Marvel Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Marvel shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry examines the Marvel Studios properties we hope to see in 2022 and beyond.
After 2020’s fallow year, Marvel Studios delivered its most engorged slate ever. Understandable. Pandemic anxiety and confusion for the theatrical future forced Disney to hold and dump two years’ worth of entertainment in one concentrated timespan. You would think as the world slowly assumes a Covid status quo, Marvel would pull back a little bit, but the opposite is true. As the MCU’s Phase 4 ramps up, 2022 will prove to be as jammed as 2021, with a possible nine Marvel properties hitting our screens. And maybe more.
The movies and shows below run the gamut regarding Marvel Comics characters. We have old mainstays like Doctor Strange, Thor, and Guardians of the Galaxy (it’s actually a little crazy to think we can call the Guardians of the Galaxy old mainstays at this point, but there we are). Then, we have mischievous newcomers like Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel. Characters who traditionally populated dusty basement longboxes will soon discover unprecedented popularity thanks to the Disney spotlight.
Besides these franchise gems, we already know about several other Marvel projects lined up for 2023 and beyond. The Marvels, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Ant–Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Loki season two, Blade, Fantastic Four, Captain America 4, Deadpool 3! If it’s not already the case, soon we’ll have trouble remembering the time when years rested between Phase One movies. But we’re not complaining. No fatigue here. We await Kang the Conqueror and Galactus with quivering anticipatory breath.
Release Date: March 30th
The days of Marvel dipping their toes into the pool are over. With Moon Knight, they’re aiming right for the deep end, cannonballing into 2022 with one of their strangest comic book creations. And they’ve planted dreamboat acting titan Oscar Isaac into the lead role of Steven Grant, aka Marc Specter, aka Moon Knight, aka several other fractured personalities. The split-psyche caped crusader makes the Dark Knight appear dutifully lucid.
As Grant struggles to understand his relationship with an Egyptian deity called Khonshu, Ethan Hawke‘s Dr. Arthur Harrow unleashes a monstrous army against him. Moon Knight should be good and weird, friends. It won’t be another costumed crime-fighter questioning his vigilantism.
Marvel must be happy with co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, as they’ve now been tapped to helm Loki season two. If they can juggle Steven Grant’s splintered perspective, they can certainly navigate the bendy timey-wimey wackiness requiring resolution after the Prince of Lies bungled everything last year.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Release Date: May 6th
Marvel’s 2021 stories established the Multiverse, and Marvel’s 2022 stories will desperately attempt to mend its spiraling chaos. That battle starts here with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Still reeling from Spider–Man: No Way Home‘s dimensional quick fixes, the good doctor seeks Wanda Maximoff’s aid.
Stange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) have cheated their way through numerous experiences, but those cheats have finally caught up with them. Stepping behind the director’s chair, Sam Raimi will make good use of their guilt and guile, highlighting the complicated inner lives that have caused so much horror. Along that journey, they will encounter mirror versions of familiar characters and possibly tie in franchises like the X–Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Did we hear Patrick Stewart in the Super Bowl spot? Oh, yeah. Bet placed.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Release Date: July 8th
Thor: Love and Thunder is expected to pick up where Avengers: Endgame left off. Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) has relinquished Asgard to Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and hitched his wagon to the Guardians of the Galaxy. But something must pull the mighty Thor back to Earth because we know Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is expected to return. Not only that, word has it that she’ll be swinging Mjolnir, adopting the Thor mantle as her comic book counterpart did a few years ago.
Taika Waititi is back as director. We can expect Love and Thunder to contain as much color, humor, and energy as Thor: Ragnarok. Threatening to ruin everything is Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher, a nasty creature who blames the gods for his family’s ruination. Scenery will get chewed.
Release Date: TBA (Expected Summer)
Iman Vellani portrays Kamala Khan, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who discovers superhuman powers after she’s exposed to the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mists. Or at least that’s how it went down in the books. We’re waiting to see if the six-episode Ms. Marvel series will connect back to characters most notable for their ABC primetime failure. Seems unlikely.
Whatever the case, when Khan ascends into superherodom, she models her crime-fighting after her idol, Captain Marvel, going by the moniker Ms. Marvel. If you wish we could return to the early days of Peter Parker stumbling through high school and the spandex world, this series should deliver. Marvel Studios is making a big push with this show, establishing Kamala Khan as a major player going forward, prepping her for a comeback in The Marvels alongside Brie Larson‘s Carol Danvers and Teyonah Parris‘ Monica Rambeau.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Release Date: November 11th
No other film on this list holds as much anticipation or unease. Ryan Coogler‘s first film was a worldwide phenomenon, cementing T’Challa as a top-tier Marvel hero alongside Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. With Chadwick Boseman‘s tragic passing, the Black Panther’s franchise became shadowed in uncertainty.
Marvel Studios and Coogler assure us that they’ve found a way to pay tribute to Boseman without contradicting or erasing the actor’s contributions. They’ve also said they will not go the Star Wars route, resurrecting a dead actor via CGI. Thank God. While we have no idea how this series will continue without Boseman, we are excited to see his legacy celebrated in the follow-up.
We can postulate that Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will focus on the technological nation as it removes itself from isolation. A tiny line from Okoye (Danai Gurira) in Avengers: Endgame propelled fans to speculate that the sequel could see Wakanda go up against the mythical kingdom of Atlantis. We might finally meet Namor the Sub-Mariner with that conflict, a character many have keenly awaited to see adapted into live-action.
For certain, many of the players from the first Black Panther are returning. Alongside Danai Gurira, we will meet Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, and Angela Bassett. In addition, Michaela Coel and Dominique Thorne have joined the cast too.
Release Date: TBA (Expected Fall 2022)
Based on what little we’ve seen, She–Hulk will carry an entirely different vibe than the other Disney+ series arriving in 2022. Attorney Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) receives a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banners (Mark Ruffalo), and her new lease on life comes with some serious Gamma side effects. What could be grim, serious stuff is set to be filtered through a whimsical POV, something more akin to Alley McBeal than Moon Knight. The two-second shot of Maslany telling Ruffalo that he wouldn’t like her when she’s angry feels more in tone with WandaVision‘s wink-wink first half. We don’t have a release date yet, but the ten-episode series is in the can and should arrive somewhere within Summer or Fall.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
Release Date: TBA (Expected Late 2022)
Before the Guardians of the Galaxy return to the big screen, James Gunn will ease them back into our hearts through a 40-minute holiday Disney+ special. The title is a devilish nod to the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, a trash fire experience that needs to be seen to be believed.
The concept is a passionate endeavor for Gunn, who reportedly pitched the idea for years before getting the green light. Apparently, the plot revolves around Groot returning to his home planet (Planet X), which recalls Chewbacca’s similar quest to see his family for “Life Day.” Gunn would have to work very hard to match the Star Wars Holiday Special‘s particular stank, and for that, we are grateful.
Release Date: TBA (Expected 2022)
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has been absent from the MCU since Spider–Man: Far From Home‘s end-credits scene. What the heck has he been up to? We’re about to find out in Secret Invasion.
The comic book event series of the same name is highly regarded for turning the Marvel Universe upside down. In that storyline, the shape-shifting alien Skrulls infiltrate nearly every government and superhero team on Earth. The Avengers freak out as Spider-Woman, Elektra, Ant-Man, and others are exposed as alien intruders.
After The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we speculated that Sharon Carter there might not be the same Sharon Carter from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The invasion could already be in full swing, and some of our favorite heroes could already be switched out for Skrulls. Fury, along with Skrull buddy Talos (Ben Mendelsohn), have their work cut out for them. Especially if Secret Invasion‘s powerhouse cast all turn out to be Skrulls as well: Kingsley Ben–Adir, Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke, Killian Scott, Christopher McDonald, and Carmen Ejogo.
What If…? Season Two
Release Date: TBA (Expected 2022)
More Multiverse shinanigans. And more Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell). That’s all we can count on for What If…? season two. We can assume that the animated series will continue to impact the live-action Marvel properties, as the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer contains snippets from realms visited in season one. Marvel Zombies, baby. Those biters have life in the MCU. Along with that thinking, odds are that wherever What If…?’s nine-episode second season goes, it will spin directly out of Doctor Strange 2‘s narrative.