For fans of superhero films in Fresno and all over the world, yesterday must have been really exciting. In addition to airing an alternate version of the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron and the first teaser for the upcoming mini-series Agent Carter during last night episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., fans got an even bigger treat.
As reported by such sources as IGN an SuperHeroHype, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige held a press event today where a number of huge announcements for upcoming films were made, including the titles and release dates of several films that have been in talks and speculation for some time now.
Following the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1 and Ant-Man on July 17 (the latter film being the first of the studio’s planned “Phase Three” film slate), Marvel will follow these films up with Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016. Based on the popular “Civil War” comic book arc from 2006, the film will star Chris Evans and Robert Downey, Jr. reprising their roles as Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, and Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, respectively, now at odds with each other as they and their armies of superhuman followers battle over the constitutionality of a Superhero Registration Act, possibly a consequence that will arise from the event of Age of Ultron. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the same men who co-directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this huge story line from the comics will likely be a more parred down version, but is still likely to be filled with big political commentary, social allegory, and plenty of superhero fights as the heroes of the Marvel universe go to war with each other!
Following this release, the long discussed film adaptation of Doctor Strange will come out on November 4, 2016. The film focuses on a former surgeon who, after a tragic accident, travels to Tibet to seek enlightenment from “The Ancient One” and learns the ancient and mysterious arts of magic, eventually becoming the world’s “Sorcerer Supreme.” The film will be directed by Scott Derrickson with Benedict Cumberbatch in final negotiations to play the title role.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the sequel to this blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, once again directed by James Gunn and with stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel expected to reprise their roles, is slated for release on May 5, 2017. It has been speculated that the sequel may, to some extent, deal with the mystery of Peter Quill’s (a.k.a. Star-Lord’s) mysterious father, left open at the end of the first film.
Thor: Ragnarok, with stars Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston once again reprising their roles as Thor and Loki, respectively, will be released on July 28, 2017. At the end of Thor: The Dark World we discovered that Loki, the God of Mischief, had faked his death and, impersonating his father Odin, has taken the throne of Asgard for his own. The sequel will likely deal with the ramifications of this deception as Ragnarok, the Norse mythology name for a series of future events including a great battle foretold to ultimately result in the death of of the Norse gods, is a long-running theme in the Thor comic books. On the other hand, Ragnarok is also the name of a cybernetic clone of Thor who made his debut during the “Civil War” story line. Given the adaptation of “Civil War” we will be seeing in 2016, the inclusion of this character is another possibility.
Another film long in development, Black Panther, is now slated for release on November 3, 2017, with Chadwick Boseman in the tile role of T’Challa, a.k.a. the Black Panther. T’Challa is not only a superhero, but the king of the African nation of Wakanda, a small isolationist nation that has the world’s largest supply of the near-indestructible metal vibranium (the same metal that Captain America’s shield is made from), making Wakanda a frequent victim of attack by outsiders, thus T’Challa makes it his duty to defend his nation from outsiders at any cost, while also finding himself allying with many of Earth’s fellow superheroes.
Perhaps the biggest reveal of them all was the announcement of the third installment in the Avengers film saga, Avengers: Infinity War, set to be released in two parts, Part I on May 4, 2018, and Part II on May 3, 2019. The two-part epic will follow the Avengers cosmic-scale battle against the mad titan Thanos, first introduced in a post credit scene at the end of The Avengers and seen again voiced by Josh Brolin in Guardians of the Galaxy, as he proceeds to bring the universe itself to it’s knees with the Infinity Gauntlet, a gauntlet housing the six Infinity Stones, each of the cosmic-scale McGuffins introduce across the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans have eagerly awaited learning f they will see this saga play out on screen ever since Thanos first appeared at the end of The Avengers, but considering how many of Marvel’s characters are tied up with other studios (Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, etc.), the question of how many characters will truly take part in this story and what roles they will play is one we eagerly await an answer to.
In between the two Infinity War films, two more Marvel movies are slated to come out. The first is Captain Marvel, slated for a July 6, 2018 release. Many characters have born the name Captain Marvel over the years, but the film will focus specifically on the most recent one, Carol Danvers, also known to many Marvel fans as Miss Marvel, Binary an Warbird. Once an officer in the U.S. Air Force, Carol Danvers receives superhuman powers from the alien race known as the Kree (the same alien race that Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy came from). She has long been a prominent heroine in the Marvel Universe and her inclusion in the MCU has long been speculated among fans.
The second film to come out in between the two Infinity War films is The Inhumans, set for release on November 2, 2018. The films will chronicle the exploits of a race of superhumans, first introduced in Fantastic Four #45, which have long been a major fixture on the Marvel Universe, particularly their Royal Family of characters including Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal, and others.
As reported by SuperHeroHype, Feige said that the Hulk will appear in all of the Avengers movies and that a standalone Hulk movie, while sadly nowhere to been sen on this film slate, may still happen. “We’ll see,” he said.
When asked about a Black Widow movie, Feige reportedly said the reason it hasn’t received a green light yet is “because she’s so good working with the Avengers and says that the Hulk is, at the moment, the same way.”
There have also been a lot of rumor going around that Spider-Man might come over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to which Feige was vague saying that it was either “not true at all” or “something not ready to be announced yet.” Personally, I have trouble believing that Sony will happily let Marvel take back their flagship character without a fight.
As far as the long-rumored Runaways movie, Feige said that he’s a big fan of the script they have, but it just isn’t ready yet. The Runaways “come up quite a bit in both TV and film discussions.”
Undoubtedly all of these announcements are big news for Marvel fans, who now have a lot of great things to look forward to!