In addition to its slate of theatrically released feature films, Marvel Studios’ ambitions for the fourth phase of the MCU include a number of original shows for Disney Plus. Now, Kevin Feige has explained how the studio decides which characters will receive their own television shows, such as Ms. Marvel or She-Hulk, before heading to the silver screen.
While previous shows set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones, were only loosely connected to the film side of the franchise, Feige intends for Marvel Studios’ Disney Plus projects to play an integral part in the company’s Phase 4 storyline. While the Disney Plus shows will initially focus on existing supporting characters such as Hawkeye or the Falcon and the Winter Soldier, new heroes will also be introduced to the MCU in these projects, starting with Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel.
Following Kamala Khan’s introduction in Ms. Marvel, Vellani will reprise her role opposite Brie Larson in the Captain Marvel sequel from director Nia DaCosta. However, not every newcomer to the MCU will be introduced through a Disney Plus series, with Marvel Studios currently developing a Blade film starring Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali in the title role. During an interview with Collider, Feige explained that deciding which characters will be introduced to the MCU on a Disney Plus series and which ones will debut in a feature film comes down to the individual stories they want to tell and how they fit into the company’s overall plans. “We knew that we wanted to introduce Ms. Marvel first and her family and all of her great supporting characters and her origin in a Disney+ long-form series, and then bring her into Captain Marvel 2,” Feige noted. “There will be some times where the opposite happens. The character is introduced in a movie and brought onto a Disney+ series. So, it really just varies based on the story or the genre that we want to explore.”
After Ms. Marvel premieres on Disney Plus in late 2021, Marvel Studios plans to introduce She-Hulk and Moon Knight in the following year. Described by Feige as a half-hour legal comedy, She-Hulk will star Orphan Black alumn Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters with Mark Ruffalo and Tom Roth poised to reprise their respective roles as Bruce Banner and the Abomination. Moon Knight, on the other hand, has yet to be officially cast, although series cinematographer Gregory Middleton may have recently confirmed reports of Oscar Isaac being tapped for the lead role.
Of course, before the aforementioned newcomers are introduced, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision will have the honor of launching Marvel Studios’ foray into original television programming with WandaVision. Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the series finds both heroes living a happily married life in a world that appears to emulate classic television sitcoms from past decades.
Feige has already confirmed the events of WandaVision will lead directly into Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will feature Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. The connection between both projects and their exploration of alternate worlds may explain why multiple characters from defunct Spider-Man franchises, including Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, will appear alongside Tom Holland in Marvel Studios’ third Spider-Man film.
WandaVision will premiere exclusively on Disney Plus on January 15, 2021.