Superheroes and the upcoming slate of Marvel movies have one thing in common: they’re borderline unstoppable. Between every movie in the MCU to other Marvel properties owned by either Fox or Sony, these comic adaptations are showing no signs of slowing down. In 2018 alone, there are five Marvel movies being released – including four sequels and one animated feature – while 2019 and 2020 are delivering their fair share of spinoffs, reboots, and even more sequels.
On one hand, the superhero genre has never been stronger in Hollywood, equating to positive critical reception, as well as massive box office returns. That being said though, anyone suffering from superhero fatigue should seriously consider bracing themselves.
Studios have become substantially more confident in the genre following the massive success of franchises like The Avengers and X-Men, so we’re now in the midst of seeing studios take bigger (and necessary) risks. They’re adapting standalone properties, offering lead roles to women and people of color, and having the confidence to choose directors with distinct trademark styles, while also offering them more creative control (see: last year’s Thor: Ragnarok). The cinematic superhero genre is evolving, and this upcoming slate is just a taste of things to come.
Avengers: Infinity War – April 27, 2018
Starting the cap-off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Infinity War pits the titular heroes against the Mad Titan himself, Thanos (played by Josh Brolin). Every capable hero from the MCU – including everyone from Iron Man to the Guardians of the Galaxy – unite to collect the six Infinity Stones, all the while preventing Thanos from his getting his hands (or more specifically, his Infinity Gauntlet) on them. Though the third and fourth Avengers movies were originally titled Infinity War Part 1 and Part 2, respectively, Marvel has since decided to give both films two unique titles so as to distinguish them as separate stories.
Deadpool 2 – May 18, 2018
Once the dust starts settling on Infinity War, Deadpool 2 hits theaters on May 18. In this sequel, the Merc with a Mouth battles baddies as per usual, this time sharing the screen with Nathan Summers, better known as Cable (played by Josh Brolin, in yet another Marvel role). The official synopsis is vague at best, with Wade Wilson battling “ninjas, the yakuza and a pack of aggressive canines as he embarks on a new adventure.” The film recently underwent some reshoots to include more Cable and Domino (played by Zazie Beetz).
Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018
The sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man is doubling down on its heroes (and title) by having Evangeline Lily’s Hope van Dyne partner up with Paul Rudd’s Scott Lange. Similar to the first film, Ant-Man and the Wasp deals with skeletons from the past coming back to haunt its main characters (naturally accompanied by scaled-down-specific comedic hijinks). Introducing newcomers Michelle Pfeiffer and Laurence Fishburne into the cast, Ant-Man and the Wasp marks the first MCU standalone movie to be released post-Infinity War.
Venom – October 5, 2018
While it’s unclear whether or not this iteration of the character will play a role in the MCU, Venom is nevertheless getting his own standalone movie. With Tom Hardy starring as Eddie Brock and Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer in the directing chair, Venom will bring the symbiote-infested antihero to the screen for the first time since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. Though a trailer was released in February, there are currently no official images of Hardy post-transformation.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix – November 2, 2018
Following the critical dud X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016, X-Men: Dark Phoenix continues the mutant franchise with its younger batch of characters, continuing the franchise’s recent trend of jumping from one decade to the next (this one takes place in the ’90s). Long-time producer Simon Kinberg is taking over the directing reins, and the plot will specifically center around Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey, whose mind is being hunted by a “malevolent, power-hungry force.”
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – December 21, 2018
Though it’s not commonplace for a movie about the same character to be released just a year apart, another Spider-Man movie is getting the feature-length treatment – only, in this case, it’s animated and not part of the MCU. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse follows Miles Morales as the titular hero, and its screenplay is penned by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Into the Spider-Verse will toy with the idea that Spider-Man can be a shared persona, rather than a single identity.
The New Mutants – February 22, 2019
Joining the cinematic ranks of young superheroes is The New Mutants, adapted from the comic series of the same name. Locked away in a secret facility, but desperate to fight their way to freedom, the young cast includes recognizable names like Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, The Witch), and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things). With YA roots courtesy of Josh Boone, who directed the adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, The New Mutants also walks a fine line between sci-fi and horror. It was originally meant to release April 2018, but was pushed back at the last minute by almost a year to allow for reshoots.
Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019
Ushering in a new era of the MCU, Captain Marvel introduces Brie Larson as United States Air Force pilot-turned-superhero Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel. Backpedaling into a 1990s setting, Captain Marvel will feature the MCU’s first female superhero in a standalone film. She’ll be partnering up with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, the Kree-Skrull War will serve as the film’s central backdrop, and indie darling duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck will direct. According to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, Captain Marvel is “going to be a big part of heading toward this epic conclusion and epic finale of 22 movies [see: Avengers 4] over the course of 10 years.”
Untitled Avengers Film – May 3, 2019
The untitled fourth Avengers film marks the end of an era, but the beginning of something new within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by brothers Joe and Anthony Russo (this will be their fourth Marvel movie, following Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War), Avengers 4 culminates Phase 3 of the MCU, likely serving as a swan song for major players that have led the team for the past 10 years. Kevin Feige has announced that fans can expect “another 20 movies on the docket that are completely different from anything that’s come before—intentionally.”
Untitled Men in Black Spin-Off – May 17, 2019
Not a traditional Marvel property, Men in Black is technically owned by the House of Ideas: original publisher Aircel Comics was bought by Malibu Comics, now owned by Marvel. The agents are making a return to the big screen in 2019. While there were originally plans for Phil Lord and Chris Miller to helm a Men in Black/21 Jump Street spinoff, Sony has instead decided to launch a full-blown reboot. Fate of the Furious director F. Gary Gray is in talks to direct, while Chris Hemsworth (a Marvel native) may star.
Gambit – June 7, 2019
Despite taking a front seat in development hell over the past few years, a standalone Gambit movie is still very much a reality. Channing Tatum is still officially playing the titular role, with Lizzy Caplan co-starring, but a slew of directors have already come and gone (including Rupert Wyatt, Doug Liman, and, most recently, Gore Verbinski). Still, 20th Century Fox has a lot of faith in this “Ragin’ Cajun,” so maybe “scheduling conflicts” with directors weren’t euphemisms for something worse after all.
Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming Sequel – July 5, 2019
After Sony agreed to “share” Spider-Man with Marvel Studios, the web-slinger was finally able to join the MCU. Now, after the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tom Holland will reprise his role as Peter Parker in his fourth on-screen appearance as the character (as well as the first official entry in Phase 4 of the MCU). While plot details are sparse, producer Amy Pascal stated that the untitled sequel “will start a few minutes after Avengers 4 wraps as a story.” As far as villains go, nothing has been officially announced. That said, Homecoming has already planted subtle groundwork for The Sinister Six, leaving room for speculation.
Untitled Kingsman 3 – Fall 2019 TBD
Another Marvel Comics property most casual viewers may not have realized belonged to Marvel (it’s part of the Icon Comics imprint), Kingsman has been greenlit for another sequel. Writer/director Matthew Vaughn has some ideas as to how the trilogy will end (assuming it does end), stating that he had been unofficially prepping Kingsman 3 while working on The Golden Circle. In an interview with Screen Rant, Vaughn said, “If you look at the ending of number 2, every single character is on the cusp of a new adventure which is set up. I hope, everyone’s thinking a question mark for what’s going to happen to these guys next.”
Silver & Black – 2019 TBD
With a planned February 2019 release date, production on an adaptation of Silver & Black was in the works, although rumors suggest it has been delayed indefinitely. Serving as a spinoff Spider-Man: Homecoming, Silver & Black is rumored to pair up Felicia Hardy (a.k.a. Black Cat) with Silver Sablinova (a.k.a. Silver Sable) to perform a dangerous, globe-spanning heist. The film’s director Gina Prince-Bythewood stated in an interview that Silver & Black is “the story of two damaged women who are at war with each other, but need each other to survive.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – 2020 TBD
With writer/director James Gunn returning, as well as the main cast members expected to return (assuming they survive the events of either Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4), any plots details circling Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are purely speculative. With production expected to begin in early 2019, the biggest news surrounding Vol. 3 is the possible casting of Mark Hamill. He reached out to Gunn via Twitter about starring, and though no official confirmation has been made, Gunn responded by tweeting, “Haha let’s do it.”
Black Widow – TBD
It hasn’t been officially confirmed by Marvel yet, but the company is working on a script for a solo Black Widow movie. Fans have been clamoring for a standalone for Scarlett Johansson since Natasha first turned up in Iron Man 2, and ten years later it could happen. Details are light, although it wouldn’t be a surprise if the film was a prequel looking back at Widow’s dark, pre-Avengers past.
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