As noted, Disney has announced that they plan to invest heavily in a string of television productions related to existing properties their Marvel and Star Wars properties.
Looking at the Marvel news, there’s plenty on all fronts to keep fans busy.
We now know that WandaVision will hit Disney+ early next year and we’ve been given looks at its surreal look, with Elisabeth Olsen’s Wanda and Paul Bettany’s Vision seemingly trapped in a virtual-reality existence that emulates key American sit-coms through the years – clearly something isn’t right but can our ‘married couple’ work out what it is in time to save themselves? The latest trailer, revealing a little more of the bigger picture, was shown to investors (and released to the public) today. Viewers will get to make their own minds up from 15th January…
In March we have The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Taking place after the events of Avengers: Endgame it looks at the complicated legacy of the Captain America title and the star-spangled shield he carried. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Shaw reprise their big-screen roles with Daniel Brühl (recently seen in the second season of The Alienist) returning as Zemo. The new trailer demonstrates the big action set-pieces and the buddy-movie aspect that should work well. The series was originally going to be the first out of the Disney+/Marvel gate and was due in November, but it was delayed due to COVID’s affect on filming. It will now be the second show in the deal…
Coming in the Summer of 2021, the animated What If..? anthology series takes its cue from the Marvel Comics concept that took key storylines and pondered what might have happened if characters made other choices or key and fateful decisions, or if someone else took on the various heroic mantles because of slight changes in fate. In this anthology, with Jeffrey Wright providing the voice of cosmic all-seeing entity The Watcher, we’ll see Agent Peggy Carter receive the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, a very young Prince T’Challa heading into space as a pre-Guardian of the Galaxy rather than becoming the Black panther, young protector of Wakanda. We’ll be hearing the voices of the likes of Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Toby Jones, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Neal McDonough , Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Taika Waititi, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Paul Rudd, Josh Brolin, Michael Rooker, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Michael Douglas and the late Chadwick Boseman.
Later in 2021 we have Ms. Marvel. A newer character to Marvel Comics – and the first female Muslim character to command her own comic title – Kamala Khan made quite the cultural impact and a few months ago, Iman Vellani was announced to play the role on the tv screen. The ‘sizzle reel’ given to offer a taste to Disney investors shows a glimpse at the concept and some very brief scenes, but this definitely a show that could get a lot of attention when it debuts… The character will also appear in Captain Marvel 2, directed by Nia DaCosta, which is currently set for 11th November, 2022.
We finally have a proper look at Loki, the series featuring Tom Hiddleston reprising his God of Mischief and picking up from the moment in Avengers: Endgame where our heroes plan to travel back into the past to collect Infinity Stones, but without causing any serious repercussions in the timeline, goes slightly awry. As audiences will remember, though Loki died in the early moments of Avengers: Infinity War, a very-alive Loki (circa events just after the first Avengers movie) is given a paradoxical exit-strategy, courtesy of the Tesseract ,which seems him make his escape to…. well, we’re about to find out. The show, which will feature Hiddleston in fine time-travelling, dimension-jumping form is now scheduled to debut on Disney+ in May 2021 with Richard E. Grant, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sophia Di Martino in supporting roles.
Further down the line? Though Tatiana Maslany was believed to have been cast as Jennifer Walters (alter-ego of She-Hulk) she recently noted that the ‘news’ wasn’t official… but that appears to have been a technicality as it has now been formally confirmed she will headline the production which should go before the cameras next year. In the comic-book continuity, Jennifer was a lawyer and the cousin of Bruce Banner and receives a life-changing blood transfusion from Bruce when she’s targeted by nefarious types who don’t like her legal efforts. We now know that Mark Ruffalo will make an appearance in the show, reprising his emerald-skinned Avengers role. Tim Roth will also appear as the ‘Abomination’, the character that he played in 2008’s Incredible Hulk feature (technically part of the MCU, but starring Edward Norton as Bruce and with an arms-length connection to date)
A series entitled Armor Wars (and based on a comics-continuity story-arc which saw Tony Stark’s technological creations been sold on the black-market and used against him) will see Don Cheadle return to the role of James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes aka War Machine to retrieve the tech that seems to have fallen into the wrong hands after the tragic events of Avengers: Endgame. Another ‘Iron’ legacy character will be Ironheart, the story of Riri Williams, a young inventor and science-prodigy who changes her life when, inspired by the works of Stark, creates her own suit of armour. Dominique Thorne will play Riri.
Secret Invasion was a story that successfully ran across the entire Marvel Comics line and detailed a long-seeded epic tale that revealed that a significant section of Earth’s heroes were being replaced by the shape-changing aliens known as Skrulls as a way to conquer Earth from within. This led to some surprise reveals, team-ups and face-offs. Kevien Fiege announced part of the Disney reveal that the story will form the inspiration behind the announced Nick Fury show. Samuel L. Jackson will return to the role of the ex-SHIELD commander and the show should pay-off the reveal at the end of Spider-man: Far from Home that Fury was not on Earth but out in space and that the character we’d been watching in the film was a Skrull. Ben Mendelsohn will also appear – he was last seen as Talos in the Captain Marvel movie and which had a more sympathetic take on the alien race.
Guardians of the Galaxy will get a ‘holiday special’ on Disney+ timed for Christmas 2022, though it’s not clear if this will tie-in directly to the third movie.
Though cinema seems to be currently at a standstill and some were speculating that the Black Widow might move to an online debut, that didn’t happen (at least not yet). However there was news on the theatrical front. Disney/Marvel also revealed that the MCU plans to formally welcome a new version of the Fantastic Four. Jon Watts, who directed the two recent Spider-man movies is set to helm the latest attempt to do honour to marvel’s ‘first family’. There are currently rumours that husband and wife team John Krasinski and Emily Blunt (who’ve worked together on the A Quiet Place movies) could be high on the lists to play Reed and Sue Richards though there’s been no confirmation of casting so far.
The third Ant-Man movie will be entitled Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer all returning with Peyton Reed once again directing. Kathryn Newton joins the cast as Cassie Lang. Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) will play the time-traveling super-villain Kang the Conquerer.
It was also revealed that the studio will NOT be recasting the role of T’Challa in the Black Panther sequel, feeling that Chadwick Boseman could not be replaced. Other options for continuing the character’s legacy will be explored.