On Friday Marvel Studios added five new films to their release slate leading up to 2019. These unannounced titles add to a schedule that already has two unknowns, and with Marvel boss Kevin Feige confirming that Marvel know’s exactly what all these features are going to be, we can expect to see most, if not, all of Phase 3 laid out this Saturday during the Marvel Studios panel at Comic-Con 2014.
What we know so far is that Ant-Man begins shooting next month for a July 2015 release – two months after Phase 2 concludes with Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. After that, directors Anthony and Joe Russo return with Captain America 3 (no official title yet). With Scott Derrickson already announced to direct Doctor Strange, it’s a probable release for 2016 as well, taking the July date Marvel set last summer.
Toss in Thor 3 which already has writers as another absolute somewhere in (the likely extended) Phase 3, and that leaves us with 5 unknowns. Let’s take a quick look at some possibilities, a few of which are more hopeful rather than realistic. We’ll even throw in a curve ball.
Ultron is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year in The Avengers sequel and in it, he’ll be on a quest to continually evolve by upgrading himself. If that plot point is anything like the comics, and we suspect it is, then Ultron may be headed to the high-tech Marvel Comics African nation known as Wakanda, home of Black Panther.
Given what we heard a while back about the status of the Black Panther screenplay draft, this story is unlikely to happen as a solo adventure. Feige tells Collider that part of the juggling act of continually adding new properties is deciding which gets sequels and which get introduced, and so he hints that Black Panther could be a part of their efforts to “introduce new ones within the body of the films.” So, Black Panther guest appearance instead? Still, we can hope.
While Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige says they don’t currently have plans for a leading lady solo movie and that they won’t be “swayed by any backlash,” we hope their bigger picture story plans for Phase 3 of the MCU involve Carol Danvers a.k.a. Ms. Marvel – who eventually takes on the mantle of Captain Marvel.
There are several versions of Ms. Marvel in the comics and the character(s) has a key role to play in The Avengers books. She also shares history with a certain important alien race (the Kree) who are introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy and who may have a role to play in the mysterious plot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. Ms. Marvel has been rumored to be a part of The Avengers 2 since its predecessor hit theaters in 2012 and Natalie Portman did go on record saying that she heard Marvel has a female superhero movie in the works…
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is practically a guarantee at this point even though the first has yet to hit theaters. Early reactions are positive and Marvel is banking greatly on the Marvel cosmic side which GOTG introduces. Director James Gunn even said he’s a lock to direct it if the first does “well” which it will. He told us this weekend that he prefers to stick to the cosmos for his next Marvel feature, and while that probably means more Guardians, he also said in the past he hopes his first Marvel effort expands into other things (spinoffs) so he has some ideas in mind. Of the many cosmic Marvel characters Guardians of the Galaxy introduces and teases, the most notable featured in his movie are the Nova Corps, the galactic police force of the Marvel universe.
With the more practical design of the Nova Corps officers featured in Guardians of the Galaxy, a super-powered Nova Centurion like the titular “Nova” characters from the comics may not necessarily be a fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with the introduction of Nova Prime Irani Rael (Glenn Close) we can only hope that we see a Nova officer head to earth and deputize young Earth kid Richard Rider. Picture a galactic war in Phase 4 where Rider is the sole surviving Nova Centurion after the planet Xandar (introduced in GOTG) is ambushed and has to embrace all the power of the Nova Corps. The tie-ins to the Marvel cosmic universe, future Guardians of the Galaxy stories, Thanos and Earth-based teams are ripe for the picking. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 could feasibly serve as a Nova introduction.
The best way to describe The Inhumans is to call them Marvel’s X-Men because that’s what they’re becoming. A property namedropped by Kevin Feige for years now, The Inhumans have been pushed into the spotlight big time lately in Marvel Comics and even now have two roster spots on the upcoming Avengers NOW relaunch.
The Inhumans give Marvel Studios a way to introduce super-powered Earth beings without using “mutation” (Twentieth Century Fox owns all Marvel things related to mutants) and have ties to the alien Kree from Guardians of the Galaxy and – from what we suspect – the weird things happening in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The Inhumans are one of the most likely and most exciting new properties we could see in Marvel’s Phase 3.
And maybe, just maybe, this is the film that Vin Diesel was (and still is) in talks for for 2016-17. He’s long been a highly speculated choice to play Black Bolt, the leader of The Inhumans.
Wait, what is this nonsense? Spidey is at Sony! Yes, it is and yes, this is the highly unlikely (read: maybe even impossible at this point) item on this list, yet it’s still something we want to see. The Spider-Man franchise is not where it needs to be for Sony to be fully confident in it and as a result The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was delayed and still sits without a release date while reports point to the franchise’s first spinoff, Sinister Six, being in trouble as well – even potentially cancelled. After The Amazing Spider-Man 2 brought in the series’ worst reviews and financial results, it’s time to look back on the rumors started by a few (quickly deleted) Tweets from Hollywood screenwriter Max Landis (see here) who said Marvel got back Spider-Man.
Even if they didn’t, Marvel and Sony have a working relationship in taking turns hosting the opening summer weekend of May and of course, Marvel and Disney have the merchandising rights to Spidey movies – something they don’t have with Fox’s X-Men and Fantastic Four. Hence, TASM 2 having a grand toy line this year, alongside Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, while there’s nothing for X-Men: Days of Future Past.
While it’s an overblown factoid, Sony and Marvel had the slightest of conversations about putting the Oscorp tower in The Avengers but nothing came of it. Still, the idea that Sony could strike a deal with Marvel to have Peter Parker show up in Phase 3 would help both brands tremendously from a buzz and merchandising standpoint, even if studio execs may not want that and while Marvel doesn’t need it. Spider-Man has been and still is the long-time top seller for Marvel Comics, but his movies have fans burnt out. Spidey’s not the cool kid on the block anymore with Marvel Studios blowing their universe open with characters like a talking raccoon who at this point is more exciting than the web slinger. And with X-Men: Days of Future Past offering a successful rebirth to Twentieth Century Fox’s Marvel franchise, it might be time for Spidey to come home. Or not. We’ll see. Again, this is unlikely, bordering on “there’s no chance.”
What’s on your ultimate wishlist of future Marvel movies? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6 2016, and unannounced films for July 8 2016 and May 5 2017, July 28 2017, November 3 2017, July 6 2018, November 2 2018 and May 3 2019.
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!