[Update: Guardians of the Galaxy moves dates to August 1, 2014

Despite early reports to the contrary, Disney and Marvel Studios are hosting a major panel presentation at San Diego Comic-Con next month and they confirmed it last night. The focus will be on Iron Man 3, continuing the tradition set by director Jon Favreau who became a fan-favorite with his panels for Iron Man 1 & 2 in years prior. But more than Robert Downey Jr. making an appearance as Tony Stark, the panel will feature Marvel Studios’ President of Production Kevin Feige and a deeper look into the future of the Marvel cinematic universe.

What that means is that there’s a very real chance that Marvel will make a major announcement regarding “Phase 2″ of the franchise and that another movie (or two) for 2014 could be announced to setup their upcoming slate of films as a path towards The Avengers 2. And one of those films could very possibly be the much buzzed about Guardians of the Galaxy.

As someone who often makes predictions about the direction Marvel Studios will take with their movie, I’d normally be skeptical about Marvel taking this sort of risk, going all-out extreme sci-fi with a totally unknown-to-the-mainstream property. But they’ve earned every right to take this risk after creating the third most successful box office release of all-time with The Avengers and there’s no better time to do it.

We cannot ignore the fact that Marvel Pres Kevin Feige continuously and consistently name-drops Guardians of the Galaxy (along with Dr. Strange and The Inhumans) as a project he really wants to make happen, among his interest to explore more of the cosmic side of Marvel Comics. They’ve also recently been registering domain names for Guardians.

Keeping that in mind and knowing how on-the-ball our pals at Latino Review always are with their Marvel scoops, I’m putting faith that their latest exclusive about Marvel making Guardians of the Galaxy to join Captain America 2 in 2014 is very likely.

They claim that Guardians of the Galaxy will be officially announced as Marvel Studios’ second film for 2014, likely taking the May 16th or June 27th release dates the studio previously claimed, and that it’ll feature Thanos as the villain and likely Nova (pictured up top) as a key character (Feige also said they would be making a movie about non-Avengers characters). If Thanos is not a key part of Thor 2 – and it sounds like he’s not – then it makes sense for him to return the following year since that button at the end of The Avengers was very intentional. Guardians of the Galaxy will serve as a lead-in for The Avengers 2 in 2015.

If this proves true, our question then becomes: what about Ant-Man and Black Panther, two projects that have been in the news a lot lately? Yesterday we discussed the rumors that Ant-Man could be introduced in a post-credits scene for Iron Man 3 and we know Edgar Wright has a script ready and is teasing the idea of shooting something for the project this year. As for Black Panther, Latino Review dropped that scoop a few weeks ago, claiming they’ve confirmed with multiple sources that Black Panther will “headline” his own film as well.

So, we have Ant-Man, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy all apparently about to be confirmed. Assuming The Avengers is a 2015 movie, expect one of these three as another 2015 movie and the other two as potential 2014 films.

Yes, that means three Marvel Studios productions set for release in 2014, one of them being Ant-Man. Even though Marvel Studios aims for a two-films-per-year strategy, Feige did say to Collider it’s possible they could do three in one year depending on what he saw from Edgar Wright’s test footage of Ant-Man.

Read this article from last year to see why Guardians of the Galaxy is very possible and read this to see why Ant-Man makes sense now more than ever.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: Latino Review & Variety

Header image edited from Nova #1 cover art by Adi Granov.