Boy did they.
Marvel revealed their film slate for 2020 and 2021, listing six film titles that will take them into 2022. The list included expected films and a couple of surprises.
- Black Widow (May 1, 2020) - It's great to have this finally confirmed and for us to find out a bit more about it. David Harbour as the Red Guardian, Russia's Captain America. Yelena Belova, the other Black Widow. Rachel Weisz as another Red Room spy. The Taskmaster as the villain. And a surprise role by Ray Winstone. This should be good.
- Eternals (November 6, 2020) - This is the one that has Guardians potential. A race of alien gods essentially, played by a very diverse and interesting cast. Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek. It will have one of the first LGBT leads in the MCU, the first deaf character, etc. This is one to watch.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 12, 2021) - Master of Kung Fu. Marvel's first Asian lead, with a Hong Kong cinema legend as its villain. Marvel has solved two of its problems in this film - how to present the Mandarin in a way that won't reek of Orientalism and how to avoid Fu Manchu as Shang-Chi's father. By casting the Mandarin as the primary antagonist, I assume he will be Shang-Chi's father. This will also help Marvel fulfill the promise of the All Hail the King short.
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021) - Marvel's foray into horror. Perhaps this will help premier a hero a couple of bullets down. Promises to have a big part for the Scarlet Witch carrying over from her show. This helps show how much faith they are putting in Disney+.
- Thor Love and Thunder (November 5, 2021) - Taika Waititi is back! And Jane Foster will be Thor! Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Chris Hemsworth. If this continues the feel of Ragnarok, it will be awesome.
- Blade (TBA) - for the "oh and one more thing" announcement - Mahershala Ali as Blade. A reboot to bring the character into the Marvel universe. If the main villain is Marvel's Dracula, I'm all in. And it better be the original Dracula from Tomb of Dracula, not the new redesign. Hopefully this could open up the Marvel Horror line.
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020) - with Daniel Bruhl back as Baron Zemo with the purple mask!
- WandaVision (Spring 2021) - a lead up into Doctor Strange, building up Scarlet Witch. If Vision comes back in the stark white design, this could be very interesting. And it's going to introduce Monica Rambeau all grown up from Captain Marvel!
- Loki (Spring 2021) - Time traveling adventures of the Avengers era Loki. Hiddleston is great in this role, so this will be fun.
- What If…? (Summer 2021) - An animated series exploring left turns in the MCU, with the first one being Peggy Carter as Captain America. With the original actors as the voice cast! And it will have the Watcher?!? I always loved What If...? as a comic series and this should be just as fun if done well.
- Hawkeye (Fall 2021) - This will introduce the Kate Bishop character to take up Hawkeye and have Clint Barton still in Ronin. If this borrows from the Fraction run, it could be great. I would love to see a version of Rio Bravo at the Barton farm, with Clint's screw up brother and the rest of the family. If we learned that Clint's wife was also a SHIELD agent and was a better marksman than he, all the better.
What's interesting is how this does not even include the real expected sequels on the slate, including ones with some form of announcement already. Could these be held for D23? Or will they reveal Phase 5 a little later? We know it's planned out that far at least but there are still so many factors to consider.
- Black Panther 2 - We know this is already in production, and I would think has to be the first film lined up for Phase 5. With the gross that Black Panther brought in, it is a forgone conclusion. I know they are trying to explore potential villains, Kraven the Hunter being one mentioned.
- Captain Marvel 2 - Another forgone conclusion given the success of the first film this year. It would be nice to see Captain Marvel truly fully integrated into the modern MCU age in something more than an extended cameo. Perhaps this could be a backdoor for A-Force, or at least bring in the Carol Corps.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp 3 - This one has been mentioned as a potential new offering. I like the Ant-Man films and would like to see them get their set of three. Plus, the need to play with Cassie being aged five years since Scott last saw her and to potentially prepare her for Stature/Stinger.
- Spider-Man 3 - We know this is planned, with it potentially taking place in Peter's senior year. This one also has Kraven as a potential villain.
- Guardians of the Galaxy 3 - We know this is coming as well, as James Gunn has been rehired to complete his trilogy. Filming will start after Gunn completes The Suicide Squad. This one should introduce Adam Warlock and really dive into Rocket's story.
Phase 4 looks great and beyond is so exciting. The integration with Disney+ and how those will intersect is truly going to bring new meaning to the idea that it is all connected. I know they want to bring back the one shots as well. They continue to innovate ways to explore the story further and to expand this world.
The future truly looks Marvellous!