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Upcoming Marvel projects that will get you pumped

If it seems like there's a new Marvel film or television project coming at you roughly every couple of hours or so, it's only because the House of Ideas has become an absolutely dominant force in pop culture. Thanks largely to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — the highest-grossing franchise in film history by about six miles — characters who were once relegated to the C-list in the pages of Marvel Comics have become household names, once-obscure properties are launching multi-billion dollar franchises, and movie and television executives who had never heard the term "shared universe" a decade ago are scrambling to copy Mighty Marvel's business model.

Even though the film and TV assets of Fox — a studio which, up until very recently, was playing keepaway with the rights to more than a few of Marvel's characters — was recently absorbed by Marvel Studios parent company Disney, the wealth of Marvel properties being thrust into the spotlight across a ton of different platforms can still get a little confusing. Fortunately, we're here to sort it all out for you with this handy guide to every Marvel movie and TV show on the horizon for the foreseeable future. As a great man once said: hold on to your hats, true believers!

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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.

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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.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home

He was last seen crumbling to dust in the arms of Tony Stark during perhaps the most heartbreaking sequence in Avengers: Infinity War, but the pathos was tempered by the fact that we all knew Tom Holland's Peter Parker would be back to web-sling another day. It was known well in advance of the character's dusting that Holland would be appearing in more than one Spidey solo film, and sure enough, it was later confirmed that Spider-Man: Far from Home would take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. This sequel will see young Parker going on a European excursion with his classmates — a relaxing sojourn which turns not-so-relaxing when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) show up to enlist him in the fight against mysterious elemental monsters that show up and start wreaking havoc.

Also among the cast is Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck/Mysterio, a longtime Spider-Man nemesis in the comics who — if the trailer is to be believed — is actually fighting on the side of the good guys, at least at first. However, we'd like to point out that Mysterio is prone to whipping up intricate illusions in support of his criminal schemes, implying that there may be more to his relationship to the fire, water, and earth-based beasties (which bear some resemblance to Spidey villains Molten Man, Hydro-Man, and Sandman) than meets the eye.

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Morbius

The SUMC (or Sony Universe of Marvel Characters, if you're not into the whole brevity thing) was born of Sony Pictures' deal with Marvel Studios, which allowed Marvel to integrate Spider-Man (for which Sony held the film rights) into the MCU. In exchange, Sony continues to produce ol' Webhead's MCU-set solo outings, and also has free rein to develop its own universe based on ancillary Spider-Man characters. This universe's inaugural effort, 2018's Venom, completely cleaned up at the box office while satisfying fans of the character left cold by Topher Grace's unfortunate portrayal in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3. After that somewhat unexpected success, Sony was quick to fast-track another Spidey-related property that had been gestating since 2017.

This would be Morbius, based on the "living vampire" and frequent Spider-Man nemesis who first appeared in the pages of Marvel comics in 1971. The flick will star Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius, a brilliant biochemist whose attempts to cure his own potentially fatal blood disease with an experimental treatment — involving the blood of vampire bats — go predictably awry, transforming him into a superpowered ghoul who must consume human blood to survive. Daniel Espinosa (Life) directs from a script by Lost in Space co-creators Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. We'll see if the SUMC can establish a dark, horror-tinged streak when the movie hits screens on July 31, 2020.

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Black Widow

Kevin Feige has been promising fans a solo vehicle for Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow, for freaking years. They could have been forgiven for giving up hope — but the MCU is like the mother of all puzzles, and some pieces simply can't be laid down until there are others in place. Apparently, the Phase 4 picture is shaping up nicely enough that Natasha's solo adventure has officially been put into production — and even though it will take place in her pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. days in the mid-2000s, you can bet that it will tie into whatever larger post-Infinity Saga storyline Marvel is cooking up somehow.

Aussie director Cate Shortland (Lore) has been tapped to direct from a script by Jac Schaeffer, who contributed to Captain Marvel's screenplay and will showrun the Vision and Scarlet Witch limited series for Disney+; scribe Ned Benson (the Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby series) handled a light rewrite. Starring alongside Johansson will be Florence Pugh (Fighting With My Family) and David Harbour (Stranger Things), who had some interesting things to say about the choice of Shortland to direct when he was still in talks for his undisclosed role. "[Shortland is] a phenomenal director, so what's really exciting to me about it is it's gonna be like a real deep, interesting film," the star told Entertainment Tonight. "And so yeah, I'm just excited for it as a film as well as a superhero movie." So are we, David. Better late than never.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Call it the great Gunn-troversy of 2018. In July of that year, the news broke that James Gunn, writer and director of the beloved Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, had been let go from the third installment over a series of very old (and admittedly highly inappropriate) tweets that had been dug up by conservative pundits. Guardians fans (not to mention the entire cast, who all signed off on an open letter supporting the director) were up in arms — but a silver lining came in August, when it was announced that Gunn's completed script would at least be used. The search was on for a new director — a search that continued right up until March of 2019, when Disney put an and to the whole kerfuffle by seemingly saying "the hell with it" and re-hiring Gunn.

The nearly year-long impasse will have the effect of delaying Vol. 3 for a bit, as it didn't take Gunn long after his canning to find another gig — at rival Warner Bros., writing and directing a "total reboot" of Suicide Squad (currently titled, simply, The Suicide Squad) for DC. Marvel Studios has agreed to wait patiently until Gunn's work on that film — which is slotted for release in the summer of 2021 — is done before putting Vol. 3 into production, meaning that we're not likely to see it hit the big screen until at least 2022. But given the choice between a slight delay and a Gunn-less Guardians, we're pretty sure Marvel fans will take the delay.

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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.

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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, winning three for its original score, costume design, and production design. 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.

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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 early development, but it's been reported that Marvel is seeking to cast an openly gay actor in a lead role, which would be a welcome first in superhero cinema.

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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, set to premiere May 10th, 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.

Although Clark Gregg will return for season 6, it's been reported that he won't be playing Phil Coulson, who is confirmed to have moved on to the Great Beyond shortly after the events of season 5. Rather, he'll be appearing as a mysterious Coulson doppelgänger — perhaps a clone, perhaps an alternate from another reality. 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.

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Shang-Chi

Black Panther kicked open the door for more diverse representation in the MCU, and Captain Marvel will force it open yet further. But in late 2018, Marvel Studios demonstrated their commitment to traveling this road with the announcement that a feature film was being developed centered on Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, who made his first appearance in Marvel comics in the early '70s. One of few non-superpowered heroes who is more than capable of taking on powered opponents, Shang-Chi has a rich comics history in which he's interacted with the likes of Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Avengers — and much like they did in spectacular fashion with Black Panther, Marvel seems intent on using the character to tell a story from a specific cultural viewpoint which will ensnare moviegoers of all backgrounds.

Chinese-American scribe Dave Callaham, whose credits include co-writing Wonder Woman 1984 for DC and Warner Bros., has been tapped to pen the script, while Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton will helm the project; the search is on for an Asian-American actor to fill the lead role. For their part, fans were quick to choose Ludi Lin (who appeared as Murk in Aquaman) as an ideal choice, and the actor expressed interest in the part in a conversation with ScreenRant. Observers have also pointed out that the film would be an ideal vehicle in which to engage in a little course correction with the character of the villainous Mandarin — but we'll have to wait to see if any of this pans out.

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Loki limited series

It's still something of a mystery when in 2019 the House of Mouse will drop its "Netflix killer" streaming service, Disney+, on the world — "sometime this year" is about all we've gotten — but when it happens, Marvel fans will have their wallets at the ready. Late in 2018, it was announced that Marvel Studios would be developing multiple limited series for the streamer, featuring actors from the MCU reprising their roles, and it didn't take long to get confirmation on the first of these: a show about Loki, which will see Tom Hiddleston returning to portray the beloved trickster god once more.

Of course, the character met a grim end at the hands of Thanos in the brutal opening sequence of Avengers: Infinity War, and his death is expected to actually take this time. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series will follow Loki as he "pops up throughout human history as an unlikely influencer on historical events," much like a less-friendly, time traveling Forrest Gump. The project has scored a showrunner who should know his way around this kind of material: Michael Waldron, who has worked as a writer on Adult Swim's Rick and Morty and will be credited as creator and executive producer, in addition to writing the pilot. It's an inspired premise and a spot-on creative choice, but let's face it: Disney+ had us at "Tom Hiddleston will return as Loki."

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Vision and the Scarlet Witch

Joining the god of mischief on the small screen will be Vision and the Scarlet Witch, with Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen returning to their respective roles. It's a familiar pairing for comics fans; the two Avengers have long been romantically entangled, a relationship that was a tad underdeveloped in the films and which will hopefully be explored further in their limited series. Once again, the battle with Thanos did not end well for the duo (Scarlet Witch, dusted; Vision, cold, gray, and dead), and it's unclear whether the series will see them revived or take place earlier in the timeline.

The project has landed a capable showrunner in Jac Schaeffer, who contributed to the blockbuster smash Captain Marvel and is currently at work on the screenplay for Natasha Romanoff solo vehicle Black Widow. No further details have been made public, but it should be noted that the series existed only in the realm of rumor for months — much like the proposed limited series featuring Captain America sidekicks Falcon and Winter Soldier, which has been the subject of heavy speculation but has not yet received official confirmation. Vision and the Scarlet Witch, however, is definitely moving full steam ahead; the show is expected to be included among the initial slate of original offerings to be found on Disney+ when the streamer debuts in 2019.

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What If? animated series

Here's a project that will ring all kinds of nostalgia bells for longtime Marvel Comics readers. What If? is an alternate universe anthology series which has run in various formats since 1977, exploring how events may have unfolded if crucial moments in the mainstream Marvel timeline had played out differently. It allowed readers to consider scenarios both intriguing (What if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four? What if Gwen Stacy had lived?) and unthinkable (What if Wolverine killed the Hulk? What if Doctor Strange were a disciple of Dormammu?), and what it did for the comics, the Disney+ animated series What If? intends to do for the MCU.

The series is in early development, but ideally, it will feature MCU mainstays returning to voice their respective roles, which it should be noted is far less time-intensive than appearing in live action (hopefully serving to encourage a gaggle of them to hop on board). Like its comics counterpart, What If? will have an anthology format, with each episode tackling one specific moment in the MCU timeline. We know what you're thinking — what if Star-Lord hadn't picked the exact wrong moment to cold-cock Thanos? We can already tell you: Infinity War would have been a heck of a lot shorter, and less tragic. 

Only one episode's premise, adapted directly from the comics, is confirmed: "What if Loki had found the hammer of Thor?" Other than that, we'll have to wait to see what weirdness this animated outing will have in store for us.

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Venom 2

Given the fact that it kicked off a universe of Spider-Man characters which will not — so far as we now know — actually feature Spider-Man, the success of Sony's Venom was a bit of a shock. Anchored by Tom Hardy's completely bonkers performance, the film cleaned up at the worldwide box office of the tune of $855 million dollars, making a sequel obligatory. Of course, having learned a few tricks from Marvel Studios, Sony made sure to go ahead and set one up in advance with a post-credits scene featuring Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady, the psychopathic serial killer who will go on to bond with Carnage, the Venom symbiote's offspring.

Venom 2 was at one time assumed to be the "Untitled Sony/Marvel sequel" which the studio had slotted for an October 2020 release, but that is no longer set in stone due to the departure of Venom director Ruben Fleischer, who has his hands full with the long-awaited sequel to his 2009 classic Zombieland. But the second go-round for the Lethal Protector is still in active development, with original scribe Kelly Marcel already drafting a screenplay, and Hardy set to return along with co-star Michelle Williams. Plot details are sketchy, but one thing is certain: just as Kasady promised in that stinger, there's gonna be Carnage. Variety confirmed in January 2019 that Harrelson's murderous symbiote will be Venom 2's main villain.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2

It's a little tough to believe that at this point, Spider-Man has a rich cinematic history spanning almost 20 years and nearly a dozen feature films, yet here we are. For all the box office bucks raked in by Sam Raimi's trilogy, the Amazing Spider-Man reboot series, and the MCU iteration ably portrayed by Tom Holland, however, none of those films were able to do what Sony Pictures Animation's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did: score an Academy Award. 2018's Best Animated Feature winner is considered by some to be among the best — if not the best — superhero films ever made, with its supremely innovative animation style and focus on its eclectic cast of alternate-universe Spider-People (and, um, one pig). It's so singular a cinematic achievement that it seems like its success would be impossible to duplicate — but darned if Sony isn't going to try.

The Spider-Verse sequel will center on the burgeoning romantic relationship between Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and Gwen Stacy, a.k.a. Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld), and — according to co-director Rodney Rothman — will take place two years after the events of the first film. Additional plot details are still a mystery, but Sony Pictures' Amy Pascal has let slip that unlike the first Spider-Verse, the sequel will feature more than one female version of Spidey — and, in fact, will serve to set up a spin-off film focused entirely on these characters.

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Untitled All-Female Spider-Verse Spin-Off

Spider-Woman (or, as she's known to fans of her comic book incarnation, Spider-Gwen) was a revelation in Into the Spider-Verse, bolstered by strong writing and a fantastic voice performance from Hailee Steinfeld. While it's no surprise that the character will essentially share top billing in Spider-Verse 2, credit Sony for knowing an icon in the making when they see one. After the sequel, Gwen is set to headline her own, as-yet-untitled animated feature which will potentially open up a whole new universe of kick-ass Spider-Women.

Speaking with Vanity Fair in late 2018, Pascal confirmed that Aussie scribe Bek Smith (who worked on the CBS drama series Zoo) has been tapped to pen the script for the spin-off, and we already know at least two of the additional characters it will involve: Jessica Drew (the classic Spider-Woman who debuted in the pages of Marvel comics in 1977) and Cindy Moon (a.k.a. Silk, a Korean Spidey who debuted in 2014 and was created by venerated Marvel writer Dan Slott). Said Pascal of the project, "I think it's great that we're going to be able to [make] movies about female superheroes in this realm… because I believe that there are going to be characters that really resonate for people. They're funny and quirky and different, and heroic in all kinds of different ways that only animation allows you to do."

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Hulu animated series

Disney's acquisition of Fox gave the House of Mouse a 60% stake in Hulu, and even before the deal closed, the streamer was looking to expand its Marvel offerings beyond its hit original series Runaways. The first set of announced new projects, however, came as a bit of a surprise: four adult animated series centered on some of the quirkier characters in Marvel lore, which will (of course) cross over for a team-up special. All co-produced by comics legend Jeph Loeb, each series features creative talent just as eclectic as the characters themselves. They are: Howard the Duck (from creator Kevin Smith), The Tigra and Dazzler Show (executive produced by Chelsea Handler), Hit-Monkey (from the Blades of Glory writing team of Josh Gordon and Will Speck), and M.O.D.O.K. (which will be produced and written by Patton Oswalt).

Obviously, each series looks to be aiming for its own distinct comedic vibe, but Loeb will be tasked with bringing them all together for The Offenders, a one-off special in which all of these weird characters will team up (although, according to Hulu's press release, "nobody asked them to, and we'd be better off if they didn't") to tackle a common enemy which threatens the world and "parts of the universe." Marvel's first foray into animated comedy looks interesting, to say the least — and finally, we'll hopefully get a version of Howard the Duck to once and for all purge the memory of that terrible, terrible 1986 film.