By Stephen Ippolito | December 28th, 2020
When people look back at 2020, people will think about how much it sucked. The year brought death and mass shutdowns across the globe because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Marvel Studios and MCU fans, it wasn’t much better. For the first time since 2009, no new Marvel projects were released. Despite coming off the record-setting release of Avengers: Endgame, the studio was forced to push all its films and shows into 2021. To make matters worse, at the end of the summer, the MCU lost its king with Chadwick Boseman’s passing.
There were a couple bright spots. Not many, but toward the end of the year, the studio began to showcase some of the projects it has in store for us in the coming years. Despite being shutout in 2020, Marvel Studios does not plan to slowdown its output of films and shows anytime soon.
So because it’s the end of the year and there’s not been a lot of news so far this week, I thought I’d make a list of my top 5 stories in the MCU in 2020.
Deadpool 3 officially in the works
For most of 2020, the future of everyone’s favorite Rated-R superhero franchise, Deadpool, remained unknown. In fact, at times, it looked troublesome. Thankfully, in late November, news broke that Deadpool 3 was officially in the works and that writers had even been hired. Oh, and for those worried that it will be Rated-PG-13 now that the franchise is owned by Disney. Don’t worry, the plan is still for it to be Rated-R.
Kang the Conquer is coming to the MCU
In September, MCU news started to heat up when word broke that a classic Avengers villain would appear in the third Ant-Man film. Kang the Conquer, a time-traveling ruler from the future, would be played by Jonathan Majors. It’s unknown if this will be a one-time appearance for the classic villain or if he will terrorize the MCU for years to come.
Marvel Studios casts She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight
As mentioned before, September was a good month for the MCU. The weeks following the Kang news, casting for lead roles for upcoming Disney+ shows She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight broke. First, it was reported that Orphan Black actress Tatiana Maslany had been cast as She-Hulk. Then newcomer Iman Vellani was cast as Ms. Marvel. Finally, in late October, it was reported that Star Wars actor Oscar Isaac was in talks to play Moon Knight. Isaac has yet to be officially announced, but I would still count on him having the role.
Director Sam Raimi was chosen as replacement for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
This last one I debated putting at number 5, but in the end, I decided against it. In January, it was reported that Scott Derrickson would no longer direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Less than a month later, news broke that original Spider-Man trilogy director Sam Raimi was chosen as his replacement. The fan’s reaction to this was extremely positive. Raimi’s experience with superhero films and the horror genre seemed like a perfect fit for the Sorcerer Supremes’ follow up film.
5. Christian Bale joins Thor: Love and Thunder
Way back in January, what now feels like a lifetime ago, it was reported that Oscar winner Christian Bale was in talks to join Thor: Love and Thunder. When the story broke, fans hoped that the former Batman star would be playing fan-favorite Beta Ray Bill. So much so that it was the third overall topic trending on Twitter that day in the U.S.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. It would be revealed that Bale would play Gorr the God Butcher, the film’s villain. Now Gorr himself is a very popular Thor foe, and having Bale play him is an excellent choice. To have a star like Bale was a great addition to the MCU, and the reason it made my Top 5. However, had he in fact been chosen to play Beta Ray Bill, this would have certainly been higher up on the list.
4. Spider-Man 3 set to bring us the Spider-Verse
A few weeks before production on Spider-Man 3 was set to begin, shocking news broke that Jamie Foxx would be reprising his role as Electro for the film. Previously Foxx had played the character in the second Spider-Man film series. With his return, it was safe to say that the Multiverse (or Spider-Verse) would be a major plot line in the film.
Two months later in early December, mind blowing news broke that Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire were in talks to reprise their roles as Peter Parker (aka Spider-Man). Other actresses from previous films, Kirsten Dunst and Emma Stone, were also slated to return.
To have Holland, Garfield, and Maguire appear on the same screen as Spider-Man automatically makes it the most anticipated film of 2021 in my opinion. Of course, the report has yet to be confirmed by the studio, so there’s a chance that it could not be accurate. However, the outlet that reported it, Collider, is pretty reliable. So I think the chances of it being true are pretty high.
3. Disney’s Investor Day shows us the future of the MCU
Marvel Studios’ presentation during Disney’s Investor Day earlier this month, was the high point for the MCU in all of 2020. In a year without any new films or shows, it was great to see the future for the highest-grossing film franchise of all-time is still bright.
So many stories broke and were confirmed during the studio’s presentation. From Jon Watts being named as the director of the Fantastic Four reboot, to shows like Secret Invasion, Armor Wars, and Ironheart being announced for Disney+. We also got 3 new trailers (WandaVision, Loki, and Falcon and Winter Soldier) and a behind the scenes look at Ms. Marvel. So much was happening so fast that I couldn’t keep up.
It sucks that nothing new was able to come out this year because of the pandemic. However, It was good to see though that Marvel Studios is not going to slow down its output of projects over the next few years.
2. Pandemic causes delays
2020 was supposed to be a big year for Marvel Studios and the MCU. It was supposed to launch the franchise’s Phase 4, and it was supposed to be the first time we were going to see high budgeted shows that take place in the MCU. Unfortunately, it was not to be as all 4 projects (2 films, 2 Disney+ shows) were pushed out of 2020 and into 2021 because of the pandemic.
It began in March when Black Widow was pushed from its May 2020 release date to November 2020. Eternals was also pushed from it’s November 2020 slot to February 2020. Then in July, it was reported that the first series for Disney+, Falcon and Winter and Soldier, was pushed back from its August 2020 slot because it wouldn’t be ready in time. In September, all hope for any MCU films to be released in 2020 was lost when Black Widow was pushed to May 2021, a full year after its original date. Soon after, it was announced that WandaVision would premiere on the streaming service in January, making 2020 the first year without any new Marvel films/shows released since 2009.
As mentioned before, despite no new content in 2020, you can certainly bet that 2021 and will make up for it.
1. Chadwick Boseman passes away
I’ll never forget what I was doing when news broke about Chadwick Boseman’s passing away on August 28th. It was a Friday night, and I was watching the new Bill and Ted movie that just came out on-demand. Suddenly I got an alert on Twitter that rumors were going around that Boseman had passed away. I was in complete shock and couldn’t even comprehend what I was reading. I jumped online, hoping to find out it was not true. Shortly after, Boseman’s Twitter account confirmed that the actor had indeed passed away in a tweet. That tweet would go on to become the most liked tweet in the history of the social media company (7.6 million).
Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa (aka Black Panther) is not just one of the most iconic roles in the MCU, but all films. It brought the MCU to a new level of creativity and popularity. For this reason, the studio announced it would not recast him for the sequel, which is still expected to be released in July 2022.
There was no doubt that Boseman’s Black Panther role was going to be a big part of the MCU going forward. Sadly it was not meant to be as the MCU truly lost its king in 2020.