Marvel Announces Phase 4 at Comic-Con: 'Black Widow,' 'The Eternals,' 'Thor 4' and More
By John Boone
Images via Marvel Studios
Last time Marvel Studios attended San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige teased the introduction of the Skrulls into the MCU. Now, those shapeshifting green aliens are everywhere, and Marvel returned to Hall H on Saturday to tease what's coming next.
The program description for the presentation vaguely teased, "Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige and surprise panelists provide an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe." That turned out to be the entire slate for Phase 4, appearances from a who's who of MCU favorites and very, very famous newcomers and so much more.
Here is a minute-by-minute breakdown of everything that happened during Marvel's massive Comic-Con panel:
"We didn't even mention that we're making Black Panther 2. We didn’t even talk about that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 is coming. We didn't have time to talk about Captain Marvel 2," Feige said.
"I didn't even have time to talk about the Fantastic Four," he continued. "And there's no times left to talk about mutants and how mutants come into the MCU...I want to leave you with one more thing that I don't think has been rumored yet: Two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali."
Ali walked onstage with a baseball bearing one word: "Blade."
Though no additional information about the film was given, it appears that Ali will be playing the vampire-hunting half-vampire -- previously played by Wesley Snipes -- within the MCU.
"She has so many secrets," director Cate Shortland said of what drew her to Black Widow's solo film. "She gets to put the pieces of herself back together and come out a full person." The cast includes Scarlett Johansson (as, of course, Natasha Romanoff), Florence Pugh (as Yelena Belova), David Harbour (as Alexei aka The Red Guardian), Rachel Weisz (as Melina) and O-T Fagbenle (as Mason, a contact from Black Widow's past before she began working for S.H.I.E.L.D.).
"I don't think I could have played this iteration of Natasha 10 years ago," Johansson explained. "I get to play Natasha as a fully-realized woman...I'm excited for fans to see the flawed side of her, and I'm looking to wipe out some of that red in my leger."
Pugh calls Yelena a "sister figure" to Natasha, but says, "I guess you'll have to watch the film to figure out the next bit." Fagbenle's character is a "fixer" who says he has a "romantic undercurrent" with Natasha, although that's made tough by her being an "international killer." Weisz, meanwhile, said she plays a "pretty tough chick."
Though the film has only been shooting for 30 days, Johansson debuted a first look teaser: It began with footage we've seen of Natasha with voiceover explaining the mistakes she's made in the past. The new stuff starts in Budapest, with Natasha breaking into a safe house to confront Yelena at gunpoint. A brutal fight breaks out between the two spies in the kitchen, involving knives and broken glass and DIY waterboarding.
"It's good to see you too, sis," Natasha says at the end as Yelena pours shots. The rest of the trailer was filled with shots of other Widows, explosions and the introduction of the villainous Taskmaster, who, as in the comics, can mirror any fight move used against him.
Thor Is Returning With 'Love and Thunder' and Natalie Portman
Yes, there will be a Thor fourquel, officially titled Thor: Love and Thunder. Director Taika Waititi, with stars Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, took the stage to confirm they will be back for a Ragnarok follow-up. "There's nothing more powerful in the world than love," Waititi said.
"And thunder," Hemsworth added.
Apparently Thor has been going to 7-11 and Netflixing since the events of Endgame, according to the man behind the hammer, while Thompson said Valkyrie's first act as the new King of Asgard would be finding her new queen. "She has some ideas. Keep you posted," Thompson teased.
The series will be based on The Mighty Thor comic books, which introduced female Thor. "So, for us, there's only one person who could play that role: Natalie Portman." Yes, Portman's Jane Foster is back and the actress took the stage with hammer in hand.
Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters November 5, 2021.
"We haven't talked about any of the OG original Avengers," Feige mused, as a super-cut of the best moments from Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye played onscreen, including the scene from Endgame when Natasha sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone.
Renner came from the back of Hall H to take the stage to introduce a Bond-esque sequence for his own Disney+ "event series," Hawkeye. And yes, Kate Bishop will be the show's co-lead. "The better version of Hawkeye," Renner quipped, explaining that he'll be shepherding her character to become a "superhero without super powers."
The series, Feige revealed, will also further explore Hawkeye's time as Ronin.
Hawkeye comes to Disney+ in Fall 2021.
'What If...?' Brings Animation to the MCU
Feige calls What If...? "something Marvel has never been able to do before": Animation. A "majority" of actors who have played the characters in the live action films will voice them on the Disney+ series, with Jeffrey Wright joining the MCU to voice the series' narrator, The Watcher.
What If…? will arrive in Summer 2021.
"I'm really excited to be at the dawn of this project and I think it's vital to maintain the humor from the first film [...] We're going back to trying to destroy him a little bit." – Benedict Cumberbatch on #DoctorStrange in the Multiverse of Madness. #MarvelSDCCpic.twitter.com/VgRrCECm3d
'Doctor Strange 2' Is Diving Into the Multiverse...and Horror
"Just because Quentin Beck makes up lies about the multiverse doesn't mean it's not real," Feige said of Jake Gyllenhaal's Spider-Man: Far From Home villain, officially announcing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Director Scott Derrickson promised the sequel will be the first "scary" MCU film, something with gothic horror in addition to the psychedelics.
Benedict Cumberbatch, the Sorcerer Supreme himself, says of what's next for his character: "I'm really excited to be at the dawn of this project and I think it's vital to maintain the humor from the first film, with this twist of horror that I think will really have people gripped...We're going back to trying to destroy him a little bit."
Elizabeth Olsen'sScarlet Witch will be joining Strange on the journey, "The events that you will see Wanda go through will be reflected and directly tie into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse," Feige revealed.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out May 7, 2021.
'Loki' Will Answer One of Your Biggest 'Endgame' Questions
"Didn't I see Loki die in Infinity War?" Feige announced. "You did. But what else did you see in Endgame?" The Disney+ series surrounding Tom Hiddleston'sgod of mischief will indeed have something to do with Loki stealing the Tesseract in one of Endgame's alternate timelines. Feige added, "This series will tell you what happened to Loki after that."
Hiddleston took the Hall H stage to a chorus of "Loki! Loki!" and told the crowd, "He's still that guy [from TheAvengers]. Just about the last thing that happened to him was he got Hulk-smashed. There's a lot of psychological evolution that is yet to happen...I cannot wait to get started."
'WandaVision' Will Introduce a Grown-Up Monica Rambeau
"If you think that logo is strange," Feige said of the vintage logo for WandaVision, "You should see what we're doing with this show." The Disney+ series will follow Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany's Vision.
"We're going to have a lot of fun. It's going to get weird. We're going to go deep," Olsen said. "We're going to finally understand Wanda Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch."
So, how will Bettany's duly deceased Vision factor into the story? "I have no idea," the actor claimed.
The series will (somehow) take place after Endgame though, and feature characters we know from the MCU: Including a grown-up Monica Rambeau, now played by Teyonah Parris.
"The Ten Rings has been in the MCU since the very beginning. Those sons of b***hes," Feige said. "There was an imposter who played the Mandarin in Iron Man 3." But there is a real Mandarin, and he's coming to take on Shang-Chi in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Legendary actor Ton Leung will play the Mandarin in a cast that also includes Awkwafina, in a yet-to-be-revealed role. As for the titular hero himself, Shang-Chi will be played by Simu Liu. "I was cast on Tuesday," he said. "This is just the craziest, craziest dream."
Of diving into the long-seeded mythology of the Ten Rings, director Destin Daniel Cretton says, "It's amazing stepping into this and seeing how incredible things have been thought out since the beginning."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters February 12, 2021.
'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Will Be Fully Star-Spangled
The Disney+ series will follow Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan'sBucky Barnes following the events of Endgame. Mackie proved as much by stepping onstage with the Captain America shield, before letting Stan have a turn holding it. "Let me get that back," Mackie said.
"I'd like to explore The Falcon as a character. What kind of man is this man?," Stan joked. "We know he's got thighs. Let's see if there's anything else."
"With the Winter Soldier, I want to see what makes him really tick, what really ticks him off, how much ticking he can take," Mackie added.
A brief video preview began with voiceover of Winter Soldier's code words, then cut to a message from Captain America: Civil War villain Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) saying, "That doesn't work anymore, does it? Can't blame a man for trying."
"Gentlemen, I'll be seeing you very soon," he said, before putting on his iconic purple mask.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will debut in Fall 2020.
Meet 'The Eternals'
The first film announced in Phase 4 is The Eternals, which is something "entirely new and entirely different," Feige teased, about a group of immortals that have been on earth for thousands of years. Director Chloe Zhao said, "Through their journey, we really get to explore what it means to be human."
The cast officially includes Richard Madden (as Ikaris, the "sexiest" Eternal, Madden said), Kumail Nanjiani (as Kingo), Dong Lee (as Gilgamesh), Brian Tyree Henry (as the genius Phastos), Lia McHugh (as Sprite) and Salma Hayek (as their leader, Ajak). The film will introduce Marvel's first deaf hero, Makkari, played by Lauren Ridloff. The cast is rounded out by none other than Angelina Jolie, who plays Thena.
"I'm so excited to be here," Jolie said. "I'm going to work 10-times harder [than on previous action films], because I know what it means to be an Eternal, to be part of this family, we all know what the task ahead is and we know what you deserve."
The Eternals opens on November 6, 2020.
The Dawning of Phase 4
The panel kicks off with the clinking of Iron Man armor (the same sound we heard at the end of Endgame) and a video montage looking back on The Infinity Saga. Afterward, Kevin Feige took the stage to a packed Hall H -- including thousands of fans as well as Marvel alum like the Russo Brothers -- to officially kick off the studio's presentation.
"The Infinity Saga is complete," Feige told the crowd, thanking the fans and Disney execs before bringing out Marvel's senior staff to rapturous applause. "Many of them are working on things I hope you love someday."
Follow along all weekend on ET Live and check out ET's YouTube page for videos of all of our exclusive Comic-Con interviews.