The Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel made several announcements at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend regarding the next phase of things. Obviously, Spider-man will continue to swing around the MCU, but we’re also getting the Black Widow movie (May 1, 2020), an unidentified movie later in fall, The Eternals (November 2020) Shang-chi (Feb. 12, 2021), with the actual ringed Mandarin opposing Canadian actor Simu Liu as the Master of Kung-Fu (February 2021), the next Doctor Strange film (May 2021), a new Thor film (November 2021) that will reportedly feature Natalie Portman rejoining Chris Helmsworth to become the female Thor, and the previously announced Scarlet Witch/Vision, Falcon/Winter Soldier, and Loki series all appearing in 2021.

They’ve also confirmed we’ll see a new Blade, sequels to Captain Marvel, Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy, and an MCU Fantastic Four. They just don’t have dates yet for these blockbusters.

What do you want to see from the next phase?

Will the Netflix Defenders turn up in a couple of years, when Disney can use them?

Will we ever see that Squirrel Girl movie? The She-Hulk? Will Howard the Duck ever be allowed more than a cameo?

And what will tie these films together? The Eternals? A war with Atlantis? Adam Warlock and the Magus? Doctor Doom? Ruby Thursday and the Headmen? Or will we witness the coming of Galactus?

9 replies on “The Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe”

  1. At this point, I’m on the hook, totally in, and I am just looking forward to going in wide eyes and enjoy this fanboy dream come true.

    …. This was a ComicCon. Any news from across the aisle? Is DCEU still a thing?

    • DC had a lower profile than in other years, though they did confirm forthcoming next seasons of Doom Patrol, Titans, and the animated Young Justice. There will be a new animated Harley Quinn. We already knew that Stargirl would go ahead, and people at Comic-con got to watch the first episode of Batwoman, which the rest of us won’t see until October 6.

      They didn’t play a trailer for the Wonder Woman sequel.

      Brandon Routh will put on a familiar costume and play some version of Superman in the forthcoming DCTV-verse version of Crisis, which will rearrange the DC TV CW reality.

      Is there an extended DC Movie Universe at this point? Good question.

  2. I dunno, I’m not really feeling it with this plan. Although to be honest, the difference is the last time it was just a bunch of really good superhero movies that successfully built into a larger narrative. They also got lucky and got great actors for the key roles. Although again at the beginning, it would have been totally fair to say “you’re going to build this whole thing on Iron Man?!?!”.

    So I don’t know, I guess we’ll see. But I’m kinda questioning the proposed gender swap on Thor. This wasn’t well received in the comics and is now becoming a go to trope of major franchises. And be honest the move always has too much political baggage coming along nowadays.

    • Good point about Tony Stark. Outside of comic-readers, Iron Man was not well-known, and the film struck gold. They made stars out of the Guardians of the Galaxy! Whereas DC, with some of the most iconic…. Okay, we know that one. Marvel has Spider-man on their side now, and that’s working out. I think the handling of the Fantastic Four will be critical to their success in this next phase. That and whether or not the superhero market continues to soar.

      Given Marvel/Disney’s track record with this material, I’m hopeful we’ll finally get a good Fantastic Four film. It’s been a long time coming.

      If Helmsworth wants to step away from Thor, putting him and Foster-Thor together is a reasonable step. Let’s face it: old fan controversies always follow movie adaptations, but they tend to be limited to a subset of old comic fans. The Marvel cinematic audience mostly consists of people who don’t care about comic-book controversies. They do like Helmsworth’s Thor, however. I guess we’ll see.

      With regards to some of the actors announced:

      Simu Liu may not be really well-known outside of Canada yet, but they have a good actor for Shang-Chi, able to handle drama and humour. He’s part of the award-winning ensemble cast of Kim’s Convenience, not my thing but about to start a fourth season and still popular here. Blood and Water has given him a profile with the Chinese diaspora. I think he’ll do fine, so long as the movie works.

      Tony Leung Chiu-wai is a superstar among the international Chinese audience, so he’s a strong choice to play the Mandarin. He might also assuage some of the concerns among that audience over the use of a character whose original incarnation offends many people (AsiaOne addressed the issue today, as a controversy found on Chinese-language social media sites, but they sound positive about the project overall). Given that the original Mandarin was basically an in-house Fu Manchu with rings, and given that Marvel long ago lost the rights to Fu Manchu, I wonder if this Mandarin will be Shang’s father? It would make obvious story sense.

    • Someone on another site complained about the female Thor. My response was that I had to heartily disagree. Some of the Thor stories with Jane were some of the best I ever read. The Secret History of Mjolnir always is going to rank as a great story. I was pretty annoyed when it was first announced in the comics because “Thor is a name, not a title!!” In the stories, though, The Unworthy Thor came around and told her to call herself Thor because she was doing it better than he felt he could. Jason Aaron did great work with the Mighty Thor, and I am hoping to see that transferred to the screen just as well as they pulled it off in the comics.

  3. You know, if anyone is going to pull off that collection of films, it will likely be Marvel. At some point, the money printing machine will break, but I think they’ll pull off what they have planned in the near term.

    I suspect the Defenders will show up somewhere once the rights revert fully. Exactly how that happens will depend on a lot of variables. I’m kind of hoping for whole new seasons made by the same creative teams (at least for Iron Fist – I really want to know where that was going, and no, I’m not going to read comic books to find out). I can see something like that happening if only as a way to convince more eyeballs to sign up for their streaming service, but I can also see it not happening.

    • While I loved Mike Colter as Luke Cage, the action in Daredevil was way better than it should ever have been, and I actually cared about Punisher, I kind of doubt we’ll see Disney bring them back directly, and I am okay with that. They were great, and the characters (and actors) should still pop up elsewhere, but I think we’ve gotten a few good seasons from each of them and there is a huge Universe left to explore. Rather than bring back Iron Fist, why not start us a Moon Knight series? Add in some Jack Russell and Hellstrom (which I think was announced) and lead us to some Midnight Sons? These characters can pop up for crossovers, but instead of retreading what we’ve seen, lets keep looking at new stuff!

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