It’s been three years since the last in-person San Diego Comic Con and Marvel Studios pulled out all the stops for the panel in Hall H, which gave us a great overview of stages four, five, and six in the MCU. We have a new trailer for She-Hulk: Lawyerand attendees could watch exclusive sneak peek teasers for Ant-Man: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3and a new crossover series event called Secret Invasion. The panel ended with the first teaser for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Wakanda forever was already in development when Chadwick Boseman – who played T’Challa in 2018 Black Panther— died of colon cancer in August 2020. Director Ryan Coogler, Marvel’s Kevin Feige and many others were unaware that Boseman was even sick. They decided not to recast T’Challa, nor would they attempt to insert the visual effects character, although most of the other protagonists are returning. “His portrayal…is iconic and transcends any iteration of the character in any other medium of Marvel’s past,” Feige said in a December 2020 statement.
The finished film pays tribute to Boseman in many ways, and the trailer evokes that sense of loss, on an almost wistful cover of “No Woman No Cry.” There is even a photo of a street mural honoring a deceased T’Challa. T’Challa’s mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) mourn the loss of their brother, while Ramonda currently sits on the throne. “I am the queen of the most powerful nation in the world and my whole family is gone,” she says in the only lines of dialogue. “Have I not given everything?”
“I promise you, I can feel his hand on me now,” Coogler said during the Boseman conversation. “Chad’s passion and brilliance and his culture and the impact he has made on this industry will be felt forever. We put our love for Chadwick into this film. We also put our passion into it.”
There are plenty of familiar faces. One of the new ones is Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the king of an underwater tribe, supposedly related to the Maya. The trailer also introduces Riri Williams, aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne), a teenage tech genius who is a protege of Tony Stark in the comics. We see her bond with the equally brilliant Shuri, with another photo of her donning her Ironheart suit. (Thorne will also play Riri in the coming iron heart series on Disney+.) The final shot in the trailer is a new Black Panther, seen only from behind, advancing toward a battlefield. Shuri becomes Black Panther in the comics, and it’s possible she will do the same in Wakanda foreverunless another dark horse candidate is lurking in the background.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters on November 11, 2022.
Marvel has also unveiled a new trailer for its She-Hulk: Lawyer series. According to the official premise: “She-Hulk: Lawyer follows Jennifer Walters as she navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-year-old lawyer who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.” Mark Ruffalo will appear as “Smart Hulk”, Tim Roth will reprise his role as Emil Blonsky/the horror from 2008 The Incredible Hulk, and Benedict Wong will be back as Wong. Jameela Jamil plays Titania, a super-strong rival to She-Hulk; Ginger Gonzaga plays Walters’ best friend; and Renee Elise Goldsberry plays Amelia.
The first trailer appeared in May and introduced us to Jennifer, who had just been asked to head up her company’s superhuman legal department. But then her cousin, Bruce Banner, gave her a blood transfusion and she got some of his Hulk skills. Banner becomes her mentor, training her to channel her powers by focusing on her anger and fear (aka “the baseline of every woman who just exists”).
During the panel, series creator Jessica Gao described the show as “Marvel’s first true half-hour comedy.” It seems to have that sitcom vibe, with some superhero action for the record – although Jessica is that rare superhero who really doesn’t want to be one that much. The new trailer opens with Jessica sleeping peacefully in human form as a giant green hand enters the frame. It’s Smart Hulk, who wakes her up with a loud horn, turning her into She-Hulk. Who says science experiments can’t have a comic element?
Cue the Hulk/She-Hulk training montage. “This is a multi-year journey you’re going to take,” Smart-Hulk tells her. Lesson One: “Spandex is your best friend.” She-Hulk nails every job. Smart Hulk reluctantly says she can become a lawyer again if she wants to, leading to She-Hulk breaking through the fourth wall (a risky tactic) and addressing the camera, “He doesn’t really mean that.” She chooses the law.
Her Hulkiness makes her the perfect choice to lead the superhuman law department, as “more and more eccentric superhumans come out of the woodwork,” according to her boss Holden Holloway. Her first client: Blonsky/Abomination, who greets her with a cheeky “Namaste”. It’s an obvious conflict of interest, as Blonsky tried to kill her cousin Bruce, but Holloway doesn’t care. And it gives Jennifer a higher public profile. When Titania crashes into the office in search of trouble, She-Hulk goes to war and her superhero life begins in earnest.
Wong appears through a portal and warns, as he usually does, of a grave existential threat to the universe. We see Blonsky transform into Abomination in his cell. And at the very end, a mysterious figure does a somersault in the frame and assumes a fighting stance. Fan speculation is that this is Daredevil, but we don’t see it very well.
She-Hulk premieres on Disney+ on August 17, 2022.
Phase 5 and beyond
She-Hulk and Wakanda forever marks the end of phase four of what is officially called The Multiverse Saga (comprising phases four, five and six). Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will kick off Phase Five with the release in February 2017, 2023.
The Marvel panel featured an exclusive first teaser of the film (not yet released online). The footage begins with Scott Lang reading from his memoir (aptly titled: Watch out for the little man) when he learns that his daughter Cassie has been arrested. She works with the Van Dynes and the family is doing well. But then something goes wrong with a mysterious device and they are all transported to what appears to be the quantum realm. MODOK makes a cameo appearance, but the big reveal is the villainous version of Kang, a character first introduced in the finale of Loki.
James Gunn’s also coming to the big screen in 2023 Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, scheduled for May 5, 2023. According to the logline, “Peter Quill, still reeling from the loss of Gamora, must rally his team to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission which, if not successfully completed, could very well lead to the end of the Guardians we know of.” The sneak peek footage from Comic-Con revealed that this version of Gamora is now with the Ravagers and doesn’t remember Peter.
It looks like we’re learning more about Rocket’s origins on a planet known as Halfworld, and fans finally have a good look at Will Poulter’s Adam Warlock, whose power stems from the Soul Gem. The film also features the High Evolutionary (Chukwudi Iwuji) as a villain, also known as Herbert Wyndham, an Earth scientist who has tampered with chaos magic. In the MCU, he is responsible for giving Wanda and Quicksilver their superpowers.
Marvel also showed a trailer for secret invasion, a six-episode crossover event series starring Samual L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, featuring a faction of shape-shifting Skrulls who have infiltrated Earth. The footage showed Fury disembarking from a spaceship to meet Maria Hill (Cobie Smulder) at a bar on Earth, looking even worse for the wear. Fury will team up with his former Skrull ally, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) to thwart the invading Skrulls.
Notably absent from the panel were new images related to: the miracles, scheduled for release on July 28, 2023; apparently the footage wasn’t ready in time, but chances are we’ll get to see something at D23 later this year. Ditto for Echo and Loki S2, both slated for release next summer. the above-mentioned iron heart drops falling, Sheet-with Mahershala Ali stepping into the shoes of Wesley Snipes’ vampire hunt – and WandaVision spin-off agatha—centered on Wanda’s witch neighbor — closes 2023 on November 3, 2023 and December, respectively.
As for 2024, Anthony Mackie will star in the feature film Captain America: New World Orderscheduled for release on May 3, after he made peace with the inclusion of Steve Rogers’ shield at the end of The falcon and the winter solder. Also that spring, Charlie Cox returns as Matt Murdock in Daredevil: Born Again. This was not unexpected, as the character appeared briefly in Spider-Man: No Way Homewhile Vincent D’Onofio’s Kingpin appeared briefly in hawkeye. (The comic strip shows Daredevil’s defeat at the hands of Kingpin.) But it’s still great to see it officially confirmed.
Phase five will conclude on July 26, 2024, with the release of: Lightning strikes., which centers on a squad of villains, possibly led by Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl), introduced in Captain America: Civil War. As for Phase Six, it’s still a twinkle in Feige’s eyes most of the time, but it starts with a reboot of Fantastic four (tentatively scheduled for November 8, 2024), and will end with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty on May 2, 2025 and Avengers: Secret Wars on Nov 7, 2025.
List image by YouTube/Marvel Studios