Last year's Comic-Con event in San Diego was very exciting for Marvel movie fans. The entire cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past made a surprise appearance and on the Marvel Studios front, we got footage from their three upcoming Phase 2 films and a teaser of the closing chapter with the title reveal of The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
While getting early access to footage to films a long way from release is always buzzworthy, it was the year before during Marvel's Iron Man 3 panel that really hit home with the hardcore fans since it is where Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige flat out laid down years worth of plans for their next four-five films, confirming titles and release dates. It is where new properties Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man became officially official. This summer, Marvel Studios will do something similar for their unannounced Phase 3 films.
Where the Iron Man films kicked off Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is Edgar Wright's long-in-development Ant-Man that launches Phase 3 just a few weeks after Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens worldwide. What comes after Ant-Man leading up to The Avengers 3 remains a partially mystery that will unfold at this year's Comic-Con.
With Guardians of the Galaxy embracing an unusual August release date, a first for Marvel Studios, it'll be the headliner of Marvel's 2014 Comic-Con panel, much like Iron Man 3 was the year before last. The presentation will also include - as Feige hinted previously - confirmations on at least a few of the upcoming movies and one of them is going to be Doctor Strange. Kevin Feige said so himself in interviews - and with us - without trying to make it official.
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Before Ant-Man got its official release date (it has moved twice since then), Feige confirmed it and the good Doctor as Phase 3 films and we know that Marvel already has a pair of dates in mind for 2016 and 2017 (three of which have already been locked down). We also know that the first film in each of those two years will be a sequel to an existing series with the second of each pair representing the introduction of a new property. That means we can expect Doctor Strange to come in July 2016 or some late unannounced date in 2017.
We've long through Strange would introduce the mystical side of the Marvel Comics lore in 2016 and yesterday's rumored shortlist of potential directors lends credence to that idea. The names were undoubtedly handed to the trades this week to capitalize on the Guardians of the Guardians buzz which saw the title trending on both Twitter and Facebook.
According to last night's report, Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies), Mark Andrews (co-director of Brave), Nikolaj Arcel (director of the foreign film A Royal Affair and writer of the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Dean Israelite (director of the upcoming Welcome to Yesterday and a few short films) are the four names topping the list of potential Doctor Strange directors.
And today, Bleeding Cool claims to have a "pretty solid Marvel-adjacent source" that puts Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen as something Marvel is interested in to lead the film. Mikkelsen is an interesting name for two reasons, first that he's worked with Nikolaj Arcel before, and second, he was the top choice to play Malekith in Thor: The Dark World before scheduling conflicts with Hannibal prevented the possibility.
So, Marvel's definitely interested in working with Mads, an actor we on Screen Rant listed as something we believe would make for a good Lex Luthor (before Jesse Eisenberg got the role). There's also the ol' Johnny Depp rumor (who has two other major movies on the way for Disney with Pirates of the Caribbean and Alice in Wonderlands sequels coming in 2016) and our own list of potential Sorcerer Supreme candidates. In reality, unless Marvel is quick to announce someone official a la Ant-Man castings, we're going to be subject to countless rumors, some of them completely made up. So let's hope the process isn't drawn out.
Can you see Mikkelsen as an Avenger down the road? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn off of his script co-written by Nicole Perlman. The film stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Glenn Close.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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