A new year brings new films, and few are more heavily anticipated in 2018 than the new Marvel movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe dominated 2017 with three mammoth releases and are back this year with another trio of blockbusters - Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp. Here's everything you need to know about those movies, as well as Marvel outings from other studios Sony and Fox.
Black Panther - February 16
Marvel kicks things off with the release of Black Panther in February. Chadwick Boseman has already made quite the impression as T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War, and now he gets to take the lead. The movie follows T'Challa as he returns to rule his homeland following the death of his father, the King of Wakanda. Directed by Ryan Coogler, with a screenplay by Coogler and Joe-Robert Cole, Panther also stars Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.
Everything about Black Panther looks stylish and impressive thus far, offering a unique take on the tried-and-tested Marvel formula.
Avengers: Infinity War - May 4
If you weren't aware Avengers: Infinity War was arriving in May, you must be living under a rock. Bringing a close to the story that started in Phase 1, Infinity War will see the fragmented and fractious Avengers having to pull together to try and stop Thanos assembling the Infinity Stones. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the Infinity War cast list reads like a who's who of not only the MCU, but of Hollywood.
While the original Avengers are in action, Infinity War also features the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Spider-Man. As ever, Marvel are being tight-lipped about the exact plot of the movie, but as we start heading toward the end of Phase 3, expect some shock twists and surely a high-profile character death or two. The trailer promised an awful lot, including a bearded Captain America, some epic fight scenes, and Thanos generally making everything miserable.
Ant-Man and The Wasp - July 6
The sequel to Ant-Man hasn't generated anywhere near as much buzz as Black Panther or Infinity War. In part, that might be because the movie doesn't arrive until summer, but ignore the comic book rom-com movie at your peril. Evangeline Lilly, who plays The Wasp, has strongly hinted that the quantum realm will be a big part of the movie, and of the MCU going forward.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is written by Andrew Barrer, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Gabriel Ferrari, with Peyton Reed in the director's chair once again. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is struggling to come to terms with his decisions, both as a superhero and as a father, but Hope van Dyne and Dr. Pym have an urgent new mission for him.
20th Century Fox Releases - The X-Men
Also with three movies out this year is Fox and the X-Men. First up is New Mutants on April 13. This all-out horror follows five new mutants who are held in a secret facility against their will, including Magik/Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy), Wolfsbane/Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams) and Cannonball/Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton). The movie is directed by Josh Boone, who wrote the screenplay with his friend, Knate Lee. Both are huge fans of the comic book series, and hope to offer a darker side to the series.
The Merc with the mouth is back on June 1, in what is sure to be one of the most irreverent superhero offerings of 2018 - or any other year, come to that. In Deadpool 2, Ryan Reynolds returns as Wade Wilson, this time joined by Cable (Josh Brolin) and Domino (Zazie Beetz), thus firmly establishing the franchise ready for the X-Force movie to be directed by Drew Goddard. David Leitch directs, and although we've had a bizarre Bob Ross trailer, there's no title revealed yet.
Rounding off the set is X-Men: Dark Phoenix, released on November 2. Sophie Turner reprises her role as Jean Grey, with James McAvoy as Professor X, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, and Evan Peters as Quicksilver all also returning. As the title suggests, Dark Phoenix will explore Jean Grey's transformation into her alter-ego, with Simon Kinberg writing and directing.
Sony Releases - Spider-Man Spinoffs
While Spidey is in the MCU, Sony are still moving ahead with their own web-head series. On October 5, they release Venom, starring Tom Hardy as the striking Spider-Man villain. Not a lot is known about the plot of the movie, but it does form part of a shared Spider-Man villain universe that Sony is already expanding, with Silver and Black already lined up for early 2019.
Rounding off the Marvel year on December 14 is Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, which already has a teaser trailer released. Featuring Miles Morales as Ultimate Spider-Man (voiced by Shameik Moore), Into the Spider-Verse will also feature "others who wear the mask" according to the trailer tagline. So we can expect to see Peter Parker, and possibly any combination of Silk, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Girl. Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti and Rodney Rothman direct, but the real draw is a script by The LEGO Movie's Phil Lord and Christoper Miller.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018