Next year, months after Iron Man 3 kicks off the summer movie season of 2013, Thor 2 will test the waters as the first ever fall release for Marvel Studios. As we learned not long ago, Captain America 2 will also serve as test, representing the first ever spring release for Marvel Studios the following year.

Why the move away from key summer release dates? Marvel Studios and The Avengers team have successfully established themselves among mainstream pop culture so no longer does Marvel need to forcefully keep films close together to maintain buzz through cross-marketing as we saw with Captain America and Thor last summer. The other big reason is that it allows for more than two films per year depending on the need…

With Marvel Studios shooting one film at a time (for the most part), we have Iron Man 3 already underway, Thor 2 beginning to shoot in August and Captain America 2 after that at the end of the year. Sometime next year will see Guardians of the Galaxy enter production for what was reportedly going to be one of Marvel Studios two previously claimed summer 2014 slots, specifically May 16, 2014 (two weeks after The Amazing Spider-Man 2).

As we’ve learned today, Guardians of the Galaxy (which remains unofficial) has changed release dates moving from May 16th, 2014 to August 1st, 2014, a full three months later (and two weeks after X-Men: First Class 2). It’s going to be a busy year for Marvel.

Guardians of the Galaxy offers another team-up film of characters for Marvel to merchandise and tells the story of a group of aliens (Adam Warlock, Drax The Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, Quasar, Rocket Raccoon and ally Nova) who come together to protect the galaxy from Thanos, the villain teased in the button at the end of The Avengers.

There are a variety of potential reasons for the release date switch and it could be anything from timing production with a certain director the studio has in mind, to opening up their production schedule for another film (i.e. Ant-Man) to shoot before Guardians to also come out in 2014. We’ll hopefully find out next Saturday at Marvel Studios’ San Diego Comic-Con panel presentation.

Let’s take a look at the current Marvel Studios release schedule (and changes) leading up to present:


  • Iron Man 3 (May 3)
  • Thor 2 (November 15 pushed forward a week to November 8th)


  • Captain America 2 (April 4)
  • Unknown Confirmed Untitled Marvel Film (May 16 pushed back to August 1)
  • Unknown (June 27)

The original pair of dates Marvel Studios claimed for 2014 were for May 16th and June 27th. Instead of taking Marvel’s traditional May slot, Captain America 2 was positioned earlier – potentially to serve as a setup for another film later that year? That May slot was instead reportedly to be used for Guardians of the Galaxy which is now the film likely occupying Marvel Studios’ new August 1st date that year.

Will Nova play a part in Guardians of the Galaxy?

Where does that leave Marvel’s original two days? Currently sitting in the May 16th slot is the Michael Bay-produced alien-themed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and on June 27th, Michael Bay’s Transformers 4 – both films for Paramount. Perhaps Marvel Studios is playing nice after buying back the distribution rights from Paramount for The Avengers and Iron Man 3. More realistically, both of those films will be competing for the same audience as Marvel and Transformers won’t budge for anyone except Michael Bay.

So here’s the actual schedule for “Phase 2″ of the Marvel cinematic universe as we currently know it. Expect The Avengers 2 in May 2015.


  • Iron Man 3 (May 3)
  • Thor 2 (November 8th)


  • Captain America 2 (April 4)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

So, with Edgar Wright shooting test footage for Ant-Man which could potentially show up at Comic-Con week, there’s a very realistic possibility that Ant-Man could represent a third Marvel Studios release for 2014, something President Kevin Feige hinted at previous as something dependent on what Mr. Wright presented to them. That could come mid-summer, between the two listed titles or it could do what Thor 2 is trying out and come that fall.

Is Ant-Man coming in 2014 too?

Other possibilities include the recently rumored Black Panther, Doctor Strange, The Incredible Hulk 2 or some such combination of characters. Black Panther vs. Hulk anyone? Heroes for Hire with Luke Cage and Iron Fist? Either way, we can expect at least one more film in 2014 or 2015, if not two.

When do you think Ant-Man should release?

Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor 2 on November 8, 2013, Captain America 2 on April 4, 2014 and Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Source: Box Office Mojo