There was tons of Marvel goodness at this weekend’s D23 Expo. The studio released the first teaser trailer for Secret Invasion, the six-episode crossover event series featuring Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, as well as a trailer for a Halloween TV special, Werewolf by Night, based on the Marvel Comics character. Those in attendance were also treated to sneak peek footage from a number of upcoming Marvel projects: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Loki S2, The Marvels, Ironheart, and Echo, among others.
Secret Invasion is based on the 2008 storyline from the comics books. It’s part of Phase Five of the MCU and Feige has said that the cross-over event will tie into future Marvel films. The scope won’t be quite as large in terms of the number of characters, and will instead focus on Fury and the political intrigue and intergalactic espionage of the comics storyline, as well as illuminating things that took place during the Blip. Don Cheadle’s James “Rhode” Rhodes will appear, as will Coby Smulders as Maria Hill, Martin Freeman’s Everett K. Ross, and Dermot Mulroney as US President Ritson. The cast also includes Kingsley Ben-Adir as the primary villain, as well as Olivia Coleman, Emilia Clarke, and Killian Scott.
The basic premise is that a rebel faction of shapeshifting Skrulls have been infiltrating Earth. Fury will team up with his former Skrull ally, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) to thwart the invading Skrulls. The teaser shows a bearded, rather scruffy-looking Fury returning to Earth after a long absence, to the surprise of Maria Hill, who has been trying to contact him for years. Clearly there is a serious threat. We see Fury meeting with Rhodes and asking how well he really knows his security detail. Because Skrulls can shapeshifter into anyone, how can you know if someone is a human or a Skrull? “I’m the last person standing between them and what they really want,” Fury says, but we don’t know yet what that might be.
Werewolf by Night
One of the best things about Marvel expanding into streaming television is the creative risks the studio occasionally takes on those series—like WandaVision and She-Hulk, for example, both of which are very different in tone and scope from the usual Marvel fare. Werewolf by Night looks to be in the same vein. It’s the first time Marvel has dipped its toe into “special presentations” and the trailer, shot almost entirely in black-and-white, looks to be channeling classic old Universal horror movies—with a bit of grindhouse thrown in for good measure.
There are two incarnations of Werewolf by Night in the comic books, and the Halloween special will feature Jack Russell, played by Gael Garcia Bernal (Old). Laura Donnelly co-stars as Elsa Bloodstone, a monster hunter. In the comics, Russell is the descendent of a long line of werewolves, dating back to a conflict with Dracula back in Transylvania, who discovers his shapeshifting nature after his mother is killed in a car crash. The trailer doesn’t go into any of that, but it’s visually striking with just a touch of cheese, complete with a spooky castle and a pun-making animatronic zombie claiming he’s “rotting” for a group of hunters who’ve come to said castle.
Other Marvel-ous tidbits
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. We loved the somber, elegiac first teaser for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever shown at Comic-Con in July; it captured the grief and sense of loss regarding the death of T’Challa (and the actor who played him, Chadwick Boseman). D23 Expo attendees were treated to new footage showing the broader impact, especially the political ramifications.
At the end of Black Panther, T’Challa revealed the true nature of Wakanda and its vast vibranium resources to the assembled representatives at the United Nations. The new footage opens with Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) facing an angry UN to defend the hiding of Wakanda’s resources. This is intercut with scenes of soldiers invading a vibranium plant, who are foiled by Okoye (Danai Gurira) and a host of Dora Milaje. The rest of the footage concerned Atlantis and Namor (Tenoch Huerta), who fears that T’Challa’s big reveal has put his own land at risk.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Wakanda Forever will mark the end of Phase Four of what’s officially being called The Multiverse Saga (encompassing Phases Four, Five, and Six). Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will kick off Phase Five with its release on February 17, 2023. The footage shown at D23 was essentially the same as that shown at Comic-Con, with one key addition. When Scott (Paul Rudd) confronts Kang (Jonathan Majors)—who has kidnapped Scott’s daughter Cassie—and identifies himself as an Avenger, Kang asks, “Have I killed you before?” He’ll release Cassie if Scott helps him retrieve something that has been stolen from him. Scott declines. A spot of torture ensues.
Loki S2. In the S1 finale of Loki, Sylvie (Sophia di Martino) killed He Who Remains (aka Kang) and shoved Loki (Tom Hiddleston) through a time door. This sent him to an alternate version of the Time Variance Authority (TVA). The second season, slated for a summer 2023 release, picks up where we left off. It’s still mid-filming, but Marvel showed a teaser (not released publicly) depicting Loki at the TVA before being whisked off by a time looper. Sylvie and Mobius (Owen Wilson) also make appearances, along with new cast member Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), who appears to be the TVA librarian. Loki warns of a coming multiverses war, and reveals a hidden sculpture of Kang in a wall behind a TVA mural.
The Marvels. Remember Ms. Marvel‘s end credits scene, where Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel suddenly appears in Kamala Khan’s bedroom? Judging by the new footage shown at DC23, that scene is part of The Marvels, a Phase Five film directed by Nic DaCosta. It’s the direct sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel and slated for release on July 28, 2023. Apparently Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) are linked in some way, and can randomly switch places whenever their energies entangle. So while Captain Marvel is in Kamala’s bedroom, Kamala finds herself on a space ship with Goose (the cat that’s really a Flerken).
Echo. As we’ve reported previously, we’ve already met Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox), aka Echo, in Hawkeye. She was the deaf commander of the Tracksuit Mafia, capable of perfectly copying another person’s movements. And she was on a quest to discover the true identity of Ronin, the assassin who had killed her father. That put her on a collision course with Clint Barton/Hawkeye. Barton revealed that Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) wanted her father dead. In the Hawkeye finale, Kingpin escaped, only to be confronted by an angry Maya. We heard a gunshot, but who was shot? And was it a fatal wound? D’Onofrio reprises his role as Kingpin. Other cast members include Devery Jacobs, Graham Greene, Cody Lightning, Chaske Spencer, and Zahn McClarnon as Maya’s deceased father, William Lopez.
Per the official premise, the character’s “ruthless behavior in New York City catches up with her in her hometown. She must face her past, reconnect with her Native American roots, and embrace the meaning of family and community if she ever hopes to move forward.” Both those elements featured in the new footage, shot partly in black and white. There was a scene where Maya is given a new piece for her prosthetic leg during a tribal ceremony, and another showing her taking out a group of bad guys at a dance club, ending with a Kingpin voiceover: “It’s been a long time.” The series is slated for a summer 2023 release.
Ironheart. Ryan Coogler, a producer on Ironheart, introduced new footage for this series centered on Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), a teen tech genius who is a protegé of Tony Stark in the comics. We saw her briefly in the Comic-Con teaser for Wakanda Forever, bonding with the equally brilliant Shuri (Letitia Wright). This new footage showed Riri in a classroom at MIT, expressing her love of taking things apart to see how they work, like a natural-born engineer. Cut to scenes at home, where Riri is building her very own armored suit and explaining her work to Parker Robbins (Anthony Ramos)—aka The Hood (in the future), closing with a shot in silhouette of Riri as Ironheart. The six-episode series is slated for release in late 2023.