By: Alex Westphal
Thanks to a deluge of announcements today from an L.A. press gathering with Marvel's Kevin Feige, we now know the entire Marvel Universe's Phase 3 film line up - including a slew of release dates. Obviously, the Marvel properties have done well for Disney since their acquirement two years ago, but it should be noted that this is still an exceptional commitment - as it would be for any studio - to a prolonged fleshing-out of both established and more obscure properties in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You might want to sit down for this...
To begin, Avengers 3 is now actually two unique films: Avengers: Inifnity Wars, I and II. They will
release in 2018 and 2019, respectively. This is huge, if not somewhat predictable news, and almost guarantees that the Guardians of the Galaxy appear in the same films as the heroes of Earth and Asgard. In the comics, this was a major war that saw the defeat of virtually every superhero challenger. As such, there are many more heroes that must be established beforehand.
2015 will see the release of both Ant-man (starring Paul Rudd) and Avengers: Age of Ultron, which rounds out Phase 2 of the universe. Black Panther will see his own film in 2016, and the film for Dr. Strange has also been dated for 2017, with Benedict Cumberbatch recently announced in the title role.
Another popular storyline (and an unavoidable one) would be the Civil War storyline that pits Captain America and Tony Stark against one another in a battle that is more than one of idealogy. This story will be played out in Captain America 3, set for 5/6/2016. It's good to see this taking place long before the Infinity Gauntlet storyline takes over the collective Marvel Universe in 2018 (and possibly wraps it up in 2019), so we will be able to the effects of the Civil War in a handful of films within Phase 3.
One big surprise is how Marvel has taken the Guardians of the Galaxy and turned them into a brand-new phenomenon, with almost no public familiarity of the source material. It seems they are positioning themselves to accomplish the same feat again with the development of The Inhumans into film.
The Inhumans are essentially a superhero group, but are not of the present-day world that the current cinematic universe has set up. They are a 7,000 year-old result of experiments done on humans by the warlike Kree race (featured prominently in Ronan the Accuser from GotG)... and let's just say they have lots of powers, and a unique group dynamic that will make for a very entertaining, if not somewhat untraditional, origin film (a la GotG).
If there isn't enough to be excited about yet, then you need to check your pulse... just kidding, but there's even more. You need to pick yourself up off the floor, get some sugar in your system, and listen up - because THIS ISN'T DONE YET.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 has been slated for 5/5/15, in what was my own favorite
announcement of the day. This summer's GotG is one of, if not my favorite Marvel universe film to date, and was an incredible showing of the talent and imagination of the current collective Marvel Studios to bring great ideas to life, and make them better than their respective source material in the process.
Next, in a huge bet by the studio, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers story arc) has been set for a 7/6/2018 release date. This will be Marvel's first film with a female superhero in a title role. This is important for two reasons - the first being, naturally, that female heroes have been relatively under-represented and/or mis-represented in these style films for a long time. Marvel Studio films began to break this mold with Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow character, but it has always been a challenge of superhero films to portray a compelling female hero, without over-sexualizing the character. This will be an opportunity to tell the story of a powerful heroine who has her own engaging origin story (the whole Captain Marvel story arc is a compelling story, with no fewer than seven characters taking on the mantle since its creation over 40 years ago).
Lastly, Thor 3 will based on the Ragnarok story arc, and has a set date of July 28, 2017. No word, yet, on a Planet Hulk movie, which I can hardly take as a disappointment after the barrage of fantastic announcements, today... but I'll hold out hope a while longer.
(Sad Hulk face)
Well, that's all for today's announcements. For those of you who made it all the way through without passing out from elated, joyful celebration; stay tuned to Roningeek.com for updates as they release.