Yesterday morning, while the world of nerd entertainment had its sights turned towards The Game Awards, the Walt Disney Company was busy withholding its 2020 Disney Investor Day, a virtual event in which the entertainment kaiju spoke directly to shareholders and potential investors about the company’s future.
The nearly four-hour investor show pulled out every IP and franchise in the book, but few were greeted with as wide-eyed excitement and hunger than the Marvel family of properties. Some of these announcements involved known projects. But the most interesting ones cemented the company’s commitment to streaming and the critical role it will play in a world under lockdown.
Here are the most interesting new developments for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
8. Ironheart and Armor Wars expand on the legacy of Stark Industries
With a snap of his fingers, Tony Stark has left the Marvel Universe behind but two new series will build on his legacy. Ironheart stars Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, a genius engineering prodigy who builds her own suit of armor to become a superhero herself. Armor Wars will bring Don Cheadle back as James Rhodes, aka Rhodey, aka War Machine, who finds himself embroiled in a battle for Stark’s technology.
7. Loki sends Tom Hiddleston across time and space
After escaping his captors at SHIELD during Avengers: Endgame, the God of Mischief is facing off against the Time Variance Authority, a bureaucratic agency charged with policing the multiverse. Loki is a crime thriller and interdimensional heist show co-starring Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. Grant. It premieres on Disney+ in May.
6. Ant-Man & The Wasp keep getting smaller in Quantumania
Judging by the title, the third film focusing on size-changing adventurer Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and his more capable partner, The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) will focus on the quantum realm once more. No major plot details were dropped, but it will involve Kang the Conqueror, a time-traveling megalomaniac to be portrayed by Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country).
Kathryn Newton (Freaky) is also set to co-star as Cassie Lang, aka daughter to Ant-Man. Newton is in her early 20s, so it’s very likely she’ll put on a costume and shrink into the quantum realm, as in the comics Cassie is Stature, the towering titan who also gets her powers from Pym Particles.
5. Alternate realities get animated in What If…?
Based on the comics of the same name, this animated show imagines alternate realities stemming from the MCU, asking the question… what if? Various MCU stars will return to voice the likes of Agent Peggy Carter, Bucky Barnes, and Doctor Strange to explore ideas like a super-soldier called Captain Britain, a young T’Challa joining the Ravagers, and Bucky Barnes fighting a zombie Captain America.
4. Falcon and Winter Soldier is a buddy super action series
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return as the late Captain America’s favorite bros in a series that explores the complicated legacy of the First Avenger. The series will presumably lead up to one or the other taking up the mantle of the star-spangled super-soldier, but not before they go head to head with h Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and the U.S.Agent (Wyatt Russell).
The trailer that dropped today ended with Falcon dodging an Itano circus of missiles and trading quips with the Winter Soldier, establishing a kind of buddy comedy rapport. Emily Van Camp will also return as Agent Sharon Carter while Georges St. Pierre reprises his role of Georges Batroc, the kickboxing mercenary from Captain America: Winter Soldier.
3. Marvel goes all-in with Ms. Marvel
A personal favorite of mine, Ms. Marvel is going to break ground in the MCU just as she did in the comics just seven years ago. Iman Vellani will play Kamala Khan, a Pakistani teen whose powers become unlocked by a bizarre extraterrestrial substance. Kamala is one of the most successful new Marvel characters who has energized comics with her exuberant glee and unique perspective as a child of two cultures.
Ms. Marvel will premiere on Disney+ in late 2021 and will be helmed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who directed this year’s Bad Boys for Life.
2. WandaVision might be the wildest Marvel TV show yet
Premiering next month, WandaVision takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, in which Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) watched the love of her life, Vision (Paul Bettany) killed before her. The series opens with the two seemingly stuck in an alternate reality modeled after old TV sitcoms. It becomes immediately apparent that Wanda’s grief and her powers have something to do with this bizarro world.
The series draws its inspiration from 2005’s House of M comic series and 2017’s Vision, which collectively explored how the two characters tried to find peace in domesticity. Paul Bettany called the series “a rather beautiful puzzle box” in which “all of the bonkers stuff will be about something.”
1. Fantastic Four
Amidst confirmation of the futures of feature films like Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder comes the biggest bombshell of them all. Disney is finally bringing the comic book universe’s first family into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Spider-Man: Far From Home director Jon Watts will be on board to captain their first voyage.
Scientist Reed Richards, his fiancee Susan Storm, her hotshot pilot brother Johnny Storm and their best friend and astronaut Ben Grimm are four of the most beloved of the Marvel pantheon but have had checkered success on the big screen at Fox. Now that Disney owns most of Fox’s cinematic legacy properties, it can welcome the cosmic quartet into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Which of these Marvel Cinematic Universe announcements are you most hyped about?