This post contains light spoilers for upcoming Disney projects.
It was pretty big news when Disney came back to San Diego Comic-Con after an absence of several years. And, to be sure, the event didn’t disappoint, with MCU boss Kevin Feige revealing the schedule for the franchise’s next two phases. Heroes from a galaxy far, far away also got attention earlier this year at Star Wars Celebration, which included the announcement of a new series from Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts and a trailer for the upcoming show Andor.
But Disney isn’t done hyping up their nerd franchises. A three-day event from Sept. 9-11, the D23 Fan Expo exists to drum up excitement for the Mouse House’s latest offerings. While that includes new animated movies and even theme park attractions, the biggest news from D23 will be during the Marvel and Lucasfilm studio showcase at 10 am PT on Saturday.
As with previous events, Disney has not revealed which specific franchises and releases they plan to discuss, but we can make a few educated predictions.
Fundamentally D23 is an advertisement that exists to get people excited about Disney TV shows and movies. For that reason, they will probably devote some time to Andor, which hits Disney+ on Sept. 21. Although it’s unlikely that Lucasfilm will release another trailer, a sizzle reel or even a scene from the first episode may be in order. Stars Diego Luna and Adria Arjona have been hitting the promotional circuit pretty hard lately, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they dropped by to answer a few questions about Andor‘s unique take on Star Wars.
The Bad Batch Season 2
Although it hasn’t quite got the same push as Andor, the popular The Clone Wars sequel The Bad Batch will allegedly return to screens on Sept. 28. The story of clone troopers whose poor programming allowed them to reject Order 66, new episodes will deal with the fallout of Crosshair’s betrayal of the Batch and potential return. Since we got the trailer for the second season at Celebration, it seems more likely that get a scene or two from the first episode, and some insights from creator Dave Filoni. Either way, expect an official release date announcement.
The Mandalorian Season 3
The Mandalorian may be the most popular of recent Star Wars media, but we still know very little about the hit show’s third season. Expect that to change at D23! At the very least, Disney should be ready to officially announce a premiere date, something more firm than “February 2023.” However, it’s not unreasonable to expect a trailer for the season, especially since one was screened exclusively for Celebration audiences last spring.
Producers Jon Favreau and Filoni have mentioned a redemption arc for season three, as Mando works to get back into the good graces of of his clan after removing his helmet in past seasons. The show will also have to deal with the fallout of Din winning the Darksaber over Bo-Katan. Does this mean Din is destined to become the new Mand’alor? How does Bo-Katan feel about that?
Also, there will be stuff about Grogu, but everyone will keep calling him Baby Yoda.
Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, Damon Lindelof?
Lucasfilm has a lot of other Star Wars projects in the works, including a second volume of animated series Visions and the debut of Tales of the Jedi, as well as live-action shows Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, and The Acolyte. If any of these shows make an appearance, it’ll most likely be Ahsoka, as that will be debuting next spring, after The Mandalorian season 3. An exclusive trailer was shown at Celebration, which means Lucasfilm might be preparing to screen a new one for the wider public at D23.
Fans are also hungry to learn more about Skeleton Crew from Jon Watts and The Acolyte, which was just announced to be starring Amandla Stenberg. But perhaps the most exciting Star Wars tidbit is the rumored project from Lost and Watchmen showrunner Damon Lindelof. Hopefully, this new project will get an official announcement, if not a title or release date.
And where’s Taika Waititi’s Star Wars movie? We probably won’t find out at D23…
Indiana Jones 5
While Star Wars is the biggest Lucasfilm franchise, it’s not the only one. Given his inclusion on the official D23 poster, Indiana Jones will definitely make an appearance over the weekend. The first new Indy movie since 2008’s The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, this fifth entry still has no title or trailer, despite the planned release date of June 30, 2023. Director James Mangold, stepping in for Stephen Spielberg, tweeted back in March that it was “a bit too soon” for a trailer. Did the past six months give him enough time? That’s not clear, but we can expect at least a title for the latest adventure from Dr. Jones.
Fantastic Four and X-Men
We’ve known for a long time that the Fantastic Four and the X-Men would be coming to the MCU. But after what seemed like years of silence, the last few months have been rife with new information. Not only did Kevin Feige announce a Fantastic Four movie coming at the start of Phase 6, but also alternate reality versions of Professor X and Reed Richards appeared in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Ms. Marvel was revealed to be a mutant.
In short, it seems like Marvel’s ready to move two of their biggest properties into the MCU, which means that we’ll get some official announcements. With Fantastic Four coming soonest, and WandaVision‘s Matt Shakman reportedly tapped for the director’s chair, it’s near certain that the main cast will be announced. Will that include an added bonus of Doctor Doom?
Rumors have already begun swirling around X-Men casting, with The Mandalorian‘s Giancarlo Esposito mentioned for Charles Xavier, Top Gun: Maverick standout Glen Powell as Cyclops, and both Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe and The Boys‘ Karl Urban for Wolverine. It may be still too early for official word — and Marvel does like to leak potentials to gauge fan reaction — but we wouldn’t be surprised if we got official news about one or two characters.
The sequel to one of the most beloved movies in the MCU, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was already the most anticipated superhero movie before Marvel released that amazing trailer at SDCC. Excitement has only increased as the trailer reminded everyone that Ryan Coogler remains an incredible blockbuster director and that he assembled an outstanding cast for this movie.
Of course, the biggest question about the film remains the central character after the untimely death of star Chadwick Boseman. Although rumors have pointed to Shuri as the next Black Panther, Feige and Coogler have been reluctant to confirm. For that reason, it seems unlikely that they’ll give more information at D23. However, we’re likely to learn more about the new characters introduced for this movie, including great anti-hero Namor the Sub-mariner and Iron Man successor Riri Williams, who will also star in her own series Ironheart.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Perhaps the biggest problem currently facing the MCU is the lack of focus, as the universe has neither an official Avengers lineup nor a big bad to follow Thanos. To address the latter, we’ll likely see more of Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conquerer, briefly mentioned at the end of Loki and the official antagonist of Ant-Man and the Wasp in Quantumania. In addition to seeing more of the deeply charismatic Majors, Ant-Man news means that the always-charming Paul Rudd will likely be involved, but don’t expect the blissfully apathetic Bill Murray, who will co-star in an undisclosed role, to be sharing the stage.
The question of Avengers will likely be addressed in Secret Invasion, the big event series on Disney+. Based on a 2008 crossover of the same name, Secret Invasion stars Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, who discovers that shape-shifting Skrulls have already infiltrated Earth and must assemble a team to repel them. With no official release date yet set, we probably can’t hope for much more than a sizzle reel or short trailer at D23. But there will likely be some indication of the heroes who will join Fury’s battle, giving us a glimpse at the next generation of Avengers.
Upcoming Marvel Projects
Save for James Gunn’s very active Twitter feed, we don’t know that much about the Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas Special coming at the end of the year, nor about Vol. 3, which comes to theaters in 2023. Don’t be surprised if Gunn has a teaser for the Christmas Special, if not some more about Vol. 3 (though it will be hard to top actor Chukwudi Iwuji’s SDCC appearance in character as the High Evolutionary).
With confirmed appearances in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Echo, Charlie Cox has been receiving quite a push lately. And while a reboot series called Daredevil: Born Again has been announced, there’s no other information, not even about co-stars Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll, who played Foggy Nelson and Karen Page on the Netflix show. We’ll likely get some confirmation about those actors, and possibly even more news about Netflix carryovers, such as Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones.
Without question, people want to know more about Deadpool 3 and Blade. Both projects are currently in the early stages of pre-production, and there’s been a lot of speculation about how these R-rated characters will work in the lightly PG-13 MCU. Thus far, Marvel has done its best to assure fans of the properties that they’ll retain their edge, and even if that isn’t quite true, Feige will probably not use the family-friendly D23 event to offer any more information.