Lady Thor! Adult Monica Rambeau, Young Hawkeye and The real Mandarin finally surfaces. And Blade!
There was a lot of exciting reveals as Kevin Feige broke down the Marvel Studios Phase 4 lineup including films and TV series on Disney+. While there was no announcement of the X-Men or Fantastic Four there was plenty to keep Marvel fans hyped up over the course of the next two years. Here’s my immediate thoughts after all the reveals.
Gilgamesh the Villain (The Eternals – Nov. 6, 2020)
The Eternals Movie will kick off Phase 4 and the cast was officially announced with Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh and Don Lee with Chloé Zhao directing.
But for comic book fans, the reveal of the villain was surprising as the team will be clashing with Gilgamesh. He was a member of maybe the weirdest collection of Avengers in the team’s history as he joined Captain America, Thor, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. Gilgamesh might have looked a bit — OK a lot ridiculous, but he was immensely powerful. It’ll be interesting to see how Eternals uses him as a villain and if this somehow paves the way to introduce Galactus into the MCU.
Get that man a mask (The Falcon and The Winter Soldier – Fall 2020)
Helmut Zemo broke the Avengers so it seems fitting that Falcon and The Winter Soldier go after the guy who led to Sam Wilson being considered a criminal for two years and set Winter Soldier up to be killed by The Black Panther.
An interesting question is does Zemo try and stop the legacy of the new Captain America before he gets started or are Falcon and Winter Soldier going to go on the hunt themselves?
The real Mandarin stands up – (Shang-Chi: The Legend of the 10 Rings – Feb. 12, 2021)
Making Mandarin the villain of the Shang-Chi film was a smart move as there won’t be any issues of negative racial stereotypes with the character one of presumably a majority Asian cast. This will also eliminate my lone biggest beef with any film in the MCU with the Iron Man 3 portrayal of The Mandarin. It’s a shame he won’t get to face off with his arch-enemy, but Mandarin is the kind of villain who could be a menace to not just one hero, but a large group of them.
Simu Liu certainly has the physique to pull of the master of the martial arts and this has been a role a long time coming for him.
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) July 9, 2018
Monica Rambeau sees the light (WandaVision – Spring 2021)
That’s an important casting as Monica was the first black American hero in the Marvel Comics universe as well as the first black American Avengers’ leader. While Akira Akbar was cute in the role, but her complexion was too light to be true to Monica in the MCU.
It might not seem like much to some, but it’s huge that Marvel Studios course corrected on the casting here. The cool thing is Parris won’t even have to change her hairstyle up to play Monica.
As happy as I am to see Vision back post-Endgame, I’m even more excited to see how Monica is incorporated into the MCU.
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Runaway mischief man (Loki – Spring 2021)
As expected, Loki’s series will follow the mishaps of Loki after he narrowly avoided capture by The Avengers back in 2012 following the Battle of New York. Given the MCU, we’ve gotta expect some cameos from some of the players in the series possibly even before they become heroes or villains. And maybe Loki steers them in that direction to cause a little trouble?
Strange has a Witch problem (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – May 7, 2021)
Besides being what director Scott Derickson described as “the first scary MCU film,” Scarlet Witch will be appearing in Doctor Strange 2 making good on Feige’s promise that the Disney+ shows will have an impact on the movie universe. Also there’s not a better title in all of Phase 4 than Doctor Strange’s sequel, right?
What If won’t have a casting problem (Summer 2021)
The animated series considering alternate takes on events in the MCU won’t have scab actors filling in as Michael B. Jordan, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Brolin, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and more will be voicing their characters to provide an extra ounce of continuity.
And Jeffrey Wright playing The Watcher in another bit of brilliant casting. Well done Marvel Studios.
Hawkeye passes the quiver (Hawkeye – Fall 2021 )
We kinda knew this was in the works a while ago, but Kate Bishop will officially be Hawkeye in this series as Jeremy Renner hands off his quiver and arrows to a new hero. The use of Matt Fraction’s logo treatment suggests this TV series could have the same carefree tone as the comic, which would be a smart choice.
Time for Thor to get Enchanted? (Thor: Love and Thunder – Nov. 5, 2021)
The Thor films have done a masterful job of incorporating most of his history and important characters and this title suggests this could be the film we see another.
We will see the return of Natalie Portman who will be back to take on the mantle of Jane Thor. So what’s Thor going to be doing? Maybe finding himself falling in love with his biggest adversary that hasn’t appeared in the MCU yet — The Enchantress. Of course with Taika Waititi directing, Thor and Valkyrie could both be vying for Enchantress’ affection.
So much red (Black Widow – May 1, 2020)
The Black Widow prequel film kicks off Phase 4 looking at how Natasha carried so much guilt and a heavy burden before joining SHIELD in this origin film. It seems like Renner’s Hawkeye has to make a cameo here, right?
Mahershala Ali takes a bite into the MCU
The two-time Academy Award winner will be suiting up to play the Daywalker himself Blade. That’s just an embarrassment of riches and I can’t wait to see his take on the character.
No common ground?
Maybe the most interesting aspect of these reveals is no linking, connecting film like an Avengers or theme event for Phase 4. These seem like a series of standalones, which could be fun, but won’t have the same sense of building up to something bigger like Infinity War and Endgame. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out or if Feige is just bidding his time to base an event around the X-Men or Fantastic Four.
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios