We’ve known for a while that Marvel was going to play a major part in Disney+, the all-encompassing Disney streaming service that launches on Nov. 12. In addition to the back catalogue of Marvel movies, Disney+ will also exclusively feature the TV series Loki, Wandavision (starring Vision and the Scarlet Witch), Hawkeye, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, in which Captain America’s two best buds will no doubt wrestle with his absence. There’s also an animated version of What If…? on the way; this adaptation of Marvel’s off-and-on series of theoretical, non-canon comics will feature the voices of actors from the movies. That’s a healthy heaping of Marvel content that’ll be funneled our way over the next few years, but for the overlords at Disney, it’s still not enough.
Earlier today Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced three more upcoming Marvel TV shows at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, all of which will air exclusively on Disney+. All three will introduce popular characters from the comics into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and at least some of them will also include supporting characters from various Marvel movies. Here’s the full rundown of Marvel shows that were announced today, including everything we know about the TV series (which, uh, isn’t much) and some of the background info from the original comics.
We’re starting with She-Hulk because she’s the most prominent of these characters, and maybe our personal favorite. Jennifer Walters is a defense attorney who gets shot down by criminals and is saved by a blood transfusion from her cousin: a guy named Bruce Banner, aka the Incredible Hulk. With Banner’s gamma-irradiated blood surging through her veins, Walters turns into the incredibly strong and resilient She-Hulk whenever she gets angry. Unlike her cousin, she maintains her normal personality when she’s She-Hulk, and eventually learns to control her transformations. She became a long-running member of the Avengers and an off-an-on replacement member of the Fantastic Four, and also realized she was living within a comic book years before Deadpool ever ripped off that gimmick. Her solo series by writers John Byrne, Dan Slott and Charles Soule are must-reads, and her stints in both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four make her one of the most important superheroines in all of Marvel Comics. Honestly, it’s a shame she’s only now getting introduced into the MCU—she should’ve been right there alongside the other Avengers throughout Infinity War and Endgame. Now that the field of living heroes has been thinned a bit perhaps she’ll be able to shine. Nothing about the Disney+ series was announced other than its existence.
The character who is historically most associated with the Ms. Marvel tag is Carol Danvers, aka the current Captain Marvel, but that’s not the one getting her own TV series. This show will star Kamala Khan, the teenaged Pakistani-American who was introduced in 2013 and immediately became one of the best written and most likable characters in Marvel Comics. Khan is a Muslim high schooler in Jersey City who gains the unlikely ability to change the shape and size of her own body parts. Her powers are unlocked by her Inhuman genes, which we assume will probably be changed for the TV show since the disastrous Inhumans series has basically been erased from the MCU. The British comedian and writer Bishi K. Ali will serve as the writer and showrunner for Ms. Marvel, according to Hollywood Reporter.
The third new Marvel show will star Moon Knight, an intentional riff on Batman who’s been kicking around Marvel comics since 1975. Moon Knight is the vigilante alter ego of Marc Spector, a skilled mercenary who dies in Egypt and is resurrected to serve as a warrior and avatar for the moon god Khonshu. Although Spector largely fought crime in a white cowl and cape (which, honestly, was a big part of his allure for readers back in the ‘80s), he also used a variety of alter egos to better infiltrate the criminal element. After a solo comic in the early ‘80s, a run as a member of the West Coast Avengers, and a second solo series in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Moon Knight drifted in and out of limbo for a while, before starring in a series of critically-acclaimed comics by such top writers as Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis and Jeff Lemire in the ‘10s. Depending on the writer, Spector’s personalities have been played as either intentional alter egos, or a result of a variety of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. Even his relationship with Khonshu has changed depending on the creative team—sometimes it’s treated as a straight-forward superhero origin, sometimes it’s treated as if Spector might be hallucinating his conversations with the supposed moon god. It’ll be interesting to see how the new Disney+ series handles that aspect of his character.
Feige also revealed more information about the Marvel TV shows we already knew were coming to Disney+. Wandavision will be a genre-hopping mix of a family sitcom and a superhero action show, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany. It’ll also feature a few other familiar faces from the MCU, including Ant-Man and The Wasp’s Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, and Kat Dennings as her Thor sidekick Darcy Lewis. Meanwhile the fantastic comedic actress Kathryn Hahn will be playing a “nosy neighbor,” which we’re pretty sure means she’ll be the Mrs. Kravitz of the MCU. Teyonah Parris will also play a grown version of Monica Rambeau, the child from Captain Marvel, who was also one of the many heroes to be known as Captain Marvel in the comics.
The Loki series won’t bring Tom Hiddleston’s beloved trickster back to life. Instead it’ll follow the alternate universe Loki who made off with the Cosmic Cube (sorry, Tesseract) during the time travel scenes in Avengers: Endgame. Since this was the straight-up villainous version of Loki from the first Avengers movie, it’ll be interesting to see how reformed his character is at the start of the show.
Finally Falcon and the Winter Soldier won’t limit itself to just those two one-time Captain Americas. (Yes, both Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes spent time as Marvel’s preeminent shield-thrower in the comics.) The series will also introduce John Walker, the former Captain America who was introduced in the ‘80s as a commentary on Reagan-era far-right conservatism. Walker went on to tone down his violent excesses and serve for years as U.S. Agent, a respected and valuable member of various Avengers lineups. Walker will be played by Wyatt Russell, the son of Hollywood legends Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (who already punched his MCU card as Peter Quill’s dad in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). Emily VanCamp will also return as Sharon Carter, with Daniel Brühl reprising his Captain America: Civil War role as the villainous Baron Zemo.
So that’s a pretty hefty info dump on all the Marvel action coming to Disney+ over the next few years. This is all in addition to the many upcoming Marvel films, which will focus on such characters as Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Eternals, with more films starring Doctor Strange, Thor, Captain Marvel and Black Panther. Who knows, maybe even Spider-Man will swing back into the MCU once Disney and Sony finish their pissing contest. Even if Ol’ Webhead remains curiously absent from the post-Endgame MCU, though, today proves Disney has more than enough Marvel toys to play with.