In case you haven’t heard, I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel Studios has been putting out some amazing superhero movies lately that have really made a splash. But the best thing about the Marvel movies is that they all share a connected, coherent universe, and despite the fact that they’re created by different people, they are all telling one big story.
The MCU started back in 2008 with Iron Man and ended its first phase with The Avengers in 2012. Now, we are nearly through Phase Two of the MCU with only Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man remaining, both of which will be released next year. With the MCU expanding into TV series (Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter) and five different Netflix shows, Marvel fans have started to wonder what the next phase of films is going to look like. But we don’t have to wonder any longer. This past week, Marvel announced the full slate of their Phase Three MCU films, and it looks amazing.
Phase Three will consist of nine films total, which is more than either Phase One or Phase Two, but the Phase Three movies will be released over only three years, from 2016 to 2019. This means that starting in 2017, we’ll be getting three MCU films every year. That just blows my mind, and I cannot wait for it.
Phase Three will start out with what will probably be the final installment in Chris Evans’ Captain America franchise. It will be called Captain America: Civil War and will feature Tony Stark (Iron Man) and a new superhero for the MCU films, Black Panther. Civil War will pit Captain America and Iron Man against one another in a political battle over superhero rights. It sounds like a pretty cool concept to me, and I’m excited to see how it plays out on the big screen. Captain America: Civil War is set to release May 16, 2016.
Next up is Dr. Strange. There has been a lot of speculation over who will play the Sorcerer Supreme, but Marvel did not confirm anything at their announcement. All we know for now is that the movie will be released November 4, 2016.
After that, we’ll be seeing the sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy. If you haven’t seen the first Guardians, do yourself a favor and go see it. It is hilarious. It’s very different from any other MCU film, but it still somehow manages to move the overall plot along. I’m excited that this one is getting a sequel, because there are still a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the first film. I’m not sure exactly how they plan on tying in the Guardians with the superheroes on earth (or if they even will), but I enjoy the Guardians anyway. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (which will probably get a different title at some point) drops on May 5, 2017.
After that is the third Thor movie, this one called Thor: Ragnarok, on July 28, 2017. Since the word ragnarok is Norse for “the end of all things,” I think it’s safe to say that this will be the final Thor solo film. It looks to me like Marvel is creating a structure of solo trilogies within the MCU, and I think this structure works pretty well. Ragnarok will give Marvel an opportunity to wrap up Thor’s storyline, especially when it comes to his relationship with is brother Loki, before Chris Hemsworth’s contract runs out. I’m excited to see what direction they take that story in.
Then we’ll see Black Panther, whom we will have already met in Civil War, get his own film. Black Panther was the first African American superhero, so it makes sense that he would be the first African American superhero to get his own solo Marvel film. I don’t know a lot about this superhero, but I think it’s cool that Marvel is giving us an opportunity to get to know him in Civil War before his own movie comes out on November 3, 2017.
And now comes probably the biggest surprise from the Marvel Phase Three announcement. The third installment in the Avengers franchise will actually consist of two films. They will be called Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Part 2, and they will release on May 4, 2018, and May 3, 2019, respectively. While I’m skeptical about the idea of splitting films into two parts, I do think this may have been the right move for Marvel. They’ve been building to the showdown between the Avengers and Thanos over the Infinity Gauntlet since day one, and that story is going to take more than a couple of hours to tell. Infinity War will be the end of the first stage in the MCU, and I think things will look very different for the Marvel films once Infinity War is over. This is an opportunity for Marvel to tie all of their characters together into one epic storyline, and I think it will be cool. Infinity War Part 2 will wrap up Phase Three and probably set the stage for a very, very different Phase Four.
But between the two Infinity War films, we’ll be meeting some new Marvel characters. Captain Marvel, the first female-led MCU film, will release on July 6, 2018, and Inhumans, a movie about genetic superhumans, comes out November 2, 2018. I don’t know much about these characters, but I know comic book fans are really pumped about seeing them on the big screen, and I’m looking forward to meeting them, as they’ll probably be big parts of the MCU after Phase Three is over.
I know that was a lot of information. I was pretty overwhelmed by it when I saw it, too. But it’s all really exciting stuff. To recap, here’s what Marvel has in store for us between now and 2019:
- Avengers: Age of Ultron - May 1, 2015
- Ant-Man - July 17, 2015
- Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016
- Doctor Strange - November 4, 2016
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok - July 28, 2017
- Black Panther - November 3, 2017
- Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 - May 4, 2018
- Captain Marvel - July 6, 2018
- Inhumans - November 2, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 - May 3, 2019
And of course, Marvel is putting out some stuff for the small screen, too:
- Agents of SHIELD - current (ABC)
- Agent Carter - January 2015 (ABC)
- Dardevil - May 2015 (Netflix)
- Jessica Jones - indefinite date (Netflix)
- Iron Fist - indefinite date (Netflix)
- Luke Cage - indefinite date (Netflix)
- The Defenders - indefinite date (Netflix)
There is a whole lot of Marvel to love, and I’m loving every bit of it. If you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too, I’d love to chat with you about it. I’m always happy to discuss this stuff because I find it so interesting and exciting. Thank you guys for reading my post this week. Get pumped for the future of the MCU, and let me know what you think of Marvel’s Phase Three announcement. Have a great weekend, friends!