Marvel fans certainly were happy following Marvel Studios’ San Diego Comic-Con panel, where the studio made several announcements. The revealed Phase 4 ends with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, both of which got trailers released online. Phase 5 was mapped out, and they also managed to tease Phase 6 with major events like Fantastic Four and two new Avengers films while dubbing the new era The Multiverse Saga.
Release dates for projects like Blade and Thunderbolts were revealed, and titles were given for Captain America 4, now titled Captain America: New World Order and Agatha Harkness: Coven of Choas. A new Daredevil series was announced and the character will appear in both She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Echo. Plenty of new characters were confirmed to be joining the MCU. While it was originally thought the studio would hold back on announcements, they decided to make up for a three-year gap from their 2019 presentation by giving fans plenty to talk about and speculate about for years.
However, much of what was announced at Comic-Con were titles that had already been announced, like Thunderbolts which already landed director Jake Schreier in June 2022. So despite all the major announcements and repeats, there were still plenty of titles and characters missing from the Marvel Studios Comic-Con panel. Part of this simply could be that Marvel is saving more reveals for D23, which is held later this year in September. After all, titles like Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk were held off from the Phase 4 announcement in 2019 for D23, and they revealed the title for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels at Disney Investor Day in 2020.
Also, Phase 6 has plenty of open spots between the release of Fantastic Four and Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and even a few between the two Avengers films, so there is still plenty of room. These were all the major announcements that were missing from Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation.
Of all the films released in Marvel’s Phase 4, apart from Spider-Man: No Way Home, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been the most successful in terms of both critical and audience reaction. It was one of the first major hit films during the re-opening of theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, holding the number one spot at the box office for the entire month of September and grossed $432 million worldwide. A Shang-Chi sequel was announced with director Destin Daniel Cretton returning to direct. However, no announcement was made for Shang-Chi 2 at Comic-Con.
They may be saving the announcement for D23 and Marvel Studios still has one date in 2024 unaccounted for: February 16. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was originally set to open in theaters on February 12, 2021, before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the entire release schedule, so Shang-Chi 2 could open on the same weekend in February they had planned for the first film.
Destin Daniel Cretton was also confirmed to be developing a Disney+ series focused on the character of Simon Williams aka Wonder Man. Wonder Man was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Don Heck in The Avengers #9 back in 1964, whose origins are tied to being created by Baron Zemo. While he died in his initial appearance, the character returned and was revived by Kang the Conqueror, possibly hinting at why the character is being introduced into the MCU to tie into the upcoming Kang stories the MCU is setting up. Originally an industrialist foe of Tony Stark, after he receives his ion powers and becomes an Avenger the character becomes an actor.
With Wonder Man’s origin being tied to Baron Zemo, and the character starting as a foe of The Avengers before joining the team, it is possible the character’s series could tie into the now confirmed Thunderbolts films. This means the series could premiere before or after Thunderbolts opens on July 28, 2024.
It has been known for some time that Marvel Studios is developing a Halloween special, with Gael García Bernal cast in the lead role with longtime Marvel composer Michael Giacchino stepping into the director’s chair. While it is currently unknown what character it will focus on, it is heavily rumored to be the character Werewolf by Night.
Many expect the special to premiere on Disney+ in October 2022 and thought it would be officially announced and confirmed at Comic-Con. While they could be saving it for D23 in September, this means it will only have one month of marketing before the special premieres on Disney+. It is a risky move but streaming special may not need the same level of a marketing push as a multi-episode series or a film. If it still premieres in October 2022, that means it will be released a whole year before Blade opens in theaters, for which the Halloween special will likely lay the groundwork.
While Marvel Studios is likely forming their own path with the X-Men, it has been confirmed one element they are bringing back from the 20th Century Fox X-Men films is Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool in Deadpool 3. It is already confirmed that the film will be directed by Shawn Levy, who worked with Reynolds on Free Guy. Deadpool and Deadpool 2 screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese will return to pen the script and the film will be the MCU’s first R-rated picture.
With the confirmation of the next three phases of the MCU being titled The Multiverse Saga and a Deadpool cameo once being considered for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it appears the multiverse angle is likely the solution for how the character will cross over into the MCU. Many expected Deadpool 3 to be announced at Comic-Con as the Friday before the Hall H panel, both Deadpool and Deadpool 2 were added to Disney+, with the indication that an announcement was coming.
Armor Wars was a Disney+ show announced at Disney’s Investor Call in 2020, and was confirmed to be focused on the character of James Rhodes, who dons the superhero mantle War Machine (Don Cheadle). The series draws its name from a seven-issue arc in the Iron Man comics written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton with art by Mark D. Bright and Barry Windsor-Smith. The Disney+ series was said to be focused on Rhodey dealing with much of Tony Stark’s technology getting out into the public, likely set up by the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier when Sharon Carter (Emily Van Camp) was revealed as the Power Broker and now in the United States government.
While the series was expected to premiere in 2023, it was not among the various Phase 5 titles set for 2023 or 2024. War Machine will appear in Secret Invasion, however, so the addition of the character may have delayed Armor Wars back.
In February 2021, it was announced that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was developing a series focused on Wakanda. Little is known about the project, but it will likely be spinning out of the events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. It is unknown if it will focus on a particular character from Black Panther, be an ensemble show, or introduce new characters, but some more details might be revealed at D23 or held off until after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters.
A Young Avengers in the MCU has never been confirmed by Marvel, yet many figured some type of Young Avengers film or Disney+ series would be arriving, since Phase 4 has introduced so many characters from the comics teams. Wiccan and Speed were first introduced in WandaVision before reappearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which also introduced popular Young Avengers member America Chavez. Eli Bradley was seen as the grandson of Elijah Bradley in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a kid Loki variant appeared in Loki, and Kate Bishop was the co-star of Hawkeye. With a focus on young heroes like Ironheart and Ms. Marvel, it seemed like all signs were pointing to the Young Avengers.
It is possible there are still plans for The Young Avengers, but it either could be planned as a Disney+ series or film scheduled in the gap between Fantastic Four and Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. However, the other possibility is the studio might even be waiting until after Phase 6, for The Young Avengers to take over following Avengers: Secret Wars.
The other big title missing from the lineup is X-Men. Marvel has been teasing The X-Men for some time, first with the appearance of Patrick Stewart in Doctor Strange in the Multiverses of Madness, the word mutation being said for the first time in Ms. Marvel, and Namor (often referred to as the First Mutant) set to appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. With all that, plus the announcement of the X-Men ’97 animated series for Disney+ it seemed like Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige was setting up X-Men to make their big grand appearance in the MCU. However, no X-Men title was announced.
Marvel may be slowly teasing the arrival of the X-Men. The X-Men could be saved to kick-off Phase 7, as they are a major name that would be a big draw for audiences following another massive Avengers film. X-Men arriving sometime in 2026 would mean six years would have passed since the last theatrically released X-Men film New Mutants opened in theaters, helping build the nostalgia for the brand while also giving it distance from the poor reaction to films like X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The Infinity Saga led into the Multiverse Saga which then when the dust settles could lead to the Dawn of X.