Since Ant-Man closed out Phase 2, Marvel Studios' Phase 3 plans have already seen a reshuffle with the announcement of a collaboration with Sony Pictures to produce a new Spider-Man movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was merely the latest development in an already ambitious slate of projects that includes a mix of major sequels and standalone films that will introduce new superheroes like Doctor Strange and Black Panther.
With regards to the latter, Black Panther fans were disappointed when the addition of Spider-Man meant that Black Panther's release date was pushed back from late 2017 to summer 2018. Now Marvel enthusiasts who loved Peyton Reed's take on Ant-Man can join with those eagerly awaiting a Black Panther movie in a double celebration.
As New York Comic Con 2015 kicks off, Marvel has announced that a sequel to Ant-Man will land in theaters on July 6, 2018, and will be titled Ant-Man and the Wasp, bringing back both Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) as its superhero leads. Black Panther, which was formerly supposed to hit theaters on that July release date, has been pushed up to February 16, 2018. Marvel has also announced additional release dates for as-yet untitled films on May 1, 2020, July 10, 2020, and November 6, 2020. Though the press release does not say so explicitly, it's safe to assume that these are probably for Phase 4 movies.
The news isn't quite so good for Captain Marvel fans, as the MCU's first standalone female superhero movie has been pushed back by a few months, and will now release on March 8, 2019. Marvel's other Phase 3 release dates will remain the same, but the schedule is now looking a lot more packed. Here's the original lineup that Marvel announced last year, followed by the new schedule including both Spider-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
- Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016
- Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017
- Spider-Man - July 28, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017
- Black Panther - February 16, 2018
- The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018
- Ant-Man and the Wasp - July 6, 2018
- Captain Marvel - March 8, 2019
- The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019
- Inhumans – July 12, 2019.
- Untitled Marvel Studios Film - May 1, 2020
- Untitled Marvel Studios Film - July 10, 2020
- Untitled Marvel Studios Film - November 6, 2020
For those keeping track, that's an impressive eleven movies now set to make up Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with three Marvel movies coming in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Black Panther's new February release date could be to the film's detriment, since February is traditionally one of the worst months for box office, but with the Marvel brand attached it could very well end up proving immune to the February blues.
The announcement of Ant Man and the Wasp may come as a surprise to some, since by Marvel standards Ant-Man's box office was rather modest, grossing $409 million worldwide with a production budget of $130 million. Marvel's press release describes Ant-Man as a success and notes that it has yet to open in its final international market, China, where it will hit theaters on October 16. In any case, a sequel with the superhero duo working together could be a neat follow-up to Ant-Man's character dynamics and mid-credits scene.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; Black Panther - February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.