Marvel Have Already Started To Expand Into The New

  • The release of Thor: Love & Thunder in July 2022 marks the first time one of the original Avengers has been gifted a fourth solo movie in the MCU, and is set to follow a similar pattern as many Phase 4 projects of an established hero passing on their mantle. Audiences have already seen this happen with other hero titles, allowing Marvel to refresh their slate of heroes and keep up interest in their ever-growing franchise. Marvel have already started to expand into the new, grand concept of the multiverse in the MCU, a theme which will certainly carry on into the future as the characters become more interesting and the threats become bigger.

     

    Blade

     

    At 2019's San Diego Comic Con, Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali was confirmed to be playing the MCU's version of vampire hunter Blade. Ali has already appeared in a Marvel project, portraying Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes in Marvel Television's Luke Cage series on Netflix, but since these shows aren't considered MCU canon, this won't be a problem for Blade. Bassam Tariq is linked to the project as director, with confirmation that the Ebony Blade will be featured in Blade alongside Ali, both of which made an appearance in the post-credits scene of 2021's Eternals, where Ali's voice can be heard talking to Kit Harrington's Dane Whitman.

     

    Deadpool 3

     

    The Fox X-Men film franchise might be officially over, but one character will see that as an opportunity, not a problem. The fourth-wall-breaking Deadpool has been confirmed to be coming over to the MCU, not in a reboot, but in Deadpool 3. Ryan Reynolds will be reprising the hugely popular role of Wade Wilson, a.k.a. Deadpool, with Shawn Levy attached as director. While nothing has been revealed about when or how Deadpool will enter the MCU, Deadpool 3 will be Marvel's first R-rated film in the usually PG-13 MCU, an exciting development for the franchise's future.

     

    Captain America 4

     

    The Falcon and the Winter Soldier officially saw the mantle of Captain America move from happily-retired Steve Rogers to former-Falcon Sam Wilson. After the success of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Malcolm Spellman and Dalan Musson were confirmed to be returning to pen a fourth Captain America film for the MCU with Anthony Mackie's Wilson donning the star-spangled banner in his first solo film. While not much information is known about Captain America 4, it can be assumed that the film will continue the themes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, exploring Sam Wilson's Captain America further.

     

    Shang-Chi 2

     

    In December 2021, Shang-Chi 2 was confirmed to be in development. The sequel to Destin Daniel Cretton's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will follow on from the events of the first film, featuring Simu Liu reprising his role as the titular Shang-Chi. It can be expected that other stars of the first film will return, including Awkwafina as Shang-Chi's best friend and budding archer, Katy, and Meng'er Zhang, Shang-Chi's sister Xu Xialing, who seemed to take the Ten Rings throne at the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

     

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    Thunderbolts

     

    In June 2022, a Thunderbolts film was finally confirmed to be in development at Marvel Studios. The film has been rumored for years, with William Hurt's Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross appearing as far back as 2008's The Incredible Hulk. After Hurt's death in March 2022, it is expected that his character won't return in any capacity and that Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina Allegra de Fontaine will take over his character's role in the Thunderbolts cast as the team's leader after designing U.S. Agent in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and convincing Yelena Belova to kill Hawkeye in the post-credits scene of Black Widow. There is huge excitement among much of the MCU's audience for the franchise to explore more into the arcs of the series' villains, leading to much anticipation as to the roster for the Thunderbolt team.

     

    X-Men

     

    No specific X-Men film has currently been confirmed, although at San Diego Comic Con 2019, Marvel chief Kevin Feige did announce that a mutant-centred film was in production. Much like with Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four, Patrick Stewart's Professor Charles Xavier made a long-awaited appearance in the MCU during Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, confirming the existence of mutants in at least one reality in the MCU's multiverse. This introduction gives audiences hope for an X-Men MCU debut to come into the main timeline in the near future.

     

    Along with several upcoming Disney+ series' in the pipeline at Marvel Studios, Scarlett Johansson has been revealed to be returning to the studio, but not reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow. Instead, Johansson will serve as a producer on an as-of-yet undisclosed project with Marvel Studios. As well as this, Kevin Feige and Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal have revealed a new trilogy of Spider-Man films is in the works, with Tom Holland's Peter Parker expected to return. With Thor: Love & Thunder sure to shed more light on what the MCU's Phase 4 and 5 might look like, it won't be too long before fans are given another small peak behind Marvel Studios' curtain.

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