Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige gifted fans with a slate of Phase 5 projects including six blockbusters films and six Disney+ live-action series at this year's Hall H panel on Saturday evening. With a rejuvenated roster of veterans and rookies, the MCU is primed for The Multiverse Saga to tell a story that could rival the magnitude of The Infinity Saga.
And while it may seem like the day after Christmas for most MCU fans, there is still plenty more yet to be announced about the MCU's future. September's D23 Expo is Disney's own announcement showcase where many expect even more major announcements about future Marvel Studios projects. With less than 50 days until D23, what projects have Feige and Co. left unannounced in The Multiverse Saga?
It takes a special IP to survive a reboot. Fans have seen legacy Marvel movie characters like Spider-Man and Professor X carry enough weight in their respected projects to transfer over to the MCU and bring their actors with them. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is like peanut butter and jelly. Something that Marvel Studios could not pass up.
Reynolds is so vital to the success of this character he was even able to bring his director in his last two projects, Shawn Levy, into the MCU to direct the third Deadpool movie. While the timeline of this project is less certain than some of the specials, it is a matter of when and not if. With so much happening in the MCU with the Multiverse and crossovers with Fox and Sony Marvel projects, Deadpool will surely play a key role in exploration as one of the only characters capable of looking in the camera and telling the audience what is what.
Status: Sure Thing
One of the only remaining projects announced before Phase 4 that has yet to be given a release date is Don Cheadle's first solo project.
Armor Wars is expected to do for James Rhodes what WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did for Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Sam Wilson, and Bucky Barnes, respectively. If there is one thing Disney+ has proven it can do for the MCU, it is developing characters.
Armor Wars is intended to be War Machine's time to shine, but it is also rumored to help foster Riri Williams as Ironheart. With the delays of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is Riri Williams' MCU Debut, the buck kept getting passed, and Armor Wars is feeling the effects. If Riri is a player in this series, it cannot be released until after Ironheart, which is set for Fall of 2023.
It is interesting that Cheadle appears in 2023's Secret Invasion. A role that will surely develop his character in a big way given the context of the story and Rhodey's high-profile status in the American government. Still, another top contender to get a major update at D23.
Status: Sure Thing
A shining star of Phase 4 that is sure to receive a sequel is Simi Liu and Destin Daniel Cretton's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. With a post-credits scene actively setting up Shang-Chi as a future member of the Avengers, Shang-Chi 2 is sure to play a huge role in the overall narrative of The Multiverse Saga. Marvel Studios has a history of sequels like Captain America: The Winter Soldier to take advantage of a character-focused origin story and use that character to expand the universe.
Simu Liu will be back as Shang-Chi at some point. Maybe even in a surprise appearance before his sequel. But the sequel is coming, it is just unclear exactly when.
Status: Sure Thing
There was a time when Spider-Man 3's future was unclear. The best caveat fans had was that the story had not been finished. Well, after Spider-Man: No Way Home, Jon Watts' Homecoming trilogy is one of the best the superhero genre has ever seen. And despite Peter Parker's amazing place left for future stories, it could end there, and fans would understand.
Nonetheless, like death and taxes, they will keep making Spider-Man movies, and Sony is showing no signs of letting go of the movie rights. This means that Marvel Studios will surely partner up to bring Tom Holland back for another go as a new and improved Peter Parker.
Rarely does an actor get a chance to play a character for a fifth time with a virtually clean slate of story ahead of him. The "reset" vibes of No Way Home have allowed the future of Spider-Man to be taken in any direction. What is that? No one knows. But it is going to make a lot of money.
Status: Your Move, Sony
With Wakanda Forever releasing a teaser trailer that has taken the internet by storm, the Black Panther franchise has moved into a position to take over the MCU. The loss of lead man Chadwick Boseman is a tragic and devastating loss for Marvel Studios, fans, and the world. Thankfully, when Ryan Coogler directed the first Black Panther in 2018, he put special care into so many things beyond just his leading man.
The country of Wakanda, the supporting characters, and the culture surrounding Black Panther are one of the best examples of world-building the MCU has to offer. With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever set to reset the franchise's course, expect the anticipated Wakanda series to be announced shortly after.
Status: Waiting on Wakanda Forever
General of the Dora Milaje, Avenger... solo project candidate. Danai Gurira is reportedly in talks to star in an "origin spinoff series" on Disney+ as Okoye. A scene stealer in her MCU debut Black Panther, Okoye became a key player in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. After a Dore Milaje appearance in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the want for more Dora content is there.
To see the origin of one of the MCU's best-supporting characters is the kind of thing that will generate instant buzz from fans. Much like the Wakanda series, this one is on hold until Okoye's next appearance.
Status: Waiting on Wakanda Forever
The Ten Rings
The Ten Rings was the first project on the list that was unofficially teased in a post-credits scene. Looking to capitalize on the success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel Studios is looking at Daniel Destin Cretton to bring more of that juice into the MCU.
Along with the Shang-Chi sequel, Cretton is expected to bring back Meng'er Zhang's Xialing and the Ten Rings to Disney+. It is unclear when this show will take place in the MCU but much like the Wakanda-focused Disney+ content, it feels like this series is waiting for updates from its original franchise.
Status: Waiting on Shang-Chi 2
Kevin Feige could have walked off stage after announcing the majority of the Phase 4 slate at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 and fans would have rewarded him with thunderous applause. But of course, the showman he is, he left the audience with a slew of "oh, by the way"s. The least of which is the announcement of mutants coming to the MCU.
After the shocking finale of Ms. Marvel revealing Kamala Khan to be a mutant, the fuse has been lit. Now is just a waiting game of when the mutant era of the MCU goes boom.
With the development of The Multiverse Saga spanning three phases before 2026, it is possible that Marvel Studios practices patience and dedicates an entire saga to mutants. If no mutant projects are announced by the end of 2023, expect San Diego Comic-Con 2025 to announce The Mutant Saga.
Status: It Might Be A Minute
Secret Wars is coming. And with that storyline, the MCU has an inherent crossover vibe. There is a balance to be made between introducing new characters to add depth to the roster and developing characters on the roster to have an even bigger impact by the end of Phase 6.
Introducing a character like Nova would greatly expand the cosmic branch of the MCU. It comes down to the decision to bring someone like this in late in the game only to play a huge role in the final quarter. After the response to Carol Danvers' role in Endgame after Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios might decide to hold their Nova card just one more Saga.
Status: D23 or Phase 7
Another project that has been hot in the rumor mill for Marvel Studios is Wonder Man. A classic less than third-tier Marvel character that is begging for Marvel Studios to make him a household name. Wonder Man has comic book ties with the majority of 2000s Avengers stories. The kind of piece that can be adapted to fit any shape that is needed to best fill out the MCU puzzle. But with so many characters in need of development and more prominent names yet to make a debut, Wonder Man would be a surprise addition to the Multiverse Saga.
Status: Rumors for now
World War Hulk
The Incredible Hulk vertical of Marvel Studios will finally be reprised in the upcoming She-Hulk series. While Jen Walters is best known for her work with street-level and Avengers-level characters in the comics, more Hulk means more opportunities. And one of the biggest opportunities still on the table for the MCU is World War Hulk.
With Planet Hulk being adapted in Thor: Ragnarok, there is still plenty of meat left on the bone for Mark Ruffalo to bring one of the biggest comic book stories of all time to life. The Hulk has always been on our side with only glimpses of what could happen when the table turns. WWH would bring that reality to light and, in the Multiverse Saga, it has never been more possible.
Status: We can only dream
Scarlett Johannsson-Produced MCU Project
Last on the list is a mystery project teased by Kevin Feige that is set to bring one of the foundational members of the MCU back in a producer role. Scarlett Johannsson and Disney have settled their differences, and there is word of an MCU project that ScarJo will have major input on. The best bet will be Thunderbolts if it ends up starring her Black Widow costar, Florence Pugh.
Status: Up In The Air
Werewolf By Night
Arguably the biggest shock from the Marvel Studios SDCC panel was the lack of an official announcement for the rumored Werewolf By Night. Halloween Special is expected to release this fall; this project is set to be MCU veteran composer Michael Giacchino's directorial debut. Filming began in March, and Giacchino told the Phase Zero Podcast in June that they hope to have something to share "very soon."
So while it's a surprise that Werewolf By Night did not get announced along with the rest of the Phase 5 slate, it is the biggest "sure thing" on this list. With the Supernatural Branch of the MCU officially starting up with Moon Knight, Werewolf By Night is expected to be the next spooky chapter. With Fall right around the corner, the expectation is for this special to be officially announced at D23. '
Status: Sure Thing
Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Another special that is expected in 2022 was surprisingly left out of San Diego Comic-Con. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special was announced in December of 2020 and was filmed during the production of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Director James Gunn has called this project some of his best work, with rumors of a new fan-favorite MCU character being introduced.
Along with Werewolf By Night, it is possible that the classification of these specials kept them out of the SDCC Phase 5 slate. Marvel Studios had previously included animated projects like What If...? on their SDCC lineups, but this year Marvel Studios animation received a separate panel. Perhaps these projects fall under a different branch of the MCU, and all specials will be announced at D23. That is where the smart money is.
Status: Sure Thing
The Multiverse Saga has been happening for a year and a half, and already it feels like the end is near. So many possibilities to bring even more content into an already packed Phase 5 slate. With at least 8 open spots in Phase 6 ahead of Avengers: Secret Wars. Which of these projects will make their way into this story, and which ones will be kept until the next era of the MCU? Only the man in the hat knows, and all eyes are on D23 for answers.