Recent years have seen the D23 Expo, Disney’s own mini comic-con, becoming more and more exciting but none so much as this year’s. With their recent acquirement of new properties and the launching of their new streaming service, Disney+, there was a lot on the table to discuss regarding Disney’s future. Of course, one of the largest chunks of news came from Marvel Studios as they build their cinematic universe post-Thanos.
Here’s a rundown of everything MCU that came up during the D23 Expo:
Black Panther 2
The sequel to Marvel’s hit Black Panther was officially announced to premiere on May 6, 2022. Martin Freeman, who will be returning as Everett Ross, earlier mentioned that filming would begin in 2021. While we know that Ryan Coogler will be back on board as both writer and director not much else has been released, not even the movie’s title. Coogler promised that the team is already “hard at work on it trying to give you something special. We’re gonna take our time; we want it to be right.”
Marvel’s New Disney+ Series: Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Moon Knight
Aside from previously announced shows (WandaVision, Falcon & Winter Soldier, Loki, and Hawkeye), 3 new ones were announced for the MCU’s Phase 4. Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), and Moon Knight (Marc Spector) will be expanding Marvel’s current cast of heroes. And while they may only be showing up on the small screen for now, it is definitely only temporary. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has clarified that these heroes will eventually make it to the big screen themselves.
A whole slew of announcements happened when The Eternals cast took the stage. A first look at the race of humanoids was given to the audience as concept art for the movie flashed behind the cast onstage. While their final designs may yet still change, it’s worth noting that the art looks a good deal closer to the Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. run of the comics than the original art from Jack Kirby.
In addition to their already star-studded cast we also learned of 3 new stars being added to the fold. Kit Harington will be taking on the role of Black Knight (Dane Whitman), the bearer of the mystical Ebony Blade. Gemma Chan will be playing Sersi, a member of the Eternals and often a leading character of the comics. Barry Keoghan will be Druig, a rogue Eternal who is sometimes their adversary.
As usual, the Black Widow movie is another well-guarded Marvel Studios project. We’ve barely gotten details on the next MCU installment but at least we do finally have our first official look at it. The movie’s first poster was revealed by Marvel Studios Director of Visual Development and Concept Artist Andy Park. It features Natasha Romanoff flanked by Red Guardian, Melina, Yelena Belova, and unnamed super spies. Behind her is the visage of villain Taskmaster.
BLACK WIDOW!!! Official D23 poster I had the honor of painting. She’s very near & dear to me since it’s the gazillionth time I’ve concept designed/painted her. What a cast & crew! #BlackWidow @MarvelStudios #ScarlettJohansson @Florence_Pugh @DavidKHarbour #RachelWeisz @DisneyD23 pic.twitter.com/fxMOI4fJ5R
— Andy Park (@andyparkart) August 25, 2019
Another trailer was also shown to the audience at the expo. Though it has not been released to the public, reports describe it as back-to-back action sequences. After beginning with a montage of footage featuring Natasha Romanoff from previous MCU movies the trailer really takes off in Budapest. A fight sequence commences between Romanoff and Yelena Belova, the comic’s second modern-era Black Widow. It then cuts to Red Guardian interacting with all the assassins he refers to as ‘family’. The trailer ends with Romanoff going toe to toe with Taskmaster, a villain able to mimic the fighting style of heroes due to his photographic memory. It closes off with a shot depicting both Romanoff and Taskmaster going down into the signature Black Widow fighting stance.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
This project’s announcements were exclusively of the casting variety. We already knew that Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo would be returning but it turns out his won’t be the only character making a reappearance. Emily VanCamp will be reprising the role of Sharon Carter which makes sense as she did play a rather significant role in Captain America: Civil War. They were, however, evasive when discussing Sharon’s part in the series.
Another, perhaps more telling, casting announcement was that of Wyatt Russel in the role of John Walker, a.k.a U.S. Agent. In the comics, Walker actually took on the title of Captain America for some time before transitioning into the superhero identity of U.S. Agent. He actually opposed Sam Wilson becoming Captain America, which could set up the plot for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Ever since it was announced that the series featuring two of the MCU’s most powerful heroes would be taking place in the 1950’s there have been no shortage of theories as to what could be happening. The teaser shown to attendees of the D23 expo only further fuels the one which pushes a dual reality, perhaps created from Wanda’s inability to cope with loss a la House of M. It reportedly shows “footage from Wanda and Vision’s time in the MCU was cut alongside footage from that iconic show, interspersed with moments of static and a slightly off-kilter laugh track.”
It was also announced that Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis and Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo would be featured as part of the cast. Darcy was last seen in Thor: The Dark World while Jimmy featured in Ant-Man & the Wasp.
CAPTAIN PEGGY CARTER I LOVE YOU pic.twitter.com/ZrxZYfXrhL
— maddie ⎊ (@rogersndanvers) August 23, 2019
The information that this series based on the comic of the same name would be tackling alternate realities has been known for some time now but as always with Marvel, no specifics were involved. Their panel at the D23 Expo finally shined a light on just what these alternate scenarios might be exactly. Some footage shown exclusively for attendees of the expo depicted a zombie-fied Captain America in battle with the Winter Soldier. Another shot had T’Challa attempting to steal the power stone instead of Star Lord. Of course, the most widely talked about scenario was Peggy Carter donning what looks like a Captain Britain costume. In this reality she was the recipient of the super-soldier serum in place of Steve Rogers.
Unsurprisingly there were still no details given on the direction of the series or who else (other than Loki, obviously) would be involved. The only tidbits that Feige was able to give concerned the creative team. It was announced that Sex Education’s Kate Herron would be leading the project as director with Harmonquest’s Michael Waldron as writer. It was also referenced that this show is intended to answer all the questions we may have been left with after the events of Avengers: Endgame’s time heist.
What are you most excited for in the MCU’s Phase 4 line-up?