By Ethan Alter, Yahoo Entertainment
Marvel Studios brought the love — and thunder — to San Diego Comic-Con, announcing their full Phase 4 slate to a raucous audience that knew there was life after Avengers: Endgame.
“The Infinity Saga is complete,” said Marvel maestro, Kevin Feige, who then went on to outline the bright future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will unfold in cinemas and on Disney+, the Mouse House’s new streaming service that’s due to launch in America this November. The UK launch date remains TBC.
Here’s who you won’t see as Phase 4 unfolds between May 2020 and November 2021: Spider-Man, Star-Lord and a new Iron Man. But you will meet what’s easily the most diverse superhero line-up in comic book movie history, including a master of kung fu and a group of eternals.
You’ll also welcome back a strange sorcerer, a sharpshooting archer and a sword-swinging Valkyrie. Based on the crowd reaction, the most anticipated reunions are with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who will be returning as a thunder goddess, and that vampire hunter Blade, now played by two-time Oscar winner, Mahershala Ali.
Here’s the full recap of what Marvel-ous things you’ll be watching for the next two years.
Black Widow (1 May, 2020)
She’s baaaaack. No, not the Natasha Romanoff who took the fatal plunge off that cliff on Vormir. Instead, the long-awaited Black Widow solo movie rewinds the timeline to the post-Civil War era of the MCU and sends Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) off to Budapest, where she meets another Red Room trainee, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and tangles with the Red Guardian (David Harbour, who in a twist of Stranger Things fate will be playing a character named Alexei) the move-mimicking Taskmaster. A clip shown during the presentation teased Jason Bourne-style action and a poised Natasha that Johansson described as being a “fully realised woman.”
Interestingly, even though the Black Widow movie takes place in the past, it points to the character’s future — as comic book fans know, Yelena inherits the mantle of Black Widow, which means that Pugh may be enlisting with the Avengers the next time there’s a supergroup-level threat.
black widow finally gets what she deserves, we stan #SDCC2019— stef loves selena (@gomezappetitee) July 21, 2019
Black Widow. May 1, 2020. Bae returns. pic.twitter.com/IafUHif39T— James Malone (@jmalone327) July 21, 2019
The Eternals (6 November, 2020)
The Avengers are mere babies compared to this super-team of immortal warriors, who have long existed in secret alongside their human inferiors. Created by comics legend Jack Kirby in the 1970s, the Eternals are being brought to the big screen by the celebrated director of The Rider, Chloe Zhao, and Feige promised that the movie would be “full-on Jack Kirby” in its spirit and scope.
The cast list alone is epic, boasting a diverse crew that includes Richard Madden as super-strong Ikaris, Brian Tyree Henry as weapons expert Phastos, Salma Hayek as the leader Ajak and Angelina Jolie as the powerful Thena. “We are all going to be working really hard,” Jolie said. “We know what you want. I am in training.”
Brian Tyree Henry is going to be in the Eternals. He made it to the MCU. Miles’s daddy is in the MCU. pic.twitter.com/vEurSdBwP9— Hot Girl May Parker (@Steph_I_Will) July 21, 2019
the eternals cast.. *chef’s kiss*— aly (@intertelIar) July 21, 2019
The Eternals is gonna be a Marvel movie with zero straight white men, who would have thunk it— jc 🦄 (@Patronhippie) July 21, 2019
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Autumn 2020)
The first Marvel series to launch on Disney+ won’t feature Steve Rogers... but we will hang out with his two best friends. Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes learn how to get along — and Sam learns how to wield his new shield, which Mackie brought onstage for a playful tug-o’-war game with his co-star — while facing off against returning Civil War villain, Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl).
anthony and sebastian sharing the captain america shield... all i’m gonna say is the falcon and winter soldier show is going to be legendary. pic.twitter.com/tmZy5dZepq— scott lang (@stevesthcr) July 21, 2019
Look at these two. I can't wait for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. pic.twitter.com/nFfusoA59e— Kaitlin Thomas (@thekaitling) July 21, 2019
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (12 February, 2021)
If you thought Spider-Man: Far From Home was the only Marvel movie with a deep-cut Iron Man cameo, think again. The Ten Rings were name-dropped in Jon Favreau’s universe-launching hit, and make their comeback alongside the Mandarin — not the fake version that Sir Ben Kingsley portrayed in Iron Man 3, but the for-real supervillain, played by Hong Kong legend, Tony Leung.
Canadian actor Simu Liu — whose casting was finalised mere days ago — will play the title character for director Destin Daniel Cretton, and Awkwafina is set for a yet-to-be revealed role.
#ShangChi starring Tony Leung, @awkwafina, @SimuLiu.— William Yu (@its_willyu) July 21, 2019
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
As a kid, I couldn’t have even imagined a superhero movie with Asian leads. I can’t believe it’s really happening.
The movement is real. It’s not stopping. Representation matters today. pic.twitter.com/krwJRTxCWQ
IM SO EXCITED FOR SHANG CHI YALLLL— 𝐩𝐢𝐧 ☆ ffh + st3 (@etherealbanner) July 21, 2019
WandaVision (Spring 2021)
“We’re gonna have a lot of fun,” Elizabeth Olsen promised the SDCC faithful about the Scarlet Witch’s Disney+ series. “We’re gonna get weird, get deep, and finally understand Wanda Maximoff as Scarlet Witch.”
We’ll also learn how Paul Bettany’s Vision is resurrected after his Infinity War death at the hands of Thanos. And, best of all, we’ll meet the grown-up Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who is clearly taking after her mother and Aunt Carol.
The WandaVision show WILL take place after Endgame & it’ll just be Wanda chilling while Vision‘s consciousness switches between different electrical appliances in their house #MarvelSDCC— Anjali Jacob (@inthekeyofamaj) July 21, 2019
Loki (Spring 2021)
First things first: The Disney+ Loki ain’t your Dark World Loki. Heck, this ain’t even your Infinity War Loki. “You guys saw Avengers, right,” the mischief maker’s alter ego, Tom Hiddleston, asked the audience. “He’s still that guy.” That’s right: The Loki who fled the scene of the (attempted) time-heist crime in Avengers: Endgame with the Tesseract is now bouncing around the timestream, no doubt getting into all sorts of trouble.
tom's face when the crowd chanted "loki" is my favourite thing from tonight pic.twitter.com/nkGQ9VLrGl— joanne (@hiddlestomas) July 21, 2019
Tom Hiddleston says what Kevin Feige showed him for the LOKI DisneyPlus series is the most creative and exciting thing he's ever done. #SDCC— Rob Keyes (@rob_keyes) July 21, 2019
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (7 May, 2021)
Sure, Mysterio may have been lying about being from a different dimension. But the multiverse is about to get very, very real. And also real scary. Returning Doctor Strange director, Scott Derrickson, vowed that his sequel would be the “first scary MCU film.” Fortunately, Benedict Cumberbatch won’t have to face the madness alone: Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will be on hand to help, as the events of WandaVision will lead directly into this movie
Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange 2? Awesome!— Scott Stamper (@DerfelMacGuffin) July 21, 2019
scarlet witch and doctor strange are officially teaming up in doctor strange 2.... i am so thankful for everything and everything god has given Me pic.twitter.com/Eimuoz1uOH— gabi (@harleivy) July 21, 2019
What If...? (Summer 2021)
A multiverse means that there’s a multitude of ways that familiar stories could play out differently on other worlds. Marvel’s animated series for Disney+ will depict these alternate roads not taken by such characters as Ant-Man, Killmonger and Peggy Carter — all of whom will be voiced by the actors who played them on the big screen. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Wright will be watching over the series as the all-seeing Watcher.
I hope Marvel bases What If on this pic.twitter.com/MWndrme1KO— The Suburban Sweetback (@CurdVonnegut) July 21, 2019
Hawkeye (Autumn 2021)
Jeremy Renner will be picking up the arrows again for Hawkeye’s Disney+ series. But the real star of the show, according to the actor himself, is Kate Bishop, a sharpshooter-in-training who becomes her mentor’s equal. “She’ll be the better version of Hawkeye,” Renner said, whose role will be to teach Bishop — a role that has yet to be cast — “how to become a superhero.”
I am so skeptical about this with MCU Hawkeye but my love of Kate Bishop has no choice but to overcome that because WOW THEY USED THE FRACTION FONT IT’S ON https://t.co/dBOXP1Y1Bq— alanna bennett (@AlannaBennett) July 21, 2019
I'm sooooo happy that Kate is gonna be in the Hawkeye show!!! 💜💜💜💜 (Now if we can get the rest of the young avengers in the MCU I'll be happy for a long long time) pic.twitter.com/hx6Ifug9Tp— Mandy 🐰 (@curiousmandybun) July 21, 2019
Pizza Dog had better make an appearance in the Hawkeye show or I'm calling the FBI pic.twitter.com/BzJn4wraY4— liz (@lizardbish) July 21, 2019
Thor: Love and Thunder (5 November, 2021)
Phase 4 culminates with the reunion of the creative team behind the beloved Thor: Ragnarok — director Taika Waititi and stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, who teased that Valkyrie’s “first order of business” will be finding her Queen. (Paging Captain Marvel.)
But it’s Portman’s return to the MCU as the new Thor that’ll make Love and Thunder the perfect phase-capper. As she showed at the panel, she’s more than ready to swing the hammer and bring the thunder.
Natalie Portman, thats it. Thats the tweet. pic.twitter.com/vz5OgJPbCl— heroina do lixo (@dcucomics) July 21, 2019
You all know what happened, right? Natalie Portman was so done with Thor, which was fair, given her role in the first two.— 🎮 Meesh 🤘🏻 (@meesherbeans) July 21, 2019
Then she saw what @TaikaWaititi did with Ragnarok and was like "hold on just one minute."
natalie portman is back as FEMALE THOR— tiny t⎊ny (@woIvern) July 21, 2019
tessa thompson said valkyrie wants a girlfriend bc as the new king of asgard she needs her queen
and the title of thor 4 is “thor: love and thunder”
THOR 4 IS GONNA BE AWESOME AND LOVELY I’M SO SOFT THANK YOU TAIKA pic.twitter.com/4WLb36WRS5
Beyond Phase 4, there’s more — lots more — to come. Feige teased sequels for Black Panther and Captain Marvel, as well as the long-awaited arrival of the Fantastic Four and those not-so-merry mutants in the MCU. There are also vampires on the horizon, which means they’ll need a vampire hunter. Enter Mahershala Ali, inheriting a role originated by Wesley Snipes in the 1998 film that jump-started Marvel’s previously moribund movie ambitions. It’s only natural, then, that they’d bet on Blade to presumably kick off the next phase of their box office-conquering plans.