In an impromptu briefing this morning, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige lifted the lid on Phase Three of their cinematic universe. Kicking off a full ten months after the release of Ant-Man next year, the announcement included dates for a grand total of nine new films, over the course of four years. Some of these will feature our already beloved characters; however, along with this is the promise of brand new heroes in the form of Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and the Inhumans.
Here is what we have to look forward to:
Though he did not confirm yesterday’s rumblings of Benedict Cumberbatch being cast to play Doctor Strange, he did make the bold statement that the film would feature visuals never before seen in a Marvel movie before, while opening up a brand new corner of the Cinematic Universe.
A dash of extra excitement was added when later he revealed a full body concept image of Black Panther and gave a cryptic reference that the film would be about the isolationist nation of Wakanda being forced to meet the world.
Feige then revealed that Captain Marvel would be the first film made by the studio to have a female star, invoking the name of the character Carol Danvers, both a fan favourite and perhaps more intriguingly, giving it a release date that will put it a year behind DC’s promised Wonder Woman film. Additionally, with The Inhumans close on Captain Marvel’s heels, there is the possibility of a potential link between the two films, as well as the promise of throwing the floodgates wide to a whole world full of super-powered humans.
And what of the sequels for our pre-existing fan favourites? Well, not a whole lot was said about Guardians of the Galaxy, other than a change of release date by bringing the film forward by a couple of months. On the other hand, Captain America and Thor both have films with titles that promise to live up to their counterparts in comic book lore, with dark and intense story lines that will truly test the metal of Earth’s mightiest, as does the title of Avengers: Infinity War which in the comics, also sees a tie in with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Whether this offers the possibility of a crossover is any body’s guess, but with the third Avengers installment being split into two films, there should be plenty of opportunity to feature the entire extended roster of the Cinematic Universe.
With a final special guest announced by Downey, Jr. in the form of Chadwick Boseman, Marvel finally revealed the face of the upcoming Black Panther. Of course, Downey, Jr. made it a point to ask Boseman which side he’d choose between the two heavy weight Avengers. Would this be a suggestion that Black Panther might first be introduced in Civil War? There’s a strong possibility. But once again, with that was welcomed yet another name into the growing list of stars that are ever being recruited by Marvel’s cinematic juggernaut.
With Marvel films repeatedly breaking records at the box office, time can only tell whether they can continue this incredible winning streak. However, there is no denying the excitement that can be felt for every single one of these titles. It would certainly seem that Marvel are continuing to choose characters that all offer very different types of stories and styles that must inevitably be blended into the same universe. If this were any other franchise I’d personally say that would be a hard thing, but this is Marvel, and as this studio has already shown, they can make anything possible… every damn time.