Marvel Studios has only one non-sequel in development that will release in the next two-and-a-half years, and that project has been dominating the headlines as of late with rapid fire reports and rumors surrounding the casting of Guardians of the Galaxy. It won't be until after The Avengers 2 when a new hero will get a chance to headline their own film, thanks to Edgar Wright and his dedication to realizing Ant-Man on the big screen.
With Ant-Man releasing months after the second team-up event film, is it still part of "Phase Two" of the Marvel cinematic universe? No, in fact it's in Phase Three where Doctor Strange will also finally have his own movie.
In chatting with MTV, Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige flat out confirmed the positioning of Ant-Man in the Marvel cinematic universe as the first step in Phase Three after The Avengers 2. He also iterates that the "only" reason it's happening is because of the unique vision of Edgar Wright, who's writing and directing the feature - after having been attached for years and years.
"'Ant-Man' is definitely part of Phase Three. Like 'Iron Man 3,' it's certainly set in the Marvel Universe, but it's also through the lens of Edgar Wright — which is the only reason we're making the movie... I've known Edgar since our first lunch together at Comic-Con in 2004. He asked me what Marvel was doing with 'Ant-Man' — we weren't even a studio then; what a difference eight years makes! It's very much an 'Ant-Man' origin movie from the perspective of Edgar Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish. It will of course be firmly planted in the MCU, but a different corner than we've seen before."
Phase One was six films, Phase Two will only be five - not counting the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series that began shooting this week.
Like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man will be the next Marvel Studios full-length feature to showcase and explore entirely new characters for the franchise, and its positioning after The Avengers 2 makes it rather clear that he will not be a main character in that story. Even before The Avengers 1, Edgar Wright said Ant-Man would need his origin tale told first before he could become a member of Earth's Mightiest and while executives at Marvel considered the idea of having three movies in one year (i.e. Ant-Man in 2014) it wasn't a realistic scenario.
"So much of the stories we're telling [right now] is about the core 'Avengers' characters we've now met, and they'll be evolving in big, surprising ways, in Cap's next movie and Thor's next movie and of course in 'Iron Man 3,' as we get them all into the next 'Avengers' film. Beyond that… 'Ant-Man' is the only one officially announced, but you probably don't have to look too far to guess at the next list of characters we're toying with and beginning to develop."
Guardians of the Galaxy was one property frequently name-dropped by Feige, alongside Dr. Strange and The Inhumans, for over the last two years, representing riskier "out there" types of properties that delve deep into the sci-fi and fantasy realms of the Marvel Comics library. We of course know that Guardians is on its way to becoming a reality, and rumors in recent months had a potential Strange appearance in this fall's Thor: The Dark World. So, after multiple reports of Marvel developing the project, is Doctor Stephen Strange actually going to get his chance?
"'Doctor Strange,' which I've been talking about for years, is definitely one of them. He's a great, original character, and he checks the box off this criteria that I have: he's totally different from anything else we have, just like 'Guardians of the Galaxy.' He's totally different from anything we've done before, as is 'Ant-Man,' which keeps us excited."
Let's hope it's better than the 1978 TV movie.
Ant-Man is the film with the latest release date for fall 2015, which means the earliest we'll see Dr. Strange, is 2016. Both will be separate chapters in Phase Three of the Marvel cinematic universe. We always knew they were going cosmic after The Avengers. Should Guillermo del Toro direct Doctor Strange? What about Black Panther?
Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015 and Ant-Man on November 6, 2015.
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