Marvel Announces Phase 3 Roadmap

10/28/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Here we go.  Get ready for the next 6 years, because it looks like Marvel and DC are in a full on arms race.  After DC's huge release date announcement a few weeks ago, it appears Marvel feels some pressure to show their hand, which they did this morning in glorious fashion with a full Phase 3 movie slate announcement.

Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1st, 2015
First, bringing a close to Phase 2, we have Avengers: Age of Ultron, which we already know about, and for which we just got an awesome trailer.  There will be additional footage released for this during tonight's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but they also showed a new clip (get it while it's up) during the announcement today, where we see the seeds of descent between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, which may lead in to a cinematic Marvel Civil War (more on that later).

Ant-Man - July 17th, 2015
There wasn't much said in regards to Ant-Man, but one interesting tid-bit is that Avengers: AoU won't be the film that brings a close to Phase 2.  That will be Ant-Man's job.  I'm not sure how significantly that will impact the story (large or small), but it sounds to me like Ant-Man's relationship to Ultron might be stronger (as it is in the comics) than was originally suggested.

This might also be an example of Marvel learning from its mistakes.  Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World both found success (especially Iron Man), but both of them felt a little more like Avengers epilogues than they did like the kick off of Phase 2.

Captain America: Civil War - May 6th, 2016
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the movie that marked the true tonal shift from Phase 1 to Phase 2, and it looks like Captain America: Civil War will serve the same purpose in Phase 3.  This announcement had a couple details that all have huge implications for the entirety of the MCU.

First, as you may have noticed, the subtitle is "Civil War."  Fans of the comics know just how big of an event that makes this film.  That subtitle goes hand in hand with the second detail, which is that Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark will play a significant role in this movie.  These items were both rumored, so it's not super new, but it is significant, and also very official.

The third detail is by far the biggest.  Chadwick Boseman from 42 and Get on Up will be introduced in Captain America: Civil War as T'Challa, AKA the Prince of Wakanda, AKA the future King of Wakanda, AKA, Black Panther.  Apparently there will be some big Black Panther easter eggs in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and considering they already have Black Panther cast, I'd assume that means he has an appearance.

RDJ and Chris Hemsworth were both at the event today, and introduced Chadwick Boseman (who was also there), and did a little riff where the two of them asked him to join a side.  It seems like T'Challa might be a character that is caught in the middle of the cinematic Civil War, possibly replacing a similar role played by Spider-Man in the comics, but with persistent rumors of Sony sharing (or selling) the rights to Spider-Man to Marvel for the sake of the Civil War story line, the Jury's still out here.

Doctor Strange - November 4th, 2016
There was some big Doctor Strange news earlier this week, suggesting Benedict Cumberbatch is a lock for the role, but interestingly enough, he was not mentioned at the event, meaning the deal must not yet be finalized.  Hopefully it's locked up soon, because I was starting to hope I had heard the end of the Doctor Strange short lists.

Marvel head Kevin Feige said Doctor Strange will serve as an introduction to the mystical side of the Marvel universe, which in this universe means grappling with topics like quantum mechanics and string theory.  Apparently Director Scott Derrickson is hard at work developing some next level visuals to blow us away come November 2016, but that release date means Doctor Strange news is bound to drop soon, since it hits theaters in only 2 years.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5th, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 has been moved up from its previous July release date, likely for a couple of reasons.  First, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 enjoyed a very long very successful theatrical run in the United States.  If it was released earlier, that run might been a little stronger and a little longer.  So, money.  Second, there are some cosmic events that they may want to develop for the next film (no spoilers, you'll see in a few paragraphs), so moving the events of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 up one slot will help set that up.

Not much is known about this movie yet, but there were enough plot threads left open at the end of the first movie, such as Peter Quill's father, Thanos stuff, and the fallout of The Collector's vault destruction, that there'll be plenty for James Gunn and company to go off of.

Thor: Ragnarok - July 28th, 2017
Both Thor and Thor: The Dark World were reasonably well received (critically and financially), but when it comes to finding it's place in the MCU, Thor is sort of the "meh" films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Based on the subtitle for this one, Marvel wants to change that.

Ragnarok is basically the norse armageddon.  This is a story that (likely) takes place almost entirely away from Earth, which is good news, considering the moments on Earth were some of the weakest of the first two Thor movies.  It's also confirmed that fan favorite Loki will return, so this movie has the potential to be huge.  Imagine a Lord of the Rings level epic movie where Thor, Loki, and the armies of Asgard (and maybe some other cosmic heroes... or the hulk) battle the Fire Giant Surtur.  This could be huge.  Could be.

Black Panther - November 3rd, 2017
We already know T'Challa will be introduced in 2016 (maybe 2015), so this isn't the hugest of surprises.  In fact, it's one of the longest rumored Marvel movies.  There is a lead cast, but that's really it.  We saw a clip of Andy Serkis in the Age of Ultron trailer where he looks astonishingly similar to Black Panther villain, Ulysses Klaw, so that may play a significant role.

Wakanda is known for being a very isolationist nation, so it'll be interesting to see the involvement of this film in the MCU, especially with what we've already seen from the other announcements about how T'Challa plays into the events of Civil War.

Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4th, 2018
Here's a huge one.  Avengers 3 will not only be Infinity War, but it will only be part 1 of the Infinity War.  There was a trailer shown before this announcement that highlighted the known Infinity Stones so far, confirming that The Tesseract, the stone on Loki's scepter, the Aether, and  The Orb (Power Stone), are all Infinity Stones.

A lot of details about this will emerge as Phase 3 plays out.  Considering we also have a Civil War at play, there's no knowing exactly what this movie will entail.  Likely, this will heavily feature the Guadians of the Galaxy and some other new characters against Thanos before he heads to Earth.

Captain Marvel - July 6th 2018
Kevin Feige made certain to specify that of all the versions of Captain Marvel we've seen over the years, the one we will see in this movie is Carol Danvers.  Carol Danvers has one leg in the cosmic universe and one foot on Earth, meaning this movie makes perfect sense if my theory on the Avengers 3 Part 1 and 2 are correct.

There have been a lot of rumors about Captain Marvel getting an introduction in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but she could really easily pop up in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, prior to getting her own solo movie.

Inhumans - November 2nd 2018
The Inhumans also straddle the Earth-bound Avengers and the cosmic universe.  Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are both likely Inhumans members, and Kevin Feige said we can expect to start seeing tie-ins soon, so I imagine Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Avengers: AoU, and Guadians of the Galaxy will all be linked to this movie somehow.

Avengers: Infinity War Pt. 2 - May 3rd, 2019
This movie should be the resolution to everything introduced in Phases 1-3.  This means the final face off against Thanos.  This may be the largest collection of heroes we've ever seen on screen.

The announcement of specific movies and release dates doesn't necessarily mean we're about to get an influx of more Marvel news than we have been, they're just pushing out further to match DC's release announcements.  We're just barely starting to get news about Ant-Man, Captain America 3 production has yet to begin, and Avengers: Age of Ultron marketing will be starting soon.

There is always a lot of focus on "Marvel vs. DC," and it makes sense, because they may be each other's direct competition, but I don't think it's necessary for anybody to choose sides.  Looking at the announcements from both sides between now and 2020, one thing is clear.  When Marvel and DC go to war, comic book movie fans win.

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