Marvel Studios Phase 3 hypes up next five years of releases
By Thomas Kika
Nov 4, 2014
Marvel Studios have set the hype-train to run for a good, long time. The production company behind mega hits like “The Avengers” and this summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” recently debuted the first trailer for next year’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and followed that up with the massive reveal of their entire “Phase 3” slate of films.
Marvel officially unveiled the first trailer for Joss Whedon’s hotly anticipated sequel, “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” on Oct. 22. Originally, it was intended to drop after the Oct. 28 episode of “Agents of SHIELD,” likely in a bid to boost the show’s perpetually disappointing ratings.
However, after a leaked version of the trailer popped up online and got coverage from major news outlets, the company decided to release it six days ahead of schedule. No official reason has been given for this leak, but Marvel offered the following humorous explanation on their Twitter page claiming, “Dammit, Hydra.”
The 2015 sequel finds Earth’s Mightiest Heroes facing off against Ultron (James Spader), a rogue security AI turned robot bent on the extinction of mankind in the name of peace. To this end, he recruits two mysterious super-powered newcomers, Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). The trailer itself promises a much darker film than the original, with a more subdued color palette and bigger stakes on a worldwide scale.
“I’m gonna show you something beautiful,” Ultron promises. “Everyone screaming… For mercy.” In contrast to the first film’s mostly New York-based destruction, “Age of Ultron” features action shot all over the world in cities like Johannesburg, South Africa, and Seoul, South Korea.
Within 24 hours, the trailer had been viewed online 34.3 million times, shattering the studio’s previous record of 23.5 million views for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s” first trailer.
Riding this wave of hype, a press event was held in Disney’s El Capitan Theater where Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, officially announced the nine films that will make up Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Beginning this new slate of releases will be the previously announced third Captain America solo film on May 6, 2016, now officially titled “Captain America: Civil War” and taking broad inspiration from the comics’ story line of the same name.
Confirming previous rumors, Robert Downey Jr. has been added to the film, which will see Tony Stark and Steve Rogers face off over a controversial government mandate demanding oversight and accountability for superheroes. “Winter Soldier” directors Joe and Anthony Russo will be returning to direct.
On Nov. 4, 2016, the long-awaited “Doctor Strange” will finally debut, with Scott Derrickson (“Sinister,” “Deliver Us from Evil”) at the helm. The film follows Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant and arrogant neurosurgeon that studies mystic arts in the hopes of fixing his hands after they are mangled in a car crash.
Under the tutelage of the Ancient One, Strange masters the forces of magic and becomes the “Sorcerer Supreme,” Earth’s defender against all supernatural threats. No casting has been announced, but recent reports say that Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock”) is in final negotiations for the lead role.
Space-bound sequels will kick things off in 2017. First up is “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” arriving on May 5, with James Gunn returning to the director’s chair. Later on, July 28 will see the God of Thunder return in his third solo film, “Thor: Ragnarok.”
In the comics, “Ragnarok” has been the name of various different stories, but Feige seemed to hint that the film will deal with the more traditional Norse “end of all things.” Only Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are confirmed to return so far, and no director has signed on.
Two of the bigger reveals from the event promise to add some much needed racial and gender diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: “Black Panther” on Nov. 3, 2017, and “Captain Marvel” on July 6, 2018. These long-rumored projects will feature the MCU’s first person-of-color and female leads, respectively. Rising star Chadwick Boseman (“42,” “Get On Up”) is set to lead “Black Panther” as T’Challa, prince of the fictional African country Wakanda, but before that, he will debut the character as a third party in the conflict of “Civil War.”
No actress has yet been cast as Carol Danvers, the Air Force pilot who becomes Captain Marvel after receiving powers from a blast of alien radiation. The character has been rumored for a cameo prior to her solo debut, so news on this front may come sooner rather than later.
The final new property of Marvel’s Phase 3 will be “Inhumans,” which is set to release on Nov. 2, 2018. The Inhumans are a secret race of super-beings that live in the hidden city of Attilan, and amongst average people in the outside world. Many have described the Inhumans property as “Game of Thrones’ with superheroes, on account of the drama involving the Inhuman Royal Family. Feige said that this is an opportunity to add dozens of new and unique characters to the MCU all at once.
Finally, Marvel dropped the bombshell news that their next universe-wide team-up, “Avengers: Infinity War,” will be made and released in two parts, the first arriving on May 4, 2018, and the second on May 3, 2019. Feige described this two-part event as the “culmination of everything that has come before.”
Josh Brolin’s Thanos finally takes center stage as the main villain, with his signature weapon, the Infinity Gauntlet, and plans for genocide in tow. No director has been named, but earlier reports indicate the Russo Brothers are in talks to helm each film after completing “Civil War.”
A lot of details remain shrouded at this point, but one thing is safe to assume: Marvel is poised to make a frightening amount of money.