There was no doubt about what the main event at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 would be. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has made a tradition out of unveiling some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest and most exciting plans at the convention’s famed Hall H stage. And with no MCU appearances since 2019’s blockbuster showing, lukewarm response to the Phase 4 films and TV series so far, and a lot of simmering but as of yet unconfirmed projects in developments, all bets were on Feige to show up and show out in a big way this year. And did he ever: Feige and co. revealed the next three years’ worth of movies and television shows—going all the way up to Phase 6.
Across the hour-plus panel, Feige spoke about six Disney+ series and ten films arriving between now and 2025—the MCU is right up there with death and taxes. Here’s a helpful breakdown sifting through all of the release dates, announcements, casting and character reveals, from the trailer for this fall’s mysterious Black Panther sequel to the bombshell that not one—but two—Avengers films are dropping in 2025. Let’s dive in.
At long last, a look at Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever has been shrouded in secrecy even though it’s only four months away. Feige saved the best of the panel for last: an emotional Ryan Coogler took the Hall H stage to talk about the passing of the legendary Chadwick Boseman and how his legacy will inform the sequel before introducing the film’s expansive cast, including new additions Dominique Thorne, Tenoch Huerta, Michaela Coel. Thorne will play Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. Introduced in the comics by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato, Williams is a 15-year scientist who creates an Iron Man-like armor in her garage. Huerta will play Namor, King of Atlantis, and canonically the very first mutant in Marvel Comics. Coel plays Aneka, a member of the Dora Milaje who played a critical role in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther comic story.
After the cast spoke about the impact of the first film, Marvel revealed Wakanda Forever’s first trailer. There’s been a lot of doubt and anxiety swirling around the film for obvious reasons, but the masterfully constructed clip goes a long way toward settling any unease. The trailer begins with a rendition of “No Woman, No Cry” by Tems as we see glimpses of Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and Shuri (Letitia Wright). The film’s only line of dialogue is an emotional gut punch as Ramonda states, “I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone. Have I not given everything?” while cutting to a Wakandian mural of T’Challa, hinting at how the film will incorporate Boseman’s death. Other key shots include M’Baku (Winston Duke) attacking Namor on the shore, Riri working on a version of her Ironheart armor, a (presumably) Namor-flooded throne room (!), Coel’s Aneka with her blade bared, and a new, (perhaps female?) Black Panther appears on the shoreline as “No Woman, No Cry” blends and swells into Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” The film is set to release on November 11.
Phase 5 is finally bringing the Netflix Characters into the fold.
Kevin Feige announced that the following projects—deep breath—will compromise Phase 5: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (in theaters Feb 17, 2023), Secret Invasion (on Disney+ in Spring 2023), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. (in theaters May 6, 2023), Echo (Disney+, Summer 2023) Loki Season 2 (on Disney+ Summer 2023), The Marvels (in theaters July 28, 2023), Blade (in theaters Nov 3, 2023), Ironheart (Disney+, Fall 2023), Agatha: Coven of Choas (Disney+ in winter 2023/2024), Daredevil: Born Again (Disney+ in Spring 2024), Captain America: New World Order (in theaters May 3, 2024), and finally Thunderbolts (in theaters July 26, 2024).
Most of these were already on the slate, but there’s a few additions worth getting excited about. Daredevil: Born Again will be a staggering 18-episode Disney+ series (triple the amount of every other series thus far) that brings Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) back together. Remember: Daredevil, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) all had their own TV shows on Netflix that never interacted with the larger interconnected MCU stories or characters, that were promptly canceled when Marvel got their television shit together with Disney+. Cox and D’Onofrio have made brief cameos in Phase 4 projects, but Born Again will mark the first official time we see these characters’ stories told under the proper MCU umbrella, hence the cheeky subtitle. (Born Again does reference a classic Daredevil tale—but that story was already loosely adapted for the third season of the Daredevil Netflix show.) It’s a safe bet to assume Born Again will also re-introduce Jones and Cage into the MCU as well—Iron Fist is better left forgotten, though.
Another big Phase 5 highlight is Captain America: New World Order, which will be the first solo movie for Anthony Mackie’s version of Captain America, following the events of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series. That show also introduced the one and only Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the mysterious Val, who has only since popped up in the Black Widow post-credits.
She’ll finally get her big spotlight in Thunderbolts, which will function as the MCU’s version of Suicide Squad—i.e., a team of morally ambiguous characters or outright villains who are called upon to do dangerous tasks. Likely candidates for the Thunderbolts roster include Yelena Belova/Black Widow (Florence Pugh), John Walker/US Agent (Wyatt Russell), Emil Blonsky/Abomination (Tim Roth), Ava Starr/Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), and Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl). Black Widow writer Eric Pearson will write the film with Robot and Frank director Jake Schreier set to direct.
Phase 6 will double down on the Avenging.
Feige teed up Phase 6 with three key films that include what he’s billing as “The Multiverse Saga” (which shouldn’t come as a surprise to even the most comic-agnostic fan, given the events of Loki and the most recent Doctor Strange film.) The long-anticipated Fantastic Four film will kick Phase 6 off on November 8, 2024, while two Avengers movies will drop in 2025; Avengers: The Kang Dynasty releases on May 2, 2025, and Avengers: Secret Wars on November 7, 2025.
The double release indicates we’ve got another Infinity War/Endgame situation on our hands. As we’ve discussed before, Secret Wars will be like Endgame meets Multiverse of Madness meets No Way Home—on steroids. This is the movie where it’s possible to see the return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield—as well as any other actor who’s played a Marvel character before. (Seriously, anyone. No matter how maligned the actual film was—Disney is probably backing up a Brinks truck full of Dunkin’ to get Ben Affleck to return as Daredevil.) That’s the level of ambition we’re looking at for Secret Wars.
In the Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribić comic, Secret Wars saw Marvel heroes unite to defeat Doctor Doom. However, Kang (Jonathan Majors) is seemingly taking the place of Doom in the MCU since he’s getting such a large runway before these dual Avengers movies. Feige didn’t unveil the rest of Phase 6—only because the rest of the schedule will likely come at September’s D23 event. Notably, Feige told Deadline in an interview after the panel that Infinity War and Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo will not return to direct Kang Dynasty or Secret Wars.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania tees up Kang.
The third Ant-Man will kick off Phase 5 and mark the theatrical debut of Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror. As teased in the Loki finale, Kang is the next big bad for the MCU. Director Peyton Reed introduced a trailer detailing how Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is adjusting to his post-Endgame fame—by writing a best-selling, tell-all book about his experience. While hanging out in Hank’s (Michael Douglas) lab, Scott, his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), Hope (Evangeline Lilly), and Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) all get sucked back into the Quantum Realm. While the family explores, they come across Bill Murray’s character (who has a history with Janet after she was stuck there) and catch a glimpse of the cult character MODOK. The footage concluded with a look at Kang, who Scott tries to scare by telling him that he’s “an Avenger.” Kang responds, “You’re an Avenger? Have I killed you before?” After the clip rolled, Majors showed up on stage and promised plenty of conquering.
Nick Fury returns after four-year hiatus in Secret Invasion.
The Secret Invasion footage teased at Comic-Con apparently focused on Nick Fury, who was last seen in the MCU at the conclusion of Spider-Man: Far From Home hanging out on a spaceship. The clip teases Fury’s return to Earth to pursue an evil sect of Skrulls (the shape-shifting aliens from Captain Marvel) who are hiding among the population. The series will also feature Don Cheadle’s return as Rhodey/War Machine; Fury’s trusted S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), and Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos. It also boasts two heavy-hitter newcomers: Olivia Colman (playing an old friend of Fury’s) and Emilia Clarke as someone yet unknown—but you don’t just call in the Dragon Queen for a bit part. Smulders hit the stage to say the show would be “darker” than typical MCU fare and played up the tone as being very paranoid thriller-like.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 promises to be an emotional ending.
Writer/director James Gunn hit the Hall H stage to present footage for his final Guardians movie, stating in no uncertain terms that Vol. 3 will conclude the team’s story. (As you may remember, a drummed-up controversy made it so that Gunn almost didn’t come back to complete the trilogy.) The trailer, scored by The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?,” sees the Guardians captured by the remaining Ravagers, who are now led by the time-displaced version of Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), who doesn’t have the same emotional relationship with Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) as they did in the first two movies—a point hammered home later in the footage when the rest of the Guardians eavesdrop on a communication between the two where Gamora rebuffs Quill’s advances. Mantis (Pom Klementieff) ends the trailer by asking how much the group knows about Rocket (Bradley Cooper) before it cuts to a young version of the gun-wielding raccoon. Gunn specifically mentioned Vol. 3 would have a big arc for Rocket, exploring his tragic origins.
Joining the cast for Vol. 3 are Will Poulter, Borat 2’s Maria Bakalova, and Peacemaker’s Chukwudi Iwuji. Poulter will play Adam Warlock, teased at the end of Vol. 2, a stalwart of the cosmic space of Marvel Comics and genetically engineered to be perfect and immensely powerful. Bakalova will voice Cosmo the Spacedog, a telepathic Russian dog briefly seen in Vol. 1 inside the Collector’s (Benicio del Toro) warehouse. Iwuji will portray the High Evolutionary, a maniacal geneticist obsessed with perfecting evolution, who will probably have a role in helping to create Warlock as he did in the comics. (Considering Gunn’s tease about Rocket’s past, Evolutionary may have a role in the raccoon’s backstory too.)
She-Hulk is keeping things light.
There was a lot of looking forward during the panel, but the very next MCU project is just a few weeks away: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres on Disney+ on August 17. The new trailer makes it clear this will be more of a comedic, lighter affair, with the titular lady Hulk Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) breaking the fourth wall, much like the character does in the comics. The main storyline will see Walters defending Emil Blonsky in a court case. But it’s not all fun and games: we’ll get some sort of cameo or more from Daredevil, and not just as Matt Murdock, attorney at law, as he appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home—the trailer fully teases Murdock in his red-and-yellow costume.