Deep Thoughts: One Hypothetical Marvel Studios 2023 Release Calendar
With Marvel Studios finally revealing release dates for Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023), it seemed like a good time to take a stab at how the rest of 2023 might shape up for the studio’s theatrical features and streaming series. We’ve played this guessing game before (here and here) and it’s been hit and miss; however, it’s still a fun game to play and can give us some idea of how things might turn out in a couple of years.
Please read and share responsibly and don’t latch your hopes and dreams onto this. Don’t take it seriously and don’t start marking your calendars. This is one possible option with the only real intention behind it being to see if it could be done well.
One of the bigger surprises of 2021 so far has been the news that Marvel Studios was developing a solo Echo series. Newcomer Alaqua Cox was brought on board to bring Maya Lopez to life in 2021’s Hawkeye and must have made a huge impression as the studio quickly put together a writer’s room and greenlit the series. An Echo series could be an interesting way to reintroduce Kingpin and other Marvel Netflix characters to the MCU and her ties to Daredevil could leave open the opportunity for Matt Murdock’s adventures to continue on here. While this might seem like a pretty quick turnaround, I have a feeling this one is further down the development road than we think.
The Marvel Legends episodes have served as recaps and while they may seem a bit underwhelming to longtime fans of the MCU, they have proven to be effective in catching new viewers up on who everyone is. With that said, We should expect episodes for Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne and, I’d imagine, Cassie Lang, in the weeks leading up to the release of the third Ant-Man film. Given that production on this is set to begin before The Marvels, a lot of folks had this begged for a 2022 release.
I’ve consistently heard it was set for this date and that it was because it needed to come out when it did for storytelling purposes. I wish I had more context on that, but I just don’t and I guess we’ll all have to wait to see what stories needed to be told before we got this one. As it stands, we’re set to get a wild story that we know will include our second time meeting Jonathan Majors‘ Kang and some Quantum Realm shenanigans. As much as I still hope this is the first time we see the Young Avengers team up on screen, the fact that a new writer was brought on board since we first shared that info a couple of years ago makes me wonder if that’s no longer the case.
We are still a month away from the first season of Loki and we are already looking down the road at how they might summarize his adventures in that series before we get to season two in 2023. Who knows what adventures will befall the Trickster in season one…
Kevin Feige has made it clear that not all of the Disney Plus series are destined to have multiple seasons; however, before production on season one of Loki was underway, we knew a season two was part of the plans. Deadline later confirmed that Michael Waldron had inked a deal to work on season two and much like Echo has been fast-tracked, I think another season of Loki is closer than we might think.
Catching up on the adventures of the Guardians will be a necessity for new fans before the threequel lands in May. Some of them will have been on different adventures and one isn’t even from the Prime timeline. An episode or 6 of Marvel Legends might even do us long-timers some good as well, so expect quite a few ahead of May 5th!
By the time we see the Guardians on screen again, it’ll have been exactly 6 years since their last film and they’ll have been used in more films by other directors (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Love and Thunder) than by James Gunn. Gunn has been pretty consistent in saying that this film will wrap up the story of this version of the Guardians and that Rocket’s story will be a big part of the plot. Even though the script for this one has existed for quite a while, very little information about the plot of the film has gotten out though Gunn has debated Warlock’s presence in the film, that Earth-based heroes (like Nova) were on the table and, once upon a time, seemingly teased that it would include some version or another of Quasar. With production starting up this Fall, we might get lucky and catch a couple of leaks and get some idea of where this is headed.
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler inked a deal to develop original programming for Disney Plus and chief among those was a series exploring the World of Wakanda. Details on this one are…well, they just don’t exist yet, but given the fact that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out in 2022, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Coogler and his team keep the tidal wave of momentum going from that film and deliver more Wakandan-based stories to audiences sooner rather than later.
It’s possible that we won’t see Sam Wilson, the MCU’s new Captain America, again before his upcoming and yet still unofficially announced solo film, but then again I know I’m not alone in saying I hope we don’t have to wait 2 years. Cap could show up just about anywhere now from Ms. Marvel to Hawkeye to Spider-Man: No Way Home or even Armor Wars. Let’s hope we get to see more Cap rather than less.
Malcolm Spellman and Dalan Musson have been reported to be working on the script for this one and I don’t believe for a second that two guys who spent so much time working together on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier together have only just started writing this script. Even though we all just found out about it a couple of weeks ago, I’m willing to bet this is much, much more together than we think and will be underway much sooner than expected.
This one is a pretty big stretch given that there’s no confirmation from Marvel Studios that they’re developing a Nomad series and even the guy who broke the story was unclear of what exactly this was but then again, we are doing hypothetical stuff here…
When last we saw Bucky Barnes at the end of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, he had finally moved away, at least personally, from his deeds as the Winter Soldier. With his past finally behind him, it’s possible that we could see Sebastian Stan back in the role as the character carves out a present and a future. Stan gave an incredible performance in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and reinvented the character. While we don’t know if Nomad is happening much less if it’s being developed for Stan, I don’t think too many people would frown upon it should it happen and a 6-episode run taking James across the country to deal with someone like the Scourge of the Underworld or, should they not appear in Captain America 4, the Serpent Socitey, would make for some great TV.
Of course, it’s also possible that this is one of the projects that Chris Evans is rumored to be returning for (perhaps something set during the time between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War) or an entirely new character. With that last option on the table, I didn’t want to put a Legends episode on the docket, but if it’s either Bucky or Steve, we’ll certainly get one.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was hopeful that this film would end up in an unused October 2022 slot. According to the Disney Investor Day Fact Sheet, it wasn’t too long ago that Marvel Studios might have held that same hope. At this point, however, Blade won’t make that date and even though fans are already freaking out about why it wasn’t included in yesterday’s Phase 4 trailer, this is definitely still a big priority for the studio. The studio has some time now to work on a script and line up dates with a director and if we’ve learned anything from the COVID pandemic it’s that giving studios more time to prepare can never be a bad thing.
The Young Avengers are coming, of that, there is no doubt. What is entirely unclear is when. My guess: sooner rather than later. You can’t cast a bunch of young actors in roles and then wait 3-5 years between appearances, not without continually recasting at least. Marvel Studios has proven that they’re open to recasting, but at some point, you might like to hang on to some actors for a while, especially when the audience is supposed to be seeing a story in which they grow and develop together as a unit, such as the Young Avengers. My guess is that the actors being brought on board to play these characters will find themselves incredibly busy over the next 5 years (see Tom Holland) so that we don’t end up with some Harry Potter-esque growth spurts and suddenly have 30 year olds playing teens. So out of the pile of projects Marvel Studios has in development, this one could easily be near or at the top. I think it plays better as a Disney Plus series for a lot of reasons, so despite having absolutely no idea what the plan is for this, I’m rooting for the series route.
We know Jon Watts is directing it and we have a fancy logo. We think we know it’s filming under Solve Everything Productions. Other than that, we don’t know anything about Marvel Studios Fantastic Four reboot. It seems like it is certainly a part of the studio’s Phase 4 plans given that it showed up in the Phase 4 trailer, but it has no writer, no cast, no release date and I have yet to hear any rumblings about when or where it’s going to get going. With all that in mind, I think it would make a mint at the box office as a family-centric holiday film so I am crossing my fingers that we’ll get another release date in 2023 and that the First Family will be home for Christmas.
Obviously, the further out we get, the more liberties that have to be taken. We’re at a point where much of what we’re looking at trying to schedule here doesn’t even have known production schedules at the moment. Furthermore, I’ve picked a couple of properties that the studio hasn’t even acknowledged are in development yet so that I could get 5 D+ series in the calendar year. Whether I picked the wrong 2 projects or not isn’t much of a concern because the reality is that the studio has so many properties in development, I’m confident we’ll be able to see 5 series every year should they want to continue producing them at this clip. Let’s all bookmark this one and come back for a laugh in about 18 months.