Late last week, Marvel announced five dates for upcoming films, setting the stage for Phase 3. Which movies will fill those dates?
In addition to those five dates, Marvel added another date last night. They also had two other dates that they had previously announced, totaling eight release dates with movies not currently attached.
With so many dates to fill, it’s pretty hard to see what Marvel will do. We wouldn’t even be surprised if Marvel doesn’t yet know what they will be doing. What follows is a combination of our predictions of what we think they’ll do and what we’d do if we were them.
July 17, 2015
Assuming that it does not get delayed, Ant-Man will kick off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cast wise Ant-Man has a lot to be excited about. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang will bring another bonafide A-list movie star to Marvel’s universe, and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, the creator of the Ant-Man suit, only brings more excitement. With Evangeline Lilly, Patrick Wilson, Corey Stoll, and Michael Peña, Ant-Man has a stellar cast.
The big blow of course came when Edgar Wright departed the project after working on it for over eight years. The film was a passion project, but in the end he and Marvel (and Disney) just couldn’t make it work. Marvel President Kevin Feige has since said that the process was too “collaborative” for Wright and that Ant-Man under new director Peyton Reed is the “absolute best version” of the film possible. We still don’t buy it, but we’re willing to wait and see.
May 6, 2016
The only other film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have a release date is Captain America 3. We don’t yet know if Paul Rudd as Ant-Man will even make his way into any of the other films, so it’s very possible this could be the first “real” Phase 3 film. At the very least, it’s highly likely that this will be the first film to set the events of the phase in motion. This makes sense. Much like how Iron Man 3 began the story of how the individual Avengers were dealing from the events in New York in The Avengers, it’s likely that Captain America 3 will begin the story of how they are dealing with whatever ends up coming to pass in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
This is also the last Captain America film which Chris Evans is under contract for, so we also expect it to start setting up the next Captain America. When Steve Rogers is no longer our favorite star spangled man with a plan it’s possible that current Falcon Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) could become Captain America like was recently announced for the comics, but it’s far more likely that Bucky Barnes will fill that role as Marvel has Sebastian Stan signed to a nine picture deal.
Marvel is banking heavily on Captain America 3, and rightly so. This year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a massive financial and critical success, and directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been brought back to direct the anticipated followup. As of today it’s still paired head to head with DC’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it doesn’t look like Marvel will be the one to budge.
July 8, 2016
Now we enter into the world of the unconfirmed, but as far as they go, we have a pretty good idea which film Marvel will release on this date. It’s very likely that Marvel will follow up Captain America 3 in 2016 with Doctor Strange, much like how they’re following up Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Guardians of the Galaxy. By getting their confirmed hit out of the way early in the summer, they’re seemingly willing to follow that up with a more risky (read: not a guaranteed hit) project later on.
Why do we think Doctor Strange is the more risky property that Marvel will lead announce to come before others? The answer to this question is simple: Doctor Strange is further along in it’s development than any of the others. With Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts doing rewrites and Sinister helmer Scott Derrickson attached to direct, Doctor Strange is coming sooner than later. So is an announcement of the titular character, and don’t be surprised if we get that announcement at Comic Con this Saturday. Previously Benedict Cumberbatch, Jared Leto, and Johnny Depp have been rumored as possible stars.