Marvel At SDCC: Mahershala Ali As ‘Blade’, Natalie Portman As ‘Thor’, ‘Eternals’ Cast Announced, More Phase 4 & TV Series Details
Late last night (for UK people), Marvel took over Hall H at SDCC with some huge announcements about what is next for the comic book studio. That included details on the upcoming Phase 4 films, including ‘Black Widow’, ‘Eternals’, ‘Shang-Chi’, ‘Doctor Strange’, ‘Thor’ and an unexpected ‘Blade’! They also talked about the upcoming Disney+ series ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’, ‘Wanda Vision’, ‘Loki’ and ‘Hawkeye’.
Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies
‘Blade’ Is Back!
We’re going to star at the end of Marvel’s panel, as this was probably the biggest and most unexpected announcement. ‘Blade’ will be returning to the big screen as part of the MCU. This rebooted version of the character will see the Oscar-winning Mahershala Ali step into the fangs of the half-vampire, half-mortal daywalker.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen ‘Blade’ onscreen. Wesley Snipes played the role in three pre-MCU movies back in the late 90s/early 2000s. The character also had a short-lived live-action tv series where he was portrayed by Sticky Fingaz.
It also isn’t the first time for Ali with Marvel, as he starred as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes in the, sadly departed, Marvel/Netflix ‘Luke Cage’ series.
Natalie Portman To Play Female ‘Thor’
Another big surprise was the announcement that Natalie Portman, who has been somewhat missing in the recent MCU films, will not only return as Jane Foster, but also be playing female Thor in the next movie! When she was handed Mjolnir on stage she commented “Feels pretty good. I’ve always had a little hammer envy!”
As was revealed a few days ago, Taika Waititi is set to direct, but they have also now announced the film will be called ‘Thor: Love And Thunder’. The movie is based on Jason Aron’s ‘The Mighty Thor’ comic book run, which sees Thor become unworthy of wielding the hammer, and Jane takes over the role. Don’t panic Chris Hemsworth fans. He will be back as Thor in the film, along with Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie.
Simu Liu Stars As ‘Shang-Chi’
Moving on to the new additions to the MCU, the announced that Simu Liu would take the lead role in ‘Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings’. Liu is probably best known for the Canadian sitcom ‘Kim’s Convenience’, but has also appeared in the ‘Taken’ tv series, along with popping up in ‘The Expanse’, ‘Slasher’ and ‘Fresh Off the Boat’.
Joining Simu Liu will be Awkwafina (‘Crazy Rich Asians’) in an undisclosed role, and Chinese actor Tony Leung is set to play the real Mandarin (as opposed to the fake one played by Ben Kingsley in ‘Iron Man 3’). Destin Daniel Cretton (‘Short Term 12’, the upcoming ‘Tokyo Vice’ series) will direct, and the film with arrive 12th February 2021.
‘Eternals’ Cast Includes Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie & Salma Hayek
Marvel has pulled together a really interesting cast for ‘Eternals’, which arrives theatres 6th November 2020. The Eternals are a powerful race of cosmic beings created by cosmic gods, the Celestials, alongside the Eternals genetic cousins the Deviants. Whilst the Eternals tend to be peaceful, the more destructive and deformed Deviants tend toward violence and war. The two factions have been locked in a never-ending war, with humanity often stuck in the middle.
The movie will star Richard Madden (‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Bodyguard’) as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani (‘Silicon Valley’, ‘The Big Sick’) as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff (‘The Walking Dead’) as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry (‘Atlanta’, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’) as Phastos, Salma Hayek (‘Frida’, ‘Ugly Betty’) as Ajak, Lia McHugh (‘American Woman’, ‘The Lodge’) as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Angelina Jolie as Thena. Chloé Zhao (‘The Rider’) will direct.
Scarlett Johansson Is Back As Black Widow
Whilst ‘Endgame’ might not have ended well for ‘Black Widow’, that hasn’t stopped her (finally!) getting her own movie. The film sees Scarlett Johansson return as Natasha Romanoff on 1st May 2020. She will be joined by David Harbour (‘Stranger Things’) as Alexei aka The Red Guardian, Florence Pugh (‘The Little Drummer Girl’, ‘Marcella’) as Yelena, O-T Fagbenle (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’) as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina. Cate Shortland (‘SMILF’, ‘Lore’) will direct the movie.
As you might expect, the film will delve into Romanoff’s past, and fill out her background. “I don’t think I could have played this iteration of Natasha 10 years ago,” commented Johansson at the panel. “I get to play her as a fully realized woman in all of her many facets. I am excited for fans to see the flawed side of her. I’m looking to wipe out that red in my ledger.”
Doctor Strange Heads Into The Multiverse
We knew Doctor Strange was back for a second film, and now we have a title – ‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’. The film will see Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange team up with Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and it will tie in directly to the events of the upcoming ‘WandaVison’ tv series.
Although the film is a PG13, director Scott Derrickson commented that it will be “the first scary MCU film,” adding “this twist in horror will have people gripped… we’ll be going back to trying to destroy him a bit.” The movie arrives in cinemas 7th May 2021.
In addition to all these films, MCU boss Kevin Feige announced work had begun on introducing the ‘Fantastic Four’ to the MCU and folding in “the mutants”… aka ‘X-Men’. We also know ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ and ‘Captain Marvel 2’ are in development.
Disney+ MCU TV Shows
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The new MCU tv shows, which will air on the new Disney+ streaming service, kick off with ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ in Autumn 2020. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their movie roles as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, and the series will take place after the events of ‘Endgame’. In an entertaining reveal, Daniel Bruhl popped up on video as Baron Zemo disrupting the panel, announcing he would also be returning for the tv series.
Arriving in Spring 2021, we have ‘WandaVison’, which sees Paul Bettany reprising the role of Vision and Elizabeth Olsen returning to the role of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. At the panel it was announced that Teyonah Parris (‘Empire’, ‘Mad Men’) would be joining the MCU as a grown-up version of Monica Rambeau, the young girl we last saw helping Carol Danvers in ‘Captain Marvel’. The series is set after the events of ‘Endgame’ and will tie directly into the upcoming ‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’ movie.
Also arriving in Spring 2021 is ‘Loki’, which sees the return of everyone’s favourite trickster god. Tom Hiddleston is back in his role of the mercurial Loki, the god of mischief. If you’re thinking “hang on… Didn’t he die?” Well, kind of… But thanks to the events of ‘Endgame’, the series gets to answer the question – “Where did Loki go when he took the Space Stone?”
Coming in Autumn 2021, the officially confirmed Jeremy Renner will return as Clint Barton in a new ‘Hawkeye’ tv series. They didn’t say much about the series, but confirmed female archer Kate Bishop would be a major part of it. In the comic books, Bishop takes over the mantle of Hawkeye from Barton, who is dead at that point in book continuity. Like most comic book characters, he does eventually return to life, but Bishop continues using the Hawkeye name alongside Barton, with him training her to improve her skills. That student/mentor relationship doesn’t last, and they eventually decide to stay out of each other’s way.
Rounding out the tv series is ‘What If…?’, the first animated series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The series will take an alternate reality look at pivotal moments from the MCU and turn it on its head. ‘Westworld’ star Jeffrey Wright will voice The Watcher for the series, whilst many of the main MCU actors will return to voice the alt-versions of their characters. The series will air in Summer 2021.
I think it is fair to say, you are not going to be short of Marvel entertainment over the next few years!
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.