couldn’t come at a more perfect time because I feel that followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were getting a little restless — well at least some of them are. All this made me tweet “Has Marvel become too big to fail?” Then I saw the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer and I ate my words.
Kevin Feige took the dais in Hall H to basically tell us, “This is all the shit y’all are gonna get excited for until 2025.” Yes, you heard that right, 2025. Cast members and creatives from all the shows featured during Marvel’s Hall H time popped out throughout the presentation.
As all of y’all know, the MCU is currently in Phase 4 which will continue with She-Hulk: Attorney At Law which debuts August 17 on Disney+. Directors Kat Coiro and Anu Valia, and head writer Jessica Gao, were joined by cast members Tatiana Maslany, Ginger Gonzaga and Jameela Jamil for a Q&A about the new series.
Bookending Phase 4 is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and if anything, this would have been the only reason I would have made that trek down to San Diego. The Wakanda Forever presentation was an incredible way to end the Marvel presentation. It included a live performance by Baaba Maal (vocals), Massamba Diop (tama) and dancers and drummers followed by Feige bringing director Ryan Coogler and cast members Mabel Cadena, Michaela Cole, Winston Duke, Danai Gurira, Tenoch Huerta, Florence Kasumba, Alex Livinalli, Lupita Nyong’o, Dominique Thorne, and Letitia Wright on stage for a Q&A — and it was emotional and thrilling. In case you haven’t seen the trailer, watch it multiple times here. You will want to watch it multiple times. Man, I miss Chadwick Boseman.
Phase 4 is going to be part of what is dubbed “The Multiverse Saga”, a follow up to “The Infinity Saga”. This has been the buzz ever since we were introduced to the multiverse in the MCU. Feige also mapped out Phase 5 which will lead into Phase 6 which will kick off with Fantastic Four, which so many people have been waiting for. We saw a taste of this when Jim Halpert portrayed Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Fantastic Four is set to begin production next year and is set to be released November 8, 2024.
And just when you thought we were done with Avengers movies, Phase 6 will conclude with not one but TWO Avengers movies including Avengers: The Kang Dynasty set to be released on May 2, 2025, and Avengers: Secret Wars which is slated for November 7, 2025. And from what I know, Secret Wars is a war between multiverses — so this is gonna be ambitious. Based on the images of the Phase 6 timeline, there will be other movies and/or series folded in. Hopefully one of them is X-Men.
Before we get to Phase 6, we have to go through Phase 5 which kicks off i February 17, 2023 with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Director Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors, and Kathryn Newton were on hand to give a look at the upcoming film. This is where actually being in Hall H would help because they did not release the footage to the masses like they did with She-Hulk and Wakanda Forever. However, I am sure a trailer will come out soon.
In the latest Ant-Man chapter, Scott Lang (Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Lilly) return to continue their adventures alongside Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer). The family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought was possible. Also, Majors’s Kang will sure be a huge part of this. I’m guessing he’s the Thanos of this MCU saga.
Next up, the new Disney+ series Secret Invasion which will debut Spring 2023. Cobie Smulders, who reprises her role of Maria Hill—a decorated spy and Nick Fury’s loyal #2—was on hand to talk about the new show and share a clip (which many were describing as “dark”…they also described the Quantumania as “dark”… could this be the “darkest timeline”?). Secret Invasion also stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull Talos — who first met in Captain Marvel. They are joined by MCU newbies Kingsley Ben-Adir, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, and Regé-Jean Page. The crossover event series showcases a faction of shapeshifting Skrulls who have been infiltrating Earth for years.
From what I was reading, the footage that was shown of James Gunn‘s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was pretty damn good. Apparently, it gave us our first look at Will Poulter as Adam Warlock and a baby Rocket! We also learned that Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is back! The final installment of the GotG movies heads to theaters on May 5, 2023. Gunn took the dais with cast members Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Will Poulter, and Maria Bakalova — who will voice Cosmo the dog! In addition, Chukwudi Iwuji arrived on stage in costume, revealing that he’ll be portraying High Evolutionary in the film.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 our beloved band of misfits are looking a bit different these days. Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.
On the Disney+ side of Phase 5, Echo and Loki season 2 are slated for release in summer 2023. Ironheart lands on the streamer in fall 2023 while Agatha: Coven of Chaos will begin filming later this year with a debut date in winter 2023.
On the theatrical side, Phase 5 includes the Nia DaCosta-directed The Marvels which hits theaters July 28, 2023; and Blade starring Mahershala Ali which begins shooting this October and opens in theaters November 3, 2023.
Feige also revealed for the first time today released dates for Captain America: New World Order with Anthony Mackie as the new titular hero on May 3, 2024 in theaters as well as an 18-episode season of Daredevil: Born Again starring Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio, which will start streaming on Disney+ in Spring 2024 (a quick look at the return of Daredevil can be seen in the She-Hulk trailer.)
On July 26, 2024, Marvel Studios will release Thunderbolts which is described as an “exciting new group of heroes”. We’ve been seeing the character of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) in various post-credits scenes of TV series and films pulling a Nick Fury and forming a group of people who are more antiheroes. We see her talk to John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in Falcon and the Winter Soldier as well as Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) at the end of Black Widow. All those characters are associated with the Thunderbolts comics which also feature characters already in the MCU including its leader Baron Zemo (played by Daniel Brühl), Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), Abomination (Tim Roth), and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko).
Also, can someone please explain MCU’s “Phases” to me? How do they work exactly?
Anyway, here’s a timeline of what’s to come in Phase 5.