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.

New Warriors

The New Warriors are Marvel's quirkiest superhero team this side of the Great Lakes Avengers, including characters such as Night Thrasher (a kind of teen skateboarding Batman), Speedball (who is more like a human Superball), and Squirrel Girl, the most underpowered hero to ever roundly beat the crap out of Marvel's most seemingly invincible villains. The project was ordered to series and produced by Freeform, home of the wildly successful Cloak and Dagger — but in November 2017, it was announced that the network had unexpectedly declined to air the series and would shop it around to suitors. While it has yet to find a home, it's still expected to debut in 2018, and ABC seems like as likely a landing spot as any.

According to comics scribe Fabian Nicieza (who served as an unofficial consultant), the series promises to be Marvel's first straight-up comedy, with a documentary feel inspired by Nicieza's run on the comics. The team's most formidable announced nemesis is grumpy municipal employee Ernest Vigman, who will be portrayed by beloved character actor Keith David; the team itself will include Night Thrasher (Jeremy Tardy, Bone Tomahawk), Speedball (Calum Worthy, American Vandal), Debrii (Kate Comer, Hello, My Name is Doris), Microbe (Matthew Moy, 2 Broke Girls) and the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, who will be played by former AT&T girl and This Is Us actress Milana Vayntrub. New Warriors seems like a breath of comedic fresh air for Marvel Television and a near-guaranteed hit, so it should be picked up any time now.

Captain Marvel

She didn't show up in Infinity War, but we've now had our first real look at Brie Larson as Carol Danvers. The first Captain Marvel trailer gives viewers a crash course in what they can expect from this upcoming MCU installment. We already knew that the movie is set in the 1990s (Kevin Feige made it clear that they intended to pay homage to the big action movies of that decade), and the trailer drills that point home by crashing Danvers through the roof of a Blockbuster Video store, right into the Action section.

We also get glimpses of Captain Marvel's origin story (in this version she seems to get her powers after a crashed Kree ship explodes in her face), which she appears to have completely forgotten, convenient amnesia style. Uncovering the truth about her past life on earth will be central to the plot, as will her relationship with Jude Law's character. He's heavily rumored to be playing Mar-Vell, though he continues to dodge the question in interviews. "Yes, it's been reported I'm playing Mar-Vell," he told Entertainment Weekly. "I'm not going to confirm or deny that."

As expected, Samuel Jackson (who narrates the trailer) will also play an integral part. A younger, two-eyed Nick Fury appears to have been tasked with tracking down the "renegade soldier" Danvers after her arrival on earth, and the digital de-aging (used on both Jackson and Agent Coulson actor Clark Gregg) looks fantastic. We'll see more when Captain Marvel lands in theaters on March 8, 2019.

Avengers: Endgame

The climax of Avengers: Infinity War was more traumatizing than anything Marvel fans have had to deal with thus far, as Thanos' fabled finger snap wiped out half of all life in the universe (yes, including cats and dogs) and fan favorites like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Black Panther were seen crumbling to dust. The Russo Brothers have gone out of their way to caution us that some of these characters might indeed be gone for good — which doesn't exactly line up with the fact that all three of the characters previously mentioned have been all but confirmed for Avengers: Endgame by way of set photos and various leaks. 

These same set photos have also allowed fans to begin to parse out the film's plot, which seems almost certain to involve Ant-Man (last seen stuck in the Quantum Realm at the conclusion of Ant-Man and the Wasp) accompanying the Avengers on a trip back in time — specifically, to the climactic Battle of New York from The Avengers — in order to undo what has been done. Whether this involves the use of Tony Stark's B.A.R.F. technology from Captain America: Civil War or actual time travel (possibly via the Quantum Realm) remains to be seen, but it's likely that the remaining Avengers will be in search of that one timeline — out of the 14 billion viewed by Strange in Infinity War — in which Thanos is defeated. Phase three of the MCU wraps up with Avengers: Endgame on April 26, 2019.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

In early 2018, writer/director James Gunn confirmed that the third installment of the ridiculously successful Guardians of the Galaxy franchise would be on its way in 2020, and a few months later, he announced via Twitter that a script had been completed. But then, an unexpected turn of events: amid a kerfuffle over some years-old, admittedly highly inappropriate tweets made by Gunn, Disney decided to part ways with the director. It was heartbreaking news for fans, not to mention the cast, who uniformly stood behind Gunn in a joint public statement. For a moment, it even looked like Disney might reverse course, until it looked like they wouldn't again — and then finally, it was reported that the House of Mouse will probably be using Gunn's script, but would not bring him back as director.

If there's a silver lining here, it's that this means Guardians 3 will likely retain its cast — Dave Bautista, one of Gunn's most vocal supporters, stated flatly that he would quit if Gunn's script wasn't used. But unfortunately, Disney's quest for a new director has necessitated that production be suspended on the film. There's still a chance that we'll see the Guardians again in 2020, and also that Disney will come to its senses; Gunn apologized for his tweets, saying that he was a different person then — plus, it can be argued that Disney knew what they were getting into when they hired the man who co-wrote Tromeo and Juliet.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

In the grey space between Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel, many fans are looking to any news concerning post-Avengers: Endgame releases to try to ascertain the fates of their favorite heroes. It seems pretty obvious that those with Phase 4 solo films planned will somehow make their way back from wherever Thanos' finger snap sent them, and despite Peter Parker's heart-rending death scene in Infinity War, the blow was softened a bit on account of everyone knowing that Spider-Man: Far From Home was in the works. As news from the set has leaked out, we've gotten some strong indications as to the status of some other beloved characters, as well — and not all the news is good.

We know that many of Spidey's friends, including Zendaya's MJ (who is not Mary Jane Watson, thank you very much), will return, and set photos indicate that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) will be around as mentors for Peter. Of course, Fury was last seen crumbling to dust, further indication that many of our heroes will somehow be resurrected in Avengers: Endgame. But the fact that Peter needs new mentors doesn't bode well for his current one — Tony Stark. It's also been all but confirmed that Jake Gyllenhaal will appear as Mysterio, and that we'll see a new, black "stealth" version of Spidey's suit… but we'd really just like to see Robert Downey, Jr. show up on the Far From Home set, please.

The Punisher Season 2

Don't fear, Frank Castle fans. (Although if you're his enemy, you should probably run as fast you can.) The Punisher will be blasting his way back onto Netflix in the very near future. According to the official Punisher Twitter page, season two is coming soon, but that's really all the information out there at the moment. Obviously, Jon Bernthal will return as the veteran-turned-vigilante, but other than that, there are very few details about the upcoming season. It will be interesting to see where the show goes, as the Punisher has gotten his revenge. All we can do right now is hope that Ben Barnes returns as Jigsaw.

Marvel's Runaways Season 2

The Hulu series Marvel's Runaways focuses on a group of superpowered teens who discover that their parents are members of the Pride, an evil organization bent on unearthing an ancient, supernatural power. While its first season was a success, it was criticized in some quarters for its languid pacing and seeming reluctance to get to the meat of the story — problems which, according to co-creator Josh Schwartz, will be remedied in season 2.

At the conclusion of the first season, the kids (finally) find themselves on the run, framed for a murder they didn't commit. Speaking with USA Today, Schwartz said that the second season will "accelerate. We are now running with our kids… there's a greater sense of tension and momentum in keeping with where we are in this part of the story." He also revealed that the new season won't focus quite as heavily on the Pride: "Given the circumstances of all these kids being on the run, you absolutely will see a shift," he said. "The parents are obviously an incredibly important part of the story. We spent a lot of time last year getting to know them and investing in them, but the shift in focus definitely is more toward the kids." Schwartz also teased that we're going to see a lot more super-powered action than in season 1, which is always a welcome development. Runaways season 2 is expected to drop on Hulu sometime in late 2018 or early 2019.

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow has popped up in no fewer than six MCU films, and has the kind of shady past that would be ripe for exploration, should Marvel choose to go that route; although a Black Widow solo flick has been rumored for years, it's finally been confirmed that we're actually going to get one.

The film got the green light in mid-2018, and Marvel has already begun filling out its team. Writer Jac Schaeffer (the scribe behind the forthcoming Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake Nasty Women) was hired before the project was even greenlit, and after meeting with over 70 potential directors, the studio finally settled on Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland. Shortland's filmography is not exactly extensive; she's perhaps best known for 2012's Lore, a little-seen but critically acclaimed historical drama. But if there's one thing we know about Marvel, it's that their out-of-left-field directorial choices nearly always turn out to be blindingly brilliant in hindsight. We can be assured that the project is in good hands; now, all fans can reasonably ask is that Schaeffer and Shortland clue us in as to what happened in Budapest. Whatever it was, Hawkeye remembers it very differently.

Doctor Strange 2

With 2016's Doctor Strange a smash hit and the character playing such a crucial role in the conflict with Thanos, it seemed like a no-brainer that the Sorcerer Supreme — despite the whole crumbling-to-dust thing — would be playing a major role in the MCU in Phase 4. An unconfirmed report citing an anonymous source from the Mirror (not always a bastion of journalistic accuracy) states that Benedict Cumberbatch has received a huge pay bump to star in the sequel, which may start shooting as soon as 2019 — but whether or not this is correct, the eventuality of Doctor Strange 2 has been confirmed not only by Cumberbatch, but by Kevin Feige as well.

When asked about continuing in the role by Deadline, Cumberbatch didn't mince words: "Just try to stop me," he said. "That's all kind of lined up as far as I'm aware, but who knows? I mean, you know, the problem is, how does he get out of where he's at. But that's the only thing." And while doing press for Ant-Man and the Wasp, Feige had this to say to CinemaBlend: "Strange, you know, whenever we do another Strange one, which we will do, it will be a number of years from the first." Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson even jumped in on Twitter with a cryptic tweet seemingly confirming his involvement as well — but of course, we're not likely to get many more details until after Phase Three is complete.

Black Panther 2

While a second solo vehicle for the Sorcerer Supreme hasn't been officially confirmed, Marvel isn't playing nearly as coy about King T'Challa's second solo outing. It doesn't have an official title or release date, but Black Panther 2 has been officially confirmed by the studio — not exactly a huge surprise, as the original became one of the highest-grossing films of all time and Marvel's first to receive serious Oscar consideration. Not only is the sequel officially happening, but Feige revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the concept is already coming together nicely: "We absolutely will do that. One of the favorite pastimes at Marvel Studios is sitting around on a Part One and talking and dreaming about what we would do in a Part Two. There have been plenty of those conversations as we were putting together the first Black Panther. We have ideas and a pretty solid direction on where we want to head with the second one."

Writer/director Ryan Coogler is officially on board, and while nothing is confirmed, it's expected that the principal cast — including Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'O and Danai Gurira — will also return. It's even been rumored that Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger could return in some capacity, despite being left in no condition to do so at the end of Black Panther. In light of the megabucks that film made, we're likely to get additional details on this highly-anticipated sequel sooner rather than later.

Disney's streaming series

If there will ever be a serious threat to Netflix in the world of streaming services, it will probably be Disney+, the House of Mouse's forthcoming offering. In addition to its deep catalog of content courtesy of its ownership of ABC and impending acquisition of Fox's television and film operations, Disney has also announced plans to beef up the service with a tantalizing library of original content — and among these will be exclusive, limited series based on characters from the MCU, featuring the original actors reprising their roles. With an eye toward high production values and putting the spotlight on well-liked characters who may not be able to support their won feature films, this appears to be an excellent plan for prying open the wallets of Marvel fans.

Series featuring Scarlet Witch (and, possibly, Vision) and the Falcon and Winter Soldier (in a team-up show) have been rumored, but thus far, only one has been confirmed: Loki, which will bring Tom Hiddleston back in the role of the beloved antihero. Since the character is (spoilers) murdered by Thanos in the opening moments of Avengers: Infinity War, it's not clear when within the MCU timeline the series will take place. But fans won't care; any chance to see Hiddleston put on the trickster god's curly-horned helmet one more time will be gratefully welcomed.

The Eternals

In April 2018, as the world was waiting with bated breath for Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel chief Kevin Feige teased a possibility for Phase 4 and beyond during a press junket. "Eternals is one of many… things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about to see if we believe in them enough to put them on a slate," he said, perking up the ears of fans familiar with the property. Created by comics legend Jack Kirby in 1976, the Eternals are an ancient race of humans granted near-immortality and the ability to manipulate cosmic energy by the Celestials, godlike beings which have already been well-established in the MCU (Peter Quill's father, Ego, was one). 

Either Feige was being coy, or it turned out that the Marvel brain trust believed in the property a great deal, because the project quickly started moving full steam ahead. In May, the screenwriting duo of Matthew and Ryan Firpo (whose spec script Ruin claimed the top spot on the 2017 Black List) was announced to be penning the script. Then, in September, director Chloe Zhao (The Rider) was handed the directing gig after becoming friendly with Marvel brass during the search for a Black Widow director. The project is still in very early development, but Marvel — as is their tendency — already appears to be loading it up with top-tier talent.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seasons 6 and 7

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has seemingly been on the brink of cancellation since its inception, but ABC's corporate parent Disney has insisted on keeping the show up and running. Fortunately, it has by some appraisals gotten better every season, and even though season five provided a measure of closure for the team (mainly because of the whole constant-brink-of-cancellation thing), ABC surprised fans and cast alike by picking up the show for an abbreviated 13-episode sixth season in May 2018. However, they were saving the real surprise for later in the year: in November, the network went ahead and re-upped for a seventh season (also 13 episodes), which is not scheduled to air until 2020. It is, in fact, the first series that ABC has formally slotted for that year.

Of course, no plot details have been announced for either season, and it's not at all clear whether Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) — who, at the fifth season's conclusion, had peacefully resigned himself to his days being extremely numbered — will return. But despite S.H.I.E.L.D.'s less-than-stellar viewership in the U.S., it's a surprisingly strong property overseas, and apparently ABC (or, more likely, Disney) is confident enough that its creative team can continue pulling weird rabbits out of its collective hat to keep the ball rolling. Fans aren't complaining, and neither are the cast, who seem to genuinely enjoy each others' company and their work on the series.