The Infinity Saga is officially complete, and Marvel Studios is full-steam ahead on Phase 4. At San Diego Comic-Con in the famous Hall H, the studio’s fearless leader and president Kevin Feige formally introduced the first ten projects on their slate — with a little help from all of his friends, including old favorites like Scarlett Johansson and Chris Hemsworth, and the newest members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like Simu Liu and Angelina Jolie.
From Black Widow all the way to Thor: Love and Thunder, here’s everything you need to know about the franchises that are about to dominate the box office.
Release: May 1, 2020
Black Widow’s first solo film has been shooting in London for 30 whole days — and we barely knew it! The last we saw of Natasha Romanoff in Avengers: Endgame, she sacrificed herself for the greater good in order to get the Soul Stone. Knowing this movie had been rumored for quite some time, her selfless act was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Well, good news: Scarlett Johansson will be back in Black Widow’s suit, alongside a host of newcomers to the MCU. Florence Pugh will play Yelena, a sister-figure to Natasha, Stranger Things’s David Harbour will portray Alexei, or The Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle will play Mason, who teased a “romantic undercurrent” for Natasha (whether those feelings are returned remains to be seen), and Rachel Weisz as Melina.
Director Cate Shortland teased what we can expect from the movie: “She had so many secrets and she’s got so much vulnerability, and I think that’s what makes her such a great heroine. And I think in this film we get to understand her past and she gets to put all the pieces of herself back together and come out a whole person. And I think we’re all excited about helping her on that journey.”
Johansson added that she couldn’t have even played this version of Natasha 10 years ago. “I get to play Natasha as a fully realized woman in all of her many facets, and I’m excited for fans to see the flawed side of her — or what she perceives to be the flawed side of her — and I’m looking to wipe out some of that red in my ledger,” she said.
The cast also shared a sneak peek at the footage they’ve shot thus far — and by the looks of it, that cast has been very busy over the past month.
The preview opened with some bits from Black Widow’s past within the MCU, showing the family she’s made — but her past still haunts her. That’s presumably what leads her on this solo mission.
The first new footage took us to Budapest (finally!), where Natasha is roaming through an empty home, gun drawn. When she gets to the kitchen, she finally finds her target: Yelena. Natasha inches toward her target until they’re standing gun-to-gun. At the same time, they make their moves, embarking on a tight 50-second long fight that makes it clear that they acquired their skills from the same teachers. The scene moves through the kitchen and into the living room, eventually landing them both on the floor choking each other with the same curtain. Cut to post-fight shots being poured. “Good to see you too, sis,” Natasha says before asking, “You just had to come to Budapest, didn’t you?”
The second major bit we see is a fight scene on a bridge. She shoots at her hooded target but hits his shield — which looked suspiciously like Taskmaster, a rumored villain of the movie, but not formally announced. They immediately tango in a mesmerizing fight scene.
Release: November 6, 2020
Eternals will be “something entirely new, entirely different for the MCU,” Feige said. And the crowd in the room was particularly amped to hear that “this film is full Jack Kirby.”
Chloé Zhao will direct the cast with Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as leader Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Angelina Jolie as Thena.
“It’s about this group of incredible immortals, but through their journey we’re going to get to explore what it means to be human and humanity in our time on this planet,” Zhao said, while Madden described their characters as “a race of immortal aliens sent to earth by the celestials to protect humankind from the deviants.”
Also cool: Ridloff will portray the first deaf hero in the MCU. “I do have a son and he asked me, after he read Greek mythology, ‘What does honor mean?’ This. This is what honor means. I am so honored to be here,” she said.
Meanwhile, veteran action star Jolie vowed to work “10 times harder” in this role than ever before, in service of the MCU and all the fans who keep them going.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Release: Fall 2020
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will reprise their heroic roles in a post-Endgame world for Disney+. The duo came on stage and played around with their undeniable chemistry and talked about how much fun they have together on set, not giving much away about the show itself.
But then an evil takeover popped up on screen, revealing that Daniel Brühl will be reprising his role as the villainous Baron Zemo. “Beat you once, we can beat you twice,” Mackie said before their time on stage ended.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Release: February 12, 2121
Apparently, the MCU has been laying the groundwork for this movie all along. The Ten Rings have been hinted at multiple times since the first Iron Man film hit theaters.
We now officially have a star of the movie: Simu Liu as Shang-Chi. The Mandarin will be portrayed by Tony Leung, and Awkwafina was confirmed to be in the movie in a mystery role.
And the casting news is pretty much all we got from this one! We’ll have to stay tuned for more.
Release: Spring 2021
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will join forces once again as Wanda Maximoff and Vision — and it sounds like things are about to get really funky. “We’re gonna have a lot of fun,” Olsen promised. “It’s gonna get weird, we’re gonna go deep, we’re gonna have lots of surprises. And we’re gonna finally understand Wanda Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch.”
The Disney+ show will take place after Endgame, and will feature one more main character from the MCU: Monica Rambeau, who we saw as a child in Captain Marvel. Teyonah Parris will play the grown-up Lieutenant Trouble.
“I can’t tell you how exciting and different and strange that show is going to be,” Feige closed.
Release: Spring 2021
One of the most-asked questions Feige got after Endgame was where Loki went after he got the Space Stone. Well, thanks to the upcoming Disney+ show, we’re about to find out.
“So he’s still that guy [from Avengers] and just about the last thing that happened to him was he got Hulk-smashed, so it’s a lot of psychological evolution that is still yet to happen,” Tom Hiddleston said, setting the scene. And that was pretty much all he could say, other than tease, “This is new territory, a new world, new challenges, and I cannot wait to get started.”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Release: May 7, 2021
“Just because Quentin Beck makes up lies about the multiverse, doesn’t mean it isn’t real” Feige said.
Director Scott Derrickson and star Benedict Cumberbatch took the stage to reveal that the second Doctor Strange movie will be the first horror film to hit the franchise. “When I came and talked to Kevin about doing a sequel I said I don’t wanna do just another sequel to do a sequel. If we’re gonna do it, it has to go into the territory that drew me into the Doctor Strange comics in the first place, which is how they dipped into the gothic and the horror and the horrific, and we’re gonna make the first scary MCU film” the director said to massive cheers.
Another surprise: Scarlet Witch will be joining Doctor Strange, with Elizabeth Olsen working overtime to weave the WandaVision storyline into the feature-film.
Release: Summer 2021
Marvel Studios will be debuting their very first animated series on Disney+ with What If…?, a show that will explore the alternate realities and could-have-beens within the MCU. Feige said this one has been 10 years in the making, so you can be assured we’ll get to dig into stories we’ve long accepted as truth.
Jeffrey Wright will narrate as The Watcher in the series, who he describes as “a non-earthly being who observes all things. He’s watching over the multiverse, and occasionally may or may not intervene with the doings of Earthlings. Other than that, he’s off doing his own thing.”
An exhaustive list of MCU talent is on board to voice their characters, including Michael B. Jordan, Sebastian Stan, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Hayley Atwell, Chadwick Boseman, Karen Gillan, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Neal McDonough, Dominic Cooper, Sean Gunn, Natalie Portman, David Dastmalchian, Stanley Tucci, Taika Waititi, Toby Jones, Djimon Hounsou, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Rooker, and Chris Sullivan.
Release: Fall 2021
Hawkeye will finally have his time to shine with his very own Disney+ show! Jeremy Renner was on hand to share that the series will show him welcoming Kate Bishop into the fold to become a “better version of me.” He’ll also get to explore more of his time as Ronan.
“The fiber of what Hawkeye is, at least what I think Hawkeye is, is a superhero without superpowers. And I get to teach someone else how to be a superhero without super powers,” Renner said. “I think that’s an amazing sentiment to share with people, because that means everyone can be a superhero.”
Thor: Love and Thunder
Release: November 5, 2021
Thor 4 officially has a name! Unfortunately, it does not rhyme, but Love and Thunder does sound pretty damn cool.
Director Taika Waititi and stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson were on hand for the big announcement, where Thompson jokingly asking Hemsworth, “Are you thunder and I’m love?”
There wasn’t much to say about the story, as neither of the stars have even seen the script yet, but Thompson did suppose that first order of business for Valkyrie as King of Asgard will be for her to find her Queen. “She has some ideas, I’ll keep you posted,” Thompson said. Next, she supposes she’ll focus on “reinvesting in her people, and a cool thing is to create refuge for any person that might need it. That, to me, is the idea of a perfect Asgard, the kind of kingdom she’d want to rule over.”
Oh right, and then there was the big reveal. Natalie Portman will reprise her role as Jane Foster, now the Goddess of Thunder and the female Thor.
Blade and more...
At the very end of the panel, Feige casually confirmed that Black Panther 2, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Captain Marvel 2, Fantastic Four, mutants, and Blade starring Mahershala Ali are all on the way.