Marvel Unveils Next Slate of Movies, Including New Avengers, Captain America and Guardrians
We know what the plan is for Marvel Studios, the TV and movie production arm of Marvel Comics, through the end of next year. However, until Tuesday, we didn’t know what the plan was beyond that point. At a special event at El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles, Marvel announced plans for Phase Three of their movie initiative.
With Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wrapping up in 2015 with Ant-Man (and starting following The Avengers with Iron Man 3), Marvel set about publicly revealing their plans from 2016 through 2019. Phase Three of the MCU will include nine Marvel Studios films that will end with the second half of the two-part Avengers 3.
Captain America 3 will lead off Phase Three in May 2016. As was hinted at with the signing of Robert Downey Jr. to co-star in Captain America 3, this will start the Civil War storyline and as such will be called Captain America: Civil War.
Of the major Marvel releases, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is next in May 2017. It was rumoured that Thor 3 was supposed to get the big May release date but it looks like the massive critical and box office success of Guardians gets it moved into the prime release slot in Marvel’s lineup. So the third Thor movie, called Thor: Ragnarok, will come up in July 2017. In the comics, Ragnarok is introduced in the Civil War storyline which is our first real hint at how important Captain America: Civil War will be in charting the course for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Oh, and Loki will be back in this movie because Thor desperately needs a draw.
Finally, and most importantly, The Avengers 3 will be a two-part movie event. Avengers: Infinity War will be split into Part 1 and Part 2 and will hit the big screen in May 2018 and May 2019, respectively. These movies will pit The Avengers against Thanos who will have the Infinity Gauntlet at on his hand and the galaxy at his feet. Interestingly, and frighteningly, there were no details on the writers or director of A:IW. Hopefully re-signing Joss Whedon is a mere formality but maybe Marvel is waiting to see what the best crew would be for the film and have a couple of years to assemble that team.
From the new MCU character ranks, 2016 will see Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role. The Black Panther will make his first screen appearance in Captain America: Civil War but will get his own movie November 2017. Captain Marvel (not the one currently called Shazam) will follow The Avengers 3 in July 2018 and the Inhumans occupying the Marvel holiday spot in November 2018.
So that’s not a bad lineup for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I do have one question though? With two or three movies a year for the next five years, where does the MCU go from there? Most of the actors will want to move on. There’s no guarantee movie-goers will want to keep going to comic book blockbusters four or five times a year. Marvel is taking a big risk by spending big money on its movie initiative. Sure, it’s paying off now but inertia in business is hard force to stop.