MarvelBlog News for January 17th, 2022
This week, we’ve got werewolves and outlanders and Wakandans and holiday specials. Oh my!
Seriously, this MarvelBlog update is the one you’ve been anxiously awaiting and perhaps feared would never come.
Wakanda Is Actually Forever
After months of speculation and a whisper campaign, an awkward situation has peacefully resolved itself within the walls of Marvel.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will have restarted filming by the time you read this.
Current projections suggest that this part of the shoot will only take four weeks. So, it should wrap up around Valentine’s Day.
Obviously, you have questions, but I can only answer the most important one.
Letitia Wright has returned to Atlanta, Georgia, the home of Trilith Studios.
As you undoubtedly know, Wright suffered serious injuries during a set mishap. She needed time to recuperate and chose to do so back home in England.
Unfortunately for all involved, Wright hadn’t gotten vaccinated for COVID-19 before then and had indicated that she was anti-COVID vaccine.
Theoretically, people who haven’t taken their shot cannot gain access to the United States. Thus, questions arose about whether Wright would return to a project that hadn’t finished filming.
We may not know for years what transpired behind the scenes, but Wright is verifiably in Atlanta right now.
Her agent wouldn’t confirm the resolution. Here’s the quote given to the Hollywood Reporter:
“She (Wright) always intended to return, but just needed to wait until she had fully recovered.”
About the Pay Raises…
Several sources are reporting that Wright has taken the vaccine now. Some of them imply that Marvel/Disney paid her to do so.
I haven’t found any credible sources to confirm that rumor on the record. However, Disney’s statements strongly suggest this is what happened.
Humorously, the Hollywood Reporter has also indicated that Winston Duke has negotiated a raise and will receive an expanded role in the MCU, especially in this film.
I say this because Black Panther: Wakanda Forever filmed as long as it could during Wright’s initial absence.
As such, I expect the character of M’Baku to play a more substantial role in this film simply because Duke was available for production.
My biggest question now is how this impacts the script, which probably got Etch-a-Sketched several times.
If the Black Panther sequel proves a mess, this will be why.
It also reinforces some previous reports that Duke’s character could permanently wind up the next Black Panther.
However, I’d like us all to remember that Wright got injured onset and is a victim here, COVID-19 stance notwithstanding.
For this reason, it’s equally possible that Disney wanted to do right by both performers with its contract negotiations.
Disney has recently proven that it will continue to work with performers even after butting heads with them.
Yes, I’m referencing Scarlett Johansson.
So, I’m dismissive of suggestions that Wright won’t return to the MCU. Yes, it’s possible, but she had previously signed a multi-film contract.
Conversely, I fully expect Duke to become an integral part of the next few years of the MCU. He has earned glowing praise for his handling of these events.
Most importantly from your perspective, a mid-February end date should allow Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to open in November as expected.
Let’s Talk Holiday Specials
Something we should expect to see in the coming years in the MCU is holiday specials.
We already know about the Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special.
In fact, director James Gunn recently spoke to Collider about the project as part of a promotional interview series he’s doing for John Cena’s Peacemaker.
“We were supposed to shoot one day in L.A., and there’s too much Omicron around, so we couldn’t do it. We’re going to have to fit it in. I haven’t started yet. I’m excited to. It’s fun. The holiday special is… I’m almost jealous of it, even though I wrote it, because people freak out so much on how much they love the script…”
So, that’s not the best possible update. Yes, it’s great to hear that Gunn has crushed the script.
Still, it’ll be challenging to complete this one-off show by Christmas if they haven’t started filming by now.
Let’s Talk Werewolves and Vampires
Then again, the new hotness is Werewolf By Night. This project stars Gael García Bernal, who previously worked with Disney by voicing Héctor in Coco.
Garcia Bernal will play an obscure character from the MCU named Werewolf By Night. Imagine a Werewolf with human intellect, and you’ve pretty much got the point.
He’s actually one of the oldest characters in Marvel comics, first appearing in July of 1953 in Atlas Comics, Marvel’s predecessor.
This character doesn’t have grand plans in the MCU, at least not at first. Instead, it’ll be a Hallowen one-off but a role that could expand if the project proves successful.
Disney has stacked the deck by adding Laura Donnelly, the star of The Nevers, who also appeared on Outlander. Deadline speculates she will portray Nina Price, aka Vampire By Night.
Those Golden Age comics were really something, folks!
In the comics, the character of Price is a vampire/werewolf hybrid. If that sounds familiar, yes, you’ve seen some Underworld movies.
This project will start filming in February and should be done by March, so Disney doesn’t expect the standalone Marvel projects to require much lead time before release.
I suspect this is the holiday business model from now on.
We’ve got a few other quick updates. Earlier, I mentioned Peacekeeper, which stars WWE wrestler John Cena.
During his press tour, Cena acknowledges that Marvel won’t give him the time of day.
“There was a brief try at the Deadpool universe, rejection. There was a few in the Marvel universe, rejected. But, you know, I kept trying.”
I’ve never been prouder of the MCU.
The Hashtag Show continued its recent streak of early news scoops.
The podcast indicated that Moon Knight will debut on March 30th. Speaking of which, Oscar Isaac’s brother posted an Instagram Story indicating reshoots were occurring.
Reportedly, Moon Knight’s principal photography went so well that only a few reshoots are required. That’s quite rare these days.
Finally, Gemma Chan indicated during a recent interview that Sersi the Eternal will return to the MCU soon.
Her exact quote was, “Marvel owns us for life.”