Since the climactic wrap up of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, which closed a chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe known as The Infinity Saga and grossed almost $2.8 billion worldwide, Marvel Studios has focused on introducing new heroes and pushing ahead with sequels of some of its top characters.
But as revealed by Kevin Feige at Marvel’s Saturday presentation at San Diego Comic-Con, the Avengers are assembling once again, with two back-to-back movies set for 2025.
And while there are many other movies that will hit before that, the studio is already moving ahead creatively with at least one of the superteam tentpoles.
Destin Daniel Cretton, who helmed last year’s Marvel hit, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, has come aboard to direct Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively reveal.
Cretton is already well ensconced in the Marvel family. In addition to directing Shang-Chi, which grossed $432 million worldwide, he has an overall deal with Marvel that he signed in the wake of Shang-Chi’s success. As part of that, he is developing, with Andrew Guest, a writer-producer on comedies such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Community, a live-action series featuring Wonder Man that he will exec produce and possibly direct an episode or more. He also has a Shang-Chi sequel in the works.
It is unclear who is writing the Kang Dynasty Avengers movie or what heroes would even make up the team’s roster for a story that helps close out Phase 6. Feige laid out a timeline that sees The Kang Dynasty arrive May 2, 2025, with another Avengers movie, Avengers: Secret Wars, hitting Nov. 7, 2025.
Kang is being played by Jonathan Majors and was introduced in one capacity in Marvel series Loki. Kang, or a version of him, will be re-introduced in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which is due out Feb. 17, 2023. Quantumania is the movie that will launch Phase 5. In Loki, Majors played Kang with the moniker He Who Remains but the actor said at Comic-Con that there are multiple Kangs and the one from Ant-Man is different from the one in Loki.
Marvel, which will wrap up Phase 4 with this November’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, has been slowly hiring directors for its next batch of movies that will act as Phase 5 and Phase 6.
Marvel has confirmed to THR that Bassam Tariq (Mogul Mowgli) is directing Blade, scheduled for a Nov. 3, 2023 release; Julius Onah (Luce) is directing Captain America: New World Order, which will star Anthony Mackie as Captain America and open May 3, 2024; and Jake Schreier (Paper Towns) is directing Thunderbolts, which will close out Phase 5 with a release date of July 26, 2024.
Directing an Avengers movie is one of the most high-profile jobs. Joss Whedon helmed the first two Avengers movies — 2012’s The Avengers and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. And Joe and Anthony Russo filmed the epic two-parter Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
The Russos have long stated they would like to helm a Secret Wars film, with most presuming they meant adapting the key comic mini-series that ran in in the mid-1980s. Marvel rarely outright adapts its stories, usually weaving several influences into a movie, even sometimes breaking from the literary sources entirely. To complicate matters, there is also a second Secret Wars, a 2015 storyline from writer Jonathan Hickman that involved the multiverse. In any case, after the panel, Feige noted to Deadline that the Russos were not involved in Secret Wars.
Cretton, who rose through the dramatic ranks with movies such as Short Term 12 and Just Mercy, is repped by WME, Pangea Media and Goodman Genow.