What to know about every upcoming Marvel movie and Disney Plus series

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most successful film franchise of all time, having grossed more than $18 billion worldwide — $4 billion in 2018 alone — and for a brief moment Endgame owned the title of highest-grossing movie of all time before passing that crown right back to Avatar. And as Marvel Studios announced its incredible Phase 4 plans at Comic-Con 2019 and expanded on them at its D23 fan expo the same year, the franchise has shown no signs of slowing down. 

Then the coronavirus pandemic changed everything in 2020. And the well-timed launch of the Disney Plus streaming service shortly before lockdown has now changed the order in which we’ve seen the planned MCU properties release, but hasn’t made them any less enjoyable. WandaVision was an undeniable hit earlier this year, and 2021 has more new MCU shows planned for release than Marvel Studios films.

We also know many of the streamer’s shows will be integral parts of future MCU canon, feeding characters (and maybe plotlines) into the films, as Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige first confirmed at SDCC 2019. These Disney Plus series are overseen by Feige and apparently they have bigger budgets than what’s typically allocated for “traditional” television shows.

Ahead is *mostly* just confirmed news, but in some cases we did speculate because some things are too intriguing to ignore. You have been warned.

Marvel Studios

Movies

Disney’s latest release date updates suggest we may be getting even more MCU movies in 2022 and 2023, but the list just matches dates with the description “Untitled Marvel Film,” so who knows if these will be MCU or X-Men or Fantastic Four movies — or all of them together (!??!!). Here’s what we do know:

black-widow-mcu-phase-4

Pushed to summer, and now set to be available both in theaters and on Disney Plus with Premier Access (that means for extra $$ on top of a subscription).

Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios

Black Widow 

Director: Cate Shortland
Writer: Jac Schaeffer (yes, the same Schaeffer who was showrunner of WandaVision)
Release date: July 9, in theaters and Disney Plus Premier Access
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, O-T FagbenleWhat we know: Very little, despite an almost two-year wait. In 2019, SDCC attendees were treated to an epic fight scene between ScarJo and Pugh where we learned the two are “sisters.” Entertainment Tonight also learned some key Black Widow details after that year’s epic Marvel panel. As the film introduces more than one Black Widow, there’s a potential for any of them to take over the mantle from ScarJo. Since then we’ve had a new trailer drop, but it just confirms how little we know, even while giving us a more in-depth look at the film’s (presumed) villain, Taskmaster. 

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Pushed to September now. 

Marvel

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Dave Callaham
NEW Release date: Sept. 3
Starring: Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung and Awkwafina What we know: Not a whole lot except the villain will be The Mandarin (and not the same one as Ben Kingsley’s imposter in Iron Man 3). December’s Disney Plus investor event was mostly focused on TV shows, but we did get a fuller cast list.

Production has just wrapped for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and we are excited to share the fantastic cast bringing the film to life.#ShangChi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters July 9th, 2021. pic.twitter.com/fnmNP94nrA

— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) December 11, 2020

the-eternals-mcu-phase-4

November, hopefully. 

Marvel

Eternals

Director: Chloe Zhao
Writers: Matthew and Ryan Firpo
Release date: Nov. 5
Starring: Angelina Jolie (playing Thena), Richard Madden (Ikaris), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh (Sprite), Don Lee (Gilgamesh) and Kit Harrington as Dane WhitmanWhat we know: Some of the roles have been gender-swapped, like Hayek as Ajak, who was originally the male leader of the Eternals. We also know from the official synopsis that our Eternals are ancient aliens who’ve been on Earth for … well, a bit, and following the events of Endgame they’re forced to “reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants.spider-man-no-way-home

The title is officially official, the cast list… less so. 

Marvel Studios
Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Release date: Dec. 17
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya return with Jacob Batalon. We also know Cumberbatch will join as Doctor Strange, and Jamie Foxx has confirmed he’ll appear as Electro (yes, again). There are loads of rumors Sony’s OG Spideys Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield will reprise their roles as part of a storyline about the multiverse, but nothing has been confirmed yet. What we know: Rumors suggest it will build upon the idea of the multiverse as teased in Far From Home — for one, because we know it’ll directly feed the next Marvel Studios film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Second, reports say past Spideys turning up again. However, No Way Home wrapped filming at the end of March without confirmation of multiple Spider-Mans (Spider-Men?). 

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March 2022

Marvel

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Director: Sam RaimiWriter: Michael Waldron, showrunner on the upcoming Loki series 
Release date: March 25, 2022
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor are all returning from the first Strange film along with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and MCU newcomer Xochitl Gomez (The Baby-sitter’s Club) as America Chavez (aka Miss America)What we know: Spider-Man: No Way Home and the events of WandaVision on Disney Plus will lead directly into this sequel in a way we can only imagine will be epic. (Yes, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has featured characters from the films, including Lady Sif, before, but those plot points have never affected the MCU films before. This is definitely a departure we’re excited to see.) On stage at SDCC in 2019, Feige said just because Quentin Beck (from Spider-Man: Far From Home) lied about the multiverse, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Previously attached director Scott Derrickson had mentioned he wanted a gothic horror tone and had dreams of making the “first scary MCU film.” Since his departure, and the subsequent announcement of Raimi and Waldron taking over, we’re not sure what direction the film will take. In addition to his work on Loki, Waldron has written for Rick & Morty (fourth season episode The Old Man and the Seat), so the idea of a multiverse is nothing new to him.

All the news to know from streaming to superheroes, memes to video games.

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Bale the (God) Butcher

Marvel

Thor Love & Thunder

Director: Taika WaititiWriter: Taika WaititiRelease date: May 6, 2022
Starring: Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson return, (re-)joined by Natalie Portman as The Mighty Thor. Christian Bale joins as Gorr the God ButcherWhat we know: Filming began in Australia earlier this year. Thor’s hammer Moljnir will be handed to Portman’s character, but we have no clues as to how that power shift will happen. Thompson also confirmed Valkryie’s sexuality on stage at SDCC 2019, saying she needs to find her queen. As with Thor: Ragnarok, expectations are high for Hollywood cameos (Russell Crowe!), and some have already been pictured on set (Matt Damon, Melissa McCarthy). Black Panther 2

Ryan Coogler, Kevin Feige onstage at D23 in 2019

Marvel Studios

Black Panther sequel

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Marvel

Ant-Man & The Wasp: Quantumania

Director: Peyton Reed
Writer: Peyton ReedRelease date: Purely speculating, we’d guess it’ll take one of Disney’s 2022 slotsStarring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer return; Kathryn Newton will join as Cassie Lang, and Jonathan Majors will play Kang the Conqueror.

Captain Marvel 2

Director: Nia DaCosta
Writer: Megan McDonnell, who was a writer for WandaVision Release date: Nov. 11, 2022 (Veteran’s Day in the US) 
Starring: Brie Larson returns, will be joined by Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau, from WandaVision) and Iman Vellani (Ms. Marvel)Status: We know Larson has begun training in her at-home gym, but that’s about it!blade-mcu-phase-4

He’s (gonna be) back.

Marvel

Blade

Director: Unknown
Writer: Stacy Osei-Kuffour, a writer on HBO’s Watchmen limited series and Marvel’s first Black female writer Release date: Hopefully it’ll take the currently Untitled Marvel October 2022 slot, but maybe that’s asking for too much 
Starring: Academy-Award winner Mahershala Ali as half-mortal, half-immortal vampire Blade. What we know: We know Ali got the job with some serious BDE, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 

Director: James Gunn
Writer: James GunnRelease date: 2023 (presumably after the GOTG Holiday Special in winter 2022)  
Starring: Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana are all expected to returnStatus: Gunn, who has been at work on The Suicide Squad for WarnerMedia’s DCEU, has confirmed filming will begin this year on GOTG3. And the director has been hyping the project on Twitter steadily:

Our designers & visual development geniuses are busy creating new, fantastic designs of other worlds & alien beings. I’m not sure the galaxy is big enough for all this magic.
This.
One.
Is.
Huge.
I’m excited. #Vol3 🚀 https://t.co/gtboIx2YWX

— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 5, 2021

Fantastic Four

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Disney Plus

We also know the MCU will introduce the Fantastic Four in the coming years, helmed by director Jon Watts (who has guided the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy as well), but that’s all we know. Bet on this coming in 2023, at the earliest. 

“I DIDNT EVEN HAVE TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE FANTASTIC FOUR. AND THERE’S NO TIME TO TALK ABIUT MUTANTS.” #MarvelSDCC #SDCC2019

— cait petrakovitz 🦹🏽‍♀️➡️#SDCC (@misscp) July 21, 2019

Disney Plus TV shows

WandaVision unexpectedly became the first Disney Plus Marvel show to premiere, catapulting fans into a sitcom with surprising depth. Through April, new episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier hit the streaming service every Friday at midnight PT.

As the MCU grows, it’s important to note that earlier shows like the Netflix series and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were produced by Marvel TV, under Jeph Loeb, then executive vice president and head of television. But they were never explicitly referenced by the movies, which is what really separates this new era of Disney Plus Marvel series (Loeb reportedly left Marvel Television at the end of 2019).

The year is already packed, and Disney isn’t done by a long shot. Here’s what’s still to come on the small screen.

Loki

Showrunner: Michael Waldron
Director: Kate Herron, who helmed episodes of the Netflix series Sex EducationRelease date: June 11
Starring: Tom Hiddleston returns, joined by Owen Wilson (we presume as Mobius M. Mobius), Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. GrantWhat we know: The show will focus on The Avengers’ 2012 version of Loki, directly after the timey-wimey events of Endgame. That means we likely have some pre-redemption, wildly selfish escapades coming our way. And if that sounds confusing, don’t fear: The “crime thriller” series, as Feige teasingly described it, will be equally confusing for Loki. Given the latest trailer prominently features the TVA, or Time Variance Authority, throughout, we can be pretty certain the series will revolve around the bureaucratic agency, and would guess Loki will be running some very interesting errands for them (including playing the role of real-life mystery man D.B. Cooper, as seen in the first trailer?). 

What If…?

Release date: Summer 2021Starring: Jeffery Wright will be The Watcher, and a lot of MCU stars will voice alternate versions of their famous characters, including Robert Downey Jr., Chadwick Boseman and Chris EvansWhat we know: The animated series will look at “new realities” rethinking the events seen in the MCU, such as Peggy Carter becoming a super soldier instead of Steve Rogers.

Ms. Marvel 

Showrunner: British writer Bisha K. Ali
Directors: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, Meera Menon and Sharmeen Obaid-ChinoyExpected release date: “Late” 2021Starring: Iman Vellani as the title character, joined by Aramis Knight, Saagar Shaikh, Rish Shah, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Laith Naki, Azher Usman, Travina Springer and Nimra BuchaWhat we know: The show will focus on 16-year-old Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American girl living in Jersey City who’s a “great student, avid gamer, and voracious fan-fic scribe.” We also know she’ll get powers and will make her way to the big screen in Captain Marvel 2. Feige confirmed as much to THR recently: “Some characters we’ve announced like She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight you will meet for the first time on a Disney Plus show and then they’ll go into the movies but the MCU will now go back and forth.”hawkeye-disney-mcu-phase-4

“Late” 2021

Marvel

Hawkeye

Showrunner: Rhys Thomas and directing duo Bert and BertieExpected release date: Late 2021Starring: Jeremy Renner returns as Clint Barton, Hailee Steinfeld joins as Kate Bishop, Alaqua Cox will star as Maya Lopez (aka Echo). Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Brian d’Arcy James and Zahn McClarnon round out the cast in unconfirmed rolesWhat we know: That’s about it — just kidding. It’ll introduce Hailee’s Kate and set pics so far lend credence to the theory it’s based on the comic series by David Aja and Matt Fraction. Florence Pugh has also reportedly joined the cast, suggesting it will connect to Black Widow. That same Variety report claims Farmiga will play Kate’s mother, and Les Misérables star Fra Fee plays the villain Kazimierz Kazimierczak, aka the Clown. In 2019, Comic-Con attendees got to see a teaser, but no joke, that really is about all we “know” about the series.she-hulk-logo
Marvel

She-Hulk

Head writer: Rick & Morty vet Jessica GaoExpected release date: All signs point to 2022 at the earliestStarring: After serious denials, Tatiana Maslany was confirmed as the show star. We also know Mark Ruffalo with join as Bruce Banner/Hulk and Tim Roth will appear again as Abomination (first seen in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk). What we know: She-Hulk will be directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia, and will focus on Jennifer Waters. The inclusion of Roth also means the most missable MCU film ever might just become a must-watch before this series drops (lol, no jk).moon-knight-logo
Marvel

Moon Knight

Showrunner: The Umbrella Academy’s Jeremy SlaterExpected release date: “Soon,” says Disney — but more likely mid-2022Starring: Oscar Isaac stars as Marc Spector, and will be joined by Ethan Hawke What we know: The official description is that the series “centers on the character Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight, a complex vigilante who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. These multiple identities who live inside him are distinct characters in the series and will appear against a backdrop of Egyptian iconography.” It will be directed by Mohamed Diab, an Egyptian writer and director.

And more to come about these Disney Plus series…

Secret Invasion: Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury teams up again with Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos in a show focusing on shape-shifting Skrulls on Earth. Since debuting in Captain Marvel, Skrulls have slowly crept into other MCU projects including the end scenes of Far From Home and WandaVision.Ironheart: Riri Williams is getting her moment! Dominique Thorne will play the young genius and successor to Tony Starks’ Iron Man technology in the new series, which Feige confirmed will cross over with the larger MCU films.Armor Wars: Don Cheadle returns as War Machine facing consequences of “Tony Stark’s worst nightmare,” as Feige put it.The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special: Arriving winter 2022 ahead of the third ensemble film, this James Gunn special isn’t a series, just a one-off.I Am Groot: An animated series of shorts featuring the beloved character.

New movies coming out in 2021: Mortal Kombat, Black Widow and more

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