Way back in the far flung yester-year of 2015, Marvel Studios announced release dates for three untitled projects that are due to launch in 2020. At the time, I speculated as to what these were likely to be, and with Phase 3 of the MCU ending with the Avengers 4 next May, Marvel Studios recently announced a further six untitled projects.
Starting with Sony/Marvel Studios’ sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming next year, it looks as though the ten film cycle we’ve seen in Phase 3 will be replicated in producer Kevin Feige’s next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Before I go into the likelihood of the inclusion of Fox-owned X-Men or Fantastic Four franchises I’m going to point out the probable sequels we’ll see, provided Marvel continue their rule of 3 stand-alone features we’ve seen already with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor franchises.
Taking into consideration the fact that, besides Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk (2008), every solo series has received sequels. It is likely we’ll be seeing the following films in the next phase:
Doctor Strange 2
Guardians of the Galaxy vol.3
Black Panther 2
Captain Marvel 2
Throw in another Avengers movie and that’s seven of the ten release dates covered, leaving a giant question mark over the final three films. Will these be entirely new characters and franchises? Will there be spin-offs featuring beloved MCU characters? Will there be continuations of franchises with new leads?
In the run-up to Captain America: Civil War it was rumoured that we’d be seeing the death of Steve Rogers (You know… kinda like the comic book). That rumour turned out to be a load of baloney but it’s not lost any momentum in the run up to Infinity War. Could we be losing this version of Cap? Will the Winter Soldier or Falcon’s arc include taking up the mantle in future instalments as they previously have in the comics?
The prevailing rumour since her introduction in 2010’s Iron Man is that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow would be getting a spin-off/ solo movie. There’s such a rich history for the character that you could cover her villainous past, her defection to S.H.I.E.L.D. or even a contemporary espionage thriller. While this may seem like a no-brainer to most, this is not necessarily a “done deal”. However, DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s recent success with Black Panther has proved that it’s high time we had more strong female role models in tent pole, blockbuster fayre.
If Disney’s acquisition of Fox Entertainment is approved, we will finally see MCU’s own iteration of the Fantastic Four and X-Men franchises. I would pretty much give my right arm to see Taika Waititi direct an MCU version of the Fantastic Four and this influx of previously untouchable characters would allow for Silver Surfer, Kang the Conqueror and other left-of-field heroes and villains to make waves in a freakier, more expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe.
2019 sees the solo outing of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel. The villains of this 90s-set movie are shape-shifting aliens the Skrulls. I wouldn’t be surprised if this leads to an adaptation of the “Secret Invasion” comic storyline at some point soon. For those not in the know, Secret Invasion is the story of how some of the Avengers are infiltrated and replaced with evil sleeper agents working for the baddies. It’s a bit like The Manchurian Candidate or the current U.S. presidency.
The longest of long shots could see Universal finally play ball and cede the rights to Namor: The Sub-Mariner (think a less Bro-Step version of the DCEU’s Aquaman) and The Incredible Hulk. A stand-alone Hulk movie in the wake of the character’s popularity would make sense. We were teased with a sequel set-up back in 2008 and I for one would love to seeing Liv Tyler return as Betty Ross, and Tim Blake Nelson finally taking on the role of super-intelligent villain The Leader.
Even if Marvel Studios don’t get to play with the Marvel IP currently owned by Fox or Universal, there are a wealth of characters that we could see in the years ahead. Power Pack and Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu were Marvel properties initially part of the 2006 deal with Paramount Pictures that led to the MCU. Blade has been ripe for a reboot since the late noughties and it amazes me that Moon Knight hasn’t already made it to either big or small screen.
And when are we likely to have these untitled projects finally revealed? At a special event held in late 2014 at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Kevin Feige announced the Phase 3 slate, which then started in 2016 with Captain America: Civil War. I mean, sure… he announced that Inhumans would be getting a film too but the man can’t be 100% right all the time! Expect 2019’s Avengers 4 to finally get a title and the full line-up to Phase 4 announced Summer this year following the release of Avengers: Infinity War.
April 27th – Avengers: Infinity War
July 6th – Ant-Man and The Wasp
March 8th – Captain Marvel
May 3rd – untitled Avengers 4
July 5th – Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel.
What stand-alone movies, spin-offs and introductions do you think we’ll see in the next phase of the MCU?
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