Kevin Feige once said that Marvel Studios would not appear at San Diego Comic-Con unless they could overdeliver, and this year’s event proved he wasn’t kidding. Through two major panels, one for animation and the other for live-action, the entertainment giant landed punch after punch of exciting news. Those in attendance were treated to countless announcements at a rapid fire pace, and information drops were used to both expand on known projects and reveal entirely new ones. If any fans felt left in the dark after 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, they should have a pretty good idea as to what the future holds now.
That being said, there were still quite a few titles missing from the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline shown at the end of the company’s Hall H presentation. Despite all the thrilling surprises, it’s hard not to wonder what might be going on with the shows and movies Feige didn’t talk about over the weekend. As such, it feels right to round up every single MCU project that’s definitely in development but somehow still on the downlow. Let’s dig in:
This was the biggest question mark coming out of Marvel’s Hall H. Armor Wars, an upcoming Disney+ series based on the comic arc of the same name was officially announced during a Disney Investor Day presentation in 2020. It’s probably the longest-standing MCU project yet to score a release window, despite a promising premise and a genuine leading man in Don Cheadle‘s War Machine. Actor, writer, and comedian Yassir Lester was brought on to serve as the series head writer almost a full year ago, and that was more or less the last time fans heard of any progress behind-the-scenes. The fact that Armor Wars wasn’t even mentioned during this year’s Comic-Con initially caused a bit of panic that the series might have been quietly canceled, until Lester took to social media and confirmed it’s still planned to release.
As history has shown, Marvel Studios is not above shifting its calendar to accommodate new things. It’s very likely that Armor Wars is simply still in its early development stages, and will be slipped into the release schedule when the company and the creatives feel everything is ready to go. It’s also possible the show’s story fits better later in the MCU timeline, and Feige just revealed its existence earlier than he ended up needing to. Until more is known, fans will just have to settle for seeing Cheadle‘s James Rhodes in Secret Invasion instead.
It really felt like this one was coming, and it’s still kind of shocking that it never did. Deadpool 3 has been in various stages of production since 2018, with its creative process being understandably delayed by Disney’s acquisition of former parent company 20th Century Fox. Since then, it’s been confirmed by the likes of Feige and star Ryan Reynolds that another film is indeed on the way. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also revealed that this threequel will finally transition its R-rated antihero into the MCU proper.
The lead-up to this year’s convention saw Disney put both previous Deadpool films on their previously-kid-friendly streaming service, and the convention grounds themselves had the Merc with a Mouth handing out free chimichangas to promote the big additions. Nothing has ever felt like more of a sign that Marvel might announce the new entry during their Hall H panel. Alas, no Deadpool 3 was found on the timeline. At least fans can rest easy knowing Reynolds, along with franchise writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, are currently hard at work preparing Wade Wilson for his next cinematic adventure.
Marvel’s Hall H presentation was surprisingly Avengers-heavy for a franchise with so many new toys to play with. As stated before, the MCU can now legally include mutants, and more specifically, the X-Men, in their theatrical projects. Patrick Stewart became the first mutant in the MCU earlier this year when he reprised his iconic role as Professor Charles Xavier for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Iman Vellani took the reigns as part of a huge twist ending when Kamala Khan turned out to be a mutant in Ms. Marvel‘s finale episode. Now seemed like the perfect time for Marvel to announce exactly when to expect the X-Men’s return to cinemas, in a film Feige continues referring to as The Mutants, but no such confirmation ever came. Not even a peep about a potential creative team.
It’s worth noting the X-Men did have a presence at the convention, however, in the form of the animated X-Men ’97 series coming to Disney+ in fall 2023. It’s very possible Marvel held back on revealing The Mutants so that show would have time to shine, and besides, there were still about eight empty slots on that Phase 6 slide. It wouldn’t be shocking if Marvel’s Merry Mutants found themselves occupying one in the very near future.
It’s actually pretty strange that this one didn’t make the cut. It’s an incredibly open secret that Marvel Studios is developing an untitled Disney+ Halloween special centered on Werewolf by Night, but the transparency behind the project isn’t what makes its lack of attention at San Diego Comic-Con so weird. Not only does this one-hour special have a director in longtime composer Michael Giacchino, a runtime, and a full-blown cast in Gael García Bernal and Laura Donnelly, it’s actually already completed filming and is supposedly set to release in October of this year. It seems like, by this point, it should at least have an official title. Yet, the elongated Marvel One-Shot, or whatever it may be, was not even included in the MCU’s Phase 4 when Feige discussed the future timeline with fans, despite coming out before the Phase ends with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
It’s starting to look like Marvel Studios doesn’t consider holiday-themed specials as part of their actual Phase plan. Much like the still-untitled Halloween special, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is all filmed and rearing to go for this December season. Set photos, promotional merchandise, and a lot of updates from director James Gunn have kept fans satiated for the past year, but an official release date would be a nicer present for under the tree.
It wasn’t that long ago fans learned Simon Williams would be coming to the MCU. It was just last month The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton and Community writer Andrew Guest would create a Wonder Man series for Disney+. The article mentioned that cameras could begin rolling on the show as soon as 2023, so many fans felt that an official announcement from Marvel might come out of Hall H. Sadly, Feige‘s presentation ended without any sort of Phase placement or casting reveal for Wonder Man. Perhaps supporters of the longtime Avenger will have better luck at D23.
Nova is maybe the most elusive MCU project in the company’s history. The character has been rumored to appear in a number of projects since it seems, the beginning of the company’s history. It was once confirmed that Richard Rider, the last of the Nova Corps, was intended to appear in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, but was cut for the sake of trimming story fat. All hope seemed lost until news dropped in March that a Disney+ series focusing on the character was in development from Moon Knight scribe Sabir Pirzada. Of course, this led many to believe Marvel would finally make the project official at Comic-Con, putting an end to the cult-like social media campaign to bring Nova to live-action. Maybe Marvel likes all the begging because that obviously didn’t happen.
Black Panther Spin-Offs
Early last year, it was reported by Deadline that Marvel Studios had put two Black Panther spin-off series into development at Disney+. One was said to revolve around Danai Gurira‘s Okoye, while the other would be Wakanda-centric and produced by director Ryan Coogler. Not much has been heard about either show since then, even if many expected at least one to be announced alongside Wakanda Forever‘s portion of the night’s program. Much like the mutant situation before it, this could be due to the fact Marvel wanted its highly-anticipated sequel to get every bit of the attention.
Not long after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings became a massive success, it was announced that director Cretton and star Simu Liu would return for another go-around. It wasn’t likely that Marvel would make a big fuss about the future project with so much else to cover, but it did seem logical that a title reveal or release date could come with the outlining of Phases 4-6. While this didn’t pan out, fans can still be excited to see Cretton come back for Disney+’s Wonder Man, which as previously mentioned, also wasn’t discussed at Comic-Con.