Marvel has closed the book on a few major characters. The future looks bright for characters like Doctor Strange, Black Panther and so on. Upon its release, Avengers: Endgame had shaken up the MCU with drastic and seemingly irreversible consequences. But what truly rounded up the INFINITY SAGA is Spider-Man: Far From Home. The film received positive responses and was cleverly used to tie the knots of the MCU, with some very interesting moments that will certainly have an impact on the MCU’s future.
Yes, there have been a few movies and TV shows to be streamed on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, but we haven’t gotten a clear picture yet of what Marvel plans to do to take the now-humungous Marvel Cinematic Universe forward.
In an interview with io9, Marvel President Kevin Feige revealed some details regarding the MCU’s future.
“The slate that we’re building over the next 5 years [is] not apples to apples. It is two very distinct things and I hope they’ll feel very distinct.”
Along with the new movies and TV shows already announced, Marvel’s recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox will complicate things further (in a good way). The dream of seeing the X-Men and the Fantastic Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may well turn out to be a reality. But I’ll be laying out the projects with certain strong possibilities. Keep in mind that many of the release dates of said projects haven’t been announced yet, but Kevin Feige is likely to announce at least a few new projects this July at San Diego Comic-Con.
So here is a list of projects that will and might come to fruition:
Upcoming Marvel Movies
1. Black Widow (July 9, 2021)
There have been rumours about a Black Widow solo movie for years now, with Scarlett Johanssen to reprise her role as the titular character. Fans have been waiting and pestering Marvel to bring out a Black Widow solo movie ever since we saw Cap doing his own thing. And it took her canonical death for Marvel to heed our requests. By 2018, Cate Shortland signed on as director, with Florence Pugh and O. T. Fagbenle joining the cast. Rachel Weisz is said to play the role of Melina Vostokoff, while David Harbour will be seen as Red Guardian.
This action-packed spy thriller delves into Natasha’s life before the events of the Infinity Saga as she confronts the darker parts of her past. Pursued by nefarious forces that will stop at nothing, Natasha will have to deal with her history as a spy and mend the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
After being pushed back from its November 2020 release date, Black Widow is all set to release simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ on July 9, 2021.
2. The Eternals (November 5, 2021)
In the comics, The Eternals are said to be near–immortal, super-powered offshoots of early man. They have had a hand in shaping Earth’s history and mythology, much like the Asgardians of Thor fame. Indie director Chloé Zhao fresh off her Oscar win for Nomadland, takes the helm.
The cast includes Richard Madden whom we last saw in the BBC miniseries Bodyguard, Gemma Chan, comic Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harrington of Games of Thrones fame and A-list stars like Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.
It is rumoured to be a love story of two Eternals, Sersi and Ikaris.
The idea of immediately introducing an ensemble stands in contrast to what Marvel has done previously with the Avengers. But this will perhaps be a lot better as it can add a lot of flair and personality to the movie as well.
I am pretty excited for The Eternals because the comic book plot by the legendary Jack Kirby spans aeons, which is something Marvel has never tried to reproduce on-screen.
Earlier slated for release in February 2021, it’s now been pushed to November 5, 2021 in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.
3. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness (May 25, 2022)
Benedict Cumberbatch returns as Doctor Strange after getting ‘undusted’ by the events of Endgame. Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Benedict Wong also reprise their roles from the first movie, with Scott Derrickson taking the helm as director once again. The main antagonist is rumoured to be Nightmare — the ruler of an evil dimension as stated in the comics.
I genuinely loved the first movie. There were some who complained that due to the similarities of plot and personality, they felt like they were watching a magical version of Iron Man. While that is true, we must agree that the movie is no doubt, amazing on its own. The formula of the broken and rebuilt protagonist works.
The post-credit scene of Wandavision suggested that Doctor Strange might have his hands full in the Multiverse of Madness. Feige also suggested that the film would tie-in with the upcoming series Loki. The filming is expected to be wrapped up by April and the movie’s slated for a March 2022 release.
4. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (July 8, 2022)
Wakanda Forever, indeed. We surely didn’t see the last of King T’Challa in Avengers: Infinity War. Plans for a sequel were revealed a month after the movie’s premiere. Ryan Coogler will return to the director’s seat.
Chadwick Boseman and Leita Wright were set to reprise their roles as T’Challa and Shuri respectively. Unfortunately, after Chadwick passed away in August 2020 post a 4-year battle with colon cancer, Marvel decided not to recast a different actor as T’Challa. So, the script had to be reworked to continue the story while also being able to honour the legacy of Boseman.
Being a big fan of the meticulous world-building of the first film, I’m excited to see more of Wakanda with all its alien cultures and different tribes.Erik Killmonger, one of the most memorable antagonist from recent times might make an appearance as well. By the way, #JusticeforLoki. He deserved better. The film is currently said to release on July 8, 2022.
5. Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3, 2021)
On August 18, 2019, at a fan event as a part of Avengers: Endgame at Shanghai, Kevin Feige was asked if there would ever be a Chinese superhero in the MCU. This was a direct reference to Shang-Chi, of course. Feige’s response was this:
“This is not an Endgame question, this is a question about the future. I’m not supposed to answer questions about the future but in this case, I will because the answer is yes.”
Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings will be Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero movie. Breaking barriers once again. Destin Daniel Cretton will be directing the movie from a script by Dave Callaham. Unlike Iron Fist, already present in the MCU, Shang-Chi is actually Chinese, a master of kung-fu and does not have superpowers. The cast includes actors like Simu Liu, Awkwafina and Tony Leung.
The film had to pushed from its initial July 9 release date and is now slated for a September release.
6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2021)
Marvel’s favourite misfits are set to return to the big screen (with the likely addition of a big name *wink wink*). The planning of this movie, however, was not without controversy. After Disney fired James Gunn over a series of controversial tweets that were dug up by an alt-right group, the third instalment of Guardians existed in limbo. While the actors involved maintained it would happen, Marvel did not hire a new director and James Gunn snagged a directing role over with DC.
This time around, we will probably get some story on the gold-skinned high priestess, Ayesha as we know that Elizabeth Debicki will reprise her role. Fans have speculated that Adam Warlock may be involved somehow.
Disney rehired Gunn in March, and the project was back on track. However, due to Gunn having a lot on his plate at the moment, having to finish work on Suicide Squad 2, the project will be pushed back to a further date, sometime in 2021.
7. Thor: Love and Thunder (May 6, 2022)
Expectations are high for this one as Chris Hemsworth is coming back once again as Thor under Taika Waititi. But the most exciting thing about this movie was announced at San Diago Comic-Con this year. Natalie Portman will reprise her role as Jane Foster. And this time, she will take up Thor’s mantle as God of Thunder when he becomes unworthy to wield the hammer. So, we’ll be seeing Jane in a new light this time, a much more active one, as compared to her previous passive performances. Tessa Thompson will also be returning to her role. So, we can expect an epic team-up. It’ll interesting to see how MCU handles her bisexuality, given that Valkyrie is the first open LGBTQ character in the MCU.
Kevin Feige also managed to rope in Christian Bale who’s rumored to play Gorr, the God Butcher, a virtually indestructible supervillain. In the comics, Gorr yields the powerful Necrosword, supposedly crafted with the head of a killed celestial. It should make for an exciting collaboration between a gifted actor that can sink his teeth convincingly into any role he plays and a director with a unique vision.
8. The Marvels (November 11, 2022)
Captain Marvel was a huge letdown. It was not a bad movie per se. But oh, the things they could have done with the material they had! The filmmakers had to their disposal the Skrulls, one of the most dangerous villains in Marvel history. And they turned them into the good guys. Nevertheless, the movie saw success at the box office and so, we will be getting another sequel with Brie Larson in it, again. Zawe Ashton and Micheal Korvac have also been roped in to play pivotal roles.
Wandavision’s emotional finale revealed that Monica Rambeau will return for another run. During the mid-credits scene, she was seen meeting with a Skrull sent in by Nick Fury.
Scheduled to start shooting from the month, a November release might be on the cards.
9. Spider-man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021)
Spider-Man: Far From Home ended on a dramatic cliffhanger as the secret identity of Peter Parker was revealed. I’m now excited to see how No Way Home will handle this development given that the identity of Spider-Man has always been shrouded in mystery. Adding to that exhilaration, Alfred Molin will be back in the role of Doctor Octopus, a role he last played in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Molin was digitally de-aged to fit his character appearance from the 2004 film. It’s also rumored that Jamie Foxx’s Electron from the Amazing Spider-Man franchise might make an appearance. Seems like we might be getting a Spider-Verse plot after all.
Reported to have wrapped up shooting, the film is set to release on December 17, 2021.
Kevin Feige revealed that a Blade film was in development with Mahershala Ali in the lead. The film’s said to begin production in late September.
11. Fantastic Four
With Disney acquiring Fox, there’s an opportunity to bring the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool all under one roof. It was confirmed that a new Fantastic Four film might be on the cards, but sadly no further information is available at the moment.
One of the biggest challenges that lies ahead for Marvel Studios is finding an organic way to absorb the Mutants into the sprawling universe of the MCU. Though not much has been disclosed yet, I speculate that Moira MacTaggert holds the key. An expert of mutant affairs, Moira was also romantically involved with Professor X.
Those are all the new Marvel movies to look out for! Let’s move onto the small screen where we’re sure to find some gems this time around. That’s because Marvel is moving some big-name MCU characters to the small screen. This is looking like a lot of fun. So, here we go:
Upcoming TV Shows
1. Loki (June 2021)
Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role as the cunning, mischevious, hugely popular Asgardian.
This highly anticipated series follows the adventures of Loki who escaped with the tesseract in Endgame, creating a new timeline. So, those who were expecting a goody-two-shoes reformed Loki better give up on their hopes. The bad boy is back in town and Marvel’s best and only good villain will surely rock the small screen with his evilness.
You won’t have to wait for it too long either as it will launch in June of 2021. It will tie-in with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
2. Hawkeye (2021)
Jeremy Renner, back as Hawkeye, will star in his own TV Show, being the only original Avenger not to get his own movie. The show will focus on Clint Barton training and passing down the mantle of Hawkeye to a promising young archer by the name of Kate Bishop (comic book fans can freak out now).
Hailee Steinfeld has been cast in this role and she will surely be a great addition to the MCU roster. Hopefully, it will take inspiration from Matt Fraction’s excellently written, hilarious Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon and its subsequent issues.
The series premieres somewhere in late 2021, having wrapped up filming by April.
3. What If? (2021)
This show will mark Marvel’s entry into the animation scene. What If? will feature iconic scenarios in the Marvel universe, taking a different turn. For example, one of its episodes might show Peggy Carter being injected with the super-soldier serum in place of Steve Rogers. It will ask questions like “what if Loki had found the hammer of Thor?”
The cast is simply amazing. Just take a look. Michael B. Jordan, Sebastian Stan, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Hayley Atwell, Karen Gillan, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Neal McDonough, Dominic Cooper, Sean Gunn, Nicole Portman, Stanley Tucci, Taika Waititi, Toby Jones, Djimon Honsou, Michael Rooker, and Jeff Goldblum all return as their MCU characters, while Jeffrey Wright will voice The Watcher.
The first season comprising of ten episodes will be available to stream in the latter part of the year while work has already begun on the second season.
4. Ms. Marvel (2021)
Touted to be the prequel to Captain Marvel 2, this ground-breaking original series centers on Kamala Khan, a 16-year old Pakistani-American growing up in Jersey City. Despite her proclivity to gaming and writing juicy fan-fic, Kamala struggles to fit in at home and school. Well, that is until she gets her superpowers. Surely, that should make things easier.
Newcomer Imran Vellani has been roped in to play the titular role. It’ll be great to see a superhero who’s struggling with real teenage issues like submitting an assignment on time or convincing her parents to go to a party instead of space zombies or megalomaniac supervillains who’re hellbent on destroying the world.
Oh, and did I mention that Farhan Akhtar is set to feature on the show?
A few more characters will be receiving their own shows in the future. These include She Hulk, Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, Howard the Duck, M.O.D.O.K, Hit-Monkey and Tigra & Dazzler.
Well, that’s pretty much it. Not a lot, considering Marvel’s previous announcements for Phases 1, 2 and 3, but plenty to be excited for! Marvel has surely planned to keep you guys busy for the next two years. Stay excited, keep watching YouTube theories and tell us what you think the plots could be in the coming movies. Let’s connect in the comments below. We’ll be waiting.
By Mayank Nailwal
(Additional writing by Shreyas D.S.)