Marvel Studios announced screenwriters for Thor 3 back in January; at the time, the third solo vehicle for Chris Hemsworth's God of Thunder seemed a likely bet to claim one of the two 2016 release dates reserved by Marvel. However, a lot has happened in the months since then, and it now looks as though the next Thor movie won't arrive until 2017 - something also suggested by Hemsworth, in his recent comments on the film's production start date.
Captain America 3 is scheduled for May 2016 and it's all but official right now that Doctor Strange will be the new intellectual property introduced by Marvel Studios that year, taking the remaining July 2016 date claimed by the studio. There are three dates that've been staked out for Marvel releases in 2017 - one of which has already gone to James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy 2, as was confirmed during the Marvel Studios panel at the 2014 Comic-Con in San Diego last week.
Hemsworth, who attended the 2014 'Con for the premiere of the first trailer footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron, offers members of the press an update on the status Thor 3. And by "update," we mean that he told a handful of reporters that production is still a ways off from beginning. Below, we have the verbatim quote from Hemsworth, as recorded by Collider.
"Yeah I got a lot of time. I don't think it's just yet, Thor 3. I think it's a ways away."
That Thor 3 is "a ways away" still makes sense, seeing as the movie doesn't have a director officially attached yet - unlike the upcoming Captain America and Guardians installments, as well as Doctor Strange - and there hasn't been a major progress update on the project since the writers Christopher Yost (Thor: The Dark World) and Craig Kyle (the Doctor Strange animated feature) were confirmed to be working on the screenplay. Meanwhile, Hemsworth is lined up to reprise as the Huntsman in Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman sequel/spinoff in early 2015 - meaning, he's unlikely to pick up Thor's hammer again for a year or so from now, at the earliest.
Mind you, that's not to imply that another Thor solo movie is in danger; The Dark World grossed some $645 million worldwide in theaters, so Thor 3 will undoubtedly be moving forward. However, the general response to the second Thor movie just wasn't as passionate as that for either Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy, while The Dark World had limited impact on the immediate future of the MCU (unlike the events in Winter Soldier) - down the line, though, is another story. Hence, a third Thor installment just isn't as high a priority for the comic book movie studio as other projects... yet, mind you.
Marvel is also preparing for the future after the current band of Avengers (including Hemsworth) hang up their superhero hats, so Doctor Strange won't be the only new movie IP that becomes a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - before Avengers 3 launches in 2018, that is. It's feasible that the May 2017 Marvel Studios release will therefore be a fresh addition to the company's Shared Universe (Inhumans remains a strong possibility), with Guardians 2 following two months later - and then, Thor 3 in November, approximately four years after The Dark World was unleashed.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters tomorrow, August 1st. Meanwhile, Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives on May 1st, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17th, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6th, 2016, unannounced films on July 8th, 2016 (Doctor Strange?) and May 5th, 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on July 28th, 2017, and unannounced movies on November 3rd, 2017 (Thor 3?), May 4th, 2018, July 6th, 2018, November 2nd, 2018, and May 3rd, 2019.