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SDCC: Marvel Studios Live-Action Panel Recap

July 30, 2022 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Marvel Studios THE MULTIVERSE SAGA Image Credit: Marvel Studios

During the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con I was fortunate enough to make it into the legendary Hall H for the Marvel Studios live-action panel. While it initially appeared that Marvel Studios might not have a live-action studio presence at Comic-Con International, I was happy to see that was not the case, especially in a year when Disney’s D23 Expo is slated to return.

It was a lot of fun to have an introduction by Loki‘s Miss Minutes, once again voiced by Tara Strong, to introduce Marvel Studios President & Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige and moderator Ash Crossan for the live-action panel. This year’s panel at least provided a bit of clarity on the plans for the remainder of Marvel’s Phases 4-6, which were officially dubbed The Multiverse Saga.

So while Phases 1-3 of the MCU became The Infinity Saga and focused on the Infinity Stones and culminated in the confrontation with Thanos, it looks like the next three phases are focusing on Kang the Conqueror, portrayed by Jonathan Majors. So the initial phases appeared to be more about interstellar and cosmic warfare, while The Multiverse Saga focuses on alternate dimensions, universes, and realms.

What I did like about this panel, at least now, we have a better idea of where things are heading. We got our first actual look at Majors as Kang the Conqueror, plus some brand-new footage of the sequels for Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

I’m glad we got our title for the next two Avengers movies with Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Both films are scheduled for a 2025 release. That’s an ambitious move for Marvel Studios. It would honestly not surprise me if those dates turn out to be placeholders and if things will shift later down the line. Marvel release dates have shifted and changed around before.

I will be curious to see how Kang Dynasty connects with Secret Wars and what the approach to Secret Wars will be. Since the panel announcements, it’s been reported that Shang-Chi filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton is going to direct The Kang Dynasty, which I think is a great choice.

Now, here’s a breakdown of the Phase 4 footage showcases:


I think some of the footage I’ve seen so far for the Disney+ She-Hulk series has been a bit hit-and-miss for me. However, this trailer definitely got me on board to watch the series. This trailer gave a much better sense of the show’s story, plus we’re able to see that Mark Ruffalo has a significant role in the show as Bruce Banner/Hulk, plus Tim Roth is back as Emil Blonsky/Abomination.

But I think the basic gist of Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk becoming the face of a superhuman and vigilante legal division is a great step for the show and the character. Not to mention, I think the show looks like it’s going to expand the MCU in ways it really should have already done by now. It looks like we’re going to be seeing some deep-cut cameos and Marvel mainstay appearances in the show, not just Titania as the villain, but also just minor characters, such as Frog-Man. I could be mistaken, but I think we even get to see the MCU debut of The Wrecking Crew in this show (about 2:11 in the trailer).

Now, people have been highly critical of the MCU’s tone and style before. I think this is a show where a slightly more irreverent, tongue-in-cheek sense of style and humor makes sense. It’s consistent with the She-Hulk character in the comics. She-Hulk stories, some of the best ones, tended to lean into the humorous elements and break the fourth wall and jump off the page. It looks like showrunner Jessica Gao is honoring that style for the show.

I think what Ms. Marvel was missing at times was that sense of fun, comic book, and superhero energy that appears to be more present in this show. I think Ms. Marvel was an okay show, but it was badly structured. In my opinion, Kamala Khan was also not given any compelling challenges or antagonists to overcome.

This show looks like it will give us a fun, new superhero for the MCU, while also integrating the larger parts of the MCU where it makes sense. Considering She-Hulk is a lawyer, it makes sense that another lawyer with a superhero alter-ego. This will be the first official post-Netflix MCU appearance of Daredevil! Yes, we did get Matt Murdock in another film, but now we are finally going to get him properly appearing with his updated costume in live action. I couldn’t be more excited about that.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law debuts on Disney+ on August August 17.


The Hall H panel concluded with the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever presentation. It started with an impressive introduction and live musical performance by Baaba Maal, Massamba Diop, dancers, and drummers. Director Ryan Coogler was onstage and joined by cast members Mabel Cadena (Namora), Michaela Cole (Aneka), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Tenoch Huerta (Namor), Florence Kasumba (Ayo), Alex Livinalli (Attuma), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Dominique Thorne (Riri Williams/Ironheart), and Letitia Wright (Shuri).

So, the new trailer, which is now available, that was shown confirms in fact that King T’Challa, aka the Black Panther, has passed in the MCU, and it appears his friends and family are still in mourning while they are forced to face various world powers. Based on the trailer, it looks like they are put into conflict with Atlantis. The official press materials describe Tenoch Huerta’s Namor as “king of a hidden undersea nation.”

I see what they were going for with Namor and Atlantis this time around. One thing I do like about this interpretation is that it looks a bit more ancient, natural, and rustic. It also appears that maybe outside forces are conspiring against Wakanda and Namor’s people, forcing them to fight one another, but we shall see.

The trailer was powerful and bittersweet. Glad to see Angela Bassett back as Queen Ramonda. Hearing her yell, “My entire family is gone! Have I not given enough?!” was heartbreaking and emotionally resonant. The trailer would not reveal the identity of the new Black Panther, which I’m guessing will be a major part or reveal in the film. Who will inherit T’Challa’s mantle?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on November 11.


Marvel Studios’ Phase 5 will officially start in February 2023 with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Director Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne/The Wasp), Jonathan Majors (Kang the Conqueror), and Kathryn Newton (Cassie Lang) were all in attendance for the panel. We also got our first look at a sizzle reel for the upcoming film for the panel, which wasn’t released online.

While I’m not a huge fan of Paul Rudd’s take on Scott Lang, or Scott Lang and Hope being the MCU’s current iterations of Ant-Man and the Wasp, the movie looks like it could be fun. We got our first look at Jonathan Majors as Kang. He appears to have the attitude down, but in the brief footage shown at SDCC, he did not yet look like Kang. The poster that was revealed at Comic-Con did show a Kang with a visage much closer to his one in the comics. So, it looks like it will be present for the film.

I did at least enjoy Scott Lang’s exchange with Kang when Scott proclaims he’s an “Avenger,” and Kang replies, “An Avenger. Have I killed you before?” Jonathan Majors seems to have the grandiose attitude of Kang down. I look forward to seeing him in full costume.

The trailer did reveal that Bill Murray is in the film, but I’m not clear yet on what character he’s portraying. In the sizzle reel, it appears that Scott and his teenage daughter Cassie (now portrayed by Kathryn Newton) get sucked into the Quantum Realm. So, I’m not sure if this is meant to be the MCU’s version of the Negative Zone, the Micro-verse, or something else. Or maybe they are just sticking with Quantum Realm. It does appear that Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), along with Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) are eventually able to follow them to the Quantum Realm to help. I got the sense that Janet had maybe encountered or met some of these beings before while she was stranded there for decades.

Now, Feige did confirm that MODOK was in the trailer reveal. If the creature I’m thinking of from the footage was MODOK, it’s a dramatically different take. It basically looked like a fixed, giant metal skull rather than the altered human-cyborg scientist from the comics. We only saw a little snippet of this version of MODOK, so his role in the story is not completely clear. I never expected we’d get MODOK in the MCU. Pulling off a character like this is admittedly hard, so this iteration might’ve been some sort of a compromise. Ultimately, we shall see.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters on Feb. 17, 2023.


Cobie Smulders was also on hand for the Hall H panel to introduce Secret Invasion. We also got to see a new footage reel for the series. This looks quite different from any recent MCU offerings. Also, if you want something dark, gritty, and serious for the MCU, this might scratch that itch.

Secret Invasion looks like it’s leaning heavily on the spy thriller style, simply with an alien invasion premise. It definitely gives a bit of a Jason Bourne meets an Invasion of the Body Snatchers type of vibe. The Skrulls are everywhere. They can take anyone’s form, and the heroes don’t know who they can trust.

It looks like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is back on Earth, and he’s waging a one-man shadow against a group of rogue, hostile Skrulls. These clearly do not appear to be the more benevolent, friendly Skrulls from Captain Marvel. According to Marvel’s official press materials, the faction of Skrulls in this series has been infiltrating Earth for years. I will be curious to see how that plays out and if it ties into other major events of the MCU.

Of note, it looks like Don Cheadle is back as War Machine/James Rhodes in the series. Ben Mendelsohn also appears, though I’m not sure if he’s playing the Skrull Talos, Fury’s old FBI boss Keller, and/or both. In the footage reel, he was in the Keller form, so not sure if that’s meant to be Keller or Talos.

Initially, I wasn’t too interested in checking this one out. However, after watching the footage, I will give the first episode a look at least. Considering how disappointed I was with the Moon Knight series, Secret Invasion looks like it could be a fun change of pace for the MCU. Plus, it’s got a dynamite cast with Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, and Regé-Jean Page.

Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion is due out on Disney+ in Spring 2023.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was my personal film highlight of the Marvel Studios panel. The presentation included a first look at the new film, and James Gunn revealed some enticing details. Maria Bakalova joins the cast as Cosmo the Dog, along with Chukwudi Iwuji (Clemson Murn in Peacemaker) as the High Evolutionary and Will Poulter as Adam Warlock. Chris Pratt (Star-Lord Peter Quill), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), and Sean Gunn (Kraglin) were also in attendance for the presentation.

There was a bit of a sad sense of finality to it, as James Gunn noted, as he has before, that this will be the last adventure for the current Guardians crew. What I found interesting, Gunn revealed this movie is about Rocket and how Rocket became “the saddest creature in the universe.” So, it looks like Rocket’s story will take center stage here.

The footage did show a little bit of Will Poulter as Adam Warlock. However, his role in the story is not clear. The end of the last movie majorly teased the introduction of Adam Warlock, and it’s finally happening here. But instead, it looks like the focus is on High Evolutionary and Rocket. It appears that High Evolutionary was either responsible for Rocket’s creation and/or is trying to manipulate him in the footage reel.

So, if I have a concern, it’s how Adam Warlock plays into this story. I’m worried it could be a bit over-stuffed between High Evolutionary, Rocket’s character arc, and Peter Quill and the alternate version of Gamora from Endgame. All those plot threads appeared to have more emphasis on the story in the trailer than Adam Warlock, so I hope he doesn’t get shortchanged. Poulter is a great actor and based on the brief footage I saw, it looks like he was well cast in this role. I hope he’s given enough time to develop and properly explore this character. If not, hopefully, this won’t be the last time we see Adam Warlock because there’s so much the MCU could do with him.

One other neat reveal from the trailer is that this time around, the Guardians will be wearing their dress blue uniforms from the comics. Happy to see these uniforms finally make an appearance in the films. The Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning run of the comics was a favorite of mine, so I’m happy to see more vestiges of that storyline appear in the film. Baby Groot is now fully grown. He looks pretty beefy and bulky now, quite different from the adult Groot in the first movie.

It also looks like the film will bring some closure to the Star-Lord and Gamora storyline, or as much as can be, considering this is the alternate timeline version of Gamora who did not fall in love with Peter Quill. The presentation also featured Chukwudi Iwuji making a live appearance in his High Evolutionary costume. The costume for the film looks great. I wasn’t expecting High Evolutionary in the third film, but he’s a classic Marvel Comics character, so I’m excited he’s making his MCU debut. Iwuji’s personality for High Evolutionary looks to be very manic and deranged, like a crazy mad scientist. He also looked to be having a lot of fun with the live performance.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023.


The Marvel Studios panel also revealed the title for the fourth Captain America movie, which is titled Captain America: New World Order, which arrives on May 3, 2024. Anthony Mackie is back as Captain America aka Sam Wilson. With a title like that, I hope that means we shall see a proper return of Red Skull to the MCU.

Two years is a long wait, but we are finally getting a new Marvel Daredevil TV series with Daredevil: Born Again. John Romita Jr. was at his booth on the show floor, and I told him about the Daredevil announcement, and he sounded excited, but he also wanted to know about a return of Jon Bernthal as The Punisher. Nothing on that front just yet.

So, here’s the good news. Born Again will star both Charlie Cox once again as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. It will debut with an 18-episode season in Spring 2024 on Disney+. Hopefully, now that Disney+ is allowing it, it will have a TV-MA rating.

You can still have Daredevil mixing it up with lighter characters and doing cameos in shows similar to She-Hulk, and that’s fine. But maybe he will go a little darker in his own show. Now truthfully, I do think there’s potential for some improvement from the Netflix series. I’m hoping we will get to see more money put into the visuals and stunts. I want to see more of Daredevil swinging from buildings and high heights. Also, maybe some more interesting visual characters and maybe even some more supernatural ones.

Look, I very much enjoyed the Netflix Daredevil series. The first season is one of my favorite seasons of TV ever. However, sometimes the Netflix shows leaned far too much on the gritty realism for their own good. Not to mention, we’d sometimes rarely get to see the characters in costume at all. It’s time to change all of that.

Other new Marvel Disney+ shows include: Echo in Summer 2023; Loki Season 2, also set for Summer 2023; Ironheart in Fall 2023; and Agatha: Coven of Choas, which is filming later this year for a winter 2023 release.

Also set for Phase 5: The Marvels, which arrives July 28, 2023; Blade, starring Mahershala Ali, which starts shooting in October and is due out on November 3, 2023; and Thunderbolts, which arrives July 26, 2024.

For MCU Phase 6, Fantastic Four arrives on November 8, 2024. Marvel Studios and Feige announced that production for the films starts next year. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty hits on May 2, 2025. Avengers: Secret Wars arrives on November 7, 2025.

Now, I did get the sense that Marvel Studios was probably holding a few things back, with D23 coming up in September. They will likely have some new and different things to show at D23 Expo in addition to what was revealed at Comic-Con. So, that’s another convention to keep an eye on in the coming months.

That said, I think it was a good presentation for Marvel Studios. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was probably my footage reel highlight, and the most exciting announcement for me was Daredevil: Born Again.