1. Black Panther 2 (8th July 2022)
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, African superhero Black Panther broke new ground for Marvel upon his debut in 1966. The character was the first representation of a black superhero in comic book lore, a noble prince (named T’Challa) living in the vibranium-rich country of Wakanda.
The pressure was on the 2018 movie adaptation to get everything right – after all, Black Panther has been embraced as a progressive pop culture symbol, not just a comic book figure. Fortunately, in the assured hands of Fruitvale Station and Creed director Ryan Coogler, Black Panther emerged as a stirring, spirited tribute to Lee and Kirby’s creation.
Anchored by Chadwick Boseman‘s noble performance as the title character (but stolen by Michael B. Jordan as insurgent villain Killmonger), this was a Marvel movie with brains and brawn. Both Coogler and Boseman are set to return for Black Panther 2, although story details are being concealed from view – not unlike the way Wakanda treats itself.
Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira and Martin Freeman will all be back, playing Shuri, Okoye and Everett Ross, respectively. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has indicated that there are “ideas and a pretty solid direction on where we want to head with the second one”.
Coogler says that he wants to “focus on trying to make something that has some type of meaning”. Fingers crossed that our return to T’Challa’s kingdom will live up to our lofty expectations.
In the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s death in August 2020, Disney has confirmed they will not recast the role of T’Challa.
Released in 2019, Captain Marvel unleashed Oscar-winner Brie Larson as the eponymous Marvel superhero. The movie acts as a jigsaw, re-constructing Captain Marvel’s memory as she recalls her human life as pilot Carol Danvers. And because the film is set in 1995, it allows de-ageing CGI to reach new heights with its depiction of the younger Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the movie eventually soared to grosses of more than $1 billion worldwide. It remains to be seen how Captain Marvel 2 will continue Carol’s journey – the last we saw of her, she assisted in the fight against Thanos (Josh Brolin) during the climax of Avengers: Endgame. This was, of course, made possible by the all-encompassing powers that we saw her achieve at the end of the solo Captain Marvel movie.
In Avengers: Endgame, Carol alludes to having been away from Earth, assisting other planets who don’t have an Avengers initiative to save the day. Might we see some of those adventures in the sequel? One thing is likely: a continuation of the Skrulls’ storyline, the shape-shifting aliens initially established as the villains in Captain Marvel, before later being revealed as the victims of the insidious Kree regime, to which Captain Marvel herself once belonged.
Candyman helmer Nia DaCosta will direct while new faces Iman Vellani and Teyonah Parris will be joining the cast. Both actors will be incorporated from their respective Disney+ projects, playing Ms Marvel and the grown-up Monica Rambeau (from WandaVision), respectively.
3. Blade (release date TBC)
The Black Panther movie wasn’t the first big-screen comic book blockbuster to showcase a black superhero. Back in 1998, actor Wesley Snipes portrayed maverick vampire-hunter Blade in the gnarly and blood-soaked Marvel movie of the same name. Preceding all thoughts of a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the first Blade film is far tougher and nastier than many of its successors, a facet that landed it with an 18 certificate in the UK.
The current wave of comic book epics owes itself to Blade, which arrived to tear up the big screen even before the first X-Men film. Snipes’ stylish title character, who mixes martial arts, weaponry and swishy trench coats, appeared in two more films in 2002 and 2005, before being put on ice. The first of those was directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and was good, gory fun. The last film, Blade: Trinity, was critically mauled, and dogged by reports of Snipes’ bizarre on-set behaviour.
Very soon, Blade is returning to reassert his dominance, as played by Mahershala Ali. The actor has swiftly ascended the Hollywood ranks to nab Oscars for his roles in Moonlight and Green Book, and the prospect of him playing Marvel’s ‘day-walker’ is enormously exciting.
The news was made public at Comic-Con 2019, attended by Ali and Kevin Feige. No writer or director has been assigned yet, so watch this space.