Marvel Studios is hosting a big panel presentation at San Diego Comic-Con next Saturday and we know a few things for certain on what they're going to show. The cast of The Avengers: Age of Ultron will be there with writer-director Joss Whedon to premiere some new footage, Ant-Man will be there with something to tease or talk about, and finally, we'll learn about what unannounced movies are coming in 2016-17 and possibly beyond.
While a comment made about Marvel having planned out movies all the way to the year 2028 made major headlines earlier this year, that didn't mean that the studio knew exactly which films were coming each year and in what order. We know quite a few titles in early development but not when, and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told us last year that they'd be making those decisions for their 2016-17 releases early this year and likely announcing then or at Comic-Con. The success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, both critically and financially, may have changed things up since it immediately got a followup dated for May 2016. As for what's next, we expect to learn at Comic-Con next weekend.
You can expect Doctor Strange, a new Thor and perhaps Inhumans to be a part of that lineup, but don't expect Namor: The Sub-Mariner. Feige mentioned last year that the rights to Namor were at Universal, one of the leftover properties they didn't reclaim in recent years, but in speaking with IGN this week, he clarified what that meant. As it turns out, Universal cannot actually go out on their own and make the movie, contrary to rumors that Legendary (now partnered with Universal) had a big secret event movie planned for late 2016 that could introduce The Sub-Mariner.
So, a Namor film would be a Marvel Studios production if it ever happened?
Yes, but it’s slightly more complicated than that. Let’s put it this way – there are entanglements that make it less easy. There are older contracts that still involve other parties that mean we need to work things out before we move forward on it. As opposed to an Iron Man or any of the Avengers or any of the other Marvel characters where we could just put them in.
From Feige's vague explanation and details we can only guess that Universal may have distribution rights to the Namor film and so if Marvel were to make it, it'd launch under the Universal umbrella instead of Disney's. That makes Namor not something Disney would let Marvel Studios make, given that they paid millions and millions to get distribution rights back from Paramount for Iron Man 3 and The Avengers aver they acquired Marvel Entertainment.
That's why Namor is not featured in Marvel Comics' upcoming relaunch of the Avengers NOW! series which only features characters wholly owned by Disney-Marvel. Sorry, Namor fans, until he comes back to Marvel Studios in full you probably will not see Marvel's answer to DC Entertainment's Aquaman on the big screen.
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Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6 2016, and unannounced films for July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.
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