There was a lot of information thrown at us in a very little amount of time yesterday during the Marvel Studios Comic-Con presentation held at Hall H. Here is a rundown of all the big casting and character reveals announced by Kevin Feige during the panel.

SHANG-CHI

Canadian actor Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience) will star in Destin Daniel Cretton’s Shang-Chi as Marvel Studios’ first Asian leading superhero with Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) and legendary Hong Kong actor Tony Leung (The Grandmaster, Hard Boiled, Infernal Affairs) taking supporting roles.

I’m slightly curious if with the castings of Liu and Awkwfina suggest they’re aiming for more of a comedic tone with the action flick given their comedy backgrounds. There is also a chance that she will be playing a fellow spy named Leiko Wu in the film.

Tony is playing the real version of The Mandarin and leading The Ten Rings, there is an assumption that he’ll be replacing Shang-Chi’s father Fu Manchu. It was a big surprise given that Marvel had previously had a fake-out version of The Mandarin in Iron Man 3.

It’ll be interesting to see if they’ll be combining The Ten Rings with The Atlas Empire and making The Mandarin the father of Shang-Chi.

Having Shang-Chi facing terrorists like The Ten Rings would suggest they are indeed playing up his spy background and could end becoming Marvel’s superhero version of 007 with a martial arts flair.

Shang-Chi is expected to shoot in Australia with a release date set for February 12th, 2021.

BLADE

Our daywalker, Blade, won’t be heading to streaming services like Hulu or Netflix as previously rumored but will be getting a reboot with two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali (Alita: Battle Angel, Moonlight, True Detective). It’ll be interesting to see if the film will ultimately be R-rated given that franchise is known for gore/violence and with vampires, you’re going to need to show them drinking blood and killing on a regular basis.

An early draft of a Blade script had been kicking around Marvel Studios since 2013, but the project getting announced yesterday wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. They didn’t give us anything behind the casting announcement, but I’m sure we’ll get more details about the project in the near future and when they hope to release it.

Ali had previously played Marvel villains in Luke Cage (Cotton Mouth) and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (The Prowler), it’s interesting that he’ll end up with the most Marvel roles under his belt. I had directly suggested to Kevin Feige on Twitter back in January 2018 that this should happen, so I’m beyond happy with this huge announcement and will be interested to see how they plan on tackling it.

ETERNALS

Another cast member from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse has also joined the MCU with Bryan Tyree Henry (Atlanta, Joker, Godzilla vs Kong) taking the role of Phastos in Chloe Zhao’s Eternals movie. The entire casting lineup is extremely diverse which is something we’re expecting to see more of in future Marvel movies.

One of the odder things is that while plenty of trade reports had Angelina Jolie playing Sersi was instead revealed to be playing Thena, the daughter of Eternals leader Zuras.

Here is the list of characters the ensemble cast will be playing in the film set to begin shooting at Pinewood Studios UK in September.

  • Angelina Jolie as Thena
  • Richard Madden as Ikaris
  • Kumail Nanjiani Kingo
  • Salma Hayek Ajak
  • Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
  • Don Lee as Gilgamesh
  • Lia McHugh as Sprite
  • Lauren Ridloff as Makkari

Eternals is set for release on November 6th, 2020.

BLACK WIDOW

It looks like we finally know who is playing who in the solo Black Widow movie, for the most part.

David Harbour is playing Alexi Alanovich Shostakov aka Red Guardian.

O-T Fagbenle is playing Rick Mason aka The Agent.

Rachel Weisz is playing villain Melina Vostokoff aka Iron Maiden.

Florence Pugh is confirmed as Yelena Belova.

Anthony Masters aka Taskmaster was also confirmed as the film’s villain and was seen in the footage shown, however, that casting didn’t seem to be revealed just yet. It is possible that it could be Ray Winstone since he wasn’t mentioned, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Black Widow is set for release on May 1st, 2020.

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER 

Natalie Portman is not only returning to reprise the role of Jane Foster in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder, she’ll be playing the role of female Thor.

A huge shock considering there had been an assumption that Portman was done with the Marvel movies after an iffy experience on Thor: The Dark World and being upset when director Patty Jenkins departed during the development phase.

I’m kind of hoping since they’ll have The King of New Asgard, Valkyrie in the film that they’ll attempt to tackle a version of The Siege storyline.

Thor: Love and Thunder is set for release on November 5th, 2021.

DOCTOR STRANGE: IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange are teaming up in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness.

It’s an interesting pairing that I’ve been supporting for a while now and this could end seeing a couple of potential plots going down as the House of M might be part of this or equally some Multiverse villains like Dormmau and Shuma-Gorath.

The title seems to be a homage combo to H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness and John Carpenter’s At The Mouth of Madness, both dealing with unspeakable horrors from another dimension coming into ours. I certainly think this could point towards to Shuma-Gorath, then again, Scott Derrickson has teased Nightmare a while back.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness is set for release on May 7th, 2021.

WANDAVISION

Teyonah Parris (Dear White People) is playing the adult version of Monica Rambeau, another version of Captain Marvel that could easily be introduced in the series to eventually take a feature film role in Captain Marvel 2.

This is one step close to seeing the Ultimates team being put together as we already have T’Challa and Carol Danvers kicking around the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

WandaVision is expected to drop on Disney+ sometime in Spring 2021.

I’m sure we’ll learn about more casting and characters in the near future.

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