Upcoming Marvel projects that will get you pumped

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe started, it had the advantage of being more simple and streamlined than the comics it was based on—making it easy for new audiences to become fans of characters like Iron Man and Captain America without having to get up to speed by reading through countless back issues.

With blockbuster success, however, comes great expansion: roughly a decade after it launched, the MCU now encompasses a seemingly endless array of movies and tie-in TV shows. In many ways, we're right back at square one; it can be very difficult for casual fans or diehard aficionados to keep track of what's happened—or what's coming next. Fortunately, you don't need Doctor Strange's Eye of Agamotto in order to see everything Marvel has planned: all you have to do is check out our handy guide to every MCU movie and TV series in development.

Runaways

It's easy to dismiss most comics as being very similar. Typically, they tell the story of a single character, strengthened by tragedy, finding the perseverance to defeat supervillain after supervillain. Runaways, however, made a big splash by breaking this formula: the characters are all teenagers who find out their parents are a group of supervillains trying to destroy the world. Ultimately, they're on the run from both their villainous parental units and the superheroes who, unaware of what's really going on, think these are just troubled teens who need rescuing.

Now, Runaways is being adapted into a TV show for Hulu, where it'll inevitably face comparisons with the critically acclaimed corner of the MCU that's being portrayed on Netflix. The show represents Marvel's concerted effort to broadcast on pretty much every platform, from the family-friendly ABC and Freeform to the grittier Netflix and less restrained Hulu. The comic it's based on was an absolute classic that combined unique powers, dynamic characters, and tongue-in-cheek stories; here's hoping Hulu does it justice. We'll get to see the finished product and its young cast on November 21, 2017.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5

In an unintentional bit of meta humor, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been relatively undercover when it comes to the MCU. The show represented Marvel's first attempt to extend its cinematic universe to television, going so far as to bring back Clark Gregg's utterly charming Agent Coulson. However, it quickly became apparent that factors such as different film dates and countless different movie writers and directors meant that the Marvel TV shows would never really have an impact on their movies. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has turned this to its advantage, creating memorable characters and adventures that aren't weighed down by trying to connect to the big-screen MCU.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has done a fine job of keeping its characters, stories, and plot twists fresh over the course of its first four seasons, and Marvel has confirmed the series is coming back. The next round of episodes should let us see where a show that's already taken us from the depths of space to the heights of virtual reality will go next, and we'll finally get to see Agent Coulson back in action on December 1.

The Punisher

Of all of the upcoming Netflix MCU shows, The Punisher is the one most shrouded in mystery—partly because giving the character a separate show wasn't originally part of the plan. While they had long-term, Defenders-shaped ideas for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, the breakout popularity of Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle necessitated giving him his own violent corner of the MCU.

The vigilante will blast his way into the Netflix world on November 17, and Bernthal has hinted that the first season might tell a Punisher origin story, taking place before his introduction to Daredevil and showing how Frank Castle's family being murdered transformed him into the monster we know and love. We know Hannibal veteran Steven Lightfoot will be running things, and since he's a veteran of Hannibal, we know he's just as adept with blood and gore as he is with narrative substance.

We also know Bernthal will be supported by actors like Ben Barnes, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Amber Rose Revah, and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo. On top of all that, Marvel recently announced the names of all 13 episodes, including titles like "Kandahar," "Crosshairs," and "Front Toward Enemy." Appropriately enough, season one will end with an episode called "Memento Mori."

Black Panther

The character of Black Panther, played perfectly by Chadwick Boseman, was an absolute revelation in Captain America: Civil War, letting viewers see the classic Marvel character as both a fighter (with a cool suit that allows him to go toe to toe with anyone in the MCU) and as a reluctant king who must take over after his father is killed.

Thanks to Civil War, we've already gotten Black Panther's origin and backstory—narrative obstacles that traditionally take up the first hour or so of a character's debut movie. With this out of the way, Black Panther's movie can immediately thrust us into the mysterious and exotic realm of Wakanda. As tends to be par for the course with Marvel, details of the story have been pretty scarce, but we know that T'Challa will have to protect his homeland from both a murderous weapons dealer and his evil feline alter ego. Also, the film boasts an insane amount of talent, including actors like Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, and Angela Bassett. And, oh yeah, we can't forget Forest Whitaker, Sterling K. Brown, Daniel Kaluuya, Martin Freeman, and Andy Serkis. In other words, we're marking our calendars for Black Panther's arrival on February 16, 2018.

Jessica Jones Season Two

In many ways, the first season of Jessica Jones gave us our first real antihero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many superheroes start out fighting crime reluctantly, but Jones was extremely traumatized when she tried to be a superhero; after surviving the experience, she tried to lead a relatively normal existence as a private eye. That twist gave Jessica Jones as a series a unique appeal, as we saw a full and fleshed-out narrative arc with genuine emotional weight.

In early 2018, we'll see what comes next for Jessica Jones when her second season debuts on Netflix. The previous season ended with Jessica and her ally Malcolm recommitting themselves to saving the world one client at a time via Alias, her private investigation service. As for season two, we know Jessica will be dealing with the emotional aftermath of—spoiler alert—killing Kilgrave, the psychic rapist with a fondness for purple suits. And according to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, the second season will also spend more time on secondary characters instead of solely focusing on Jessica Jones.

However, the biggest piece of news is that David Tennant is returning to the show. We don't know if he's coming back to life somehow, or if he'll only appear in flashbacks, but either way, it looks like Jones hasn't completely escaped from Kilgrave quite yet.

Avengers: Infinity War

When it finally arrives May 4, 2018, Avengers: Infinity War promises to deliver the first big payoff for everything the MCU has been building toward since 2008. The exact details of the story remain very hush-hush, but we know it involves Thanos seeking the Infinity Stones he needs to complete his Infinity Gauntlet and wield godlike powers. He promises to be a foe unlike any the Avengers have faced before, so naturally, the movie will feature pretty much every MCU hero we've encountered along the way, from Black Panther and Spider-Man to the Guardians of the Galaxy.

However, some of our favorite Avengers will look a little different since the last time we saw them. Evidently, Captain America will be sporting a beard, and Black Widow has gone from a redhead to a platinum blonde. But in addition to all our favorite good guys, we'll be meeting a few new villains. As it turns out, Thanos will be bringing along the Black Order, a group of alien assassins described as his children, similar to Nebula and Gamora. It promises to be an epic showdown—a live-action realization of everyone's childhood action figure battles that will shatter the already insanely-impressive box office held by previous Avengers movies. And chances are good that Infinity War will end with a cliffhanger, as Marvel has already scheduled a release date for the next sequel, set to premiere the next year.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first Ant-Man movie offered more than a few surprises for comics fans and MCU junkies alike. The first: the decision to focus on the Scott Lang Ant-Man character rather than the more familiar Hank Pym, whom the movie portrayed as a Cold War era hero living out his golden years in fear of people misusing his technology. With the help of his daughter Hope and unlikely hero Scott Lang, Pym succeeds in saving the day one last time. What, exactly, will the sequel entail? Marvel has kept mum on the details, but we know a few things for sure.

Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), for starters, will don a cool prototype armor designed by Pym's wife Janet (who will be played by Michelle Pfeiffer), which means we'll see the Wasp make her long-awaited MCU debut. Speaking of Janet, it seems likely that the movie will follow up on the quest to find her and bring her home from the Quantum Realm. Finally, the movie's July 6, 2018 premiere date places it just over two months after Infinity War—and considering that the entire face of the MCU could be different by then, it may be up to Ant-Man and the Wasp to pick up where other heroes have fallen (and quite possibly died) in their fight against Thanos.

Daredevil Season Three

Daredevil kicked off Netflix's side of the MCU by blowing everyone away with a tight plot and perfect casting, including an unforgettable turn by Vincent D'onofrio as the Kingpin. Daredevil's second season kept up its predecessor's relentless pace while adding fan favorite characters like Elektra and Punisher to the mix, the latter proving so popular that he's now getting in his own series. Where, then, will Daredevil as a show be going in season three?

Well, the last time we saw Matt Murdock, he was recuperating from his showdown with the Hand, under the care of the enigmatic Sister Maggie. With that mysterious ending, many suspect season three will take a page or two from the famous Born Again story arc. But while details surrounding the plot are sparse, we do know the incredible Vincent D'Onofrio will be returning as Daredevil's number one nemesis: Wilson Fisk. Unfortunately, there's no release date yet, but chances are good we'll get to see Daredevil and the Kingpin throw down sometime in 2018.

Luke Cage Season Two

After his appearance in Jessica Jones, we knew Luke Cage (and his unbreakable body) were a big hit with audiences. The amazing first season of his solo show, however, proved this was a character perfectly capable of carrying an entire show on his broad shoulders. The season essentially juggled two storylines, with one set in the past (a series of flashbacks explaining how Cage got his powers and why he was on the run from his former life) and one set in the present (in which Cage handles becoming a public figure and taking on corrupt and powerful local figures like Cottonmouth and Mariah). Ultimately, the season ends with Cage in a pretty bad place, which sets up a lot of plot points that the second season may help unravel.

Having said that, we don't have a lot of info at the moment about the plot of season two, but we do know that Misty Knight will be showing up with a pretty cool bionic arm, and that Lucy Liu will be directing the premiere episode. But as for the actual story, well, all we know is that Luke Cage has a lot of cleaning up to do in Harlem once he gets out of jail, and we'll be waiting for another awesome adventure sometime in 2018.

New Warriors

If you were to make a list of the Marvel characters and teams that were likely to get their own TV show, it would have been a long time before you got to the New Warriors. The squad's original comic, a '90s hit, has been reinvented from time to time, but the core idea has typically revolved around younger heroes banding together to take out threats they couldn't handle alone—a Junior Avengers kind of deal.

The original iteration of the team (including Night Thrasher, basically the answer to the question "what if Batman was young and used a skateboard to fight crime?") is one of the most '90s things ever, and it didn't seem like the likeliest fit for the modern MCU. Freeform thinks otherwise, however—they're bringing a live-action New Warriors TV show, complete with updated character stories (that skateboarding crime fighter is now a star YouTuber) and a new leader: breakout comics star Squirrel Girl (who will be played by This Is Us vet Milana Vayntrub).

Of course, these millennial superheroes are bound to hit a few snags in their crime fighting career, one of whom is a cranky bureaucrat. Keith David (The Thing, Platoon, The Flash) will play Ernest Vigman, "a caustic municipal employee who butts up against the hopeful energy of the new warriors." And if you haven't figured it out by now, New Warriors won't be taking itself very seriously. In fact, according to ScreenRant, Marvel and Freeform plan on making the show a straight-up comedy. Really, that just makes us even more excited for 2018, when we'll finally get to see Squirrel Girl having in-depth conversations with her best squirrelfriend Tippy-Toe.

Cloak and Dagger

Cloak and Dagger are another set of heroes that always seemed unlikely to get a TV show, partly because their secret origin story is rooted in drugs: they were given synthetic heroin by a criminal chemist, which gave them a weird set of powers. Cloak is able to make himself intangible and to teleport himself and others through the darkforce dimension (which hopefully won't remind audiences too much of the Dark World in Thor 2). Dagger, meanwhile, creates daggers of light, and wields energy that can cure people of things like drug addiction. Needless to say, this will be difficult to portray onscreen, and neither character's powers are suited to the traditional fisticuffs of an MCU show. However, Marvel seems confident in Cloak & Dagger, and it'll certainly be different—both of which make it worth tuning in to Freeform in late 2018.

Captain Marvel

The Carol Danvers version of Captain Marvel has a long history in Marvel comics—and not always a happy one. She started out as Ms. Marvel, and spent a long period of time on the back burner, but in more recent years, Marvel made the decision to restore her to prominence, giving her a new image (less leggy and more military) and a new creative outlook courtesy of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. During her run, DeConnick turned the Captain Marvel title into a cornerstone hit for the company, making the character a natural to provide the MCU with some much-needed female representation.

Brie Larson has signed on to star in Captain Marvel, which is set to be co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. While the movie will hit theaters on March 8, 2019, the film itself will be set during the early 1990s. And in addition to meeting Carol Danvers, we'll also be introduced to a much younger Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and this time, he'll have both of his eyes. As for the bad guys, it's been revealed that Captain Marvel will be facing off against the Skrulls, a group of green-skinned shape-shifters that have been comic book bad guys since the 1960s.

Avengers 4

Speaking of movies whose details remain unclear, here's the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War. The fact that the movies are coming out one year apart means their stories should be very closely connected (especially in comparison to the typical two- or three-year gap between Marvel franchise installments). Considering that the MCU has gone out of its way to introduce newer squad members like Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Falcon, and that contracts are soon expiring for veteran Avengers like Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr., it seems likely we'll see some of our favorite characters die or otherwise removed from the canvas, forcing a new generation of heroes to step up. Whether or not this comes to pass, it's a sure bet that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will never be the same after May 3, 2019.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Parting is such sweet sorrow, and it's almost time to say goodbye to Star-Lord and his merry band of misfits. According to writer-director James Gunn, the third installment in his popular series "will conclude the story of this iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy." Not only that, Gunn says Vol. 3 will "help catapult both old and new Marvel characters into the next ten years and beyond," so perhaps we'll get a new version of the ragtag space team further down the line…although we'll be sad to see Groot and Rocket disappear for good.

Of course, the news surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 isn't all downbeat and depressing. Regarding the trilogy film's soundtrack, Gunn recently told fans on Twitter the he's narrowed his musical choices down to "181 songs," and the list "could get longer." However many songs actually make the cut, we're sure to end up with some pretty cool tunes. We can also look forward to seeing the return of Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and the arrival of Adam Warlock, one of the most anticipated characters in MCU history. (There's even official concept art for his incredibly creepy cocoon.)

However, we'll still have to wait a little while to watch the final adventures of Peter Quill and company. On July 17, 2017, Gunn wrote on Twitter that he was "working on the second draft of the treatment (story)," and on Facebook, he implied the film might hit theaters in 2020. But the wait will be well worth it, as Gunn promises Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be "an epic conclusion of who the Guardians are and why they were brought together. I can't wait to tell that story to people."

Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel

With its charismatic star and John Hughes vibe, Spider-Man: Homecoming charmed audiences around the world and even pleased critics who aren't so fond of the MCU. And if you can't wait for Peter Parker to swing back into theaters, mark your calendar for July 5, 2019. There's very little information about the Spider-Man sequel at the moment, but we do know director Jon Watts is coming back, along with original screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Naturally, Tom Holland, Zendaya, and Marisa Tomei will all return, and let's keep our fingers crossed that maybe this time we'll get to see the Scorpion in action.