Join us, as we take a thrilling dive into Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast! Beware of FULL SPOILERS as we discuss the latest film in The MCU! We also cover the Season (or Series?) Finale of the Disney+ series, Moon Knight! Don’t miss this epic entry in our excellent podcast!
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This weekend, running from August 23 to 25th, is Disney’s D23 expo. It’s a massive annual event put on by Disney, where they make announcements regarding their upcoming projects. Considering that Disney owns Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, The Simpsons and hell of a lot more, fans were expecting some big news. Particularly, Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney +. In some ways D23 is kind of like Comic-Con. With all of the spectacular, aforementioned properties that fall under Disney’s umbrella, D23 is a huge event for genre entertainment. This is something fans, as well as writers who cover this type news online (like myself), look forward to every year. Disney often uses this time to make unexpected and surprising announcements and this year they certainly didn’t disappoint!
BLACK WIDOW (Opens in theatres 5/1/2020)
New First Look Poster!
In addition to the cool new poster for the film, Marvel also debuted the first footage from their upcoming Black Widow solo movie (which unfortunately has not been leaked online… yet) The footage shows is an action sequence with Natasha fighting Yelena Belova (a character who’s also held the mantle of Black Widow). Like Natasha, Yelena was a product of Russia’s Red Room program, turning young women into super spies. But unlike Natasha, she never found any kind of redemption and became the living weapon her masters wanted her to be. It was also confirmed that David Harbour will be playing Red Guardian in this film, essentially Russia’s version of Captain America. Natasha will also have to contend with the formidable villain, Taskmaster, all the while sporting a cool looking new, white costume. Check out some other cool stuff we have posted below, like this concept art featuring Natasha squaring off against Taskmamster, photos of her new, white uniform on display…
THE ETERNALS (Opens 11/6/2020)
Of all the Marvel movies that have been announced for so far for Phase 4 this is the one think has the potential to be very cool and unique. The Eternals are a race of immortal superhuman beings created by cosmic, godlike beings called The Celestials. The Eternals protect humanity from their evil counterparts, The Deviants. The Eternals are actually the beings that humanity based the Greek gods upon. Because of their in mortality, they’re still around today. Many of whom live among regular people. The cast includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, and Selma Hayek.
A few days ago it was revealed that Kit Harington a.k.a. Jon Snow from Game of Thrones was joining the MCU in an undiscloosed role. Now we know exactly who he’s playing and what film he’s appearing in: Harington will be playing Dean Whitman a.k.a. The Black Knight in The Eternals.
The Black Knight is a long time Avenger who’s a direct descendant of one King Arthur’s Knights of the Roundtable. He fights with a sword called The Ebony Blade forged by Merlin himself. When he doesn’t have The Ebony Blade have he basically just uses a lightsaber (seriously). He’s an expert fighter on par with Hawkeye or Black Widow and will occasionally have enhanced strength, speed, and agility, depending on the story you’re reading. He’s actually a pretty cool Avenger. You can check out the awesome concept art by BossLogic of Harrington as The Black Knight below.
He’s most often linked to The Eternals through the character Sersi played by Gemma Chan. Sersi and Whitman have been a couple at various points in their comic book history.
BLACK PANTHER 2 (Opens 5/6/2022)
We all knew it was coming, but it’s still nice to have a release date. Kevin Feige briefly brought returning Black Panther director Ryan Coogler out on stage to announce the film’s official release date May 6th 2022.
No details on plot yet, but a lot of fans, myself included, want to see T’Challa go up against Namor The King of Atlantis. Imagine it: A war between two super advanced countries that most of the word didn’t even know existed with the monarchs of each nation being super powered badasses. It would be fucking sick! I honestly think there’s a good chance that we’ll see some version of that concept for Black Panther 2. Below I have some pictures depicting Namor and T’Challa’s rivalry and an awesome concept art poster from artist BossLogic
THE FALCON and The WINTER SOLDIER (Fall 2020 on DISNEY+)
There’s not that much new info on The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, but their were a few interesting tidbits. Kevin Feige brought two actors onstage. First, Emily VanCamp, to confirm that she’s returning as Sharon Carter AKA Agent 13 was (Peggy Carter’s niece). Then he introduced Wyatt Russell, who’s playing John Walker AKA U.S. Agent. In the comics U.S. Agent was conceived as a replacement for Captain America when he was presumed dead, but still frozen in the ice. I’m pretty sure he eventually goes crazy because pretty much anyone whose tried to duplicate Dr. Erskine’s super soldier formula has had things go sideways on them, usually to horrific results.
What I like about the casts and these characters is that this really feels like Captain America 4. When Captain America was killed in the comics, the book continued with characters like The Falcon, Bucky, and Agent 13 continuing Cap’s mission. Villains like Baron Zemo (who’s returning for this series) and USAgent played prominent roles. Steve Rogers may have been gone, but these were some of the best Captain America stories ever. If the show is taking inspiration from the comics, then the series is heading in the right direction. Below, you can see a leaked for photo of a promo poster for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, with Sam and Bucky both sporting new looks.
WANDAVISION (Spring 2021 on Disney+)
We still know very little about the upcoming WandaVison series on Disney+. All we’ve really heard, is that the show is a “mix between a sitcom and a superhero action epic”. Which, on the surface, seems like a weird direction for them to go in. Well, I think the series is going to be even weirder than Marvel has led us to believe. First take a look at this promo poster released for the series:
After seeing this poster for the show, I think I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. Anyone who’s been paying attention to Scarlett Witch over the last several movies, probably noticed that with each subsequent film, she gets more and more powerful. Hell, in Endgame she nearly ripped Thanos apart on her own. She probably would’ve killed him if he didn’t order his ship to start fire bombing the battle sight. In the comics, as Wanda’s power grows, her mental and emotional state begins to deteriorate. We know that this series takes place after Endgame and Vision was seemingly killed in Infinity War. I think the image of an almost 1950s “perfect family” sitcom we see in the poster, is a new life conjured into existence by Wanda. Her powers eventually get to a point she can manipulate reality itself. So what if she resurrected The Vision and decided she wanted to have a perfect suburban life with him, straight out of a cheesy old sitcom? The image also brings to mind the recent miniseries ,The Vision, by writer Tom King. In that story, Vision also heads to suburbia in an attempts to start a family of his own, meaning a wife, a son, and a daughter who are all androids just like himself. All I’ll say is is that things start to go very bad, very quickly for The Vision Family. I should also mention that this was one of the best comics Marvel has published in the 21st century. I wouldn’t be surprised if the series draws at least partially on the tragic stories in Wanda and Vision’s past. I have a feeling this series is going to be a lot darker than people expect. Which would make sense because apparently the events of this series lead right up into Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness co-starring Elizabeth Olsen. That film has been described as Marvel’s first horror movie. Also joining the cast are some other familiar faces, Randall Park who played Agent Woo in Ant-Man and The Wasp and Kat Denning who played Darcy in the first 2 Thor movies will both be joining the show. If I had to bet, I’d say that they are wacky neighbors or something, that are part of whatever twisted family situation is going on with Wanda and Vision. I could be completely wrong, but if I’m right this could be a very exciting and interesting way for the show to go.
WHAT IF? (Release Date N/A)
What If? Is the first animated project made for the MCU, with a great line up of actors from The MCU returning to play their characters from the big screen. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be playing the same version of character we know from the films. As Kevin Feige said at D23, What If ? Is “Based on a comic books series that we’ve loved for years They take a storyline that you know and change one element; and see how things could get different. Out of the 23 films that you know we’re going to make one little difference and a see how things change.” Each episode will be bookended by The Watcher (voiced by Jeffery Wright) as if he‘s presenting a What If? scenario. How seemingly small changes can have massive consequences. The Watcher, part of an ancient race of beings whose sole purpose is to bear witness, but never interfere, great change throughout the Universe. Uatu will gaze into The Multiverse and show the vast changes that can occur in a Universe if one event is changed. Some of the stories that teased in WHAT IF? were Marvel Zombies and what if Peggy Carter became Captain America. You can see a leaked image of Peggy as Captain America below.
MS. MARVEL (Release Date N/A)
Marvel made announcements about 3 additional shows coming to Disney+. The first being Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel aka Kamala Khan is a modern day Spider-Man in many ways. In fact, I think if MARVEL knew that their deal with Sony was going to fall apart as badly as it did, I think they may have saved Ms. Marvel for the big screen. There are big Spider-Man size shoes to fill in The MCU and she could be the perfect character to do it. She has a lot of the same qualities that people love about Spider-Man. She’s just a kid, a young girl in high school, trying to figure her life out. She’s not rich, she comes from a blue collar family. She’s a Pakistani-American Muslim living in Jersey City, protecting her neighborhood and beyond from any threat. She grew up idolizing the heroes of the Marvel Universe, especially Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel AKA the original Ms. Marvel. But since Carol has gone by Captain Marvel for years now, Kamala (with Carol’s blessing) became the new Ms. Marvel.
Like Spider-Man she’s trying to protect her friends and family while also following her destiny as a superhero. She also has a really cool power set, that we haven’t really seen yet. Kamala is an Inhuman whose powers are kind of like a combination of Reed Richards and Ant-Man/Giant Man. She calls one of her powers “embiggening “, it allows her to do things like make her hands into enormous fists and punch a whole bunch of bad guy across a room, she can grow 50 feet tall, she can also shrink and stretch her body in ways that even Reed Richards can’t. I was really hoping to get this character sooner rather than later. I think she is a fantastic superhero and she’s the perfect character in to include into the MCU now that, sadly, Spider-Man is gone.
SHE-HULK (Release Date N/A)
The next show announced by Marvel premiering on Disney+ is She-Hulk. This is a character fans have wanted to see on screen for a long time.
She-Hulk is Jennifer Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner. When an accident almost killed her, she needed a blood transfusion and her cousin Bruce happened to be the only person who could donate. As a result she basically turns into a female version of The Hulk in Endgame. She’s still a green, super powered, powerhouse, but she doesn’t transform back-and-forth, her proportions are much more human, and she retains her intelligence at all times. She’s also a very talented lawyer. They could make it a superhero courtroom drama, maybe? There’ve been some great comics with She-Hulk, so this has the possibility to be a really good show. Let’s hope Mark Ruffalo is up for making an appearance as her more famous cousin.
MOON KNIGHT (Release Date N/A)
The last Marvel show announced was Moon Knight. Moon Knight is often described as Marvel’s Batman. But I see him more as a combination of Daredevil and The Punisher. This character has a super weird backstory that I don’t completely understand, which should show you just how weird this is, if even I don’t get it.
Most of the time, Moon Knight is former mercenary Marc Spector, who after being cursed/gifted by the Egyptian god Khonshu (because, sure why not?) becomes a brutal vigilante stalking the streets of New York. The only problem is Marc Spector has disassociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities. He’s bat shit crazy and violent as hell. This will definitely be a grittier show more in the vein of the stuff we’ve seen from Marvel on Netflix. However it will be interesting to see if they use a Moon Knights mental health problems to say something meaningful and interesting about the mental health issues that people struggle with every day.
Check back here later, when I’ll be giving a summary of all of the Star Wars news from D23!
Lastly, I wanted to include a few picture of the DISNEY+ interface when it launche. By now means a comprehensive look, it’ll give you a better idea of what to expect.
Check back here at World’s Best Media for any new D23 developments. I’ll be updating this page as The Expo continues. One last thing, which D23 presentation or announcement has you most excited? Which is the biggest draw for you: Marvel or DC? Do you plan on signing up for Disney + when it launches on November 12th? Or pare you going to wait a little while for more content to be added? Comment below or on social media. We’d love to hear from you!
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I was really excited about Agents of SHIELD when it premiered. The Avengers had just opened that summer and a series about SHIELD felt like a no-brainer. It seemed like the show would be about the Agents of SHIELD running around the more obscure corners of the Marvel universe (because they’re not gonna give them access to any of the major movie characters) dealing with threats and characters from the comic books. Having Phil Coulson (the SHIELD agent Loki seemingly killed at the end of the first Avengers film)as the central character was great because I liked him quite a bit at the time. He was intended to be a small supporting role in the first Iron Man movie and ended up being a vital figure in building the MCU.
Unfortunately that’s not really what we got. First of all, SHIELD is supposed to be the most elite covert government agency on the planet, and yet the agents on Coulson’s team were pretty damn incompetent. SHIELD agents should make Seal Team Six look like mall cops, not this sorry assortment of bumbling secret agents who sucked at their job.
There were three cardinal sins that Agents of SHIELD committed: one, if a Marvel Cinematic Universe television series doesn’t feature major characters like Captain America or any of the other Avengers, you better make the characters you have really, really fucking interesting. They weren’t. Two, the show was just plain boring. I found myself checking out after a few episodes. Sure I checked in here and there and the show definitely picked up at certain points. For example, after Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out, the show incorporated the HYDRA storyline that was central to that film to great effect. There were some really good twists and turns along way in the final part of the first season. Having Bill Paxton (R.I.P.) come in as the central villain certainly helped peak my interest. SHIELD vs. HYDRA, this show was finally starting to feel a little like a Marvel SHIELD comic book should.
Third and lastly, the show didn’t take advantage of Marvel characters and stories nearly enough.
The show continued to struggle with these three major problems, uninteresting characters, the show being relatively boring, and not taking advantage of the Marvel Universe. I never expected them to have A-list of characters like Iron Man or the Hulk on the show, but there was no reason they couldn’t use more of the C-list heroes and villains of the Marvel universe. As Guardians of the Galaxy proved, you don’t need the most popular and well known Marvel characters to tell great stories. Marvel could make 100 movies and there would still be a lot of interesting characters and storylines that are minor enough for Agents of SHIELD to be allowed to use.
To my surprise, they finally started to do just that when the Inhumans became a central part of the show in the second season. Let me give you Inhumans 101: The Inhumans are race of beings who live secretly and separately from humanity in technologically advanced cities hidden in places like the Himalayas and the Moon. They’re humans who had their genetic make up tampered with thousands of years ago by an alien race called Kree. The central part of their culture was when every Inhuman came of age they would pass through a transformative gas called the Terrigen Mist. Once they pass through the mist they would enter a cocoon-like state and after a period of metamorphosis, emerge as something more than human and completely unique. Each Inhuman has their own unique power or ability. No two Inhumans are alike. Some look completely human, but have a superpower. Others couldn’t pass for human at all after the transformation, but still had some power or ability. The comics typically focus on their king Black Bolt and the rest of the royal family of Inhumans. As I finished writing all of that, I just realized how completely fucking ridiculous this all sounds, but believe me it’s kind of cool.
To the credit of the show, they really took this concept and ran with it. They retconned Skye, one of their main characters who knew very little about her past and family, into Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake, an Inhuman with powerful seismic abilities. They introduced some notable new villains like Daredevil nemesis, Mr. Hyde and major Hulk villain, the Absorbing Man. The show still wasn’t perfect, but things were looking up.
As it stands the X-Men characters, which are all mutants, are owned by Fox and even though they’re Marvel comic book characters they can’t appear in the MCU. The way Agents of SHIELD has handled the Inhumans is very similar to how mutants are handled in the X-Men films and comics. They are feared by the public and viewed as dangerous liabilities by the United States government. Of course, heroic people like Agent Coulson protected the good Inhumans and defended against the dangerous ones and the show improved because of it. However, it was with the most recent season that the show really came into its own in my opinion.
At the time of the season premiere, Doctor Strange was opening in just a few months. So to capitalize on the recognition that would come from the premiere of Doctor Strange, the show introduced what had been largely absent from the MCU at that point: the supernatural and magic. Using these new concepts as a jumping off poin, Agents of SHIELD introduced the most major Marvel character it’s ever used: Ghost Rider.
Ghost Rider is a very cool character, especially visually. There’s been a number of Ghost Riders over the years, but the version they chose to use is a man named Robbie Reyes. The basic concept of the Ghost Rider is, an individual sells their soul to the devil in exchange for something noble, like saving a life of a loved one. In this case saving the life of Robbie’s younger brother after a violent car wreck that Robbie feels responsible for. In return, their body becomes host to a demon that transforms it’s human host into a monster with a flaming skull for a head and demonic vehicle (usually a motorcycle or a muscle car) that catches on fire and displays other supernatural abilities. All with the purpose of hunting down supernatural bad guys. Robbie hunting down bad guys with a flaming skull and driving a demonic muscle car naturally gets SHIELD’s attention. I wouldn’t say I’m completely sold on the show, but a lot of what I saw of it I really liked. Especially the Ghost Rider stuff. It was really well executedand the special effects were phenomenal. I don’t think I’d goes far to actually recommend the show, but you could do a lot worse on a Tuesday night.
Now we come to Gotham, which of the two shows probably improved the most. Agents of SHIELD at its worst was never terrible, but Gotham reached some truly abysmal lows. The cast is excellent, but the writing was god awful. The series opens with the murder of the Waynes which introduced us to several of the main characters. The story kicks off with Det. Jim Gordon promising a traumatized Bruce Wayne that he’ll find the man who killed his parents and bring him to justice. Other central characters include Alfred, Harvey Bullock (who had never been shown in live action before for this show), The Penguin, The Riddler, and Catwoman or at least versions of these characters before they become their more iconic incarnations. As I’m sure you can imagine there are a lot of lame jokes allusions to who these characters could would be eventually become. For example The Riddler’s real name is Edward Nygma and as the show opens he is the medical examiner for the Gotham city Police Department. Every time we see him he only speaks in riddles. You can imagine how quickly that gets old. I would say I gave up on Gotham about halfway through the first season. I checked in again during the final stretch of season two when I heard of that introduced Hugo Strange and one of my favorite new additions to the Batman mythology, The Court of Owls. I ended up regretting it. It was a poorly written set of episodes and when The Court of Owls was finally introduced, it was pretty underwhelming. The writing on this show was so bad, I’m not exaggerating when I say in one episode a character will be arrested for murder, but somehow they become mayor in the next episode. Sure, why not?
For some reason I found myself watching the midseason finale of the current season, which is season three. The episode centered on Bruce Wayne, who is now a teenager and just beginning the path to becoming Batman. He doesn’t have a clear idea of what he wants to be, but he knows there’s a demon inside him that needs to be fed. It was also worth noting that at this point Bruce has had enough hand to hand combat training to be formidable in a fight. A character who calls himself “Jerome”, who may or may not be the man who becomes Joker, attempts to kidnap Bruce and involve him in a sick circus funhouse game without multiple lives on the line.
This is the first time we really see a Bruce Wayne that looks like the character we know from the comics. Something really clicked on the show seeing a pre-Batman Bruce Wayne fighting a Proto-Joker. It really worked and it was a surprisingly well written episode. So I found myself watching the first new episode when the show came back from its midseason break and I stuck with it through the rest of the season. While it’s certainly still silly and not always well written, the latter half of season three was the best show’s ever been.
The season finale introduced Ra’s Al Ghul and the final scene saw a masked Bruce stopping a mugging, much like the one that ended in tragedy for him… and somehow it really worked. The final shot of the episode was Bruce standing on a desolate Gotham rooftop overlooking the city after he had saved that family and it was hard not to think how cool that was. Here’s the final scene:
I’m a long way away from saying that Gotham is a good show, but I’ll definitely be tuning into the season four premiere in the fall.
Agents of SHIELD and Gotham: These were two shows I’d completely written off and both hugely improved over the past year. Neither one of them have achieved the heights of Daredevil or The Flash, but they definitely caught my attention and I thought it was worth pointing out. Once again, I am NOT saying these are good shows, but considering the level of improvement and progress they’ve made I think it’s worth keeping an eye on them. Anyway, as always, thanks for reading.