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A new Fantastic Four movie, a new Black Panther II release date, and more casting announcements than a Comic-Con panel, Marvel Studios rapid-fired off plenty of tantalizing tidbits to fans and investors as it laid out its ambitious plans for its next phase of movies — and for the first time, series. The Niagara Falls-like gush of announcements were made by Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige during Disney’s Investor Day presentation.
Feige revealed a slew of new shows for Disney+ including Secret Invasion starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn; Ironheart starring Dominique Thorne; and Armor Wars, with War Machine actor Don Cheadle adapting the classic Iron Man storyline from the comics. Plus, there will be a live-action Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special to boot. All told, the studio is looking to unveil 10 shows over the next few years on Disney+ in a push that will make the Marvel Cinematic Universe a place for fans to visit year-round.
On the film side, Feige revealed that The Fantastic Four, the seminal superhero team that kicked off the Marvel universe in comics in the 1960s, will get a feature directed by Jon Watts, the filmmaker behind the current Spider-Man trilogy.
Feige also paid tribute to late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, confirming the studio will not recast the role and assuring the audience that filmmaker Ryan Coogler was hard at work on Black Panther II, due out in July 8, 2022.
Feige also revealed the third Ant-Man film would be titled Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and said Freaky star Kathryn Newton will play Cassie Lang, daughter of Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Emma Fuhrmann previously played the role in Avengers: Endgame.
On the villain front, Feige confirmed that Jonathan Majors would play the classic villain Kang the Conqueror in the new Ant-Man, and that Christian Bale’s Thor: Love and Thunder villain will be Gorr the God Butcher.
Back on the hero side, Feige made news by confirming that fan-favorite hero America Chavez will join the MCU and will be portrayed by Xochitl Gomez.
Feige also dropped the first trailer for Falcon & the Winter Soldier, which now has a release date of March 19 on Disney+, and the first trailer for Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, which hits in May 2021.
Though 2020 was the first year since 2009 without a Marvel Studios release, the studio will be busier than ever as it makes its first foray into TV with streaming series that will connect to its movies. WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as their Avengers characters, hits Disney+ on Jan. 15 and also unveiled a new trailer Thursday.
Feige emphasized that the films and TV shows will interweave with each other. Ms. Marvel, which stars Iman Vellani as New Jersey teenager Kamala Khan, will co-star in Captain Marvel II, along with Brie Larson and Teyonah Parris, who plays an adult version of Captain Marvel character Monica Rambeau in WandaVision. Meanwhile, She-Hulk, starring Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, an attorney and cousin of Bruce Banner, will get a boost from Mark Ruffalo, known for playing the Hulk in the Avengers films. And Tim Roth, who hasn’t been seen in the MCU since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, will return as the villain Abomination.
Beyond its streaming plans, Marvel also has three theatrical features slated for next year, including Black Widow (May 7), which was delayed a year by the novel coronavirus.
A big question going into the investor presentation was if Disney would send Black Widow or any of its Marvel films directly to Disney+. It had done so with Mulan earlier this year — for an additional $30 under the premier access banner.
Disney’s moves became even of greater interest after Warner Bros. made the unprecedented announcement last week that it would send its entire 2021 slate — including tentpoles such as The Matrix 4 and The Suicide Squad — directly to HBO Max. But Feige confirmed Marvel’s next feature, Black Widow, would go to theaters, as would Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 9) and Eternals (Nov. 4).
“Disney+ is key to the interconnection and expansion of the MCU,” said Feige. “It will be home to both our feature films and our series for years go come.”
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