Phew. That was some morning. Now, we’re assuming you’ve calmed down a bit (it’s okay if you haven’t, neither have we) so let’s sift through everything we learnt from Marvel’s announcement today at the San Diego Comic Con.
1. Phase 4 will be the first one in the MCU without an Avengers movie.
So far, every phase of the MCU has had an Avengers movie, the culmination of the individual movies before it.
Phase 4, however, steered away from that mini-tradition and that’s probably a good thing. With OG Avengers dead, retired or off-world, it’s time for a new team to take on the mantle. The new team will need time to get used to each other and more importantly, for the audience to get used to it.
2. We’re going to get a female Thor.
Natalie Portman’s return to the MCU was a bit of a surprise, considering reports that seemed to indicate she was done with the MCU. Even her appearance in Endgame was done using old footage from Thor: The Dark World, though she did lend her voice.
Natalie Portman’s character, Jane Foster, will be the MCU’s female Thor. In the comics, she takes on the mantle after the original Thor goes through a bit of a crisis in confidence and loses his belief in himself, and goes by the name Odinson. Considering Thor just rediscovered his confidence in Endgame, it will be interesting to see how Thor: Love and Thunder takes this on.
3. Mahershah Ali is joining the MCU as Blade and he’s bringing vampires with him.
One of the many big surprises in today’s announcement was the casting of double Academy Award winning Mahershah Ali as Blade. The casting couldn’t have been better, but it’ll be interesting to see vampires in the MCU.
4. Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is going to be the MCU’s first ‘scary movie’.
During the Dr. Strange announcement, director Scott Derrickson mentioned that DSinMoM (yes, we’re making it a thing) will be the MCU’s first scary movie. The MCU is famous for the varying genres of its films, but horror is one that hasn’t made its entry into this cinematic universe.
That has got fans hoping this might be the MCU’s first R-rate film.
5. It will also probably give us our first proper peak into the Multiverse.
Spider-Man: Far From Home‘s trailers hinted at a multiverse and that got fans a little excited. Long story short, it was all a very well constructed sham (Damn you Mysterio). So even if the horror aspect of this movie isn’t particular scary, we’re hoping the multiverse part will more than make up for it.
6. Vision will return. But it won’t be permanent.
So we know WandaVision will be set after the events of Endgame. Which means Vision is somehow going to be resurrected. However, Kevin Feige also said WandaVision will directly lead to the events in DSinMoM (told you it’s a thing) and so far, they’ve only confirmed Elizabeth Olson in the Dr Strange flick. So is Vision going to resurrected only to be destroyed again? And yes, that’s happened to him before, but it wasn’t pleasant.
7. Falcon still hasn’t officially taken up the ‘Captain America’ mantle.
Before today’s announcement, many assumed Falcon and The Winter Soldier would go through a little bit of a re-branding, considering the end of Avengers: Endgame. Evidently, that hasn’t happened, so maybe the show will now depict Sam’s gradual change.
8. The best MCU villain after Thanos, Baron Zemo is returning.
Thanos was great, no doubt. But he lost in the end. Baron Zemo, however, didn’t. In Civil War, he got exactly what he wanted. He broke the Avengers from the inside. And now that we know he’s going to be the main villain in Falcon and The Winter Soldier, well, we’re just a little bit excited.
9. The Loki series will be set in an alternate timeline.
Everyone loves Loki. And over the last 10 years, we’ve seen Loki go from generic villain to fan favourite. However, the Loki series that will stream on Disney+ is going to start from that scene in Endgame.
Which technically mean, this show will be set in an entirely different timeline from the main story. Marvel really is going all out.
10. Not only is the Hawkeye mantle going to be passed on, but we’ll get to see a bit of the Ronin years.
In this show, Hawkeye will mentor Kate Bishop who, we assume, will become the next Hawkeye in the MCU. For the uninitiated, Kate Bishop was a character in the comics who took up the Hawkeye mantle after Clint Barton was killed. Barton eventually came back to life and the two co-existed as, well, Hawkeye.
Bishop did learn a thing or from her mentor, so we’re guessing the MCU version will delve into this student-teacher relationship. Also, we’ll get to see more of Barton’s Ronin phase that Endgame only hinted at.
11. We’ll probably find out more of Thanos’ backstory in The Eternals.
In the comics, the Eternals are cosmic beings, created by aliens called the Celestials. They’re charged with the defense of Earth, putting them in conflict with their counterpart race, the Deviants.
12. The actual Mandarin will finally make an appearance in the MCU.
While the Mandarin (or the fake one) was introduced in Iron Man 3, the Ten Rings organisation is old as the MCU itself. Remember, that was the organisation that kidnapped Tony Stark. You could say, it kickstarted the cinematic universe.
And while Ben Kingsley was great in Iron Man, we’ll finally get to see the actual Mandarin, who’s actually as badass as Trevor Slattery was pretending to be. The icing on the cake? He’ll be played by Tony Leung. Google him.
13. Captain Marvel 2, Black Panther 2, GotG Vol 3, Blade and Fantastic Four are in the works, but just not in Phase 4.
In all the excitement of the new announcements, it was easy to forget that Marvel Studios has existing franchises that have barely begun that weren’t included in the Phase 4 announcements. But Kevin Feige didn’t. Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Guardians have their own movies in the pipeline, but they probably didn’t want to steal the limelight from the newbies.
Phase 5 will have all of them as well as Blade and a certain first family of Marvel.
14. The MCU is making its way into animated features with What If…?
This is the MCU completely and totally embracing its comic book origins. One of the main criticisms and advantages of the comic book medium is its impermanence. Stories can be molded, adapted and changed to suit the writer. And the What If…? series was the ultimate embodiment of that. What if Tony Stark never became Iron Man? What if Thanos actually beat the Avengers? Hopefully the series will reveal all that and more. And that’s all without talking about the animated path they’re taking. The MCU is truly expanding.
15. From Hawkeye and Black Widow to Falcon and Thor, all of Phase 4 seems to be geared towards passing the mantle.
There’s a theme running through all of Phase 4. It’s a passing of the flame of sorts. A new Thor and Hawkeye, another Black Widow being readied, and Falcon taking up the shield, it’s clear what Marvel is doing. We already know Spider-Man is possibly being positioned as the new face of the MCU now that Tony Stark is gone. All we can do now is wait and see how bright the fire burns.