Marvel Studios shot down any claims of a “lack of direction” when Kevin Feige and the stars of several upcoming MCU projects took to the Hall H stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday and outlined the next few years of content from the franchise. Not every “slot” was filled in at the panel, but the massive event revealed the scheduled release dates of each Phase 5 project, and even a few Phase 6 heavy-hitters in the form of a Fantastic Four movie and two Avengers ones. (And that’s not even mentioning Friday’s Marvel Animation panel, which had plenty of its own announcements to make.)
While an onslaught of confirmations and reveals came out of Marvel’s time at SDCC, fans were somehow still left wanting more. They’ll likely get just that during Disney’s D23 Expo this September, so let’s take a look at what other questions Marvel has yet to answer when it comes to its master plan.
Will There Still be a Marvel Movie in February 2024?
What appeared to be the entirety of the MCU’s Phase 5 was announced at Comic-Con, while most of Phase 6 consisted of timeframes with no projects attached. However, one odd exclusion was the lack of any reference to a movie set for release on February 16, 2024.
Three other movies were announced for later that year: Captain America: New World Order in May, Thunderbolts in July, and Fantastic 4 in November. If a project were to be released in February 2024, it would be part of Phase 5 (and bring the total number of films in that phase to six) but the panel didn’t mention one at all.
So, what’s the deal? Is Disney dropping the February 16, 2024 date for Marvel? Or can we expect a “surprise” movie announcement in the near future?
The only project on the movie side that seems to be far enough into development to potentially be ready for that release date is the confirmed third Deadpool film. The original was released in February 2016, so another February date would be fitting for the third movie in the series. With the same version of Deadpool seemingly set to transfer from the Fox Marvel universe to the MCU, the film seems like it would be a good fit for the Multiverse Saga.
When Will Werewolf By Night Finally Be Announced?
Marvel fans who keep up with the studio’s production schedule know that a Halloween special titled Werewolf By Night is set to be released later this year. Even though filming for the special has already occurred, Marvel Studios has yet to officially acknowledge its existence. Many fans were expecting the project to be officially confirmed at Comic-Con, but no such announcement was made.
Is this news being saved for D23 Expo? Or will Marvel simply drop it on Disney+ one day and surprise everyone? It would be an unprecedented move for the studio to simply release a project with no trailer or promotional material, but Marvel is one of the few studios potentially big enough for a gamble like that to pay off, and a one-off holiday special is probably the safest choice to try something such a stunt with.
Which Phase Will The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Be Part Of?
At the Marvel panel, Phase 4 was announced to be ending with the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever this November. It seemed like a fitting place to end the phase, allowing the next year to mark the start of a new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But wait! There’s still one more project coming out in 2024 after Wakanda Forever: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Like Werewolf By Night, it wasn’t mentioned at the panel at all, but director James Gunn has reiterated that it will be released on Disney+ sometime during the 2022 holiday season.
So, will the special be part of Phase 4 like the rest of Marvel’s 2022 projects? It seems logical, with every MCU phase thus far starting alongside a new year, but the Comic-Con panel threw that “rule” out the window, with Phase 6 confirmed to begin at the end of 2024 after several Phase 5 projects are released that same year.
It really could go either way, but this will likely be cleared up either at D23 Expo or when the special comes out later this year.
Is Armor Wars Still in Development?
For years a project centered on Don Cheadle’s War Machine character was rumored to be in development, and back in December 2020 during Disney’s Investor Day, it was finally announced that a series titled Armor Wars (which would star the character) was on the way to Disney+.
Sadly, not much has been revealed about the show since then, and many fans were surprised and disappointed that it wasn’t part of the slate shown at Comic-Con 2022. Considering that shows that were announced much later than Armor Wars like Agatha’s Coven of Chaos and Daredevil: Born Again appeared in the lineup, people naturally became concerned.
Thankfully, Yassir Lester, head writer of Armor Wars, took to Instagram to qualm the worries. He posted a story shortly after the Hall H event saying, “I promise it is still coming out.”
It’s likely that Armor Wars will end up being one of the Phase 6 projects that currently don’t have confirmed dates. Hopefully it will be formally announced at D23 in September.
What Else is Coming in Phase 6?
Set to begin in late 2024, Phase 6 was revealed to be the final phase of the Multiverse Saga at the Comic-Con panel. However, only three projects for the phase were announced and dated at the event: Fantastic 4, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and Avengers: Secret Wars.
While these three movies will surely be the heavy hitters of the phase (and the Multiverse Saga as a whole) fans are eager to know what else is coming out during this upcoming era of the MCU.
There are currently eight unfilled slots on the Phase 6 timeline, with the first set for fall 2024 and the last for summer 2025. Two “Untitled Marvel Studios” movies fall within that time frame (one on February 14, 2025 and the other on July 25, 2025) and the other six will presumably be for Disney+ shows.
It’s likely Armor Wars will fill one of these slots, along with a Nova project rumored to be in development and maybe one of the Wakanda-set series which have been reported on. Rumors are also swirling about Hawkeye getting a second season, which could fit in this phase.
On the movie side, Shang-Chi is confirmed to be getting a sequel at some point, and it appears the Doctor Strange franchise is being set up for a third entry. There’s also the possibility of Deadpool filling in one of the film slots if it doesn’t end up being in February 2024.
At least some of these projects are likely to be revealed at the upcoming D23 Expo, but Marvel might choose to save a few for next year’s Comic-Con or another event to drum up fan excitement.
What Will the Lineups for the Team-Up Movies Look Like?
There haven’t been a lot of team-up projects since Avengers: Endgame, save for a few with a couple of heroes working together. That’s about to change with Phases 5 and 6 though, as several major group movies are on the horizon.
Marvel has already revealed the line-up for next summer’s The Marvels, and it’s likely that trio of Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and whichever superhero name Monica Rambeau ends up going by (most likely Spectrum or Photon) will be part of the Avengers team seen in that franchise’s pair of films in 2025. As for who else could be an Avenger, Sam Wilson’s Captain America (who will have his own movie in 2024), Shang-Chi, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, The Wasp, Thor, and whoever the next Black Panther ends up being seem to be likely candidates. Characters could also cross over from Disney+ series into the upcoming Avengers movies, like She-Hulk and Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye.
The Avengers aren’t the only team in town, though. The Thunderbolts movie in 2024 has probably already had some of its seeds planted via characters like Yelena Belova, Helmut Zemo, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s John Walker. Abomination, who is set to appear in She-Hulk, is another likely candidate for this team, which – if following the comics – will consist of villains out to reform themselves.
Then, of course, there’s the Fantastic Four. This group will presumably consist of the usual lineup of Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and The Thing. Potential casting for this quartet has had the internet abuzz for years, and it already resulted in an actual hiring decision: John Krasinski as an alternate universe’s Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Will Krasinski continue in the role when it comes to the main MCU’s team? That remains to be seen, but the main cast of this movie is sure to be announced sometime in the next year, so the people will have their answer soon enough.
What’s Going on with Mutants?
There’s another superhero team fans want to see come to the MCU: The X-Men. Ever since the Disney/FOX merger went down in 2019, Marvel fans have been eagerly anticipating the MCU debut of these characters, but it looks like they’ll have to wait longer for these mutants than they will for the Fantastic Four (a couple nods to the concept in Phase 4 aside).
With Phase 5 seemingly full (or close to it) and the remaining Phase 6 slots occurring in the midst of the Fantastic Four’s debut and two Avengers movies, it seems like the MCU’s mutants may have to wait several more years before taking the spotlight. This could end up working in their favor, however, as it’s possible the franchise’s next saga could be focused on them. The Mutants Saga, perhaps? It could happen.
In the meantime, mutant fans can look forward to the animated X-Men ‘97 series on Disney+ as it picks up where X-Men: The Animated Series left off over two decades ago.
How Does Spider-Man Fit Into All of This?
Spider-Man is one of, if not the most popular Marvel heroes, but he wasn’t mentioned at all during the big MCU Hall H panel. Not that this was unexpected — Sony, not Marvel Studios, is in charge of the character, including announcing any new live action movies — but it does beg the question of where exactly he’ll show up next.
None of the open slots on the timelines shown at SDCC are for Spidey projects as Sony dates those themselves (though it’s possible Marvel’s schedule may shift once they do, as has happened in the past). However, it’s likely there will be another Tom Holland Spider-Man movie before the Multiverse Saga ends in 2025.
2024 is probably the earliest the next Spider-Man movie will come out, and maybe this is why there was no mention of the February 2024 date Marvel Studios has set. It’s possible they’re holding it and planning to shift Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts around if Spidey plans on opening in July like the first two movies did (keep in mind that they moved movies back to accommodate Spider-Man: Homecoming, so they might just be prepared this time). Of course, it’s also possible the fourth Spider-Man movie will go in December like No Way Home did, with no need for Marvel to move anything they have already dated.
Basically, expect a Spider-Man announcement from Sony soon enough, and possibly a domino effect of release date shifts from Marvel Studios once they do.
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