On Friday Marvel Studios added five new films to their release slate leading up to 2019. These unannounced titles add to a schedule that already has two unknowns, and with Marvel boss Kevin Feige confirming that Marvel know's exactly what all these features are going to be, we can expect to see most, if not, all of Phase 3 laid out this Saturday during the Marvel Studios panel at Comic-Con 2014.
What we know so far is that Ant-Man begins shooting next month for a July 2015 release - two months after Phase 2 concludes with Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron. After that, directors Anthony and Joe Russo return with Captain America 3 (no official title yet). With Scott Derrickson already announced to direct Doctor Strange, it's a probable release for 2016 as well, taking the July date Marvel set last summer.
Toss in Thor 3 which already has writers as another absolute somewhere in (the likely extended) Phase 3, and that leaves us with 5 unknowns. Let's take a quick look at some possibilities, a few of which are more hopeful rather than realistic. We'll even throw in a curve ball.
Ultron is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe next year in The Avengers sequel and in it, he'll be on a quest to continually evolve by upgrading himself. If that plot point is anything like the comics, and we suspect it is, then Ultron may be headed to the high-tech Marvel Comics African nation known as Wakanda, home of Black Panther.
Given what we heard a while back about the status of the Black Panther screenplay draft, this story is unlikely to happen as a solo adventure. Feige tells Collider that part of the juggling act of continually adding new properties is deciding which gets sequels and which get introduced, and so he hints that Black Panther could be a part of their efforts to "introduce new ones within the body of the films." So, Black Panther guest appearance instead? Still, we can hope.
While Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige says they don't currently have plans for a leading lady solo movie and that they won't be "swayed by any backlash," we hope their bigger picture story plans for Phase 3 of the MCU involve Carol Danvers a.k.a. Ms. Marvel - who eventually takes on the mantle of Captain Marvel.
There are several versions of Ms. Marvel in the comics and the character(s) has a key role to play in The Avengers books. She also shares history with a certain important alien race (the Kree) who are introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy and who may have a role to play in the mysterious plot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. Ms. Marvel has been rumored to be a part of The Avengers 2 since its predecessor hit theaters in 2012 and Natalie Portman did go on record saying that she heard Marvel has a female superhero movie in the works...
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is practically a guarantee at this point even though the first has yet to hit theaters. Early reactions are positive and Marvel is banking greatly on the Marvel cosmic side which GOTG introduces. Director James Gunn even said he's a lock to direct it if the first does "well" which it will. He told us this weekend that he prefers to stick to the cosmos for his next Marvel feature, and while that probably means more Guardians, he also said in the past he hopes his first Marvel effort expands into other things (spinoffs) so he has some ideas in mind. Of the many cosmic Marvel characters Guardians of the Galaxy introduces and teases, the most notable featured in his movie are the Nova Corps, the galactic police force of the Marvel universe.
With the more practical design of the Nova Corps officers featured in Guardians of the Galaxy, a super-powered Nova Centurion like the titular "Nova" characters from the comics may not necessarily be a fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but with the introduction of Nova Prime Irani Rael (Glenn Close) we can only hope that we see a Nova officer head to earth and deputize young Earth kid Richard Rider. Picture a galactic war in Phase 4 where Rider is the sole surviving Nova Centurion after the planet Xandar (introduced in GOTG) is ambushed and has to embrace all the power of the Nova Corps. The tie-ins to the Marvel cosmic universe, future Guardians of the Galaxy stories, Thanos and Earth-based teams are ripe for the picking. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 could feasibly serve as a Nova introduction.