Eight Marvel Cinematic Universe shows are coming to Disney+ over the next few years, and here's how each of them connects to Marvel Studios' past and future films. The move to the small screen is a significant change for Marvel Studios after 11 years of dominance on the big screen. The concept of these shows has been teased over the last year or so, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teasing that they will be directly tied to and influence the MCU movies.
This distinction immediately sets the lot of MCU Disney+ shows apart from previously released Marvel shows like Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, and any of the Netflix shows. The details of the upcoming shows have finally been revealed thanks to a pair of announcements at San Diego Comic-Con and D23 this summer. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will be the first of these series to arrive in late 2020, but the onslaught of this new form of MCU content will truly begin in 2021.
For each of the shows, Marvel Studios is using them to either explore the fallout from a recent movie or set up an event that is on the horizon. Marvel has a relatively fresh slate for Phase 4 in theaters, but a lot of the upcoming Disney+ series' have already been set up by the events of Avengers: Endgame. Since these shows are part of the larger MCU narrative, though, here is how they're tied together and will set up the future of the shared universe on their own.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Set for release in the fall of 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier received clear set up at the end of Avengers: Endgame. The movie saw Steve Rogers' decide to pass the Captain America mantle to Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie), which figures to be a major throughline of the series. The series will also build upon the Captain America franchise, with Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) likely dealing with what he's done in the past.
Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) will both return to the MCU for the first time since Captain America: Civil War. Meanwhile, John Walker aka US Agent (Wyatt Russell) will debut as a possible foil for Falcon and Bucky. Rumored plot details for the series point to the government not agreeing with Falcon becoming Captain America, possibly leading to US Agent being their idea of a replacement. All of this will help set up Falcon as Cap for the future for the MCU and perhaps the next Avengers lineup.
The first Disney+ show out the gate in 2021, most of the setup for WandaVision directly comes from Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch's (Elizabeth Olsen) arc in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. She was forced to destroy the Mind Stone and Vision (Paul Bettany) in the process, only to then see Thanos undo this action and get the stone for himself. This led to their confrontation in Endgame, where she tells the Mad Titan that he took everything from her. All of this serves as the launching point for WandaVision, which will have a 1950s vibe to it and likely deal with Wanda messing with reality in some form to bring Vision back.
They are far from the only MCU characters whose stories could be progressed in the series though. Randall Park is returning as his Ant-Man and The Wasp character Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings is back as Darcy Lewis for the first time since Thor: The Dark World, and Teyonah Paris will star as an older version of Captain Marvel's Monica Rambeau. It is unclear how these characters will factor into the story, but we do know that WandaVision directly connects to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Scarlet Witch is set to appear in the sequel after this series and Feige has teased that the events of WandaVision will set up how she factors into the story.
Loki will be the second Disney+ series for Marvel Studios in 2021 and is likewise set up by the events of the last two Avengers films. The version of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) that the MCU evolved from a villain to a hero met his end at the hands of Thanos right at the beginning of Infinity War. The Mad Titan's "no resurrections this time" line was a clear statement to the audience that the god of mischief really is dead. But, Loki can now happen thanks to Endgame's time travel. The Avengers created a branched reality where the heroes didn't detain Loki at the end of The Avengers and this still-evil, alternate reality Loki will be the one the series follows.
At this time, Hiddleston's Loki is the only MCU character confirmed to be making an appearance in the series. That could change though as the series reportedly revolves around Loki using the Tesseract to jump around space (and maybe time) to mess with major historical moments. Once the 2012 Loki has fun messing with his reality though, rumor has it that he'll travel to the main MCU timeline that is currently without a Loki. The reason for this is because the 2012 Loki will reportedly have a role in Thor: Love and Thunder in some capacity.
Marvel's What If...? series will be very different from their other Disney+ shows, but it is still heavily connected to the MCU through its premise alone. The animated series is taking the What If concept from Marvel Comics and applying them to the MCU films in different ways. Each episode will see one moment in the MCU changed and follow what happens after. Details on what stories will be told in season one are slim, but Captain Carter, T'Challa becoming Star-Lord, and something involving zombies are part of the lineup.
Even though each of these episodes will change an event from the MCU as we know it, the movies themselves are each tied to the series. In addition to dozens of veteran MCU actors returning to voice their parts, the series will be narrated by Jeffrey Wright's The Watcher. His looming presence is something that could set up the Watchers getting involved in a future MCU movie storyline, while the MCU twists on these stories may also further explore the vast reaches of the multiverse.
Believed to be Marvel's final Disney+ show in 2021, Hawkeye will continue Clint Barton's (Jeremy Renner) story after turning into Ronin in Endgame. By the end of that movie, Clint was happy to return home to his now-alive family, but his actions as Ronin during the five-year gap between Thanos' snap and The Blip could give him a new mindset that Hawkeye can explore. What we do know is that the series will see Clint train his successor and introduce Kate Bishop to the MCU. Hailee Steinfeld reportedly may play Kate Bishop, but she has not yet signed on.
Bishop may very well be Hawkeye's biggest connecting point to the MCU's future. Her presence could be used to set up a possible Young Avengers lineup further or see her become established enough to join the next regular Avengers roster. Through it all, Hawkeye could also help set up another new Avengers team, the West Coast Avengers. If the Young or West Coast Avengers threads are pulled on by Marvel, then Hawkeye could be instrumental in setting up either one.
One of the newest Disney+ shows announced, Ms. Marvel will inherently be tied to Brie Larson's Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. Feige wanted to make sure that they properly introduced Kamala Khan in the MCU, which meant Carol had to be established so Kamala can look up to her. Now that Captain Marvel is out and Carol helped save the universe in Endgame, Kamala can now make her way to the MCU. It is unknown at this time whether Kamala could appear somewhere else ahead of Ms. Marvel, but Feige has confirmed that she will go on to star in the movies as well. A role in Captain Marvel 2 could be in the cards and maybe a spot on the MCU's version of the Young Avengers lineup, too.
Jennifer Walters will also soon join the MCU and receive plenty of screen-time in She-Hulk. The cousin of Bruce Banner in the comics, the addition of Walters in the shared universe means that there will soon be another Hulk. This is coming at the perfect time, too, as Banner's days of being a hero as Smart Hulk may be behind him. His right arm is permanently damaged after his own snap in Endgame. Since this series is a recent announcement, we don't know exactly how She-Hulk's story will work within the MCU or if they'll follow her comic origin - where she gets a blood transfusion from Bruce. Regardless, She-Hulk's presence in the MCU might be so she can then be part of the next Avengers roster.
The newly announced Moon Knight series is a difficult one to place in terms of how it connects to what the MCU has already established. We've theorized before that two of the Captain America movies may have teased Marc Spector, but those are unconfirmed at the moment. It's possible that Black Panther 2 could set up the Egyptian moon god Khonshu who gives Spector his powers (or at least that's what he thinks). Then again, there's a chance that Moon Knight may not necessarily build on what the MCU has already done and could instead be used to set up Blade in some form. In any case, Moon Knight - like several other characters starring in these shows - may very well be part of the next Avengers lineup after he's introduced here.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022