For the first time in years we finally have an idea of what Marvel Studios has planned for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The studio revealed its upcoming schedule during its Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday night, announcing at least 10 projects to expect over the next two years. The biggest revelations include the news that Natalie Portman will wield Thor’s hammer; Mahershala Ali will star in a new Blade project; and a confirmation from Marvel that it’s working on movies featuring some of the studio’s recently acquired characters.
Marvel’s business plan and marketing strategy has long been to hype what’s next, with much of that hype being driven by its signature post-credits scenes and panels at fan conventions like Comic-Con or Disney’s D23. And for awhile, it was customary for the studio to announce its release schedule several years early — in 2015 Marvel announced movies like 2018’s Black Panther and 2019’s Captain Marvel.
But even the studio’s two most-recent films — April’s colossal cinematic juggernaut known as Avengers: Endgame and this month’s Spider-Man: Far From Home — arrived in theaters, Marvel still hadn’t revealed what movies it’s launching in 2020, or if it plans to launch any at all. Meanwhile, the studio had kept relatively quiet save for a few casting and crew announcements (like we found out this week that Taika Waititi would be directing the fourth Thor movie).
Here’s what Marvel announced during its Comic-Con panel:
- Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson and Rachel Weisz and directed by Cate Shortland, arriving in theaters on May 1, 2020
- The Eternals, starring Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek and directed by Chloe Zhao, arriving in theaters on November 6, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring Simu Liu and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, arriving in theaters on February 12, 2021. Shang Chi will be Marvel’s first film with a lead character of Asian descent.
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen (yes, Scarlet Witch) and directed by Scott Derrickson, arriving in theaters on May 7, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi and starring Natalie Portman (who will wield the legendary hammer as the first female Thor), Tessa Thompson, and Chris Hemsworth, arriving in theaters on November 5, 2021
Marvel studios president Kevin Feige also confirmed upcoming movies involving the Fantastic Four and the X-Men’s mutants — characters who were previously owned by Fox, but which now fall under Marvel’s purview thanks to the recent Disney-Fox merger. He also confirmed that the sequels for Black Panther and Captain Marvel, are in development. Black Panther is Marvel’s biggest solo superhero movie to date, having made $1.3 billion worldwide, and Captain Marvel, its first solo superhero film to center on a female hero, also passed the $1 billion mark.
Vying for the biggest surprise of the evening was Feige bringing Mahershala Ali to the Comic-Con stage to announce a new Blade project. Ali previously appeared as the villain in Marvel’s Netflix series Luke Cage, so the new Blade film project possibly signals that Marvel’s television projects with Netflix and its cinematic universe are completely separate entities.
Marvel also revealed its television series lineup for Disney’s forthcoming streaming service Disney+, which is scheduled to launch in November:
- The Falcon & Winter Soldier in fall 2020
- WandaVision in spring 2021
- Loki in spring 2021
- WHAT IF …? — an animated series featuring characters from the MCU in summer 2021
- Hawkeye in fall 2021
For fans who can’t wait until 2020 for Marvel’s next best thing, rest assured. The studio will probably have more surprises to share next month — and perhaps even first-look footage or concept art from its upcoming projects— at Disney’s D23 convention, which will take place from August 23 to 25, 2019 in Anaheim.
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