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How Each 2022 MCU Movie & Show Can Change The MCU Forever

Written by corres2

2022 is shaping up to be one of the MCU‘s biggest years, with a variety of new movies and TV shows that could completely change the MCU forever by the time 2023 rolls around. Marvel Studios unleashed a continuous stream of brand new content throughout 2021 after an entire year of absence due to the pandemic. The MCU Phase 4 finally kicked off with WandaVision in January 2021, the first of five Disney+ shows released across the year. The introduction of this new medium into the MCU allowed Marvel Studios to explore characters that did not get a chance to shine in the movies and gave them deep and complex arcs that were only possible due to the longer form of storytelling. 2021 also marked the first year with four theatrical releases from Marvel Studios, including huge blockbusters such as Spider-Man: No Way Home which, along with Loki and What If…?, marked the beginning of the multiverse saga for the MCU. All in All, Marvel Studios released nine projects throughout 2021, making it the biggest year for the MCU to date.

Marvel Studios are showing no signs of slowing down either, with the MCU looking to have a great year in 2022. So far, three films, three Disney+ shows, and one Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special are confirmed to be coming out in 2022, with three additional projects without confirmed release dates expected to release in the upcoming year as well. The MCU’s three theatrical releases of 2022 are all sequels to some of its most critically acclaimed movies, with Doctor Strange, Thor, and Black Panther all getting new entries in their respective franchises. Additionally, this year’s Disney+ shows will be different than 2021’s, as they are set to introduce new characters into the MCU such as Moon Knight, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel all leading their own miniseries. 2022 is set to be another huge year for the MCU as it adds more characters to its ever-expanding roster and presents its established heroes with new challenges.

Related: Every MCU TV Show Ranked Worst to Best (Including What If…?)

With so many upcoming Marvel movies and TV shows coming out in 2022, it’s impossible to guess what the cinematic universe will look like a year from now. Each project has the potential to have a lasting impact on the MCU moving forward, either by giving major characters their long-overdue MCU debuts or through the universe-ending stakes some of these projects are bound to have. Here’s how each 2022 Marvel Studios project can change the landscape of the MCU forever.

Moon Knight – 2022

Moon Knight

Moon Knight, one of 2022’s most anticipated releases, will follow Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector as he carries out the bidding of the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. Audiences have been asking for Moon Knight to join the MCU for years, and the upcoming Disney+ show will finally meet those demands. Moon Knight is a violent and brutal character, with a ruthless fighting style and one of the few Marvel heroes that are willing to cross the line and kill the villains he deems deserving. The footage revealed on Disney+ Day shows that the series will not shy away from those violent extremes, and it will also include a complex facet of Moon Knight’s character. Marc Spector’s dissociative identity disorder differentiates him from other Marvel comics vigilantes like Daredevil, and it introduces a layer of psychological thrill the show is confirmed to explore.

While Moon Knight will focus almost entirely on Marc Spector and his different personalities, it could very well plant the seeds for Marvel’s next super team. In the source material, Moon Knight is part of the Midnight Sons, a faction of the Avengers that deals with supernatural and dark mystical threats. Members of the team include Blade, Wong, Punisher, Iron Fist, Man-Thing, and multiple Ghost Riders, often led by Doctor Strange. Blade has already made his MCU debut in Eternals’ post-credits sequence, and with Ethan Hawke rumored to play Dracula in Moon Knight, Marvel’s vampire hunter could probably make an appearance to team up with Spector and take him down. Introducing the Midnight Sons will create a lot of opportunities for Marvel Studios to explore the horror genre and horror-adjacent properties, which the MCU is yet to do after 13 years of releases.

She-Hulk – 2022

She Hulk

Marvel’s second most popular super-powered attorney, Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. She-Hulk, is set to lead her own Disney+ show in 2022. She-Hulk will be the only 2022 show with 10 episodes as opposed to six. Jennifer Walters, played by Tatiana Maslany, is Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo) cousin, and she turns into She-Hulk after receiving a blood transfusion from him to help her recover from a near-fatal gunshot wound. Moreover, Walters is a very successful lawyer, specializing in representing superheroes in court, leading many MCU enthusiasts to believe that Charlie Cox’s Daredevil will make his second MCU appearance in the show. In the source material, She-Hulk fought crime as a member of many superhero teams, the most notable of which the Avengers and her brief stint as a member of the Fantastic Four.

Related: Why She-Hulk Breaks The Fourth Wall In Her MCU Show

She-Hulk has the potential to introduce numerous characters throughout the show by virtue of Walters’ court cases, since the show is said to feature a different case every episode. The show could see Walters teaming up with Matt Murdock to take down Wilson Fisk, or explore the fate of the Abomination (Tim Roth), who is confirmed to be appearing in She-Hulk after his cameo in Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings. The Disney+ show could also see Walters team up with characters like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage from the Netflix series, since the MCU revival of Matt Murdock and Kingpin proved that Marvel Studios has no problem porting these characters over from the Netflix shows. Doing so will help flesh out the street-level world of the MCU, which so far has been extremely underdeveloped.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness – May 6, 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Trailer

Marvel’s first theatrical release of 2022, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is perhaps the most integral to Marvel’s Phase 4 multiverse theme. Said to continue the plot threads set up in WandaVision and No Way Home, Multiverse of Madness will embrace the absurdity of the multiverse as Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) attempts to thwart the many threats it’s bound to spawn. Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) is confirmed to appear in the 2022 film, possibly in an antagonistic light, as she attempts to get her children back through any means possible. Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are also all set to reprise their roles as Wong, Christine Palmer, and Karl Mordo, respectively. Joining the cast is Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, a teen hero with the ability to create portals that can travel through different universes.

The Multiverse of Madness will probably have the biggest impact on the MCU out of all of Marvel Studios’ 2022 releases. The Doctor Strange sequel will further develop the multiverse plot of Phase 4, and, as proven by No Way Home, including the multiverse as a plot point in a Marvel movie removes any existing barriers that were previously limiting the narrative. There is no telling what might happen or who might appear in the film. Rumors suggest that Ghost Rider will make his MCU debut in the 2022 film, which could add another member to the Midnight Sons team that could get set up in Moon Knight. The upcoming film could finally introduce demonic entities into the MCU as well, especially with the film being labeled as “PG-13 horror” by Kevin Feige. Characters like Mephisto, Nightmare, Chthon, and Cyttorak could all cameo in the film, setting up bigger roles for them down the line. Some of the more farfetched theories even claim that Wanda’s inclusion could even lead to the introduction of X-Men/mutants in the MCU, with Wanda doing the opposite of what she did in the “House of M” storyline.

Ms. Marvel – Summer 2022

Ms Marvel aka Kamala Khan in Disney Plus Show

Ms. Marvel is confirmed to release sometime in the summer of 2022 and will focus on Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), Marvel’s first Pakistani-American superhero. Kamala Khan is a huge fan of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and looks up to her for inspiration. In the source material, Kamala Khan is an Inhuman who gets her powers when a Terrigen Bomb is accidentally detonated by Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, in an attempt to thwart the mad titan Thanos. It’s unlikely that Marvel will stick with this origin for the live-action adaptation of the character as the disastrous results of their previous ABC adaptation ensured that their MCU debut is still a long way away.

Related: Ms. Marvel’s Connection To Captain Marvel Explained

Ms. Marvel will likely be a contained story that will focus on Ms. Marvel’s origin before her scheduled appearance in 2023’s The Marvels alongside Captain Marvel and Spectrum (Teyonah Parris). However, the increasing number of teenage heroes in the MCU indicates that Marvel Studios are planning a Young Avengers project down the line. Joining Ms. Marvel on this yet-to-be-confirmed team could be Wanda’s two sons, Billy Kaplan/Wiccan and Tommy Shepherd/Speed, Isaiah Bradley’s grandson Eli Bradley/Patriot, Kate Bishop as the new Hawkeye, America Chavez, and other legacy characters who weren’t previously on the team in the comics, such as Joaquín Torres as the new Falcon.

Secret Invasion – TBA

Samuel L Jackson as old Nick Fury in Secret Invasion

Nick Fury will finally return to the MCU in Marvel’s Secret Invasion, the show centered around the shapeshifting Skrulls’ infiltration of Earth. The upcoming series will star Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, joined by Ben Mendelsohn as the Skull Talos and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill. Secret Invasion‘s already star-studded cast includes names like Emilia Clarke and Olivia Colman playing unannounced characters. The last time audiences saw Nick Fury was in Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits scene where he was overseeing a giant space station presumed to be a S.W.O.R.D. facility while Talos posed as him on Earth.

Secret Invasion’s impact on the wider MCU could be huge, as the story it’s based on catalyzed a series of cascading events that culminated in the “Siege” storyline that saw Norman Osborn rise to power as the figurehead behind the Dark Avengers. The MCU adaptation of Secret Invasion could have a similar impact as it may force audiences to question the true identity of every MCU character, including ones that will have been in the MCU for 14 years by the time the show comes out. The characters in the MCU will share the viewers’ mistrust since it is impossible to tell a Skrull and a human apart. In the comics, Skrulls go to extreme lengths to make sure they are not caught, including kidnapping characters and copying their memories. Secret Invasion will not only have a huge impact on the MCU’s future, but it will also retroactively change the way audiences perceive certain characters from the MCU’s past, as it is bound to reveal a few Skrulls that have been hiding in plain sight for years.

Thor: Love And Thunder – July 8, 2022

avengers endgame thor love and thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder will mark the first fourth solo outing for any MCU character, making Thor Marvel’s longest independent movie franchise, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is indeed worthy of breaking his record since Avengers: Endgame left his character with multiple unresolved plot threads. Endgame introduced audiences to a version of Thor never before seen in the MCU. Dubbed Fat Thor by audiences, the ax-wielding demigod retained none of the visual or characteristic properties he possessed previously in the MCU. The aftermath of Thanos’ victory in Avengers: Infinity War took its toll on the God of Thunder, causing him to develop PTSD and gain a significant amount of weight. Eventually, Thor left Earth with the Guardians of the Galaxy, after which Love and Thunder will pick up.

Related: Thor: Love & Thunder Going Too Far Is Exactly What The MCU Needs

Thor’s fourth solo outing will probably follow his journey as he regains both his confidence and physique. Gorr the God Butcher is confirmed to appear as the film’s primary antagonist, to be portrayed by four-time Academy Award-winning actor Christian Bale. This opens up various opportunities for Love and Thunder to introduce new characters. For starters, Gorr’s mission in the source material is to kill all the gods in the universe, which can lead to him facing off against not just Thor, but the Greek pantheon of gods, introducing characters like Zeus, Ares, and Hercules. Additionally, “The God Butcher” comic storyline saw Thor team up with two other variants of himself to take down Gorr, both of which could show up in Love and Thunder now that the multiverse has been cracked wide open. Of course, characters like Beta Ray Bill and Amora the Enchantress have been rumored to appear in every Thor film so far, and Love and Thunder is no different.

But perhaps the most significant change Love and Thunder will bring to the MCU is not the introduction of a new character, but the transformation of one of the MCU’s oldest. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is confirmed to be picking up the mantle of Thor in the upcoming blockbuster, and will wield a version of Thor’s hammer Mjölnir. While Thor continued his journey as a hero and an Avenger even after Jane became Thor in the comics, albeit under the moniker Odinson, this might not be the case in the movies. Love and Thunder could serve as a passing of the torch story, and could potentially eliminate another original Avenger after introducing their MCU Phase 4 legacy character.

What If…? Season 2 – TBA

Captain Carter rides on the Hydra Stomper's back in What If

2021’s What If…? was Marvel Studios’ first venture into the world of animation, and they utilized this opportunity to tell stories that would not be feasible to adapt in a live-action project. Season 2 of the animated anthology will follow the same formula, showcasing more alternate versions of key MCU moments. The premise of two of the episodes has already been confirmed by the show’s writers; one will finally expand on the Gamora and Iron Man timeline audiences glimpsed in the penultimate episode of season 1, while another will feature Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) as she discovers Steve Rogers’ old armor on the Leumerian Star vessel. Captain Carter is confirmed to play a bigger role in season 2 and will be a recurring character in multiple episodes.

What If…?’s first season’s biggest problem was the disconnected storylines and lack of any real impact on the broader MCU, a problem that season 2 could fix. The animated show’s second season could feature characters that might show up in future Marvel projects in live-action. Plus, the first Multiverse of Madness trailer confirmed at least a cameo appearance by Strange Supreme/evil Doctor Strange from What If…? season 1. Uatu the Watcher could also make his live-action debut in Phase 4, which could set up a potential “Original Sin” adaptation down the line.

Related: What If…? Season 2 News & Updates: Everything Marvel Has Revealed

Werewolf By Night/Halloween Special – October 2022

Werewolf by Night cover

Marvel Studios is doing a Halloween special, and, though it hasn’t been confirmed, Gael Garcia Bernal was cast and sources say he’ll be playing Werewolf by Night. If so, the Halloween special could be their most interesting Disney+ release of the year. Jack Russell was a normal teenager when he discovered that one of his ancestors was bitten by a werewolf centuries ago, and that he was bound to carry the same curse of turning into a mindless beast every month at full moon. After being granted the ability to transform into a werewolf at will, Russell used his powers as Werewolf by Night to fight crime. However, he still lost control whenever the moon was full in the sky, leading him to build an escape-proof room to lock himself in every month. The Halloween special will be the MCU’s first TV movie, and could potentially explore true horror in the MCU for the first time.

Werewolf by Night was also a member of the Midnight Sons, the team that also features Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Blade, and Doctor Strange. This Halloween special could be the perfect precursor to a dedicated Midnight Sons project, bringing together all of Marvel’s darker characters. Werewolf by Night could also leave the door open for Marvel’s other monster-themed characters, such as Vampire by Night and Man-Thing, to join The MCU.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – November 11, 2022

Black Panther's nation of Wakanda.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is probably the most tumultuous of all the 2022 Marvel releases, due to the unfortunate death of the actor Chadwick Boseman. Kevin Feige has confirmed that Marvel Studios are not looking to recast the character out of respect for the late actor, forcing a complete overhaul of the story late in the pre-production process. The film is said to be an ensemble project, with no single character playing a lead role, and will likely explore the aftermath of T’Challa’s in-universe death/ disappearance. It will also focus on Wakanda opening its borders to the rest of the world, including Atlantis, with Namor the Sub-Mariner rumored to make his MCU appearance as played by Tenoch Huerta.

The most notable change this film will bring about is the potential appointment of a new Black Panther. As stated before in the MCU, the Black Panther mantle is not reserved for the king of Wakanda, even though that seems to be the norm. Multiple Wakandans could take on the mantle, including Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), M’Baku (Winston Duke), and even Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). Details about the film remain scarce, director Ryan Coogler and the rest of the cast will resume filming in January 2022, while MCU enthusiasts wait for the first teaser trailer to get some answers.

Related: Denzel Washington’s Perfect Final Movie Would Be A Black Panther Sequel

The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special – December 2022

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 James Gunn Castings

Marvel Studio’s second special of 2021, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, is confirmed to be set before the events of 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The Disney+ special will be written and directed by James Gunn and is set to feature all six core Guardians, as well as Nebula, played by Karen Gillan. Given that it’s a holiday special, the TV film will center around a Christmas-themed story. While still canon to the MCU, it is safe to assume that no major events will take place during the special, as all of the biggest reveals and surprises will undoubtedly be saved for Guardians 3, releasing a mere six months later. The only thing known about the special is that it will feature a new character; however, there have been no clues whatsoever that point to this character’s identity.

The MCU will probably be unrecognizable by the end of 2022. With so many projects exploring new genres and introducing new characters, the universe is bound to get a lot bigger over the next 12 months. Marvel Studios’ blockbusters will continue to give audiences the unique cinema experience they are used to, while the Disney+ shows will introduce long-awaited characters to the MCU. Marvel is also premiering a new format this year with their two specials, the first of which could be the MCU’s first-ever horror release. The sheer variety of the MCU‘s 2022 releases, characters, formats, and genres means that by the end of the year, Marvel Studios would have released something for everyone, while at the same time continuing to build their shared universe and take it in new and interesting directions in Marvel Phase 4 and beyond.

More: Marvel’s New Phase 4 Slate: Every MCU Movie Release Date (2021-2023)

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023

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