New Marvel Projects Revealed on Disney’s Investor Day

Disney is having its Investor Day today, laying out its entertainment game plan for the next few years, and they won’t be bereft of content. Marvel, one of their big properties, will see ten new Disney+ series, plus some movies and shorts. Here’s a rundown of the announcements.

A new trailer for WandaVision has been released:

It’s fine. It goes through the same basic beats the other promotional material has; Wanda and Vision are in a sitcom world that explores various eras of television, and something weird is going on. Then they shed a bit more light on what may be happening, and I wish they didn’t. We knew enough about WandaVision without showing the government being involved and having the other people with whom they interact break character. But that’s how trailers go nowadays, I guess, so get ready to have fewer questions when the formerly mysterious show finally arrives.

Then is a first look (which isn’t the same as a trailer because reasons) at The Falcon and the Winter Soldier:

The action looks spectacular, and I like the idea of a spy series within the MCU. But neither of these guys feels like a lead to me. Having them team up mitigates that somewhat, but the scenes where their personalities are the focus feel like they’re missing something – Captain America, for example. Speaking of which, I really don’t like the idea of someone else taking on that mantle. Legacy heroes cheapen the characters, and the lack of magnetism these guys show in the trailer only compounds the denigration; it also doesn’t help that the footage lays heavily into Captain America iconography, namely the museum at the beginning and playing his theme at the end. I’m getting a heavy “style over substance” vibe.

Now, for the one I’ve most been waiting for: there’s finally a Loki trailer! (This one is an “exclusive clip;” anyone mind if I just call them “trailers” from now on?)

I know I’m biased, but that’s my favorite of the bunch. Unlike Falcon and Bucky (both of whom I like, to be clear), Loki is never anything but the center of attention. Even in his supporting roles, Tom Hiddleston ably showed Loki’s humanity, no matter how evil the God of Mischief was being. Given an entire TV season, I’ve no doubt he’ll plumb even deeper depths of Loki’s soul. This one also feels quite timely, though I imagine that was inadvertent; a lost soul trying to make his way in the world is trampled on and imprisoned by an oppressive government bureaucracy that wants to restrict his movements and lock him away. That’s kind of a thing right now. In that elevator scene, Owen Wilson is the perfect image of a big state flunky, drinking a coffee as he prepares to do as little work as possible while still ruining someone’s life. There are lots of things going on in this show from the look of it, and I’m eager to find out where it goes.

Next, Marvel gets animated in a trailer for What If…?

What If…? has a lot of potential to do some wacky things with the established MCU cannon without ruining the continuity of the main universe (although they appear to be doing that anyway, so I don’t really see what the point is), but they’re mostly going for the low-hanging social justice fruit. What if Star-Lord were black? What if Captain America were a woman who wasn’t American? It’s tired because it’s everywhere. And are they going to allow those things to at least be fun, or will they devolve into diversity lectures? The Marvel Zombies thing could be cool, and I don’t get the Doctor Strange story. This is another underwhelming one.

Okay, this one actually isn’t a trailer-by-any-other-name; it’s a sizzle reel for Ms. Marvel.

They don’t say much beyond hitting the buzzwords, insinuating comic books were all horribly racist until this character came along, and insisting the show is about family. They say they knew right away that actress Iman Vellani was their Kamala Khan, but not why. (She also appears to have been cast over Zoom, which has to suck for a young actress; I’m sure she’s still happy, but this could be a breakthrough role for her and she isn’t allowed to be in the moment with the people hiring her.) Aside from Kevin Feige, I’ve never heard of anyone involved with this show before, so the creative team could be amazing, a bunch of hacks, or anything in between. I’m neither excited for nor repelled by this.

The rest of the news comes to the public via Twitter.

She-Hulk could be interesting, but I don’t like bringing in Abomination. Why have her fight someone the Hulk already defeated? If they use him to make the point that she’s stronger than the real Hulk, I won’t be happy. Mark Ruffalo’s return could mean a few things. He’s tied to her origin in the comics, but I remember reading that it’s supposed to be different for the show, so it may not be the blood transfusion. And he better not be around just so she can beat up Hulk. Tatiana Maslany is also confirmed in the lead, and even though I haven’t seen her acting, I like the outside-the-box casting, which is how the MCU made its name.

Is this the Nick Fury series that was reported a while back? Secret Invasion could have been amazing, but they ruined it by turning the Skrulls into Ozzie and Harriet. If they’re not the bad guys, who cares about Secret Invasion? Unless they’re going to say that the Skrulls were playing the victim this whole time while hiding their true intentions; there’s potential in that, but they were such jokes in their movie appearances that it’ll be hard to make them threatening again. The other possibility is that Talos is still good, but some new guy became the Skrull leader and he’s the real evil one. We’ll see, but I think the well may have been spoiled for this.

Another legacy hero, and one I don’t think anyone wanted. Riri Williams came around after I’d said goodbye to comics, but I’ve read some things about her, and I can’t imagine liking her. Steve Rogers is bad enough, but when you’ve got a character and performance as iconic as Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, you’ve got to be insane to think you can replace them. But here we are with Ironheart, an idea so pandering it fills in two diversity checkboxes. But Disney isn’t finished picking at Stark’s bones yet…

Does this sound at all interesting to anyone? They’re acting like the concept is new when it was the basis for two of the three Iron Man movies, plus both MCU Spider-Man flicks. And, as much as I like Don Cheadle as an actor (though definitely not as a person), I feel the same way about Rhodey as I feel about Falcon and Bucky; he’s not a lead. He works well as Tony Stark’s friend, or as part of a massive battle with the Avengers, but as the focus of a series? I don’t think so. Disney is desperate to make people feel like Iron Man is still around, but they’d be better off just letting him go. (I suspect, however, that if their All-New, All-Different Marvel slate goes belly-up, they’ll buy Robert Downey Jr. a small island, and Tony Stark will somehow be resurrected.)

This one intrigues me, partly because James Gunn will be writing and directing it. I assume that means the cast of the movies will also be on hand. Referencing the Star Wars Holiday Special is a nice gag and indicates this will just be a lark outside of continuity. If you’re going to do that with anyone, it’s got to be the Guardians. I’m always on the lookout for a new Christmas tradition, so I’ll allow myself to hope for the best.

I’m good with this too. Baby Groot is my favorite Groot, and while you could never do a whole series about him, a few shorts could be lots of fun. I love the look of that title too!

I had to look up Gorr the God Butcher, probably because he was created in 2013. I’m not judging this one way or the other, and maybe Gorr is a great character, but they have, what, almost sixty years of Thor comics from which to draw? Why go with a guy who isn’t as old as the local Starbucks we still call “the new one”? Although casting Christian Bale is almost a guarantee that he’ll be the most compelling aspect of the movie, and it almost makes up for Lady Thor.

This is fine. I like the Ant-Man movies, but they’re nowhere near my favorites, and I only really watch them when I’m re-watching the MCU all the way through. I guess they’re delving into the Quantum Realm again, and now that they can time travel with it, they’ll get a chance to introduce Kang the Conqueror to this universe. If executed properly, at least they’ll finally pit Scott and Hope against a decent villain. (I thought a good title for this would’ve been Ant-Man and the Wasp and Ant-Man and the Wasp, implying that Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne would suit up with their younger counterparts. But made-up words are cool too.)

Leaving Marvel’s First Family for last had to have been done on purpose. I’d been excited at the prospect of doing a Fantastic Four movie that was actually good, but I’ve cooled on it now. All the people I wanted to see the Four interact with are gone now, or have had their roles so diminished that I doubt it will happen. And giving Tom Watts the director chair screams of “Who do we have on contract?” This feels like an afterthought.

***

If it feels like I’m not impressed, it’s because I’m not. I balked at the idea of superhero fatigue when the MCU was going strong, but so much of this looks so weak that I can’t muster the strength to care about it. A few things sound neat, and I’m sure I’ll check out at least most of it, but I’ll probably have forgotten about them five minutes before I’m reminded they’re set to premiere. Then again, they could always surprise me.

Comments (3)

December 12, 2020 at 7:20 am

I find it curious that they left out some movies and series.

    December 13, 2020 at 12:51 am

    They’re probably hedging their bets on the movies. What shows did they leave out?

January 5, 2021 at 12:41 am

I went back and looked at their Twitter posts. I missed the other films BW, Eternals, and 10 rings.

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