What a day it was at D23. We were all expecting some announcements at the Disney+ panel but Marvel Studios went all out. It started off with a few more information on already announced shows from SDCC. Up to this point, we thought we already knew what to expect from Marvel Studios upcoming fourth phase but they managed to surprise us once again. In the last few minutes of the Marvel portion of the conference, Kevin Feige dropped one bombshell after another. They officially announced Disney+ original shows Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk. On the next day, Feige continued revealing the future of the MCU by confirming that Black Panther II is also heading our way in 2022.
Adding to that also came to the realization that these three new shows and the additionally announced film are expanding the already announced fourth phase which could hint at more new information to come once the Disney Studios panel happens today. Let us take a deeper look into what was announced and what little teases we have for the brand new series. There is also the question of how these series connect to the larger MCU and the various Phase 4 projects that have been announced.
There is quite a bit to unpack with this announcement. Ms. Marvel has become quite the staple of Marvel since her first appearance in 2014. As Marvel’s first Muslim superhero she had quite a heavy burden to carry but instantly grew quite a fandom. In the comics, she is inspired by Captain Marvel to become a hero and ends up being affected by an exploding Terregenisis crystal that turns her into an Inhuman with stretch abilities similar to Mr. Fantastic. Here we already have one massive question, will she be an Inhuman? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced the world to Inhumans and they got their own short-lived TV series a few years ago. Avengers: Endgame did confirm that Agent Carter‘s storyline is part of the MCU but it was always unclear if the movies acknowledge the existence of SHIELD. Most likely, they will distance themselves from her Inhuman origin and connect it much closer to Captain Marvel in some form.
When Captain Marvel was released this year, we all wondered how they could introduce Ms. Marvel with Danvers not being a public figure for so long. Yes, she might have started her career in the 90s but she was never around until the events of Endgame. Now that we know that there was a five-year time skip and we might not see a sequel to the film until late 2022 at the earliest, she might play an integral role in the show whenever it airs. It especially is highlighted with the dot in Ms. Marvel being Carol’s star sign. We know little of her time on earth and it would be ironic for Danvers to spend some time with Kamala Khan while trying to figure out the modern-day. It inspires her to become a superhero just like her once she gains her abilities. There also seems to be a theme for Phase 4 to set up a new generation of heroes. Hawkeye is training Kate Bishop, Black Widow taught a Yelena Belova and the existence of an older Stature may hint at a Young Avengers film being in the works.
Now, this is something I did not expect. If I had to guess, Moon Knight would’ve been a character that would be right at home among the darker Netflix series. Disney+ will most likely try to avoid R-rated projects so it is difficult to say how dark they will let this character be. Still, Marvel Studios might have their craziest character ready for his own series with Feige teasing that we won’t know what exactly is going through Marc Spector’s mind. He may have his powers from an ancient God or he is simply a man that was driven insane after being left out for dead. He did originally premiere in a Werewolf by Night comic, who was teased to potentially appear in the MCU in the future.
Moon Knight might be Marvel Studios first exploration of telling darker stories within the universe. Personally, I really hope they dive into his multiple personalities and make great use of his splattered mind. Maybe one episode will jump into his mind to explore what is real or not about what happened to him. Moreover, it is unsure if they will explore the additional persona of Mr. Knight, who is the character in an all-white business suit, gloves, and mask that roams the streets. He started separating his work into two personas with his regular Moon Knight taking on more supernatural events and Mr. Knight working with the police. There is also the question if he might be an anti-hero that either ends up joining a New Avengers film or maybe even the rumored Thunderbolts team. I am personally quite excited to see how everyone else in the MCU ends up handling his own insanity.
Speaking of insanity, how did Marvel Studios manage to pull this one-off? In case anyone is wondering why seeing a She-Hulk series is such an oddity, all rights surrounding the character were originally in the possession of Universal Studios, who also were the ones that distributed The Incredible Hulk. Moreover, we already saw what a person being hulked out constantly looks like with Professor Hulk having a major role in Endgame. There once was a Hulk series rumored being in development by Guillermo del Toro but making a show about the green goliath isn’t a cheap endeavor. While Game of Thrones had some amazing effects with their dragons, they still weren’t onscreen throughout the entire show. There is a chance that they take inspiration from the original CBS’ Hulk series from 1978 and have a body-builder in green paint. Still, these shows were said to have film-level quality so we will most likely see Jennifer Walters as a completely mo-capped character.
This is also a good sign that Mark Ruffalo may have a role in the upcoming series. There are many plotholes that were left behind from The Incredible Hulk so we could potentially see the return of the Leader in some form or manner. It is unsure if they will focus in general on Walters turning into She-Hulk and trying to juggle her regular life with these powers. Feige could also lean into the courthouse procedure with her character being a lawyer that might take some inspiration from Daredevil. It is difficult to say what role she will have throughout the future of the MCU and maybe this is a hint at Hulk maybe even getting his own sequel or project in the near future.
Black Panther II
In a surprisingly calm Disney Studios panel we got the official release date for another sequel with Black Panther II. Sadly, they felt it was too early to reveal any information on what the film’s subtitle will be or what direction they are heading. A personal hope is that the recent rumors of T’Challa facing an invasion by Atlantis is true. Not only would the world get to meet the wing-legged Namor but also the world’s first mutant introduced in 1939. While his actual heritage wasn’t revealed/retconned until much later, it still would make for a rather fun wink at the audience that the mutants are now part of this larger universe. Moreover, it gives T’Challa a rather unique problem to face as he must lead his army once again into a war against a rather unlikely foe from the ocean.
The thing that would be lacking with Namor as a villain would be the personal connection that would make for an interesting character arc surrounding T’Challa. He already had to put down his own relative that had the right to the throne and is now facing a world that knows they exist. Would not be unusual for some Wakandans posted throughout the world to share Killmonger’s vision and rebel against the new king. We saw a close friend W’Kabi being locked up for joining Killmonger’s side so there is a good chance he might return to start another rebellion. Perhaps Zemo could return trying to take T’Challa down for taking away his chance of joining his family in the afterlife. Black Panther II could potentially take any direction it wanted to set up an interesting storyline surrounding T’Challa and Wakanda.
What are your hopes from the newly announced projects?