Disney Plus' debut included the release of Marvel Studios: Expanding the Universe, which offered fans some pertinent details about the MCU's upcoming Phase 4 TV shows debuting exclusively on the platform in the next couple of years. Here are all the biggest reveal from the special.
After wrapping up the Infinity Saga with Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel Studios held off announcing what comes next in the MCU. While several films are set to roll out, which are a mix of sequels and origins stories, few expected that the franchise will expand on the small screen with their very own produced projects. This is why many were surprised when reports starting coming out about several Marvel TV shows in-development for Disney Plus. It was during San Diego Comic-Con that everything was confirmed, with additional announcements several weeks later during D23 Expo.
Plot details for these shows are being tightly kept under wraps. Other than titles and key casting choices, there's not much known about Marvel's Disney Plus series. However, the recent Expanding the Universe featurette on Disney Plus offers some new information, as well as first looks on some of the announced series.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Marvel Studios' inaugural Disney Plus show will see Anthony Mackie's Falcon team up with Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier for their own adventure in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (which is already filming). Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the series will tackle how Sam copes up with his new role as Steve Rogers' Captain America successor, but it's going to be more complicated than that with the introduction of Wyatt Russell's John Walker aka. U.S. Agent.
Expanding the Universe revealed our first official look of the main Falcon & Winter Soldier cast in costume the show including Sam, who gets a more comic book-accurate suit, while Bucky has updated armor and a new haircut. Fans also got their first glimpse at US agent, as well as Emily VanCamp's Agent 13, who returns to the MCU after Captain America: Civil War.
Sharon Carter isn't the only one making an appearance in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier since the Sokovia Accords debacle with Daniel Brühl's Baron Zemo. This time, however, he dons the character's famous purple mask from the comics as seen in the teaser from Expanding the Universe.
Tom Hiddleston's fan-favorite God of Mischief will be back with his own headlining series titled Loki on Disney Plus. Despite Loki's death in Avengers: Infinity War, the events of Endgame and the Avengers' Time Heist paved the way for the 2012 version of the character to slip away and essentially create a branch of reality. The series is expected to link to Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, as well as Thor: Love and Thunder.
In Expanding the Universe producer Stephen Broussard revealed that Loki will indeed have "a huge time travel component" which checks out with the previously released concept art where we see the character in 1975. However, he also adds that the series will have a "a man on the run quality to it and we get the chance to explore more human sides of Loki." It's unclear who Loki angers this time, but with the show seeing him be an unlikely factor in key historical events, coupled with the character's mischievous nature, it's not surprising that he'll make some enemies in his new adventures.
Originally a feature film, Marvel Studios opted to stretch out Clint Barton's next MCU story with a Disney Plus series in Hawkeye. While the show isn't poised to debut until 2021, Expanding the Universe revealed some pieces of concept art for the series, including our first look at Kate Bishop. Aside from dealing with Clint's backstory, Hawkeye is also poised to introduce MCU's version of Kate with Hailee Steinfeld reportedly the top pick to play the role. There were three unveiled illustrations - two of which depicts Clint and Kate teaming up, while the final artwork is a solo look at the latter in her full Hawkeye costume.
Another pertinent reveal from this set of concept art is the confirmation that Lucky aka Pizza Dog is also coming to the MCU via Hawkeye. It's unknown if this iteration is Clint's or Kate's (or if it also has a penchant for pizza), but considering the four-legged furry character's popularity in the comic books, chances are that they won't veer too far away from what's established in print.
Arguably one of the most interesting MCU Phase 4 projects is WandaVision, for a couple of reasons. While narrative details are still tightly under wraps, it's confirmed that the show will mix being a MCU style blockbuster with a 50s style sitcom. It'll reunite Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany's star-crossed lovers but will also feature a handful of other familiar faces such as Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis and Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, as well as Teyonah Parris as grown-up Monica Rambeau. Meanwhile, Katherine Hahn's role is yet to be revealed.
In Disney Plus' Expanding the Universe, WandaVision's supervising producer's Mary Livanos gave commentary about what to expect in the series, but instead of what she had to say, fans zoomed in on the several pieces of comic books headlined by the heroes in the background. The most striking from the selection is a page from The Vision and the Scarlet Witch #4 (1986) where Doctor Strange is holding an infant. Fans took this as an indication that Vision & Scarlet Witch's twins will eventually make their MCU debut via the upcoming show. Considering that WandaVision will directly link to Doctor Strange 2, it's not difficult to imagine that Marvel Studios is trying to adapt some sort of version of this on the small screen.
Marvel Studios' first animated show, the upcoming What If...? series will focus on the events of The Infinity Saga, putting interesting twists on some of the key moments in the franchise that shaped it. Unlike the other aforementioned shows, it functions as an entirely separate existence where it doesn't impact what's been established and what's yet to come in the primary MCU reality.
Expanding the Universe debuted several clips from What If...? teasing fans of the several alternate scenarios that the show will tackle including Peggy Carter as Captain America; Bucky fighting off zombie Captain America; skinny Steve Rogers essentially becoming Iron Man; and T'Challa assuming the role of Star-Lord rather than Peter Quill. But with 25 MCU actors set to voice their respective characters, fans can expect more interesting storylines to come. The special featurette also debuted Jeffrey Wright's The Watcher aka Uatu, who will narrate every episode.
Marvel Studios' Disney Plus slate also includes Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk series - all of which are set to debut their respective headlining hero before making their way to the big screen. With the MCU expanding with their own set of TV shows intertwined with their film lore, Kevin Feige said that a fans will need a Disney Plus subscription to keep up with Phase 4. But with these projects not rolling out until next year, there's really no rush to sign up right away.
- 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
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021