Recently Marvel Studios, the not-comics arm of Marvel, released news of “Phase 3”, the next chapter of the expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (or as I call it for consistency the Marvel Movieverse). Iron Man 3 surprisingly is part of Phase 2. I don’t get how this works either. The next edition of Guardians Of The Galaxy was no surprise to anyone, however. I don’t feel the need to talk about it and there isn’t any real details. I think the only Phase 3 we really know about is Ant-Man, and I’ve already gone over what little we know in detail. There are sequels with subtitles hinting at the plot (Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 has no subtitle) and four new additions to the family. All release dates are intended by Marvel Studios but anything can happen to push dates forward or on occasion backward.
Captain America: Civil War
Dear lord, we’re off to a bad start. I knew it was a matter of time before Marvel Studios did something horribly wrong, so let’s adapt the most divisive event in Marvel comicverse history and just use the two principle characters, Captain America and Iron Man. I don’t even know why they bothered with this? I know it’s Marvel but whose been asking to see Cap and Shellhead’s movie counterparts beat each other up? I’m also assuming they’re either siding with Steve or they flipped a coin realizing that just calling it Captain America Versus Iron Man: Civil War was too obvious in aping Batman Versus Superman: Dawn Of Justice. It’s sad that the comic arms of DC and Marvel ripping each other off is now this far into the movies. DC creating a movieverse makes sense, if not sad considering what they’re creating, but this is blatant. There aren’t even enough characters to really pull of a superhuman registration act story and the only thing superheroes have done is save everyone so I don’t think that even in a cinematic version of the Marvel universe anyone would really go for this thing. Maybe Gary Shandling’s character and General Ross but that’s it.
Release Date: ???, 2016
Marvel’s magic wing is finally getting some representation, along with Scarlet Witch falling into the Avengers. The good doctor has appeared outside of the comics before–a failed TV pilot, a direct-to-video animated movie, and appearances in various Spider-Man cartoons–but this is the first theatrical appearance. I probably won’t go to this one since I have so little interest in the character but I’ll catch it on TV if it plays a role in a larger narrative. I don’t think they all need to, but it’s nice to know a writer or team has access to Strange if something magic-related comes up in one of their stories. Hopefully all of these actors are willing to do Agents Of SHIELD.
Release Date: November, 2016
Of course anybody with even a passing knowledge of Norse mythology knows that “Ragnarok” is about the end of the world, the final battle between the gods and the Midgard Serpent. I wonder if they’re actually going to bring the Serpent into this? According to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, “We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron and impacts everything that comes after.” I guess it was a matter of time before “every changes forever” made it to the movie arm. I just hope the movies still believe in having a status quo.
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Making his debut in Captain America Versus Iron Man: Civil War, Chadwick Boserman will assume the mantle of T’Challa. This is what I’ve been saying. Instead of changing a classic character’s race, bring one of the characters of color into the MCU. I believe in expansion over alteration when it comes to finally getting non-Caucasian male superheroes into the spotlight they deserve and the Black Panther is one of them. (Now give me Prowler and Icon movies. And a better one for Steel.) At this time we don’t know if T’Challa is going to come to America (we can assume it for Civil War) or if, and I’d like to see it, the entire or majority of the story will take place in Wakanda, the high-tech yet tribal African nation the hero is from. Will it be a flashback to how T’Challa became the new Black Panther after his father and predecessor’s death or will that be involved at all? I think this is the one I’m most looking forward to find out about. We know nothing about these movies beyond the title right now so future details may send me away but I want to hear what they’re going to do.
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Obviously an attempt to keep the upcoming DC version from using the name in their movie, but seeing a female hero finally getting a spotlight is a good thing. I would have gone with She-Hulk for the name recognition but DC doesn’t have a She-Hulk name to block. I don’t know if I’m kidding. Anyway, I’ve seen fans demanding a Black Widow movie. Folks, I like the MCU Black Widow. She’s awesome, really. However, I don’t think the character could carry a movie series on her own. One movie maybe, but I think Marvel Studios is focusing on current series in the comics that they know work before trying anything else. (I’m still waiting on Darkhawk and I dare them to make a Slapstick movie.) Carol Danvers, in whatever superhero identity they give her, is a stronger solo character, while Black Widow works better as part of a group. So I think they made the right decision on this one.
Release Date: July 6, 2018
One of Marvel’s strengths is that they aren’t focusing just on their superhero properties. (ex: Guardians Of The Galaxy and possibly Doctor Strange, depending on your point of view) Maybe people think this is why a Black Widow movie would work as a straight-up spy picture even though I don’t think there’s enough to her besides her backstory as a Russian spy who defected to the US and joined SHIELD. Inhumans is not a superhero comic. Like Guardians it’s a sci-fi series with some superhero elements to it. It might work if they stay in the science fantasy realm with it. According to Fiege: “We really do believe the Inhumans can be a franchise or a series of franchise unto themselves. They have dozens of powers and an amazing social structure. With our 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we wanted to continue to refine what that universe is about.” Series? Is he thinking one or two might break out into their own franchise? I just want to see how they pull off Lockjaw….right, CG.
Release Date: November 3, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War
Thanos might have been teased at the end of the first Avengers movie and the Infinity Stones in Guardians Of The Galaxy but it’s not until this one that it all comes together. All we know is that this story will need two parts.
“We’ve always had a plan since Nick Fury broke into Tony Stark’s house and told him he’s part of a bigger universe,” recalled Feige. “‘Avengers: Infinity War Part 1’ is the beginning of the culmination of everything that has come before.”
The first movie is planned for 2018 with the second a year later. I’d be surprised if we don’t have any movies come out between the two. It would be stupid to have no movies for a year. What kind of stories they can tell will depend on what happens at the end of part one.
Release Dates: May 4, 2018 (part 1) and May 3, 2019 (part 2)
I wonder if making plans and announcing them so far ahead is a good idea. Anything can happen in the next five years, from actors dying or retiring or being paralyzed to Marvel Studios somehow failing if things don’t work out. Still, if they call pull it off it will be amazing. Comics seem to be trying to be movies but Fiege seems to be taking cues from comics in creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe and thus far it’s paid off for them. Marvel may well be revitalizing the superhero movie as well as bringing fun back to science fiction without the Abrams or Bay style of movie making. It’s a positive thing for movies in general and comic book adaptations specifically. Throw in the ABC and Netflix-produced shows (I don’t have Netflix because I have no money) and Marvel Studios are doing a lot of good things in entertainment.
Now if that would translate to better comics things would be perfect.