by Alex Poquette
Marvel has had a good run for the last eight years, but some speculate that the MCU’s clock has finally run out. With Kevin Feige still at the helm, I say, not a chance. Marvel Studios is still going strong, with the next 4 to 5 years looking to be the most important ones yet. Between now and May 2019, there are nine Marvel movies planned, which will complete Phase 3 with an even ten. Phase 3 is looking to be just as exciting or even better than the two before it.
With Captain America: Civil War ending with the Avengers split and the addition of new players, Marvel is taking a quick detour from the main cast in its newest offerings, Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Doctor Strange is being released this November (11 / 4 / 2016). Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, Doctor Strange is venturing into new territories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The main premise of the story is that while recovering from a car-related injury, Stephen Strange, a top neurosurgeon, encounters the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). With the Ancient One as his guidance, Strange learns about the mystic arts and alternate dimensions. This is the MCU’s first foray into the realms of magic which by itself can have some major affects on the universe as a whole. Even more importantly, this is the MCU’s first mention of alternate dimensions, which is a major part of the Marvel comic book universe. Alternate dimensions often help explain how characters can seemingly have multiple timelines, but still all be a part of the same universe. Alternate dimensions could help expand the universe to unbelievable heights, and just the mention of it is both, exciting and scary, as this can lead to even more confusion with several characters appearing differently in multiple universes. Doctor Strange is not confirmed to have any direct contact to the larger universe, but the ramifications are sure to be seen again, especially in the next Avengers films.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is James Gunn’s sequel to his immensely popular 2014 hit. With all the main cast set to return, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is sure to be another hit, releasing next May (5 / 5 / 2017). Although most of the story has been kept under wraps, the basic premise is that the team of superheroes will go on an adventure in search of Star Lord’s dad (who we learned in the last movie is not Human). The movie will probably not have any direct connection with the Avengers, as James Gunn has stated that he doesn’t have much desire to see the two squads team up. That being said, with Kevin Feige as the producer, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the Guardians, or at least Star Lord, in one of the upcoming Avengers movies, or at least have more of a connection than just Thanos. Personally, I’m more excited for this sequel than any other upcoming Marvel film, as James Gunn is sure to promise us more of the same Guardians but also, something new and different, as he is known to do with his movies.
Spider-Man: Homecoming brings us back to Earth, for our youngest Avenger’s first time as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After his introduction in Captain America: Civil War, Marvel promises a new Spider-Man, one who actually looks like a high schooler and has to grapple with managing school and being a superhero. With a release scheduled for July of next year, there aren’t any plot specifics yet. What we do know is that this isn’t another Spider-Man origin story, but rather a reboot of the character with a completely new cast and a new onscreen villain. Spider-Man has already made contact with the Avengers and Robert Downey Jr. has already been cast to play Iron Man in this film. Expect him to act as a mentor to the newest Spidey. Our third Spider-Man since 2002, this one looks to be the best yet.
Thor: Ragnarok comes out November of 2017. After Age of Ultron, we saw Thor return to his home planet of Asgard to seek out answers about forces he thinks are manipulating recent events. Thor: Ragnarok represents a new direction for this series as Ragnarok will hardly take place on earth and Thor’s girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and all her friends are not set to return. As a bridge to the next Avengers movie, Thor: Ragnarok will also heavily feature Bruce Banner/Hulk. Since the movie is supposed to take place mostly in space, I predict we’ll see less Banner and much more Hulk than usual, especially considering the Hulk drove the ship away and not Banner at the end of Age of Ultron. With Jeff Goldblum set to play Grandmaster (a cosmic being fascinated with game and chance) and Tom Hiddleston back as Loki, our villains seem to be set. Thor: Ragnarok is an exciting turn for this MCU sub-series.
Black Panther comes out February of 2018 and brings back T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) in his first role since Civil War. There is almost nothing about this movie released. However, it has been predicted that most of the movie will take place in the Black Panther’s fictional home country of Wakanda, which also happens to be the home of the strongest metal in the world Vibranium. At the end of Civil War, we also saw that Buck Barnes is now being kept in Wakanda which will likely also play into the story. With young director Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station and Creed), Black Panther has the potential to be the most powerful Marvel movie yet.
After nearly 6 years of waiting, in May of 2018, we’ll finally get the Infinity Wars we were promised when Thanos appeared in the mid-credits scene of The Avengers back in 2012. Thanos (Josh Brolin) has seemed to be the evil presence looming over the entirety of the MCU, and his first major appearance onscreen is going to be epic. With nearly every superhero in the MCU at some point rumored to return in the Avengers: Infinity Wars (including the tv heroes), this is going to be Marvel’s biggest movie ever. Kevin Feige is putting his trust in the Captain America directors Anthony and Joe Russo to direct both parts of the the epic film. Mark May 4th 2018 on your calendars because that’s opening Day for Avengers: Infinity War Part 1.
After Part 1, we take a break from the infinity wars for a follow up to Ant-Man, with Ant-Man and the Wasp. Although the story is not known, this is not going to be a heist movie like the original installment. However, it’s supposed to be even weirder and will definitely provide a break before Avengers: Infinity War Part 2. All the main cast are set to return, specifically Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as the titular characters. Ant-Man and the Wasp releases July of 2018.
Captain Marvel comes out after Ant-Man and the Wasp in March of 2019. Although almost nothing is known about this movie, Captain Marvel will star Brie Larson as the lead character (something I personally think would be amazing). Captain Marvel will also be the first MCU film to star a solo female lead. Captain Marvel, herself, may be introduced in Avengers: Infinity Wars Part 1, but if she isn’t, she’s almost certainly going to be in Part 2.
The epic conclusion to Phase Three will come in May of 2019 with Avengers: Infinity Wars Part 2. The Avengers will again have to team up against Thanos. I doubt everyone will survive this fight, and I’m certain at the conclusion of Phase Three, the series will never feel quite the same. Phase Three looks to be the most jam-packed and exciting of the phases so far. The Future of the MCU is bright and as long as Kevin Feige is the producer, I’m confident it’ll stay relevant and popular. No films have been slated after the end of Infinity Wars, but I’m sure the series won’t end in 2019.
If you still want more comic book movie information, stay tuned as next, we’ll be talking about the X-Men series.