Marvel Studio President of Production Kevin Feige said that announcements for which movies will be included in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - besides Ant-Man and The Avengers 3 - would be made in 2014; we're only a month into the new year and that promise has already been partly fulfilled. Yesterday, the news broke that Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo will return to helm Captain America 3, and today Marvel has confirmed the writers for Thor 3 (both of which are films that shall definitely be included in Phase 3).
According to the studio, Thor: The Dark World co-writer Christopher Yost will script the next Thor installment in collaboration with Craig Kyle, who will transition form being the senior vice president of Production and Development at Marvel Studios to become "a full-time screenwriter" for the organization instead.
Kyle, for those unfamiliar, was also an executive producer on the original live-action Thor movie and its sequel; he also has a long writing resume for the animated Marvel-verse, having served as producer and/or story writer for such cartoon TV series as X-Men: Evolution, Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes and Iron Man: Armored Adventures, as well as the animated home video film releases Planet Hulk and Thor: Tales of Asgard (read our review). He's worked with Yost before on multiple occasions, back when the latter was also a full-time screenwriter in the world of Marvel 'toons, before he made the transition to live-action storytelling on The Dark World.
Here is Feige's official statement on the matter:
"I am proud of Craig and have enjoyed working with him over these past years. His creative instincts have helped shape 'Thor' and 'Thor: The Dark World' at every level of the filmmaking process. The entire team at Marvel is very happy to continue collaborating with Craig as he continues as a screenwriter working with Christopher on the forthcoming chapter of Thor's adventure."
During our visit to the Thor: The Dark World set, it was Kyle who (sorta) subtly teased the idea of Ragnarok - an apocalyptic event for Asgard that represented a major development in the Thor comic books - taking place in a future Thor movie, while he described the Tree of Yggdrasil (click for the diagram). Indeed, some predicted that the Fire Demons of Muspelheim would make a brief appearance in The Dark World, setting up for the introduction in Thor 3 of Surtur, one of Thor's greatest enemies, who is connected to Ragnarok. (Chris Hemsworth later voiced his enthusiasm about getting to battle Surtur). How trouble-maker Loki (Tom Hiddleston) might fit into such a Thor 3 storyline, that remains to be seen.
As for when Thor 3 will arrive: Marvel has claimed release dates for unannounced films on May 6th and July 8th, 2016, with either being in the realm of possibility for Thor 3 (with Captain America 3 following in 2017); right now Batman vs. Superman is scheduled for that same May 2016 date, so that is something that Marvel will certainly have to take into consideration. The comic book movie studio's plan is to release one sequel, one new intellectual property title every year moving forward, and Thor 3 is almost without a doubt going to be the 2016 sequel paired with a new IP like Inhumans or Doctor Strange.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters on April 4th, 2014, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, 2014, The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st, 2015, Ant-Man on July 31st, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6th, 2016, July 8th, 2016 and May 5th, 2017.
We'll let you know when Thor 3 gets an official release date.