This past weekend at D23 Expo, Disney unleashed a wave of news regarding Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Disney Live-Action, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. It’s great to finally have a release date for Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther 2, but right now, I’m most hyped up about the content coming to Disney’s streaming service, Disney+.
We already know that Disney+ is working on MCU tie-in series like WandaVision, Loki, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But at D23 Expo, Disney announced three new shows that aren’t based on existing Marvel movies or TV series: She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight.
These new programs are a huge deal because a couple of the show’s larger-than-life characters fundamentally change the MCU’s status quo.
D23 Expo Marvel series announcements video
Ms. Marvel may be the most popular new Marvel character of the past decade (she’s neck-and-neck with Miles Morales). Now a beloved icon, Ms. Marvel is unlike any other character in Marvel’s storied history.
Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan, is a teenage superhero who lives at home with her parents in Jersey. She is of Pakistani descent and Muslim faith and wrestles with both supervillains and her family’s values. Kamala gains her powers from Terrigen mist (which is a huge part of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series) and gains the ability to shapeshift. Being a huge Captain Marvel fan, she takes the name Ms. Marvel and creates a costume based on her favourite hero’s iconic look.
Ms. Marvel is similar to Spider-Man in a few important ways; they’re both teenagers who are in over their head fighting crime and dealing with their personal lives. The show has the potential to be a teenage high school drama like Degrassi but with a whole lot more ass-kicking.
But most importantly, Ms. Marvel is a young, brown-skinned, female hero, that is cherished by a new generation of comic book fans. If you want to grin ear to ear, Google Ms. Marvel cosplay and look at the joy on the faces of the young fans proudly rocking Ms. Marvel’s look. It’s amazing.
She-Hulk might be the MCU’s biggest gamechanger since Jame Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. I grew up reading She-Hulk comics, and they offered young me a style of storytelling unlike anything else I was reading at the time.
The main character, Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, is an attorney and Bruce Banner’s (aka The Incredible Hulk) cousin. The character gains her Hulk powers after she’s critically injured by a group of thugs. In a desperate attempt to save her life, her cousin Bruce gives Jennifer a blood transfusion. The transfusion transfers the gamma particles in Bruce’s blood to Jennifer, infusing her with Hulk powers.
But here’s where things get interesting. She-Hulk isn’t a savage brute like the Hulk. Much like Avengers: Endgame’s Hulk, Jennifer is in full control of herself as a hulk, and she stays in Hulk-mode 24/7. So, in addition to being superpowered, she maintains her career as an attorney. Say what?!?!
The premise for this show is outrageous, but comic books are supposed to be outrageous. She-Hulk is far from the grounded, gritty heroes found in Marvel’s Netflix series. She-Hulk needs to exist in a heightened comic book world – something much closer to CW comic book series like The Flash and Supergirl. Watching the giant green She-Hulk, wearing a pantsuit and throwing down in the courtroom will add to the MCU’s comic booky-ness. This show can be Ally McBeal, but with superpowers, and if Marvel pulls this off, Jennifer Walters will be one of Marvel’s biggest fan favourites.
FYI: She-Hulk has been a member of The Avengers and The Fantastic Four. How many heroes have those checkmarks on their resume?
Moon Knight is a bit of a blind spot for me. I always thought the character looked cool, but he didn’t cross over into the stories I read, and I never took the time to read Moon Knight comics. All I remember is that the character is tied to Egyptian mythology. So here’s a breakdown of the series from IGN:
The series will focus on mercenary Marc Spector, who’s left for dead in the Egyptian desert and saved by the moon god Khonshu. Even as Marc returns home and becomes a costumed crime-fighter, the series will explore whether he’s truly empowered by Khonshu or simply insane.
We can’t let Disney off the hook for waiting 20 films so start focusing on female heroes. But She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel TV series are the beginnings of a major course correction. Should the studio nail the casting and capture the source material’s tones, She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel have breakout potential. And I can’t help but wonder if these shows are the studio’s way of testing the waters for solo movies.
Disney+ will launch in Canada in tandem with the U.S. on November 12th.
About D23 Expo:
Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings together all the worlds of Disney under one roof for three packed days of presentations, pavilions, experiences, concerts, sneak peeks, shopping, and more. The event provides fans with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, games, theme parks, and celebrities.