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Disney’s answer to Netflix was already met with strong reactions of anticipation upon its first announcement, but that excitement increased a hundredfold when the D23 expo in 2019 confirmed that the streaming service would drop several TV shows that will tie into the MCU. Pre-established fan favorites such as Hawkeye or Loki will be at the center of their own series, as well as lesser-known names of Marvel comics who have yet to be given the live action treatment.
There is still quite a bit of mystery surrounding many of the upcoming Disney+ exclusive Marvel TV shows, such as when we can expect them to finally release (especially after delays due to Covid-19), how can WandaVision feature Paul Bettany after his character’s (SPOILER ALERT) tragic end in Avengers: Infinity War, and what exactly is the animated anthology series What If…? about? We have most of those answers and more here in this rundown of all the exclusive Marvel content you can expect to see on Disney+ soon enough.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TBA 2021)
The unlikely partnership you never realized you wanted is Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson and Sebastian Stan’s James “Bucky” Barnes. The bickering MCU heroes are teaming up for their own spin-off, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (said to take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame), which is being directed by Kari Skogland with Malcolm Spellman as the head writer for the show.
Although it was originally announced to premiere on Disney+ in August 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak halted production in the Czech Republic, where it is planned to continue filming in October through November. As of now, it is unclear when in 2021 we can expect the series to make its debut and answer our most pressing questions, such as if Sam’s new title as Captain America will be threatened by Wyatt Russell’s announced role as John Walker or if Bucky’s resistance to his assassin programming will be put to the test again by Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo.
WandaVision (December 2020)
The announcement of a series centered on Wanda Maximov, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Vision (Paul Bettany) was met with much confusion, considering the cybernetic organism’s demise in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. However, the vague reveal of WandaVision’s premise and bizarre promotional material, bearing similarities to Tom King's rather unusual reboot of The Vision in 2015, only made things more confusing, albeit doubly fascinating.
The unique series (from director Matt Shakman and head writer Jac Schaeffer), which Paul Bettany promises is easily the “oddest of all the Marvel endeavors so far,” has been confirmed for a December 2020 release on Disney+ after originally being slated for the following spring. This is exciting news, especially amid Covid-19 related delays and WandaVision's close ties to other highly anticipated MCU installments, including one spin-off series that is sure to be a mischievous sort.
Loki (Spring 2021)
The introductory scene of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War saw Thor’s adopted brother suffer his third, and most convincing, death yet, which then prompted questions of how he would be resurrected this time. The sight of a 2012-era Loki using the Tesseract to escape capture in Avengers: Endgame the following year gave us the hint we needed to make sense of the plans for Tom Hiddelston’s upcoming spin-off series.
Directed by Kate Herron with Michael Waldron leading in the writers room, Loki will focus on the God of Mischief's adventures following his Avengers: Endgame cameo. It is still, at this time, set to premiere on Disney+ in the spring of 2021, giving it plenty of time to lead into Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is scheduled for March of the following year.
What If…? (2021)
If you ask me, no streaming service worth its salt is complete without its own anthology series to add some additional variety to a subscriber’s binge - case in point, Netflix’s Black Mirror or Hulu’s Into the Dark, which is also produced by Blumhouse. Disney+ will follow suit and drop 23 episodes of its only original animated Marvel TV show, What If…?, which is still set for a mid-2021 release at this time.
The series, inspired by a comic book series of the same that explores alternative storylines involving Marvel’s most iconic heroes, will follow the same concept by reimagining pivotal moments of the MCU, putting key characters on an entirely different path. Established actors of the MCU, including Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan to Peggy Carter actress Hayley at are set to lend their voice talents to reprise their roles in What If…?, which is sure to mark new, irreverent territory for Marvel and pique the curiosity of those who ever wondered, “What if Captain America was a zombie?”
Hawkeye (Fall 2021)
It has been clear since 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron that all Jeremy Renner’s master archer wants to do is retire from the superhero life and finally settle down with his family. Well, it appears that the Disney+ exclusive Hawkeye will chronicle Clint Barton’s ascension from his MCU moniker, which also promises to be quite the family affair as well.
The six-episode limited series will follow Clint Barton training the successor to his Avengers title, Kate Bishop, the third Marvel comic character to take up the name Hawkeye and the first female to do so. There is currently no confirmation as to who will play the young archer, but we do know that she will be starring alongside Jeremy Renner himself, as we will see once Hawkeye premieres on Disney+, currently set for the fall season of 2021.
Moon Knight (TBA)
Not only are MCU favorites getting the small screen treatment at Disney+, but new Marvel TV shows centered on some lesser-known comic book heroes are on the horizon. Among these characters is one that executives at Marvel have been trying to adapt for live-action entertainment for years, Moon Knight.
Moon Knight, which has yet to be given an official release date, will follow heavyweight boxer-turned-Marine-turned-mercenary Marc Spector who, after being left to die by a double-crossing colleague at an Egyptian archaeological dig, is resurrected as the Earthbound avatar for the vengeful god Khonshu. In addition to his lunar-powered abilities, skills in kung-fu, and technological expertise, Moon Knight also suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, which will more than likely make his struggle to balance living as a billionaire playboy, cab driver, and god-like vigilante one of the most unique, and surely one of the darkest, stories to be featured in the MCU canon yet.
Ms. Marvel (TBA)
In the Marvel comics canon, before Carol Danvers took on the traditionally male role of Captain Marvel, she was the originator of the traditional female role of Ms. Marvel. However, since Academy Award-winner Brie Larson’s portrayal of the Kree warrior has been made the MCU’s sole owner of the Captain Marvel name, Ms. Marvel will be brought into the universe under the identity of the current holder of the title in the comic books.
The series Ms. Marvel will follow Pakistani American teenager Kamala Khan, the first Muslim character to headline a comic book, and her rise to superheroism after she discovers that she has shapeshifting abilities. The most recent update on the show’s status revealed that filming is scheduled for November 2020, but without a Disney+ release date confirmed for now.
It may come as a surprise to some more casual Marvel fans that Bruce Banner, the alter-ego of the Incredible Hulk, actually has a cousin who is just as green as he is. No one seemed more excited over the announcement of her solo TV series than the MCU’s Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo, who welcomed She-Hulk to the Marvel family on social media.
She-Hulk will be the first live-action adaptation of Jessica Walters, whose story as a muscle-bound, green heroine begins with a blood transfusion from her radioactive cousin. The most exciting update on the series since its first announcement at D23 is confirmation that the scripts are finished, but a date for principal photography and its Disney+ premiere are still yet to be revealed.
From stories revolving around characters who we’ve been waiting to see enter the MCU for years to stories involving our favorite characters that we could have never imagined, Disney+ is looking to be a refreshing turning point for Marvel with these highly anticipated TV shows. Be sure to check back for more updates, such as plot details and release dates, here on Cinemablend.