From ‘Blade’ to ‘The Eternals’: Everything We Learned from Marvel Studios at San Diego Comic Con

Marvel revealed their entire slate of films and TV shows coming over the next two years including a new ‘Blade’ and the cast of ‘The Eternals’ plus much, much more….

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

There was very little doubt that Marvel Studios was going to steal the show at San Diego Comic Con 2019 and the presentation in the famous Hall H on Saturday left more than a few jaws hanging on the floor when it was finished.

After skipping the convention a couple of times over the past few years, Marvel came out swinging with their latest panel that introduced a huge slate of projects coming in 2020 and 2021 including several films and the first jump into television with numerous shows set to land on the new Disney+ streaming service.

While Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige did acknowledge that plans are ongoing for the introduction of characters such as the Fantastic Four and the X-Men after Disney acquired FOX earlier this year, the presentation on Saturday didn’t get into either of those just yet.

But Marvel didn’t let anybody down with the string of announcements that were made including several new castings along with release dates for Phase Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Let’s take a look at all the major news coming from the Marvel Studios panel from San Diego Comic Con:

A New Blade

Just when the Marvel panel was about to wrap up, Feige held the crowd of nearly 7,000 fans in the palm of his hands when he introduced two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali on stage.

What came next was arguably the biggest shocker of the entire week in San Diego.

Ali put on a baseball cap with the logo that matched the one put up a second later on the giant screen behind him — and that title was ‘Blade’.

Ali will now portray the iconic half-vampire nicknamed ‘The Daywalker’ in a new film coming soon from Marvel Studios. The past iteration of the character in films was played by Wesley Snipes for a trio of movies spanning from 1998 to 2004.

The rights to ‘Blade’ were returned from New Line Cinema to Marvel in recent years and there had been rumors swirling for some time that the studio was thinking about launching a new project either with a film or perhaps in television. Snipes had even teased that he was hoping that another ‘Blade’ movie was in the works, although there’s no word if he’ll be involved in this version at all.

What we know for certain is Ali will now play Blade in the upcoming movie from Marvel Studios, which is made even more interesting because he will also become a part of the larger and connected Marvel film universe.

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

A highly anticipated sequel to ‘Doctor Strange’ was introduced on Saturday with several details about the movie also released during the panel.

The title alone confirms (along with Feige saying the same) that there is indeed a multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the events in ‘Avengers: Endgame’. As a result, ‘Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness’ will dive head first into exploring that subject but that’s not all.

Wanda Maximoff aka the Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen) will join Benedict Cumberbatch on this new adventure. Olsen will also rejoin Paul Bettany in a new Disney+ series called ‘WandaVision’ that will play directly into this story with ‘Doctor Strange’, which is undoubtedly a guarantee that anybody obessed with continuity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be plunking down $7.99 for that new streaming service.

Director Scott Derrickson also confirmed that ‘Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness’ will also be the first ‘scary’ Marvel film as he hoped to dive into more of the mystical and the occult that makes up so much of the Doctor Strange universe. Feige added that the film will still be rated PG-13 but the ‘Doctor Strange’ sequel will the first Marvel movie that might be categorized as ‘horror’.

‘Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness’ lands in theaters on May 7, 2021

A New Thor

Following word earlier this week that Taika Waititi would be returning to direct the fourth ‘Thor’ movie, details about that project were unleashed on Saturday.

Set to the sounds of the Dio track ‘Rainbow in the Dark’, the new film was introduced as ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’.

In addition to Waititi returning to direct another ‘Thor’ movie following the critical and commercial success of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, it was also confirmed that Tessa Thompson would be returning to reprise her role as Valkyrie.

The bigger surprise was Waititi then announcing that the story he wanted to tackle in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ came from an idea after reading Jason Aaron’s run on ‘The Mighty Thor’, which introduced a female Thor for the first time.

With that actress Natalie Portman joined the stage — while holding Thor’s hammer Mjolnir — as she will return for ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ as Jane Foster but she will also be portraying the new female Thor.

It can also be noted that Thompson revealed Valkyrie will represent an LGBTQ character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as an out lesbian in ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’.

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ will land in theaters on November 5, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

One of the new films introduced during the Marvel panel was ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’. Actor Simu Liu was announced to play the lead role of Shang-Chi along with some interesting ties to past Marvel movies.

Feige pointed out the symbol for the Ten Rings appearing in both ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Iron Man 3’, which will play back into this new film joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

‘Shang Chi’ will also introduce Tony Leung as The Mandarin — a character that was previously portrayed by a Sir Ben Kingsley in ‘Iron Man 3’. In that version the Mandarin was exposed as a fraud but Feige teased the real Mandarin was not happy with that portrayal and he will finally reveal himself in ‘Shang-Chi’.

Actress Awkwafina was also announced to join the cast of ‘Shang-Chi’, although there were no details about her character revealed just yet.

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings’ will land in theaters on February 12, 2021.

The Eternals

‘The Eternals’ was officially announced by Marvel on Saturday along with the entire cast being introduced including — Angelina Jolie (Thena), Richard Madden (Icarus), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), Lauren Ridloff (Makkari), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Salma Hayek(Ajak), Lia McHugh (Sprite), and Don Lee (Gilgamesh).

Originally created by the legendary Jack Kirby, ‘The Eternals’ focuses on a group of almost god-like characters who are protectors of Earth after they were created in a genetic experimentation by the Celestials nearly five million years ago.

This will be one of the earlier entries in the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ‘The Eternals’ being released on November 6, 2020.

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson will get her own solo film titled ‘Black Widow’ that will serve as a prequel to her character introduced in ‘Iron Man 2’ but most recognized from numerous appearances in ‘The Avengers’ movies.

The new film will explore Natasha Romanoff’s roots in Russia as well as introduce the Marvel Cinematic Universe to her little sister played by Florence Pugh.

Production on the film is about 30 days deep in London but the first footage from the project was shown on Saturday including an epic kitchen battle between Johannson and Pugh’s characteers. The teaser also introduced The Taskmaster, who will be the featured villain in this upcoming film.

‘Black Widow’ is due out on May 1, 2020

Sequels Galore

Feige also confirmed longstanding rumors about a number of upcoming sequels including ‘Black Panther 2’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ and ‘Captain Marvel 2’.

No release dates were confirmed for those films at this time.

Jumping Head First into Disney+

A big part of the Marvel presentation on Saturday was devoted to a slew of new series joining the Disney+ streaming service.

First up was ‘The Falcon and Winter Soldier’, which will see Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprise their roles from past films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The more surprise revelation is that Daniel Bruhl will be returning to play the villainous Baron Zemo, a character first introduced in ‘Captain America: Civil War’. Bruhl appeared in a short video played to the crowd in Hall H but just before he left the screen, he pulled down a familiar mask that has devined the character of Baron Zemo in the comic books for decades.

It appears the accurate version counterpart will be headed to ‘The Falcon and Winter Soldier’ to continue his reign of terror with an aim to take out Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes this time around.

‘The Falcon and Winter Soldier’ will arrive in Fall 2020.

Meanwhile, ‘WandaVision’ was also announced with Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany with that series slated to arrive in Spring 2021.

Feige was short on details about the series but it will take place post ‘Avengers: Endgame’, which will be an interesting twist considering the Vision died in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and never returned for the sequel.

The Marvel Studios president did reveal that ‘WandaVision’ will be unlike anything ever witnessed before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the story from this series will tie directly into the next ‘Doctor Strange’ film.

It was also announced that Teyonah Parris would join the cast to portray Monica Rambeau as an adult after the character was first introduced as a child in ‘Captain Marvel’, which took place in 1995.

“It’s going to get weird,” Olsen said about the series. “We’re going to go deep, we’re going to have lots of surprises, and we’re going to finally understand Wanda Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch.”

‘WandaVision’ will drop in Spring 2021.

Tom Hiddleston also appeared on stage to tease his new ‘Loki’ series, which is another entry into the post ‘Avengers: Endgame’ universe. Now again in the original films, Loki was killed by Thanos in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ but Feige was quick to explain how the mischievious brother of Thor can make his return.

During ‘Avengers: Endgame’ when Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Scott Lang and others traveled back in time to steal the Tessaract, they failed when the Hulk accidentally diverted them from their mission. In the melee, a handcuffed Loki picked up the Infinity Stone and then disappeared into a wormhole.

Now we already knew this was an alternate reality that immediately splintered the time line and this new Loki series will answer the question of where he went and what he did with the Tesseract after his encounter in New York during the time of ‘The Avengers’.

Remember this version of Loki hasn’t gone through the transformation into a reluctant (almost) hero so the one we’re getting in this series is the version who was just hell bent on making Earth bend the knee to his powerful master, who was actually Thanos behind the scenes pulling the strings.

‘Loki’ will debut on Disney+ in Spring 2021.

Marvel’s first animated series titled ‘What If…’ will debut in Summer 2021 with ‘Westworld’ star Jeffrey Wright on board to voice the mysterious Watcher.

This series will produce a group of stories asking what if about some of the most famous moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What if Tony Stark created the Iron Man suit and then decided to sell it as a weapon? What if it was Steve Rogers who sacrificed himself and Bucky Barnes survived? Those aren’t the actual stories taking place but you get the point behind the idea of the series.

Many of the most popular stars from the Marvel Cinematic Universe will return to voice their characters in this animated series coming in 2021.

And finally a new ‘Hawkeye’ series was also announced with Jeremy Renner taking the stage. The bigger news for this series was that Renner’s character Clint Barton will be training a new Hawkeye, who is well known from the comic books.

Her name is Kate Bishop and she will join the ‘Hawkeye’ series, although casting is still ongoing for that part and there is no release date yet for the series.

There will be plenty more to come from the Marvel Cinematic Universe so stay tuned for that in the coming months! 

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