SDCC-22: Wakanda Forever (everything else for Marvel in its own time)…

Black Panther, She Hulk, Daredevil, Avengers are fantastic foreplay for Marvel's coming plans...

The Marvel panel at SDCC-22 was always going to be a highlight, with official confirmations, teasers and information on a range of projects that we already knew about or about which we had heard rumours…

Competing for the position of biggest announcement was the first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The much-anticipated sequel has the task of following up the original film after the loss of its star, Chadwick Boseman, to cancer shortly after its release. This left plans to be reassessed and a decision about who would take up the mantle. In most cases, this would mean reluctant but necessary recasting, but Boseman had been such a dynamic figure – on-screen and off – that it was decided that simply wouldn’t work. Returning Ryan Coogler said that while Boseman’s presence would be felt, there were no plans to recreate his King T’Challa by means of recasting or CGI, so we know the mantle was being passed to another in some way.  It looks as if his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) will be the one, though the trailer  – with a haunting cover-version of Bob Marley/Wailers’ No Woman, No Cry – and pretty magnificent in and of itself – doesn’t give many answers. It does confirm that one of the main aspects of the story will be a possible war between Wakanda and Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the ruler of Atlantis – another mainstay Marvel character who has been both hero and anti-hero over the decades, but always a somewhat arrogant ruler with no real love for the ‘surface-dwellers’.

“I promise you, I feel his hand on me right now,” said Coogler about Chadwick Boseman. “Chad’s passion and genius and his culture and the impact he made on this industry will be felt forever. We put our love for Chadwick into this film. We also put our passion. This film has a ton of action and humor. It’s also a roller coaster of a movie. It goes to new places in Wakanda that we’ve never been before but other corners of the MCU…”

Next month sees the release of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, an irreverent series arriving on Disney+ on 17th August, that echoes the John Byrne era of the comic-book in which the character frequently broke the fourth wall to speak to the audience. She-Hulk is actually Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner who gains her similar powers from an emergency blood-transfusion. Played by Orphan Black / Perry Mason‘s Tatiana Maslany she’s  happy being a lawyer, but her new powers mean that she has to balance her new high profile and crime-fighting in numerous ways, some of them more beneficial than others. Mark Ruffalo reprises his Banner/Professor Hulk variation and shows her the ropes, rocks and general etiquette.

The series will be Marvel‘s first 30 minute show and played largely as a comedy drama. (Watch out for the end of the trailer where there’s also a brief flash of someone who might well be Daredevil…)

Next, Guardians of the Galaxy pumps up the Volume 3 on the big screen in May 2023. Both Loki (back for a second run) and Echo will sound things out on Disney+ later in 2023. Due for Spring 2023, Marvel also showed a trailer for the Secret Invasion series that will seemingly pit Nick Fury against a group of rogue Skrull doppelgangers who have replicated people and identities on Earth. The series was filmed in a variety of places including Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK over the last year. Don Cheadle, Olivia Colman and Cobie Smulders also star. There’s also a Thunderbolts film due in July 2024 which features a team likely made up of previous super-villains and hinted at being assembled in recent shows.

Blade, a reboot of the half-vampire character originally essayed by Wesley Snipes, is now confirmed for 3rd November, 2023 starring Mahershala Ali… and Sam Wilson (aka Anthony Mackie) is centre-stage as the star-spangled Avenger in Captain America: New World Order due to hit screens on 3rd May, 2024. Ironheartan original series featuring Riri Williams (played by Dominique Thorne) the heir to the Iron Man armour will debut in late 2023 (though the character will appear in Wakanda Forever) and Agatha: Coven of Chaos (featuring WandaVision‘s Agatha Harkness aka Kathryn Hahn) drops on to Disney+ in late 2023 or early 2024.

Speaking of Daredevil and the worse kept secret of the MCU, Charlie Cox will indeed be reprising the Daredevil character in his own show for Disney+ which will be entitled Daredevil: Born Again.  Given that Vincent D’Onofrio will be back, the title would seem to suggest that it will be tied to one of the most powerful storylines in the Daredevil comic where the Kingpin learned of Daredevil‘s secret identity and rather than simply kill him he decides to torture him by taking apart his life, his reputation, his friends one by one. Originally written by Frank Miller, it is still considered a benchmark saga. The new series will run to an impressive 18 episodes but won’t be here until Spring 2024.

The Fantastic Four have had three movies to date, two starring a pre-Captain America Chris Evans, Michael Chiklis, Jessica Alba and Ioan Gruffud and then a complete Josh Trank-directed reboot that tanked at the box-office. Marvel are hoping to rectify that track-record with another reboot of their ‘first family’ team. We still know very little about those plans, but we do have a release date: 8th November 2024. Those hoping for casting news will have to wait a while yet.

Marvel announced not one but two Avengers movies though both are a fair way off. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty would seem to tie into the time-travelling character that has been a long-standing and epic thorn in the side of the printed Marvel Universe and also known as He Who Remains (played by Jonathon Majors in the Loki series and who will reprise the role for the upcoming Ant-Man/Wasp film Quantumania in 2023).  The other Avengers movie is Secret Wars, which possibly relates to one of two Marvel Comics of the same name. The original comic of that title had almost all of the Marvel heroes and villains were transported to an alien world to fight each other at the behest of a creature called The Beyonder. Far more likely given the MCU‘s current obsession with the multiverse – it will surely relate to the more recent Marvel Comics series about the collapse of the multiverse into one jumbled reality.  In the last few days, the Russo Brothers – who famously helmed the Infinity War / Endgame double-whammy for Marvel have been linked to Secret Wars as they’ve already stated it would be a dream project for them, but at this point no director or cast has been confirmed for either film and Marvel‘s head-honcho seems to be suggesting they won’t be directing this time, but wants to work with them again.  Both films to be released in 2025, the first in May the second in November.

For context, Kevin Feige has said that Wakanda Forever ends Phase 4 of the MCU and Phases 4 through 6 will be collectively known as The Multiverse Saga with Phase 6 ending with the two Avengers movies.