It's been more than a year since fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe enjoyed something new. But with the arrival of the new live-action series WandaVision (premiering January 15 on Disney+), Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is finally pulling back the curtain on Marvel's "Phase Four" lineup of shows and movies.
5. Deadpool 3: R-rated, and in the MCU
Nearly three years since the release of Deadpool 2 in 2018, Feige finally provided a definitive update to the R-rated Deadpool franchise. Feige confirmed that the third movie is currently in the drafting stage and will again star Ryan Reynolds in the title role. Furthermore, the movie will be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after previously inhabiting the previously-separated X-Men universe owned by 20th Century Fox.
“It will be rated R and we are working on a script right now, and Ryan’s overseeing a script right now," Feige told Collider. He added that the movie isn't filming in 2021, so a release date is quite a long time away from now.
"Ryan is a very busy, very successful actor," he added. "We’ve got a number of things we’ve already announced that we now have to make, but it’s exciting for it to have begun. Again, a very different type of character in the MCU, and Ryan is a force of nature, which is just awesome to see him bring that character to life.”
Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld, who has talked to Inverse about Deadpool's future following the Disney acquisition of Fox, tweeted that it's been a long process getting Marvel Studios to agree on various aspects of the Deadpool franchise. In quote-tweeting Slashfilm's Chris Evangelista, Liefeld plotted out: "1. Had to get Ryan and Kevin on same page. Share the same priorities. There was ground to cover here. 2. Commence script. 3. Confirm Rating and MCU inclusion. 4. Still years off..."
4. Secret Invasion: "Very much a showcase"
In 2019 movies like Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel planted the seeds for a possible onscreen adaptation of the 2008 event series Secret Invasion, where the alien Skrulls embedded themselves on Earth disguised as both regular people and a handful of Earth's greatest superheroes.
What could have been a possible plot for a fifth Avengers movie was confirmed at Disney Investor Day 2020 to become its own live-action series on Disney+, with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn reprising their roles of Nick Fury and Talos respectively. In talking to ComicBook.com, Feige said the Disney+ series will have a dramatically different scale than the comic book, which had so many characters — including Iron Man, Professor Xavier, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Namor, and the Fantastic Four — crammed in.
However, Feige shut down speculation that the series will have as many characters, or really most of the characters from the comic.
"There were more characters in the Secret Invasion comic series than there were in Endgame," he said. "It's not that but it is very much a showcase for Sam Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn and tapping into the paranoia elements of the Secret Invasion comic series that was great with the twists and turns that [it] took."
He added, "So, that's certainly our focus more than, 'Can we cram in more characters than Endgame?'"
3. Netflix Defenders in the MCU: "Never say never"
It was a few short years ago when Netflix, not Disney+, was the home for Marvel television. But with the end of both The Punisher and Jessica Jones in 2019, Disney and Netflix officially went their separate ways as Disney geared up to launch Disney+ as the new home for MCU shows.
One of the most interesting things about the Marvel/Netflix partnership was a two-year period from when the shows were canceled by Netflix before ownership reverts back to Disney-owned Marvel. Well, we're coming up on two years, and there is already healthy (but unfounded) speculation that Charlie Cox is reprising his role of Daredevil in the next Spider-Man movie.
Deadline asked Feige about the status of those shows and their inclusion in the MCU. Feige deflected, saying Marvel's main priority is getting the already-announced movies and shows out the door, but he did leave some wiggle room.
"Well, certainly you’ve seen what we announced at Comic-Con a year-and-a-half ago and on Disney Investor Day a few weeks ago, so that’s our focus," Feige said. "But I’ve been at Marvel long enough to never say never about anything."
2. No end for Marvel Phase Four?
Murphy's Multiverse asked Feige about the future of Phase 4. With so many projects announced, one can't help but wonder what the big thematic goals are for the MCU post-Avengers: Endgame. And most importantly, when does Phase Four end and Phase Five begin?
When Murphy's Multiverse asked Feige to "clarify when Phase Four kind of ends at this point," Feige simply said, "No."
1. X-Men: An uncanny arrival?
In another part of Feige's Deadline interview, Feige loosely confirmed that the arrival of the X-Men in the MCU franchise will have seeds planted in WandaVision. Given Wanda's origins as an X-Men character, the WandaVision series taking after House of M (a 2005 comic book series about the near annihilation of the mutant population), and Feige himself confirming "mutants" for Phase Four, it's not impossible to anticipate something big in WandaVision.
Feige said, in a rather roundabout way, that the show is indeed setting up the X-Men for the MCU.
"In hindsight, in five years if when we’re talking about everything that’s happened, everything can be a ramp to everything, specifically though, yes, Monica in Captain Marvel 2 and specifically to Wanda teaming up with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," Feige said.
The mention of the Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (slated for theaters in 2022) is the most revealing thing about Feige's quote. While the specific story and plot details for Doctor Strange 2 are under wraps, it's very likely that the Multiverse of Madness will involve the previously separate X-Men film franchise getting wrapped up into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the universes merging, it's possible we'll soon see mutants and Avengers side-by-side — or maybe opposite sides.
WandaVision will begin streaming on Disney+ on January 15.