Marvel Studios has had a tough time keeping to their plan of two theatrical releases per year. Delays with Thor and The Avengers had Iron Man 2 release by itself in 2010 and next year, The Avengers is without a partner since Runaways was indefinitely postponed. For 2013 and 2014 however, it's back to two films/year or... more.
Today, the news came from Disney that Marvel would be releasing The Avengers in 3D (post-converted), but that unsurprising news was padded with something far more interesting: Marvel Studios claiming another release date in 2014 to release one of their films earlier.
Up until now, the official slate of upcoming films from Marvel Studios was scheduled as follows:
[Updates: Thor 2 moved again and Guardians of the Galaxy is coming in August 2014]
- The Avengers (May 4)
- Iron Man 3 (May 3)
- Thor 2 (
July 26pushed back to November 158th)
As of today, the 2014 schedule changes and the June 27 project will now be releasing on April 4th, nearly three months earlier. No information has been given on the 2014 releases but we do know The Avengers will get a sequel eventually and that there's talk of a follow-up for Captain America's solo outing as well. Reports from two months ago also indicated that Marvel Studios would be working on Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Inhumans after Iron Man 3 and Thor 2.
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So, will these 2014 movies simply be sequels to what we already know? Is Edgar Wright's latest Ant-Man script finally going to be pushed into production? Is Marvel preparing to finally introduce some other characters in solo films? Or, as reported frequently in recent months, is the studio going to take the risk by bringing fans deeper into the Marvel cosmic universe post-Avengers? Let's examine what we know.
Two years might be pushing it for The Avengers 2 so it's more likely that'll be a 2015 release, depending on the success of its predecessor at the box office next summer. That would open up the 2014 dates to be used for films launching from characters and storylines introduced in The Avengers. Chris Evans went on record stating that the next time we'd see him suit up as the star-spangled Avenger would be in 2014 at the earliest. Ant-Man has been in development for a very long time and writer/director Edgar Wright told us at Comic-Con this summer that his latest script was being submitted days later and that they already have concept art.
Looking at the revised dates, there are two possibilities.
- Marvel will add a third release date, either in the summer (maybe making use of that June 27 date) or in the fall, something they're testing in 2013 with Thor 2. This would allow them to play with interconnected films and/or do more to setup for The Avengers 2 the following year.
- Dropping a summer date for a spring date means one of two things. This mystery project is not a big-budget tentpole or it directly ties into whatever the second movie is in May and needs to come before it. The May date is the most important and has to stay there.
The April release is very likely Ant-Man finally getting his post-Avengers introduction in time for The Avengers 2 or it could be Runaways, the lower-budget film Peter Sollett was going to direct off of Drew Pearce's script, a script that Marvel apparently really likes, and one that Pearce says could still be adapted after The Avengers. As for the May date, that's going to be a major project. Expect a Captain America sequel.
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Guardians of the Galaxy and The Inhumans are actively in development and are possibilities as well, but Marvel will not talk about those until we've very close to The Avengers (or afterwards) to avoid fans digging into how those play off and tie-in to what happens in The Avengers. Marvel knows what these films are so there's very deliberate reasons for not announcing them - it's because they're launching off of The Avengers.
Other, not very likely projects, include Black Panther, Dr. Stange, Heroes for Hire and a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie.
What would you like to see Marvel Studios do in 2014? Ant-Man and Captain America or a few cosmic movies?
The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgard. It is of course written and directed by Joss Whedon, opening in theaters on May 4, 2012.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.