Another day, another Marvel presentation. Not content to rest on a showy Comic-Con panel, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige took the stage at this week’s D23 Expo (basically Comic-Con, but for Disney diehards) to unveil more details on the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 5 projects. The reveals provided new context on 13 previously announced projects like Thunderbolts and Captain America: New World Order. For those that weren’t hanging onto every tease as it broke on Twitter, here’s a handy breakdown rummaging through the casting reveals, tantalizing tidbits, and everything else Marvel had to show at D23.
Nick Fury returns in Secret Invasion Samuel L. Jackson’s long-awaited comeback after Nick Fury has spent four years away from Earth is finally upon us. The series sees Fury teaming with Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) as they hunt down a secret (get it) sect of Skrulls, aiming to take over the planet. It’s one of the more stacked MCU projects, talent-wise, with a cast that also includes Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke, and more of Don Cheadle’s recurring MCU government official James Rhodes. The trailer plays up the spy/paranoid thriller vibes that worked so well for The Winter Soldier—which many consider one of, if not the best, MCU film. So the bar will be set high for this one when it drops next spring.
Cheadle then took the stage to tease that his Armor Wars series is set right after Secret Invasion and that the two series will share some connective story strands.
Ant-Man: Quantumania brings the Kang New footage for the third Ant-Man film detailed Scott Lang being forced to commit a heist in the Quantum Realm by Kang (Jonathan Majors), who has kidnapped his daughter Cassie. Ant-Man films haven’t always been the most crucial MCU films, but given Kang’s role as the next Avengers Big Bad, Quantumania will serve as a critical link to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. (Feige also stated Randall Park’s fan-favorite Agent Jimmy Woo, who made his MCU debut in the previous Ant-Man film, would return.)
There was even more Kang elsewhere in the panel: the sizzle reel for Loki Season 2 was very heavy on the looming Avengers villain. You’ll remember, Majors’ character featured heavily in the first season finale of the show, the first indication that he’d have a larger role to play in Marvel projects to come. The other big news for the Tom Hiddleston series is that Ke Huy Quan of Goonies and Everything Everywhere All At Once fame will join the show. So far the word is he’s playing an employee of the Time Variance Authority, but surely there’s more to his role. The show hits Disney+ in Summer 2023.
Captain America: New World Order looks to recapture that Winter Soldier feeling Sam Wilson’s (Anthony Mackie) first adventure as the new Captain America will feature a cadre of returning faces, including Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), Joaquin Torres (Danny Ramirez), and—shockingly—The Leader (Tim Blake Nelson, last seen 14 years ago in The Incredible Hulk). The inclusion of The Leader is interesting, as he’s typically more of a Hulk-specific foe. The film will also introduce Israeli superhero Sabra (portrayed by Orthodox’s Shira Haas), a mutant in the comics. (By the time we finally get the X-Men in the MCU, viewers will have encountered plenty of mutants at this point.) Director Julius Onah described the movie as a “paranoid thriller,” presumably leaning into those Winter Soldier vibes once more when it hits screens on May 3, 2024.
Thunderbolts assembles She first appeared in an episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but obviously the MCU had more substantial plans for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Those are finally coming to fruition with Thunderbolts, which is essentially the MCU’s take on The Suicide Squad—a cadre of characters who are closer to antiheroes or even villains, with Dreyfus’ Val as the handler. The official line-up is Yelena Belova/Black Widow (Florence Pugh), John Walker/US Agent (Wyatt Russell), Ava Starr/Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), and Red Guardian (David Harbour). The film is set for a July 26, 2024 release.
Werewolf by Night looks like a fun swerve Even by comic book fan standards, Werewolf by Night is a deep cut. Billed as a “Marvel Studios Special Presentation,” the project is going to be the rare Marvel one-off, focusing on a handful of Marvel’s more supernatural characters. The special, which will be released in black and white, feels like a fun Universal Monster movie. It stars Gael Garcia Bernal as the titular werewolf and Laura Donnelly as monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever isn’t finished yet but looks impressive nonetheless Ryan Coogler tore himself away from the editing room to present a full scene from Wakanda Forever featuring Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) speaking to the UN. As she speaks about how the death of T’Challa has made Wakanda seem weaker, a group of mercenaries tries to steal some vibranium—but quickly meets the business end of the Dora Milaje’s spears. The crew is then paraded into the UN as prisoners as a show of Wakanda’s strength. The clip then led into a new montage of footage, including M’Baku (Winston Duke) tussling with Namor (Tenoch Huerta) before continuing to tease, but not reveal, a new Black Panther.
Coogler then stayed on stage with Ironheart actor Dominique Thorne, who we’ll first meet in Wakanda Forever. A brief teaser showed Throne’s Riri Williams in a suit of armor before declaring, “I want to build something like that, but better.” We also saw the first look at Anthony Ramos’ Parker Robbins, aka The Hood, who uses the magical powers of a crimson cowled cloak to commit crimes. Coogler stated the series would see a battle between magic versus tech when it comes to Disney+ next Fall.
The Marvels is heavy on the hijinks After the Ms. Marvel finale revealed Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is the MCU’s first proper mutant, she promptly disappeared out of her Jersey City bedroom and was replaced by Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) without explanation. The Marvels director Nia DaCosta didn’t have much to preview, but she did show a fun clip that sees Kamala, Carol, and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) constantly switching places as their powers somehow become entangled crescendoing into a mad game of rock-paper-scissors. The film releases on July 28, 2023.