Warning: This post contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
It already takes quite a bit of effort to keep abreast of the events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel Studios has released 23 superhero movies since 2008. But now die-hard Marvel fans will have extra homework: They’ll have to (or get to, depending on one’s perspective) turn to Disney’s new streaming service Disney+ in addition to visiting the movie theater to fully understand the lives of their favorite heroes and villains.
Marvel has produced some shows loosely related to their movies before, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Defenders. But those series always kept their distance from their big screen counterparts: It was easy to understand the films without having ever tuned into Agent Colson’s missions in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the likes of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage never joined Captain America or Iron Man in the movies.
That will change with the new Disney+ shows, which will feature some of the biggest heroes and villains from the Marvel movies. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige announced five new superhero and supervillain shows at San Diego Comic-Con this summer. Here’s are the Disney+ Marvel shows fans can look forward to:
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Fall 2020)
Marvel hasn’t shared much about the plot of its first television series, but we can infer some details from the title. At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), retires and hands over his shield to Falcon, a.k.a. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie).
Based on the show’s title, it sounds like Sam doesn’t immediately take up the mantle of Captain America, but rather remains Falcon for awhile. We do know that he’ll be teaming up with the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes) to fight the antagonist from Captain America: Civil War, Daniel Brühl’s Helmut Zemo. Brühl appeared in a brief video at Comic-Con to taunt Mackie and Stan. He is clearly intent on revenge.
Wandavision (Spring 2021)
Wanda Maximoff and Vision made up one of the stranger romantic pairings in the Marvel Cinematic universe, both because of actors Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s age difference (not that that’s stopped Hollywood before) and because, well, Vision was an android. Still, their love was one of the central tensions of Avengers: Infinity War: Wanda and the other Avengers risked the fate of the entire universe by keeping Vision alive rather than destroying the Mind Stone inside Vision’s head to keep it from Thanos.
Thanos managed to kill Vision and steal the Mind Stone anyway, and Wanda’s dreams of a happily-ever-after in superhero retirement were dashed. But shippers can rejoice: Vision is returning…somehow. It may have something to do with time travel: Even though Marvel has confirmed that the show takes place after the events of Endgame, other reports suggest that parts of the show will be set in the 1950s. Empire actor Teyonah Parris is also confirmed to star as the grown-up version of Monica Rambeau, the daughter of Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) in Captain Marvel.
Whatever happens in the show, it will likely tie into the films: Olsen is also set to appear in the Doctor Strange sequel, Multiverse of Madness, due in 2021.
Loki (Spring 2021)
Tom Hiddleston’s trickster god Loki became a fan-favorite villain early in the Marvel saga. He was both a formidable threat to his brother, the God of Thunder, and welcome comedic relief in those early, overly self-serious Thor movies.
The writers couldn’t resist bringing him back again and again. Loki seemingly died at the end of Thor only to try to return with a vengeance on a mission to take over earth in Avengers. He then seemingly sacrificed himself in Thor: The Dark World but appeared alive and well in Thor: Ragnarok. Thanos definitively killed Loki during Avengers: Infinity War, quipping “No resurrections this time.” And yet Loki is back again! But how?
Remember during Avengers: Endgame when Captain America and Iron Man traveled to a parallel timeline to recover the Tesseract (a.k.a. the Space Stone)? They arrived at the Battle of New York in 2012 and confronted 2012 versions of themselves, and a 2012 version of Loki. That 2012 Loki managed to snag the Space Stone and evade both the Avengers and police. The new TV show will follow that Loki (still played by Hiddleston) in that new timeline.
What If…? (Summer 2021)
What If…? will be Marvel Studios’ first animated show on Disney+. Just like the comic book series of the same name, What If…? will pose different scenarios in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and watch them play out. For example, what if Peggy Carter took the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers, and she became Captain America? Or what if Thanos joined the Avengers?
Many of the actors who have appeared in the live action Marvel movies are lending their voices to the show, so there are limitless storyline possibilities. Here is a full list of the cast members set to appear in the first season and where they appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before. Let your imagination run wild!
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk
Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
Josh Brolin as Thanos
Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
Taika Waititi as Korg
Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster
Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther
Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger
Paul Rudd as Ant-Man
Michael Douglas as Hank Pym
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes
Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Toby Jones as Arnim Zola
Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan
Guardians of the Galaxy
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Sean Gunn as Kraglin
Michael Rooker as Yondu
Djimon Hounsou as Korath
Hawkeye (Fall 2021)
Last we saw Hawkeye in Avengers: Endgame, he was finally reunited with his family, all of whom disappeared after Thanos’ snap. Hawkeye had plans to retire from the superhero game, but that doesn’t mean that another can’t take his place.
The series will focus on Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton training a new hero, Kate Bishop, to replace him as the arrow-slinging agent. The show will presumably pull storylines from the much-beloved Hawkeye comics series by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Javier Pulido that depicts the travails of Barton and Bishop. Here’s hoping that Hawkeye’s one-eyed mutt from that comic, Pizza Dog, makes an appearance on the show too.