True to his word, Kevin Feige over-delivered at SDCC ’22. Fans were given a glimpse at the overarching structure of the multi-phase Multiverse Saga, including titles and dates for the next two Avengers films, The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars. Throw in the announcement of the 18-episode Disney Plus streaming series Daredevil: Born Again, the date for the Fantastic Four reboot and a few other projects, and there was certainly something for everyone. With so much news coming out of SDCC, it’s hard to imagine anything could top it; however, that’s what I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that Marvel Studios plans to do at this year’s D23 Expo. What would it take to top SDCC’s extravaganza? Let’s take a look at what we MIGHT expect when Marvel Studios takes the stage as part of Disney’s Studio Showcase at 10:00 AMPT/1:00 PM ET on Saturday, September 10th.
Perhaps the biggest move left for the studio to make would be to announce the director and cast for Fantastic Four and bring them out on stage. With a tentative release date of November 8th, 2024 having been set at SDCC ’22, the studio also indirectly set up a production timeline. Traditionally, Marvel Studios prefers to give their director roughly a year to work with the studios before production, so having one on board by early September works nicely. Disney has been targeting D23 for this reveal for quite some time now, so here’s to hoping they have found their fits for the Fantastic Four!
DDC at D23
While Avengers: The Kang Dynasty was announced at SDCC ’22, the news that Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton had signed on to helm the project was revealed via a trade report just a few days later. Cretton was already on board to write and direct a Shang-Chi sequel and serve as an executive producer on the Disney + streaming series Wonder Man, so by taking on an Avengers film, he’s become one of the most important creatives of the Multiverse Saga. Having him at D23 would allow them to officially confirm his work on The Kang Dynasty, announce a date and title for the Shang-Chi sequel, which should arrive in 2025 ahead of The Kang Dynasty and officially announce Wonder Man and give it a target release window.
Unbeliveably, Marvel Studios has two holiday specials due to hit Disney + over the last 4 months of 2022 and has yet to officially date either of them. James Gunn has publicly talked about The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Michael Giacchino has confirmed he’s working on the still-to-be-officially-named-but-called-Werewolf-By-Night special, but D23 should mark the first time fans really get an idea of what to expect. It would be shocking if fans didnt’ get to see some footage of both specials and if they weren’t both given release dates. It’s also reasonable to assume that the cast of these specials could be on hand, especially since in the case of the Guardians Holiday Special, they’ll be able to double dip and hype…
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Marvel Studios doesn’t really have “small films” anymore, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is going to see a massive publicity push from the studio and will almost certainly be one Marvel’s most emotional and talked about films since Infinity War and Endgame. If the cast is already on site for the Holiday Special, they’ll take some time to let the crowd salute them and likely show the same footage that was shown at SDCC. It’s a LITTLE early for this footage to become public, so expect this to be kept in the expo.
A New Look at Wakanda Forever
The first look at Black Panther: Wakanda Forever came at SDCC ’22. By the time D23 rolls around, that trailer will be 7 weeks old and there will only be 9 weeks left until the film hits theaters. That means it’s almost certainly time for a second trailer for the film and one that gives fans a bit more of an idea of what’s going on. Should the cast and creatives be on hand, it would also provide Ryan Coogler and Dominique Thorne an opportunity to discuss upcoming projects such as the Wakanda-centric streaming series, Ironheart and any other potential properties they might be attached to.
D+ Series Updates
Secret Invasion has completed additional photography and Marvel Studios has three Disney + series at different points in production in Echo, Loki Season 2 and Ironheart. Between Disney Plus Day on September 8th and the Studio Showcase on September 10th, it’s fair to expect major updates on these series and more. Marvel Studios could chose to finally address the casts of these projects, show some footage and give an idea of what might be going on in them. With Secret Invasion set to be the first D+ project in 2023, it’s very likely the footage from SDCC will be shown again and, POSSIBLY, even made public. However, any footage from the other series isn’t likely to hit the web.
Since this is Disney’ own convention, expect them to go big on not only the D+ stuff already in production, but to continue to emphasize how integral the streaming service is to Marvel Studios’ plans by addressing the next wave of projects as well. Details and casting information could drop for Agatha: Coven of Chaos and Daredevil: Born Again and Feige could fill out the empty slot in Phase 6 that currently looks to be made up of 8 streaming series spread out from late-2024 through Summer 2025. This means projects like Wonder Man, the Wakanda-centric project we like to refer to as Midnight Angels and a half-dozen more could be officially titled/announced. This could include second seasons of Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight as well as a handful of projects that have yet to be revealed and that long-awaited update on Armor Wars. Again, expect there to be a heavy D+ push between Disney Plus Day and the Showcase.
Jonathan Majors will be the face(s) of the franchise over the next 3 years. His appearance at SDCC had the crowd on its feet and it’s likely he’ll be in attendance at D23 and get a similar reaction. It’s also likely he will be there with the teaser for Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and it is POSSIBLE that with that film only 5 months away from D23, the studio could let the hype train start rolling by making sharing it on social and YouTube. If Majors in on site, expect some MAJOR teasing about his upcoming roles outside of Quantumania. Majors is a generational talent and Marvel Studios knows it. He’ll be a busy man over the next 3 years.
With a release date just shy of 10 months away from D23, fans shouldn’t expect a teaser to drop publicly, but there should be enough finished footage to give fans in attendance at the Expo something to think about. Maybe it’s part of a larger sizzle reel or maybe it gets its own part of the panel, but it’s hard to imagine Marvel Studios not giving this project a presence at D23, especially since it was largely absent from SDCC.
With production finally set to get underway in October of 2022, it’s time for Marvel Studios to give an official update on Blade. Other than finally getting a release date, the studios hasn’t provided any information on the film since it was announced at SDCC ’19. If Mahershala Ali were to pop out on stage and join Feige in announcing the cast of the film, it would really renew hype in the project.
Full Phase 5 and Phase 6 Slates
By the end of the panel, it is very reasonable to expect that all of Marvel Studios Phase 5 and 6 projects have been revealed. Much of that work will be done via the D+ announcements, but there are still 3 films (February 2024, February 2025 and July 2025) that haven’t been revealed. Expectations are that Deadpool 3, Shang-Chi 2 and Nova will fill those slots, but there could be another film that slides into one of those spots. However, there’s never been a more fluid time in production schedules than now, so fans almost have to expect dates to shift at this point. It’s also possible that since Feige basically has as much time as he wants (while the Showcase is scheduled to run 2 hours, the stage is open for another 3.5 hours afterwards), he could tease projects such as Captain America: New World Order and Thunderbolts by giving fans a little more info on what they might be about and who might show up.
Nothing contained in this article would come as a surprise to fans who follow Marvel Studios closely, thus the title and the premise that these things can be “expected.” What Feige has excelled at during these types of events, however, is dropping a bomb before heading off stage. At SDCC ’19, it was Blade. At SDCC ’22, it was the Phase 6 slate and the reveal of the Avengers double-feature to end it. What will he bring to D23? It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if anyone could tell fans ahead of time, but given the fact that by the time D23 hits fans will be aware that Bruce Banner/Smart Hulk has left Earth for Sakaar and the rumor that Disney would be able to distribute a Hulk film starting in 2023, it would be fantastic time for Feige to confirm that the rumors of a World War Hulk film are true! Early rumors had the film going into production late in 2022. Even if that slid into early 2023, it would still be possible for the film to meet the February 2024 release date. If not then, a pre-Secret Wars release date would be eminently possible.