The current landscape of superhero-based movies and shows is now bigger than ever, and some of the most recognizable faces of the comic world are finally making their big-screen debut this year.
That said, the advent of streaming platforms and the popularity of superhero shows have made it possible to bring some of the most iconic characters in Marvel and DC history to services like Disney+ and HBO Max, where they can be enjoyed by an even larger audience.
Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting new comic characters coming to either cinemas or streaming shows this year.
If there’s one movie that DC fans should be on the lookout for, that would be “The Flash”. Coming this November, “The Flash” is set to do for the DCEU what “Spider-Man: No Way Home” did for the MCU — that is, bridging the gaps between the multiverses and bringing in new versions of familiar characters.
One of such characters is Supergirl, whose TV show just ended this last year. The new Supergirl is played by Sasha Calle and bears a striking resemblance to the “Lara Lane Kent” version of the character. She’s most likely from another universe in the film’s canon, but that only makes us more excited to see what the future of her character in the DC multiverse might look like.
Dwayne Johnson is set to play one of the most enigmatic characters in the DCEU roster so far. Though he’s generally seen as one of the bad guys, Black Adam has delved into heroism from time to time — mostly when he’s not trying to destroy Shazam and the Marvel Family.
It seems like the film version of Black Adam will be something of an antihero, resorting to extreme violence to deal with crime and his enemies. Johnson is certainly stoked to play the character and has gone on record to say that Black Adam will shake up the hierarchy of power in the DCEU. Black Adam will make his live-action debut in the movie “Black Adam”, set to be released in July of 2022.
Marvel fans will be getting a ton of new franchises this year, not to mention a considerable amount of twists and turns to the structure of the MCU thanks to the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel. However, the first Marvel product to be released this year will be “Moon Knight”, the latest in Disney+’s selection of original MCU content.
In the show, the character Midnight Man is set to make its MCU debut alongside the titular Moon Knight. Played by Gaspar Ulliel — who tragically passed away earlier this year — Midnight Man is an art thief that always strikes at midnight. “Moon Knight” will be released on Disney’s streaming service later this March.
Speaking of “Moon Knight”, the show’s titular character has been one of the most expected characters by fans to finally make its MCU debut. While he might not be appearing in some high-profile Marvel film, some of the most interesting developments in the structure of the MCU have been happening in Disney+ shows as of late, and Moon Knight surely will be no exception.
A man with multiple personalities, Marc Spector leads a complicated life as he deals not only with his psychological disorder but also with some otherwordly entities that push him to accomplish deeds that some might consider borderline villainous.
Played by Oscar Isaac, Moon Knight is set to be one of the most violent takes on a Marvel character ever seen on the MCU, according to executive producer Kevin Feige.
Gorr The God Butcher
Set to make his on-screen live-action debut in “Thor: Love and Thunder”, Gorr the God Butcher has been one of the God of Thunder’s mightiest foes in recent years. Born on a planet with scarce resources, Gorr grew to despise the god when no one can in his aid, beginning his life-long mission to eradicate any divine being that stands in his path.
Despite his positively edgy backstory, Gorr has been well-received by Thor fans. He’s set to be played by none other than Christian Bale in the MCU, which already seems like a massive victory for fans who have been clamoring for Bale’s return to superhero films for a while now, ever since he starred as Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
One of the most popular modern Marvel characters, Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, is about to make her MCU debut later this year, starring in her own Disney+ show. Even more importantly, the show is going to be the lead-in to The Marvels, so MCU completionists should definitely keep this movie in their sights.
Kamala’s backdrop as a Pakistani Muslim is certainly interesting for the MCU, especially since her culture is a pivotal part of Kamala’s identity in the comics. “Ms. Marvel” will make her debut later this year in a six-episode miniseries streaming exclusively on Disney+. She’ll be played by the Pakistani-Canadian actress, Iman Vellani.
Following the untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman, the future of Black Panther remains uncertain. We still don’t have clear confirmation of who’s going to wear the mantle of the ruler of Wakanda, but if the rumors are true, it seems like Riri Williams might be a strong contender for the position.
Williams in the comics is known by her alias, Ironheart — a female counterpart of the iconic Iron Man. Considering the delays, it seems increasingly unlikely that we’ll get to see “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in 2022, but those are the plans so far. Williams will also appear in her own standalone Disney+ MCU show, “Ironheart”.
Karl Mordo already made his live-action debut in the first “Doctor Strange” movie, but he’s set to return as his villainous self in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”. Along with Shuma-Gorath and Wanda Maximoff, there’s a multiversal trifecta of villains that MCU fans should definitely be hyped for.
Played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mordo is one of Strange’s most notable nemeses in the comics. Only time will tell what sort of role he’ll play in the MCU.
Also in the Multiverse of Madness, transdimensional superheroine America Chavez is set to finally make her MCU debut. Known for her vast array of superpowers, Chavez plays a central part in many of the modern Marvel comics story arcs. She’ll be played by Xochitl Gomez in the Sam Raimi-directed film.
Considering the sheer amount of new characters appearing in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, it’s safe to say that it could very well be one of the most pivotal films in the entire history of the MCU.
A character that’s been conspicuously absent from every live-action Hulk film so far is Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk. In some comics, She-Huk is Bruce Banner’s cousin, who becomes gamma-powered after a life-threatening accident.
She-Hulk’s long-awaited MCU debut will be taking place later this year, starring in her own self-titled Disney+ show. Whether she’ll get to appear together with her superpowered hulking cousin remains to be seen.