Marvel rumors and leaks are running rampant in the run-up to San Diego Comic-Con

San Diego Comic-Con 2022 is approaching fast and Kevin Feige has confirmed that Marvel Studios will be in attendance. As you can imagine, the internet has begun speculating about what will be shown, and while some educated guesses will undoubtedly come true (surely, there has to be some Black Panther 2 news with the movie being out in November?), other rumors are just wild. Really wild. Let’s get stuck into some of the most talked about.

 Steven Spielberg directing Fantastic Four

Steven Spielberg

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While making a Marvel movie offers a great platform for directors to send their careers into hyperspace – think James Gunn and Taika Waititi going from indie darlings to top-tier blockbuster names – there have been few already-established filmmakers who have taken on the challenge of joining the franchise. As a result, Sam Raimi taking over the reins of Doctor Strange 2 felt borderline miraculous.

Now, though, we’re all wondering who Feige will woo next, and some sectors of the internet are convinced that Steven Spielberg is coming to the MCU. Yes, the Steven Spielberg who brought us Jurassic Park, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can… You get the picture. Spielberg’s not exactly in need of a career boost, especially after landing an Oscar nomination earlier this year for West Side Story. But, that doesn’t mean his name’s not floating around Reddit.

It’s unclear where the rumor came from, but one comic book website (opens in new tab)reported on the claim that Speilberg would be taking on Fantastic Four in the week running up to San Diego Comic-Con. Then, a Reddit thread (opens in new tab) (which we’ll come back to a few times) doubled down and said that the cast would include Jamie Dornan (not John Krasinski) as Reed Richards, Amanda Seyfried as Sue Storm, and Stranger Things’ Joe Keery as Jonny Storm. However, the poster noted that this would be announced at D23 later in the year, rather than Comic-Con.

Adam B. Vary, a senior reporter over at Variety, has since debunked the rumor. “Shocking news, everyone: I’ve heard the wildly implausible rumor that Steven Spielberg is directing the Marvel Studios reboot of Fantastic 4 is absolutely not true,” he wrote on Twitter (opens in new tab). “Sorry!”

However, in a slight twist, former Vulture reporter Mike Sampson claimed that, at one point, Spielberg was at least approached by Marvel to gauge interest. “I’m not in the scoop game anymore, but have heard that Marvel did reach out to Spielberg’s team to gauge interest in directing Fantastic Four, but that’s as far as the ‘discussions’ went presumably because SS has no interest,” he claimed on Twitter (opens in new tab).

In a follow-up (opens in new tab), he also noted that there are rumors swirling that The Fablemans, Spielberg’s next movie that will be partly based on the director’s own life, will be his last movie. And realistically, would someone as revered as Spielberg, with such an idiosyncratic style, want to make a movie in Marvel’s style? It’s hard to imagine.

Anthony Starr as Dracula

The Boys season 3

(Image credit: Prime Video)

Anthony Starr is, in Zoolander’s immortal words, so hot right now. Having blown minds as Homelander in The Boys season 3, everyone’s fan-casting the actor in projects. That previously mentioned Reddit thread claims that Starr will play Marvel’s version of Dracula in the upcoming Blade reboot, starring opposite Mahershala Ali, Kit Harrington, Aaron Pierre, Milan Ray, and Bassam Tariq.

Unfortunately, despite Starr being a very obviously great choice to play Dracula, the actor simply doesn’t have enough time on his dance card. As noted by an editor at Discussing Film on Twitter (opens in new tab), Starr will be busy filming The Boys season 4 later this year – which is when Blade is also shooting. It’s unlikely that he will have enough time to portray Homelander, an integral character in The Boys, while also appearing in a major Marvel film. That’s a stake through this rumor’s heart, then.

World War Hulk, Wonder Man, and X-Men

Hulk MCU

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

To stick with that Reddit post just a little longer, as it’s by far the most prolific rumor-starter in the run-up to San Diego Comic-Con, there are some notable other points. First, it claims that World War Hulk is happening and that the story will be told in a four-part Disney Plus series. Then, it claims Henry Golding has been cast as Wonder Man, and that we can expect to see Charles Xavier played by The Mandalorian’s Giancarlo Esposito. 

We have no proof that these aren’t true, but we also only have the hearsay of a random Reddit post that’s already been debunked multiple times to say they are true. So that’s, what, 50/50 odds of these happening? Frankly, this seems like hopeful wishes from the fandom, though we could be proven wrong come the big panel.

More Fantastic Four rumors

Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Unsurprisingly, considering Krasinski appeared as Reed Richards in Doctor Strange, many of the rumors focus on the upcoming Fantastic Four movie. Inverse (opens in new tab) reports on one Reddit “leak” that claims Krasinski’s not coming back and that the studio wants Penn Badgley, best known for Netflix’s You, to play Mr. Fantastic. 

The rumor adds that The Mentalist’s Simon Baker is wanted for a role and Logan Lerman, Freddy Carter, Melissa Benoist, Callan McAuliffe, Natalia Dyer, and Jharrel Jerome are all being considered for roles, though none have been made offers. It also says that Bryce Dallas Howard, a favorite to replace Jon Watts as director following her brilliant work on The Mandalorian, has not got the job (yet). Again, we don’t know Marvel’s actual plans, and these claims sound more reasonable than Spielberg taking on the project, but it’s still just a “trust me bro” post.

What will Marvel actually show at San Diego Comic-Con?

Like Thanos coming to Earth, it’s inevitable that Marvel will bring out the big guns at San Diego Comic-Con. It’s worth noting that there are two Marvel Studios panels – one for the animated series, including I Am Groot, What If season 2, and X-Men 97, and the other for the live-action stuff. We’re mainly concerned with the live-action panel which will headline Hall H on the Saturday of SDCC.

Next on the Marvel Phase 4 line-up is She-Hulk. We know a fair amount about the series already as it’s released next month, and we have seen a trailer, though there could be some surprises. After all, Jennifer Walters is going to be defending various heroes in court – could a few cameos be confirmed at Comic-Con? Don’t get your hopes too high for new information, but the crowd may be treated to a new trailer.

Then comes Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in November. Considering how close the Black Panther sequel is to reaching cinemas, it’s surprising that we have seen literally nothing from the movie yet. Expect a trailer.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are both out next year and have been filming over the past year. There’s the potential for some very early footage to be shown (most likely won’t be released online), or perhaps a look at the Guardians Christmas special, due on Disney Plus in December. Will Poulter is set to play Adam Warlock, so he could make an appearance on stage to tease his character. 

Speaking of holiday-themed shows, there’s the mysterious Halloween special, featuring Gael Garcia Bernal, that’s expected this October. Bernal’s expected to play Werewolf by Night, though we know very little officially about what the special will look like. Michael Giacchino, who composed the score for Spider-Man: No Way Home, is set to direct and, considering Halloween’s not far off, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see something at Comic-Con.

The Marvels, AKA Captain Marvel 2, is also due to release in 2023, and the recent Ms. Marvel ending gave us a glimpse of what to expect from the movie. Again, that’s a real long shot, but it could happen.

Nick Fury in Secret Invasion

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Marvel has a few release dates that need filling. The studio currently has its sights on: November 3, 2023, February 16, 2024, May 3, 2024, July 26, 2024, and November 8, 2024. What could those five mystery movies be? 

Blade’s a definite, with Bassam Tariq on directing duties. Mahershala Ali was confirmed to be playing Blade at SDCC in 2019, so it would only be right for a bit more information to be revealed this time around. 

Then there’s the (not officially confirmed but definitely happening) Thunderbolts movie, which Jake Schreier is currently set to direct. We’ve seen Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa slowly building a team in Black Widow and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, so perhaps a few new names could be added to her list at Comic-Con.

Captain America 4 is another major project that’s been highly discussed but not yet given a release date. Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson is the new Captain America, so don’t expect Chris Evans, and The Cloverfield Paradox’s Julius Onah will direct. We’re also still awaiting official confirmation of Shang-Chi 2 and Deadpool 3, the latter of which has Free Guy‘s Shawn Levy on board as director.

Further away – and therefore likely not to be announced – are sequels to both Doctor Strange 2 and Thor: Love and Thunder. Both movies clearly set up sequels with post-credits scenes, though the mixed reaction to Love and Thunder may mean we have some time until Thor 5 is confirmed.

On the Disney Plus front, there’s a whole lot to talk about. An Echo series has been confirmed, with Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio returning as Daredevil and Kingpin alongside Alaqua Cox’s Echo, last seen in Hawkeye. The show began filming in May so we’ll hopefully get some news on when to expect Echo on the streamer. 

Secret Invasion has filmed and we even saw some footage of Samuel L. Jackson’s return as Nick Fury on Disney Plus Day. We’ve also had various cast confirmations over the last few months, including Ben Mendelsohn back as the shape-shifter Talos and Olivia Colman and Emilia Clarke in new roles. Expect something Secret Invasion-shaped at Comic-Con. 

Ironheart, Armor Wars, and Agatha: House of Harkness have also all been previously announced, meaning we could get some potential updates on those. Likewise, we may have confirmation of the Wakanda spin-off that’s in development or the Okoye original story.

Finally, reports have previously signaled that a Nova project is in development and that Cox’s Daredevil is getting a new series on Disney Plus. They both seem primed for Feige to officially reveal at Comic-Con. Plus, yes, we could actually get some Fantastic Four news or an update on the mutants coming to the MCU. What that looks like, we do now know.

That’s a lot to digest and not everything will be touched on in Marvel’s hour-long panel. Your best bet is to keep your expectations low – and not get too carried away thinking Tom Cruise is going to play Iron Man in Secret Wars. That does sound like a fun idea though… For more on Marvel, be sure to check out our guide to all the new Marvel shows coming your way soon.

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