With Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe complete (and available on home video) and the marketing campaign beginning for Phase 3, Marvel Studios is beginning to openly share details on what's coming up in their next few years of films.
The last few weeks have revealed a trailer, plot details, and character designs for 2016's Captain America: Civil War, and our first official looks at Doctor Strange, while Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige teases the other sequels and new properties on the way afterward. Just this morning we talked more about Black Panther, and now we're getting updates on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, and Thor: Ragnarok - the latter of which has seen some of the most surprising and interesting developments.
The third Thor movie again sees a new director take the helm as Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) is brought in to reportedly help "lighten" up the originally darker Ragnarok script - one that seems to fit the title. Thor: Ragnarok will be the first Marvel Studios production to take place in Australia, the homeland of star Chris Hemsworth, but what's most surprising about the next Asgardian adventure is that it includes Bruce Banner a.k.a. the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) - the only other Avenger who doesn't have a role to play in Captain America: Civil War.
The movie is being touted as a buddy adventure movie and Hemsworth hasn't been shy in sharing his wishes to do something different with Thor 3, hoping to embrace the tone of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy. Speaking with Empire, Kevin Feige - who serves as producer and president of production at Marvel Studios - teases some of what we've learned from recent reports: that Thor: Ragnarok will introduce some new characters.
"I don't think people will read into that title alone [regarding] what the movie's going to be. It's going to be, perhaps, as totally different from the two prior Thor movies as Winter Soldier was from the first Captain America. We want to take it to new places, we've got new characters that will show how big we're swinging on this. And we have a Hulk."
Along with Hulk, Thor: Ragnarok may introduce Valkyrie, another hero from Marvel Comics, and the franchise's first lead female villain. We expect the Warriors Three and Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) to return as well so Thor may have a lot of allies for what Feige previously described as a very important film of the MCU. And unlike Thor and Thor: The Dark World (which both took place largely on Earth), Thor: Ragnarok will take a page from Guardians of the Galaxy in embracing its unique cosmic settings.
"The film takes place within the cosmos primarily which is to say, frankly, very little Earth."
The last part is perhaps the most exciting. After a dozen Marvel Studios movies and now a pile of TV series (all set on Earth), it's time for Marvel in Phase 3 to explore more of the larger universe - something teased in the previous Thor movies and embraced in Guardians of the Galaxy. After all, the greatest threats to Earth and its Avengers are not just from Earth itself. The Earth elements of Thor: The Dark World were its weakest, and the Thor-Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) relationship isn't exactly the studio's best effort. Time to move forward.
What's odd however, is what Feige says about the film's title. Even though they chose "Ragnarok" as Thor 3's subtitle, it sounds now as if that may not really be what the story is about. In the mythology that event represents the end of all things and the ultimate siege across the Nine Realms. That is perhaps the most important of Asgardian stories so if they are going down that road, we hope they do it right and not use it as a subplot of this next film. It could forever change who Thor is and if it does, here's one idea for how Thor 4 can happen even without Chris Hemsworth.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017; Spider-Man - July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok - November 3, 2017; Black Panther - February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp - July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel - March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.
Source: Empire [via CBM]