Marvel Studios is now moving ahead with a version of the famous “Civil War” comic book storyline in its Cinematic Universe, and the even will get underway starting with Captain America: Civil War (a.k.a. Captain America 3), as we learned recently, but has now been made official. Moreover, at the special event hosted by Marvel Studios today (where the full schedule for Phase 3 was unveiled), we received clarification that Ant-Man will conclude Phase 2 of the MCU – rather than begin Phase 3, as was originally the plan.
This news makes a lot of sense, all things considered. The recent updates on next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – which Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has indicated will help usher in a new Avengers movie team roster – and the news that Robert Downey Jr. is onboard to reprise as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Civil War (which has now been confirmed), had already raised serious questions about how the Ant-Man movie would fit into the overarching narrative for the MCU’s Phase 3.
Clearly, Marvel Studios has learned a lesson from having Phase 2 of its Shared Universe begin with Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. Those character solo films, in many ways, felt closer to being a carryover from Phase 1 of the MCU (and were criticized for it), before the arrival of Captain America: The Winter Soldier marked the beginning of what felt like a truly new “phase” in Marvel’s movie/TV show world-building process.
Now, fortunately, Ant-Man won’t end up being burdened with a similar responsibility and can instead serve as an epilogue to Phase 2 of the MCU (something that the third Iron Man and second Thor arguably should’ve been for Phase 1), following what will know will be a dramatic finale to Age of Ultron. That’s all the more fitting, seeing as the Ant-Man feature will be arriving but a couple months after the Avengers sequel.
Ant-Man, starring the likes of Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, and Corey Stoll, and directed by Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Yes Man), is shaping up to be a fun, more light-hearted, and comical action-packed romp to follow on the heels of Age of Ultron – a film that could end up being Joss Whedon’s Empire Strikes Back to the Marvel Film Universe, in terms of the superhero tentpole’s (relatively) darker tone and dramatic narrative developments.
Mind you, although Rudd’s Scott Lang isn’t going to be getting own sequel in the near future (read: not in Phase 3 of the MCU), Reed’s movie may not necessarily be the last we see of the character, either. Ant-Man is a part of the Avengers team featured in the Avengers NOW! comic book reboot, along with a number of additional superheroes (Doctor Strange, Black Panther) and characters (the Inhumans) who shall join the MCU during Phase 3. Which is to say, we’ll have to wait and see what comes next for Scott Lang, after his big screen debut.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3, 2017, Captain Marvel on July 26, 2018, Inhumans on November 2, 2018, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4, 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3, 2019.