Marvel Studios has twenty-eight films released in the past fourteen years, starting with Iron Man (2008). For five years, the franchise stuck to films before the studio planned for a much wider expansion of the cinematic universe with television productions. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D added deep backgrounds to the films’ events and filled in the loops well, making the overall interconnected storyline more complete and convincing. Other shows like Runaways, Cloak & Dagger, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc., introduced several new characters into the universe.
And now, after Marvel Television has folded into Marvel Studios, the new Disney+ originals are directly getting linked to the films. Furthermore, ever since Captain America: Civil War, the films have become more of crossovers, and the references and Easter eggs to maintain continuation have grown. Alas, Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse, Marvel Studios also officially made every other Marvel Entertainment production, even outside of MCU, canon to its timeline, further expanding it.
With most characters’ rights reverted to Marvel Studios and Sony collaborating to produce Spider-Man spin-offs, there are tons of new stories waiting to unravel from the legendary comic books.
Marvel Notched Up Release Slates
Up until 2016, Marvel Studios released two films per year, with Marvel Television working alongside to release the adjoint television series. But from 2017, Marvel Studios moved to three releases a year. In 2021, Marvel also started releasing Disney+ originals set within the MCU, starting with WandaVision. 2021 alone saw Disney release five originals alongside three theatrical releases. Marvel’s Black Widow was the year’s fourth release, but the film was completed long before and was the studio’s only hybrid release.
However, 2023 will be Marvel’s biggest year ever, as the studio will release a record number of MCU films along with adjoint productions and Disney+ shows. With Sony and Disney in the fold with the MCU, the output in terms of productions will surpass the studio’s previous record while also sending the MCU move past thirty films in the franchise. With so much on its plate, Marvel will have a blast with spinoffs, origin stories, and sequels next year.
Marvel Studios Projects
Marvel’s 2023 slate will open with MCU’s biggest Phase Four entry, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The film is anticipated to continue Loki and introduce Kang the Conqueror (played by Jonathan Majors) to the fold. The film will probably bring the multiversal chaos further into Earth-616, taking over the concept introduced in Multiverse of Madness. Also debuting in MCU is Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, who might be teased to become Stature, her comic book superhero counterpart. The film will also see reprising their roles from previous films, Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Earlier in 2021, Lilly had teased Corey Stoll to return to his role as Yellowjacket. Given Kang can be the next central villain of the franchise, this one holds high value in the entire slate.
While Ant-Man 3 will begin a new Marvel era, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will end one. The film will be set after the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and will be the final film to have the space avengers team up together. It will be Gunn’s last Guardians entry, and Dave Bautista has confirmed his exit from the franchise after the film. However, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is doing rounds for whole another reason. The film will finally introduce Adam Warlock, played by Will Poulter. The character was first teased in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and will be the cynosure of the film. Though there aren’t any updates on the film’s plot yet, Guardians 3 will be the hype of the year as Gunn takes us into another deep-space Marvel adventure.
The Marvels release date has been recently swapped with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. The Marvels is supposed to be an ambitious project which will continue not one but three superheroines’ storylines, dealing with their struggles and trauma. The film will star Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, and Iman Vellani, while Nia DaCosta will helm it. Set up straight after Ms. Marvel, the film’s details are currently under wraps. The film will further feature Skrulls and their deep space work with Nick Fury, with Samuel L. Jackson also reprising his role. Though it’s just anticipation, the film may directly set up the events of Secret Invasion.
Fantastic Four will finally be the beginning of Fox properties merging into the MCU. It’s been a long time since the fans have hoped for the team to unite with Avengers. And living up to fans’ expectations, Marvel Studios has cast John Krasinski in the role of Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic. A variant of the character played by Krasinski featured in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, wherein he was a member of the Illuminati on Earth-838. The release date for Fantastic Four isn’t set yet, and Jon Watts recently stepped down from the director’s position, leaving room for others to step in. But, nothing would surpass the excitement of The Fantastic Four joining the MCU.
Marvel Studios also has a fifth film expected to be released in 2023. Several speculations suggest that it could be Deadpool III or maybe Blade. However, there’s no official confirmation from Marvel, and the studio may remove the date from the slate.
Marvel’s Disney+ Originals
Marvel Studios plans to release four originals for Disney+ in Phase Four of the MCU. Marvel may push the release of one of these shows to a later release date in 2024, but as of yet, these shows will release in 2023, as Phase Four ends in the same year.
Based on the popular comic book series of the same name, Secret Invasion will feature a story of a sect of Skrulls who have infiltrated Earth and all aspects of life on it. Against the invasion will stand Nick Fury (played by Nick Fury), his Skrull associate Talos (played by Ben Mendelsohn), as well as Agent Everett Ross (played by Martin Freeman), Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), and James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle). Shape-shifting Skrulls have been crucial in comic books, and the storylines surrounding them have been among the popular hits. Now, Marvel is taking it to live-action with a television series, and with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury leading the crusade this time, it’s going to be nothing less than a blast. Created by Kyle Bradstreet, the series will also star Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, and Kingsley Ben-Adir.
Ironheart was one of the projects Feige announced at the Disney Investors Day Event in 2020. The series will be an origin story for Riri Williams. A teenage genius at MIT, just like Tony Stark, Williams create an Iron Man armor for herself. While in the comics, Riri Williams becomes Stark’s protégé, Williams will have a different introduction in the franchise, though her link to Iron Man will remain. Played by Dominique Thorne, the character will debut first in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler will co-develop the series with Chinaka Hodge. Ironheart’s origins may tie to Wakanda.
Tony Stark’s origins began with him realizing the disastrous potential of his weapons and technology in the hands of terrorists and extremists. With him gone, the danger lurks again, and his Iron Man tech is on the verge of being grabbed by the wrong hands. It will now fall upon Don Cheadle’s War Machine to confront this danger and tackle it in Armor Wars. The show’s place in the timeline is still unclear, and no other cast members have been confirmed except Cheadle.
Danai Gurira is set to head another Disney+ series set in Wakanda. The show’s details are undisclosed, but it’s reported to be a spin-off of Gurira’s character Okoye, the general of Dora Milaje. Ryan Coogler will develop the series and begin work on it after Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Other shows that can be pushed up to Phase Four and get a release date in 2023:
- Loki Season 2
- What If…? Season 2
- Agatha: House of Harkness
- Marvel Zombies
- Spider-Man: Freshman Year
Sony’s Spider-Man Universe
With Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Sony’s previous Spider-Man films, i.e., Raimi’s Spider-Man Trilogy and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man Series, have become canon to the MCU. Moreover, any future movie produced by Sony under its Spider-Man Universe will be set in an adjunct timeline to the MCU. The idea was conceptualized through the multiverse concept, allowing characters to crossover from one franchise to another. With three films already released under this banner, 2023 will see Sony produce some more projects centered around characters from Spider-Man comics.
An origin story of Sergei Kravinoff, Kraven The Hunter, will tell the story of the eponymous game hunter, who seeks to supersede Spider-Man. The character in the comics is said to have consumed a mystical serum that gives him enhanced abilities and slows down his aging process. Like other SSU films, Kraven The Hunter will present the character as an anti-hero instead of a Spider-Man adversary. The character first appeared as a silhouette in No Way Home and will be portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in the film. The character of Dmitri Smerdyakov, aka Chameleon, will also appear in the movie.
Madame Web could become the first Marvel film to feature a female mutant character in the lead while being an addition to the likes of Black Widow and Captain Marvel, both of which are female-led superhero films. Set in the SSU, the story will feature the clairvoyant Cassandra Webb’s origins. In the comics, she is known to have psychic sensory powers, along with precognition and telepathy. The film is currently in early development and will star Dakota Johnson as Madame Web, while Sydney Sweeny will co-star.
Another SSU film El Muerto will release the following year in 2024. A television series, Silk, is also in development, but no release date has been announced yet.
Animated Spider-Verse Films
After a five-year gap, the sequel to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse will hit theaters in June 2023. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Part One is currently set in its own timeline, though the multiverse concept allows it to be unified under one roof at Marvel. The story will see Miles Morales travel across the multiverse to face a powerful villain. The film will also feature Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman, Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099.
The film is said to be the most ambitious project from Sony and may feature several art forms and animation styles to depict different universes. This has further led to speculation that a live-action visual style will also bring MCU’s Spider-Man into the same fold. In Multiverse of Madness, it was revealed that several universes exist in animated or paint-like form, thus, making this speculation a possibility. However, no concrete announcement has been made in this regard.
The film will be the first in a two-part sequel. The third film, Beyond the Spider-Verse, will release in 2024.
The licensing agreement with Sony and Disney’s acquisition of Fox Studios has brought miraculous opportunities to Marvel Studios, which is producing several projects in collaboration and under its banner to surpass any other film franchise. With the multiverse idea, Marvel has managed to bring all these stories within a single unified Marvel Multiverse, with Marvel Cinematic Universe taking precedence.
With seven film releases (possibly eight) and at least four television productions, it looks like there won’t be a month in 2023 when the audience won’t receive a Marvel Entertainment announcement. The idea that these films are not just connected via the studio but also share story elements makes Marvel a gigantic experience in itself. 2023 will be the year when it makes out the best from it.
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