Marvel 'Phase 4': Loki's Back, Everyone's Bisexual, and Thor Is a Woman Now

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In case you needed your weekend ruined, Disney has just announced the next decade of Marvel programming at Comic Con 2019. Having recently ended “Phase 3” with Avengers: Endgame, there was little doubt that the massive media conglomerate had a meticulous plan for ensuring its continued box office dominance. As Entertainment Tonight reported, Marvel Studios teased a slate of films in the buildup to Saturday’s panel in Hall H in descriptions of the presentation disseminated amongst reporters: “Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige and surprise panelists provide an inside look at the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

Whether we like it or not, reader: they delivered.

The first announcement heralded the approach of “Phase 4” with The Eternals. Directed by Chloe Zhao, the film is about “a group of immortals that have been on earth for thousands of years.” It’s also packed with some surprising A-Listers, including Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, and Kumail Nanjiani. Speaking to the crowd, Angelina Jolie claimed she was going to “work 10-times harder because I know what it means to be an Eternal, to be part of this family.” Whatever you say, Angie! The next announcement concerned the upcoming Disney+ streaming series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It picks up after Endgame and will “explore The Falcon as a character” after he assumes the title of Captain America. Remarking on the character to that point, Sebastian Stan claimed “We know he’s got thighs.” (Indeed, most do.)

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Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, also announced that “The Mandarin” from Iron Man 3 was an imposter, and that the real villain would make his return in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Simu Liu, who will star as Shang-Chi, revealed to the crowd that he’d been cast days prior. The film will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretin, and also star Awkwafina.

Continuing their “push for broader diversity” in the MCU, the studio also promoted the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision. Reprising her role as the Scarlett Witch, Elizabeth Olson claimed they’re “going to go deep” and “finally understand Wanda Maximoff.” Teyonah Parris, a newcomer to the franchise, will play the grown up Monica Rambeau.

There was also big news for everyone that ever spent an inordinate amount of time desperately scrolling past fanfiction of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki! With the time-traveling event of Endgame throwing the universe into chaos, Disney+’s Loki will start directly after the events of the first Avengers film. For those who still suffer through a daily Tumblr experience, know I’m standing in solidarity. I cannot fight this battle for you, but I empathize greatly with the fandom you’ll soon be subjected too!

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Perhaps the biggest announcement of the night was the revelation that Natalie Portman will play a “female Thor” in Thor: Love and Thunder. Directed by the darling Taika Waititi, the film will concern Tessa Thompson’s first act as the king of her people: finding a queen. The studio admitted that Thompson will be the first “LGBTQ+ representation” in the MCU, with the actress confirming that bisexuality factors into her character’s decision. I’ll also admit that the return of Blade, starring Mahershala Ali, has me more excited than it probably should. Vampires are back and I couldn’t be happier. Save us from apocalypse narratives, Kevin Feige!

There were further teases of upcoming Fantastic Four movies and the introduction of “mutants” to the MCU, but why bring you any further despair? Just know that even when the sea levels have risen and worldwide climate crises threaten the future of human survival—somewhere, a cabal of Hollywood stars will walk the red carpet at the premiere of the next Marvel movie.

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