The sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe has been growing exponentially since Iron Man launched Phase 1 in 2008. Appropriately, the third film in that same franchise kicked off Marvel's Phase 2 in 2013, while Phase 2 closed with 2015's Ant-Man. We are now gearing up for the most ambitious stage yet, as Phase 3 begins with Captain America: Civil War in May 2016. In addition to sequels and new team up films, Phase 3 will reintroduce audiences to Spider-Man, transition Inhumans from the small screen to the large, and launch Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios' first film centering around a female superhero.
This phase will also bring T’Challa, King of Wakanda – a.k.a. the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) to the big screen, first appearing in Civil War, then starring in the stand alone film Black Panther in 2018. There is already a lot of enthusiasm for the project and character, and Marvel is capitalizing on that momentum in advance of his debut.
According to the official press release, Marvel is launching new merchandise especially for Black Panther fans that coincide with not only the film, but the rebooted comic book series, and the 50th anniversary. Geared tward both kids and adults, this line will feature everything from costumes to bags. You can check out the new good in the images below. Marvel at Disney Consumer Products senior vice president of licensing Paul Gitter commented on the release, saying:
“With a new comic book and his first appearance in a Marvel film both occurring during his 50th anniversary year, excitement is already underway for Black Panther product. We are excited to debut this all-new lineup of offerings so fans can start showing off their love for the newest member of the Avengers team.”
Little is known about the plot, and there is nothing in the merchandising that will give anything away. With such a wide variety of characters featured across the pop culture landscape, Marvel has had plenty of opportunity to capitalize on the many fun - and sometimes strange - products used to promote a movie.
Even with all of their experience they are still no stranger to controversy, as they have faced criticism for its exclusion of Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) from some of its product lines. Hasbro has also recently come under fire for omitting Rey from major merchandise, though that was eventually rectified. It's encouraging to see Marvel learning from past mistakes and promoting their new heroes early - and if previous works are any indication then these products will likely fly off the shelf.
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.