So much happened–correction: was announced–yesterday I just can’t do one post about it.
What is happening now with “Phase Three” of Marvel movies reminds me of the then-upstart Marvel’s big expansions in 1963 and 1968–and how DC, the establishment, was woefully unprepared. (I look forward to Marvel’s telling of its story next week.)
Here’s a concise list, courtesy of The Telegraph in Great Britain:
Captain America 3: Civil War
What? The third instalment in Marvel’s Captain America franchise will see Chris Evans reprise his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America. He will be joined by Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man.
When? May 6, 2016 – “coincidentally” just six weeks after DC’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Need-to-know: The title Civil War is taken from a series of Marvel comic books written by Mark Millar, published between 2006 and 2007. In the Civil War storyline, which touches on themes surrounding freedom, security, and the conflict between the two, Captain America and Iron Man come into conflict over a new superhero registration act. Iron Man supports the act, while Captain America opposes it. Given the subject-matter, expect cameos from a number of Marvel superheroes: the studio has already confirmed that the film will contain the first-ever appearance from Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther.
What? The Marvel superhero Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange is a former neurosurgeon who goes on to become the “Sorceror Supreme”, a mystical guardian protecting the Earth from other-worldly threats. The character, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, first appeared in a Sixties Marvel comic book, Strange Tales.
When? November 4, 2016
Cumberbatch? To date, Marvel has made no official casting announcement, but Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is reportedly “in final negotiations” for the role.
Need-to-know: Strange is basically a magician. But one who can do real magic. He can even fly, thanks to his Cloak of Levitation. In the comics, he begins life as a selfish, egotistical character (although to be fair, he is also a brain surgeon). After a car accident damages his hands, leaving him unable to perform operations, Strange begins a journey of self-discovery, leading him towards becoming the Sorceror Supreme. Comic book stories have seen the character tema up with various well-known Marvel heroes, including some variations of the Avengers line-up.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
What? Peter Quill/Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot return in the hugely-anticipated sequel to James Gunn’s hit 2014 film. Gunn is set to write and direct.
When? May 5, 2017
Need-to-know: Gunn has hinted that he would like to see additional characters from the comic books join the five existing on-screen Guardians in the sequel, telling the website Screen Rant: “One of my true hopes is that we can have at least two women in the next iteration of the Guardians … that we can break this thing of having one women in every [Marvel movie]”. The director then added: “Although I must say, I’m not sure what sex Groot is”. Fans are also hoping that the identity of Quill’s mysterious, non-human father will be revealed in the film.
What? Chris Hemsworth will reprise his role as the titular Norse God in the third instalment of Marvel’s Thor franchise. Tom Hiddlestone will also return as Thor’s (adopted) brother, Loki. In the comics, Ragnorak is a cyborg clone of Thor. The character was introduced by Mark Millar and Steve Mcniven in 2006, as part of their Civil War series (suggesting that the Ragnarok storyline may be set up in the 2016 film Captain America 3: Civil War).
When? July 28, 2017
Need-to-know: The film will follow directly on from the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and is being described as one of the “key films” of Marvel’s new slate. Expect game-changing events.
What? Created by legendary comic book writer-editor Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Black Panther, also known as T’Challa, first appeared in a 1966 Marvel comic, and was the first black superhero to ever appear in a mainstream comic book franchise.
When? November 3, 2017
Need-to-know: A description of Black Panther, leader of the (fictional) African nation Wakanda, reads like the most unlikely personal ad ever. A fiercely intelligent scientist and technology genius, with a PhD in Physics from Oxford University, the character is also one of the wealthiest men in the world. Black Panther’s mystical connection with the Wakandan Panther God grants him a number of powers, including superhuman speed and agility, and super-developed senses. The charcter will first appear in Captain America: Civil War, and many fans expect to see him eventually fighting alongside the Avengers.
What? Captain Marvel’s “human” name is Carol Danvers. Originally a member of the US Air Force, in the Marvel comics Danvers becomes Ms Marvel after surviving an explosion alongside the male superhero Captain Marvel, and subsequently gaining superpowers. In July 2012, Danvers assumed the mantle of Captain Marvel. (The original male Captain Marvel is dead – or as dead as possible in comic book world.)
When? July 6, 2018
Need-to-know: In the comics, Danvers’ powers include superhuman strength and durability, and the ability to fly faster than the speed of sound. The on-paper version of the character is blonde-haired and blue-eyed, but there’s no guarantee that Marvel will replicate these traits on-screen. At present there’s no casting news for the film, but popular fans choices include Emily Blunt, who has turned down roles in other Marvel films in the past, and Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff.
What? In the Marvel comics, the Inhumans are an isolated race of superhumans, originally created after an alien race carried out experiments on humans. Exposure to the Terrigen Mist – a mystical vapour that confers superpowers upon individuals – enhances their abilities.
When? November 2, 2018
Need-to-know: Most of the comic book plot lines are centred around the Inhuman royal family: King Black Bolt, his wife Medusa, her sister Crystal, Black Bolt’s scheming brother Maximus the Mad, Karnak, Gorgon, Triton and canine Lockjaw. While the film will take place within the Marvel Universe, most fans are expecting the franchise to avoid too many overlaps with Marvel’s existing Avengers storyline. The scope for power struggles and political scheming within the Inhuman court has led some observers to speculate that the film may be a “superhero Game of Thrones”, while others are expecting to see something more akin to the X-Men films.
Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2
What? The third and fourth instalments of Marvel’s Avengers series, these two epic films will see the team of superheroes continue the war against Marvel arch-villain Thanos. Judging by the film’s title and a short clip shown to the audience yesterday, Thanos will gain control of the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet (created from the six powerful infinity gems). Judging by recent comments from Marvel Studios President Kevin, who has said that “the [Avengers] roster is altered by the finale of [Age of Ultron]”, it also seems likely that the film may feature an all-new Avengers line-up.
When? May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019
Need-to-know: Feige has described Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 as “the beginning of the culmination of everything that has come before”. It feels likely that the second film will conclude with the destruction of Thanos. But whether or not it will mark the end of Marvel’s existing Avengers franchise remains to be seen.
And so superhero-moviegoing continues into my 50s, God willing! LOL!