After a three-year absence, San Diego Comic-Con came roaring back in 2022. And bestriding the hallowed Hall H like a mighty colossus was Marvel Studios. Chief exec and franchise guru Kevin Feige was present, along with key creatives from individual movies, to unveil the direction of travel for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Scroll down to discover all the essential MCU nuggets, from future movies to brand new phases that promise to expand the franchise even further.
1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever trailer revealed and official synopsis
The Black Panther sequel has the most emotionally arduous task of any Phase Four MCU movie. Tasked not only with continuing the legacy of the blockbusting Black Panther, the movie is also compelled to honour the memory of the late Chadwick Boseman, who tragically passed away in August 2020.
Director Ryan Coogler has been faced with the unenviable task of advancing the Black Panther saga in the absence of his former leading man. However, the first trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (scroll down to watch it) appears to have faced the issue head-on in a manner that is both progressive and stimulating.
The star-studded Hall H panel featured a powerful vocal performance from Baaba Maal whose piercing tones graced Ludwig Goransson's soundtrack for the first movie.
Coogler and Feige introduced the movie and were joined on stage by a host of familiar faces including Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright and Winston Duke, each of whom appeared in the first movie. New faces include Tenoch Huerta, Michaela Cole and Dominique Thorne. Here is a snap from the glitzy A-list gathering..
The official synopsis is as follows: "In Marvel Studios’ 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,' Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba), fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda."
As one can glean from that description, the women of Wakanda are collectively absorbing the legacy of the late T'Challa. And the visually striking trailer bears it out, with Queen Ramonda grieving the loss of her child, the Wakandan heir to the throne, at the same time that the likes of Shuri and Nakia arm themselves for war. Check out the trailer below.
Naturally, one of our biggest questions is this. Who is donning the T'Challa suit at the very end of the trailer? Are we about to get a multiverse twist on the eponymous Black Panther? Might this even point towards the return of Michael B. Jordan in the role? He stole the show as the fearsome yet surprisingly sympathetic Marvel villain Killmonger in the first Black Panther movie, staking his claim as one of the best Marvel antagonists of all time.
Either way, the newly revealed poster confirms that someone will be donning the suit upon the movie's arrival on November 11th. Comic-Con confirmed that the movie will conclude Marvel Phase Four and point the way towards bold new horizons.
11.11.22 pic.twitter.com/nmrJhcpwsG— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) July 24, 2022
2. Marvel Phase Five movies and release dates confirmed
Marvel Studios' Phase Five movies will land in the following order: Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania (Feb 17th 2023), Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5th 2023), The Marvels (July 28th 2023), Blade (November 3rd 2023), Captain America: New World Order (May 23rd 2024) and Thunderbolts (July 28th 2024).
Yes, bedded within there is the title of the new Captain America movie and the long-awaited release date of the Blade movie, starring two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali. The movie will be helmed by Mogul Mowgli director Bassam Tariq.
Here's the title treatment for Captain America 4, to be directed by Julius Onah and featuring Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson/Falcon in the title role.
And here's the title treatment for Phase Five concluder Thunderbolts, to be directed by Jake Schreier (Paper Towns; Robot & Frank) and written by Marvel veteran Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok; Black Widow).
3. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania first look
The third Ant-Man movie will expand on the mystique and threat of Kang the Conqueror. As played by Jonathan Majors, he first made his appearance in Loki – and he's set to play an even bigger role in the MCU going forward. (Scroll down to discover how.)
Phase 5 kicks off in 2023 with Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. https://t.co/8nCJUeKyRp— Ant-Man (@AntMan) July 24, 2022
Here's the seriously groovy new poster for the movie, designed by artist Andy Park. It showcases returning heroes Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), while Majors' shadowy Kang looms ominously in the background.
1ST look at ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA! Poster I illustrated for @MarvelStudios @Comic_Con Honored to work again w/ @MrPeytonReed #PaulRudd @EvangelineLilly & 1st time Cassie @kathrynnewton & KANG #JonathanMajors #antmanandthewaspquantumania #Quantumania #antmanwasp #kang pic.twitter.com/Mf8tL3wg6w— Andy Park SDCC 4604 (@andyparkart) July 23, 2022
Director Peyton Reed joined Rudd, Lily and Majors along with Katherine Newton (who plays Lang's now-grown-up daughter Cassie) in Hall H.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 details confirmed
Director James Gunn brought Marvel's Guardians crew to Hall H. Absent Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, the assembled luminaries entailed Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Gunn's brother Sean.
They were joined by series newcomers Will Poulter, who plays Adam Warlock (teased during the Guardians Vol. 2 post-credits scene) and Chukwudi Iwuji, who is set to portray the villainous High Evolutionary. The latter turned to Hall H in costume to signal his arrival in the MCU.
Also present in the movie (although not at Comic-Con): Borat scene-stealer Maria Baklova who is set to play Cosmo the Space Dog. As mentioned, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is confirmed for release in 2023.
5. Marvel Phase Six movies revealed
Are you ready? The umbrella name for Marvel Phases Four through Six is confirmed as The Multiverse Saga. Scroll down to see the official artwork, and then even further to get more details as to what's involved.
Marvel Studios welcomes you to The Multiverse Saga. pic.twitter.com/HC1b747YPl— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) July 24, 2022
Marvel Phase Six will kick off with the long-awaited (and that's understating it) Fantastic Four movie, as confirmed in the following tweet. Following the release of Thunderbolts, which as mentioned will conclude Phase Five, Fantastic Four will be with us in November 2024.
That, however, will surely be just the entrée for the gargantuan one-two punch of Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. To put it bluntly, this will be the Phase Six answer to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the movies arriving, respectively, on May 2nd 2025 and November 7th 2025.
So, what does this point towards? With both movies some three years away, it's all speculation at the moment. However, the presence of Kang in at least one of the titles may point towards a new Thanos level of threat, which will no doubt capitalise on the character's appearances in both Loki and Ant-Man 3.
That clearly means a brand new crack squad of Avengers members, which presumably will be curated from existing Phase One to Three members and new faces from Phases Four to Six. The likes of the Eternals ensemble, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Blade will potentially be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Ant-Man and the Black Panther squad.
It's been announced that Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo will not be helming either Avengers: The Kang Dynasty or Avengers: Secret Wars. However, Kevin Feige isn't ruling out a future collaboration.
“They’re not connected to it,” Feige told Deadline. “They’ve been very direct about that. We love them, they love us. We want to find something to do together, it’s not this.” On that basis, we wonder who will possibly take on the gargantuan task of wrangling the biggest-ever Marvel ensemble? Stay tuned to the blog for more details on that.
We appreciate this is a lot of thrilling information to process, so we'll throw it over to you guys. Which aspect of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe are you most excited about? Let us know @Cineworld.