This weekend, the internet went wild over the news from San Diego Comic-Con’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) panel. Phase 4 is here and it’s bringing new heroes from the comics. Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige introduced the upcoming stars and directors for the respective films.
While we’re excited to see some of our favorite heroes return in their own series, we’re more hyped to meet the new names and faces. If you’re not an avid Marvel comic reader, do not fret! Here’s a quick introduction of the heroes appearing in the new films are. (Let’s talk about the Disney+ series some other time).
Long story, short: they’re basically gods. Well, they were created by the Celestials a.k.a. Marvel’s cosmic gods, so they kind of are. These immortal heroes have lived alongside humans for millions of years.
Similar to Captain Marvel, the Eternals get their powers (flight, superhuman strength, mind control, teleportation, force-filed, and more) from a cosmic energy. When they come together, Eternals can embody the Uni-Mind, a powerful psionic entity.
The Eternals features a star-studded cast and director Chloe Zhao who happens to be the first woman to direct a Marvel movie solo. The diverse cast includes Angelina Jolie (Thena), Richard Madden (Ikaris), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Lauren Ridolff (Makkari, MCU’s first deaf hero), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Salma Hayek (Ajak), Don Lee (Gilgamesh), and Lia McHue (Sprite).
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Hooray for representation! In case you didn’t know, Shang-Chi marks the first time for an Asian to take the lead in a Marvel movie.
Simu Liu will be taking on the role as the Master of Kung Fu, while Tony Leung will step into the shoes of his foil, the Mandarin, whose organization, the Ten Rings kidnapped Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man. Awkwafina will also star in the film.
Aside from being good at martial arts, Shang-Chi has mastered the use of chi. He doesn’t have supernatural powers like other Marvel heroes, but he’s a super skilled fighter.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Although no new characters were announced at the panel for the Doctor Strange sequel, Feige revealed that Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) will be joining the sorcerer (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the flick.
One thing you can expect from this film, though, is that it is described to be the first horror MCU film.
Thor: Love and Thunder
A 4th Thor movie is coming! After the events of Endgame (spoiler alert), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) takes over as king of Asgard. But she’s not the only one Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is handing over the throne to. One of the biggest surprises from the panel was the return of Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). The god of thunder’s former flame gets her hands on Mjolnir and turns into female Thor!
Equipped with the mighty hammer, Jane has all of Thor’s powers: flight, thunder, you name it. Now for the big question: who will have more fabulous hair? Thor or Jane?
Finally. Natasha’s finally getting her standalone film. After a long time, will we get to witness the story of Budapest she and Hawkeye teased in the first Avengers? It seems like it.
Among the new characters in the prequel are Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, a Russian super-soldier (similar to Captain America), Natasha’s friend Yelena Belova, potential love interest Rick Mason, and Melina, a trained spy.
At SDCC 2019, the panel previewed a sneak peek of the film, showing the villain Natasha will face: Taskmaster. In the comics, Taskmaster’s powers include photographic reflexes. He can master any skill by simply watching someone perform it.
The last big reveal from the MCU panel at SDCC was one of the biggest. Academy award-winning actor Mahershala Ali joins the franchise as Marvel’s Blade.
Blade is a hybrid human-vampire who hunts other vampires. Unlike his fellow bloodsuckers, he doesn’t burn in sunlight. The Daywalker is a master at sword fighting, martial arts, and marksmanship.
During the Hall H panel, Marvel Studios also announced the release dates:
Black Widow – May 1, 2020
Eternals – November 6, 2020
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings – February 21, 2021
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – May 7, 2021
Thor: Love and Thunder – November 5, 2021