Marvel Introduces MCU Phase 5 (and Six), 'Black Panther 2' in Major Comic-Con Panel

It’s Marvel’s world, and the rest of Comic-Con is just living in it. As to be expected from the most anticipated event at Comic-Con, Marvel threw the kitchen sink at thousands of attendees during its loaded Saturday evening panel, revealing more on the future of the MCU with a plan for the ending of Phase 4 and start for Phase 5, and even teasing phase 6. 

Three years after wowing the Comic-Con crowd about the MCU’s fate after Endgame, Marvel delivered again, revealing new trailers and details for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. Ant Man will kick off Phase 5 and will introduce who is presumably the franchise’s next big bad, Kang the Conqueror. 

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Like in 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed a timeline showing the entirety of Phase 5 and the start and end of Phase 6. As he revealed, after Black Panther ends Phase 4, Phase 5 starts with Quantumania and will continue with a wide slate of movies and Disney+ shows including Secret Invasion, Loki season 2, the previously announced Blade starring Mahershala Ali across 2023 and a new Captain America film in 2024. 

Phase 6 will start with a reboot of the Fantastic 4 in November 2024 and will conclude with the Avengers films The Kang Dynasty and Secret War in May and November 2025.

But let’s go back to where the panel ended: Black Panther. As Marvel President Kevin Feige said at the start of the presentation, we’re already nearing the end of Phase 4, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will officially conclude the phase with a release this November. Following a dazzling African drum and dance display from over a dozen performers near the panel’s, Ryan Coogler took the stage to introduce his cast and prep the crowd for the next film. 

“Five years ago I sat about right there and we premiered the first footage from Black Panther. Sitting next to me to my left was our T’challa, the late great Chadwick Boseman,” he said with a pause as fans cheered and applauded in respect. “The cast including Chad hadn’t seen [the footage] yet. He grabbed my hand, he had these enormous hands. As the clip went on, he was squeezing my shoulder. By the time I was done I couldn’t lift my arm. I felt his hand on me for hours. Listening to those artists playing, I promise I feel his hand on me now.”

Those returning to the sequel include Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o Danai Gurira, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba. Among the newcomers are Tenoch Huerta, who will play Namor, and Dominique Thorn playing Riri Williams/Ironheart. 

As Wright says about making the new film: “It’s a blessing, we’ve all grown so much as a family with our characters, we’re so honored to bring this movie to you guys and honor big bro at the same time.”

Huerta, who also gave his thanks in Spanish, emphasized the importance valuing inclusion had in bringing him into the film. “I want to say something about inclusion,” Huerta said of his new role. “I come from the hood. Thanks to inclusion I’m here. I wouldn’t be here without inclusion. A lot of kids are looking from their hood, looking at us, dreaming to be here.”

Before revealing Black Panther, James Gunn took the stage to tease Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, which he called the end of the story. I fell in love with these characters, they aren’t really superheroes, they’re sort of outer space adventurers,” Gunn said. “They’ve saved the universe a couple times but really what they do is save each other. “

A new trailer for that film, which is slated for a May 2023 release, suggests a search for the origins of Bradley Cooper’s raccoon character Rocket and pulls back on the tragic relationship between Zoe Saldana’s Gamora and Pratt’s Starlord.

“How is he real, where does he come from?,” Gunn says of Rocket. “I realized it’s the saddest story in the universe and that’s what this story is about to a great extent.”

Pratt who took the stage alongside several cast members including Pom Klementieff Di and Karen Gillan, weighed in on what Starlord has been going through since the events of Endgame. “It’s safe to say it opens up a vulnerability to the Guardians of the Galaxy to danger,” Pratt says. “He spends the movie trying to make up for being checked out.”

Before the Guardians cast left the stage, a character called the high evolutionary came out of the audience in full costume, reveling in the opportunity to dissect and upgrade “ low-life scum such as yourself and enhance you to make something less reprehensible.” We can assume the high evolutionary is one of the main villains. 

As previously said, The first film of phase 5 will be Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which also got a trailer reveal. In that film, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang explores the quantum realm with Hope Van Dyne and his daughter Cassie, his latest fight after a period of relative leisure following Lane’s part in saving the universe. As revealed in the trailer, when Scott isn’t busy promoting his book about saving the world, he’ll meet Kang the Conqueror, a variant of one of the characters introduced in Loki. 

Outside of the films, Marvel highlighted two of its most quickly upcoming shows, She-Hulk Attorney at Law and Secret Invasion. The former showed a fun, fourth wall-breaking trailer in which Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk tries training Tatiana’s Mislany’s still-learning She-Hulk. Mislany’s character will also serve as an attorney on cases concerning superhumans. 

Secret Invasion will focus on former Shield Agents Maria Hill and Nick Fury and their fight against the shape-shifting Skrulls. 

“This is a darker show,” Cobie Smulders, who plays hill said in the panel. “We’re going to get deeper into the characters, it’s going to be an exciting thriller. Are they a skrull, are they a human? It’s going to be a bit of a guessing game.”

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