Marvel unveils fresh slate of projects at D23

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Marvel waited until its summer slate of movies was released to provide details on the next phase of its cinematic (and now streaming) universe. Following the announcement of a new batch of movies and Disney+ shows at Comic-Con last month, Marvel further charted its expansion during the company’s presentation at Disney’s D23 Expo this weekend.

Between the introduction of several new Disney+ shows, major casting announcements, and a release date for “Black Panther 2,” a dearth of details has suddenly turned into a flood. This doesn’t even include the news that Spider-Man is reportedly out of the MCU.

Here’s an overview of everything Marvel revealed at D23:

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New Disney+ Shows

Marvel properties are going to anchor Disney+, the entertainment giant’s new streaming service that starts rolling out in the U.S. and Canada on November 11. At Comic-Con, Marvel provided details and release dates for “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “WandaVision,” “What If…?,” and “Hawkeye.” At D23, Marvel pulled back the curtain further to reveal a trio of new shows that will follow those already announced.

First up is “Ms. Marvel.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show will adapt a popular storyline featuring Muslim-American teenager Kamela Khan as the title character. British comedian and writer Bisha K. Ali will serve as the showrunner. 

Marvel also announced a live-action “Moon Knight” series. An edgy character who struggles with multiple personality disorder, Moon Knight has been a cult favorite of Marvel fans for decades. “It’s something unique and exciting for us,” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told the audience at D23. 

 

Finally, Marvel is planning a “She-Hulk” series as well. Another Marvel favorite, She-Hulk—aka Jennifer Walters—gets her super-strength and emerald skin following a blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner. However, unlike the (pre-snap) Hulk, Walters doesn’t turn into a rage monster when she gets mad. She also happens to practice law. We’ll see what direction Marvel decides to go with it, but a “Law & Order” style procedural in the context of the MCU could be a really fun show. 

Casting a Wide Net

Beyond the introduction of those shows, Feige also teased additional details about the previously announced Disney+ slate. Emily VanCamp will return as former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (and one time Captain America love interest) Sharon Carter on “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” 

Also joining the cast is Wyatt Russell, who will play a character named John Walker. In the comics, Walker dubs himself as U.S. Agent and declares himself the true avatar of American ideals. This seems to establish the theme of the show as a struggle to fill the leadership void left behind by Captain America. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes now has short hair, a galvanizing development for many Winter Soldier fans.

As for “Loki,” Marvel announced that all six episodes of the limited series will be directed by Kate Herron, who previously worked on the show “Sex Education.” Although Marvel hasn’t started shooting “WandaVision,” a teaser for the show interspersed MCU footage of its characters with scenes from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” The point was to establish the show’s tone as “half-classic sitcom, half-Marvel adventure,” as Vanity Fair puts it. Kat Dennings and Randall Park will be a part of the cast. They will reprise their respective Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo. Kathryn Hahn is also on board as the classic nosy neighbor-type.

Lastly, new footage arrived from “What If…?,” an animated spin-off whose voice cast will feature many of the MCU’s actors. Teaser clips included a zombie Captain America and a reimagining of the opening scene from “Guardians of the Galaxy” with T’Challa in place of Star-Lord. There was also a scene from the opening episode of the series that features agent Peggy Carter receiving the super-soldier serum rather than Steve Rodgers.

Black Panther Too

It’s important to note that Marvel’s assortment of Disney+ series will play an important role in its film properties. The events of “WandaVision” will lead directly into “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Marvel has also said that the new characters introduced in its Disney+ shows will appear alongside The Avengers on the big screen. 

That said, Marvel already has more than a few thoroughbreds in their film stable, including Black Panther, who’s headlining film earned over $1.3 billion. While story details are still non-existent, Marvel locked down a release date for its sequel: May 6, 2022.

“Black Panther” writer-director Ryan Coogler joined Feige at D23 to announce the news. He said that the creative team is “taking their time with it” to meet expectations. As Marvel’s only previous film up for Best Picture at the Oscars, expectations are indeed high.

Jon Snow is Coming to “The Eternals”

The last bit of major Marvel news surrounds the studio’s next big franchise play, “The Eternals,” which will hit theaters next November. At D23, Feige revealed that Kit Harrington—best known as Jon Snow on HBO’s recently-wrapped fantasy hit “Game of Thrones”—will be joining the cast as Dane Whitman. In comics lore, Whitman is the Black Knight and his character isn’t closely connected to the Eternals, making his inclusion in the story somewhat surprising. 

Harrington is joining a diverse cast that already includes Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, and Don Lee as Gilgamesh. Feige also announced that Gemma Chan will be joining the cast as Eternals leader Sersi, along with Barry Keoghan as the villain Druig. 

“The Eternals” is directed by Chloe Zhao from a script written by Matthew and Ryan Firpo.

Widowmaker

Although Marvel has now announced a full slate of projects that will release up until the summer of 2022, fans will have to wait a bit for their next taste of that sweet superhero action. The next Marvel Studios feature film, a Black Widow prequel, won’t be hitting theaters until May 1, 2020. 

Fans got a taste of the film at D23. According to The Verge, footage included Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff fighting a character named Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), who is revealed to be her sister. She also takes on the film’s main villain, Taskmaster.

Beyond a new poster, there wasn’t much other news about the movie, which is currently deep in production.

The next eight months look like a relatively quiet time for Marvel. Fans should enjoy it while they can because the Marvel machine is about to hit a whole new gear.