Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


What’s next for Marvel after WandaVision: a glimpse into Disney’s massive MCU expansion

Disney has big plans to expand the MCU and here are a few of their upcoming projects

WandaVision kicked off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in spectacular fashion, but what comes next for Marvel? Nine more MCU projects are slated for release in 2021 and hopefully they can live up to WandaVision’s level of success.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

The next premium Marvel series set to premiere on March 19, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, will follow Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes as they grapple with their new responsibilities in a world without Captain America. Anthony Mackie, who portrays Falcon, has stated in multiple interviews a new Captain America will be established by the end of the series.


This show will mark Daniel Bruhl’s return to the MCU as Zemo, the villain of Captain America: Civil War. We do not explicitly know his motivations in the series, but from the footage we have seen, it is clear he still means to rid the world of superheroes.

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This series will introduce two new villains to the MCU — U.S. Agent and Flag-Smasher. Though very little has been shown of U.S. Agent, the character appears to be a new, government-controlled interpretation of Captain America who has been reduced to a new mascot for the U.S.A., much like Steve Rogers in his first film.

The character Flag-Smasher has been reinterpreted for the series as some sort of terrorist group and the immediate threat to the titular heroes. They are likely working for Zemo in the series and could be used to lead the heroes to the greater threat.

This series will be a return to form for Marvel Studios and should grab the attention of both die-hard and casual fans. While WandaVision aired 9 episodes ranging from 24 to 45 minutes, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will have six episodes, each roughly 45 minutes long.

Black Widow

Black Widow will finally release a full year after its initial premiere date on May 7, assuming it does not experience a third COVID-19 delay. Fans have been clamoring for this film ever since Scarlett Johansson first appeared as the character in 2010’s Iron Man 2. As one of the MCU’s oldest characters, it is well past time she received her own solo movie.

This film will dive deeper into the character’s history. So far, all we have seen were brief flashbacks in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Taking place immediately following the events of Captain America: Civil War, a fugitive Natasha encounters allies from her past to fight a conspiracy which has followed her for many years.

Black Widow will introduce many new characters — including Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, another member of the Black Widow training program — David Harbour’s Red Guardian, who is essentially a Russian Captain America and Taskmaster, a popular villain from the comics whose identity in the film is still unknown.

Black Widow premieres exclusively in theaters on May 7, 2021.

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The third Disney Plus series will follow Loki (the alternate timeline Loki who escaped with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame) as he affects different moments in human history.

The trailer we have seen shows Loki being taken by the Time Variance Authority. The TVA is an organization in the Marvel universe responsible for maintaining the multiverse and destroying any timeline which may be too dangerous.

It is unclear what effect the introduction of the TVA will have on the future of the MCU but any excuse to see more of Tom Hiddleston will be embraced by the fans. Owen Wilson also stars as Mobius M. Mobius, a member of the TVA who seems to be in charge of where Loki is sent and which events Loki will alter.

Loki premieres on Disney Plus on June 11, 2021 and will run for six episodes.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi is a character many have wanted to see enter the MCU after the Ten Rings organization was first teased in Iron Man in 2008. Many believed it was inevitable after the trailers for Iron Man 3 introduced the Mandarin, one of Shang-Chi’s main villains.

But after the infamous reveal that the Mandarin was actually an actor named Trevor, fans were not happy. Marvel retconned this reveal in a short film entitled All Hail the King. When an imprisoned Trevor was attacked by a member of the Ten Rings, he revealed the true Mandarin was upset with him for stealing his identity for publicity purposes.

Tony Leung is set to appear as the real Mandarin as the primary antagonist to Shang-Chi, played by Simu Lin. Though he does not have any powers or superhuman abilities, Shang-Chi is a master of multiple forms of combat and has defeated several superhuman heroes and villains in the comics.

Though not much is known about the plot at this time, it is clear Shang-Chi will fight the Ten Rings and we are sure to see a trailer for the film in the next couple months.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres in theaters on July 9, 2021.

What If…?

Based on the comic series of the same name, What If…? is an animated series which will present different possibilities of the classic MCU moments we have seen so far. A trailer for the series was released a couple months ago, featuring clips from several episodes.

A few episodes have been revealed, including an episode focused on Peggy Carter receiving the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers. A second episode shows T’Challa being taken by the Ravagers instead of Peter Quill and will feature the last MCU appearance by Chadwick Boseman. The actor was able to record all audio for the episode before his unfortunate death last August.

What If…? premieres this summer on Disney Plus.

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel will introduce Kamala Khan — the first Muslim character to headline their own Marvel comics series — to the MCU.

In the comics, Kamala Khan is a Pakastani-American from New Jersey who gains the ability to shapeshift after being exposed to Terrigen Mists, a substance which mutates those with whom it comes into contact. She adopts the name Ms. Marvel after Carol Danvers, who adopted the name Captain Marvel. As a superfan of the original Captain Marvel, Kamala takes the name as a sign of respect.

Iman Vellani will play the titular character in the series, which premieres in late 2021 and she is set to appear in Captain Marvel 2 next year.


Directed by Chloe Zhao, director of the critically-acclaimed film Nomadland, Eternals will follow a race of immortal aliens as they fight to defend Earth from the Deviants, an offshoot of the Eternals’ evolutionary line.

The Eternals features Richard Madden as Ikaris, the leader of the Eternals, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Selma Hayek as Ajak and Kit Harrington as the Black Knight. Though we do not know much about the plot, a trailer should be released before this summer.

The Eternals will release exclusively in theaters on November 5, 2021.


Set to introduce Kate Bishop, a young apprentice to Clint Barton’s Hawkeye, Hawkeye will explore Clint’s past, including his early training, how he became a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and some of his time as Ronin, briefly glimpsed in Avengers: Endgame.

In the comics, Kate Bishop eventually takes over the mantle of Hawkeye and joins the Young Avengers. With Marvel introducing several members of the comic book team, such as Kamala Khan and Billy and Tommy — A.K.A. Wiccan and Speed, from WandaVision — it is clear Marvel Studios is looking for an opportunity to bring this fan-favorite team to the big screen.

Hailee Steinfeld has been cast as Kate Bishop and Jeremy Renner will return to the role of Hawkeye. Hawkeye is currently filming and is scheduled for a late 2021 release.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home

Several months of rumors surrounding this film indicate it will be the biggest Spider-Man film to date. Several outlets have reported rumors Tobey McGuire, Andrew Garfield, Kirsten Dunst, Emma Stone and countless other actors from past Spider-Man films are set to reprise each of their respective roles for the third of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man films.

Confirmed to return are Alfred Molina, who played Doctor Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2 and Jaimie Foxx, who played Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

While we have no official hints of the plot of this film, the countless rumors indicate it will involve a fragmentation of the Marvel multiverse, leading to the introduction of characters from other universes. Additionally, Benedict Cumberbatch is confirmed to reprise his role as Doctor Strange as this film is undoubtedly going to set up his sequel film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

After the success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Sony seemingly wanted to cash in on the opportunity to include multiple Spider-Men. Whether this will work in live action has yet to be seen, but we will find out when Spider-Man: No Way Home releases in theaters on December 17, 2021.

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