Well, it all finally happened. We now have a good idea of what's about to go down with Marvel in the next few years. So here's the official timeline:
May 6, 2016: Captain America: Civil War
November 4, 2016: Doctor Strange
May 5, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
July 28, 2017: Thor: Ragnarok
November 3, 2017: Black Panther
May 4, 2018: Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1
July 6, 2018: Captain Marvel
November 2, 2018: Inhumans
May 3, 2019: Avengers: Infinity War - Part 2
Obviously, this line-up change means that Ant-Man is now a Phase 2 film, and will round out that group of movies for Marvel. Of interesting note about this new line-up are the risks being taken. Four new franchises are being started, compared to Phase 2's, well, two. While there are obviously sequels here, there's a good balance with new material. In addition, it's been announced that Captain Marvel will in fact be Carol Danvers, bypassing the Kree Captain. However, the most concrete announcement we've gotten is that Chadwick Boseman has signed on to play the Black Panther, and will make his first appearance in CA: CW.
This is a LOT to take in. I mean, there was so much set up with this announcement. So let's try tackling this chronologically, before hitting my overall thoughts.
So according to Kevin Feige, serious stuff is happening in Age of Ultron, and that's going to lead into Civil War. Alright, it's good to hear that they're taking a different approach to things. Shaking things up should be good for the franchise. I look forward to seeing more from AoU, and hopefully I'll enjoy it.
Ant-Man has had very little attention, and I don't expect it to get much for a while. After all, we've got to publicize the new Avengers movie. This does kind of worry me, though. Are they keeping things under wraps because they haven't been going well? It's no secret that Ant-Man has had a troubled production, and I can't help but worry that this might be a case where that spells doom for the movie. On the other hand, Apocalypse Now had a legendarily bad production experience, and look how that turned out. So I'll continue to watch and wait for more news.
So. Civil War. It had some good tie-ins, especially the Spider-Man one, but it just wasn't thought through well enough. Hopefully, the Russo brothers can fix that for their version. If Civil War itself wasn't great, it certainly had some good ideas, and in capable hands, it could turn out to be something extremely good. Here's hoping.
Doctor Strange STILL doesn't have the title character cast yet, but all reports seem to point to Benedict Cumberbatch. Of course, a few months ago all reports were pointing to Jocquain Phoenix, and we all know how that turned out. Still, we can hope. I for one would love for Cumberbatch to play the role, but if it doesn't work out, then hopefully they'll find a good actor eventually.
Not much to say about Guardians 2 beyond the fact that I'm happy to see more of them, and I'm curious if they'll bring up another Infinity Stone.
We knew Thor 3 had to come eventually, but it's good to hear that there's a plan. I'm wondering where they're going to take things though, as Ragnarok is essentially the Norse equivalent to the Battle of Armageddon. If they're going all the way with this, I'm going to be plenty intrigued.
Ah, Black Panther. You were always an interesting figure, if an aloof one. I've no idea who the actor playing him is, but I've learned to trust Marvel's casting at this point. So, here's hoping we get to see another hit. It would be neat to see Andy Serkis in this movie, if the rumors that he's playing Klaw are true.
No word yet on who's to play Captain Marvel, but I'd like to suggest Yvonne Strahovski, as have many other Chuck and Mass Effect fans. She's a great actress with a surprisingly convincing American accent for an Australian, and she's not afraid to do stunt work. I'd be more than happy to see her take on the role, if her name reaches the execs ears.
I know nothing about the Inhumans beyond the vague notion that they're a country of superheroes or something, so let's move on.
The Infinity War. Well, it is a catchier name than Infinity Gauntlet. I'm unsure why it's split into two parts though, especially considering the fact that it's got two films between the parts. Is it possible that one part will cover the Gauntlet storyline, while the other covers the second/third Infinity events? Food for thought. It does raise the question of what exactly they'll be doing with Adam Warlock, the key player in the entire saga. GOTG implied his existence, but didn't confirm it, so it's still up in the air as of now. I really hope it doesn't turn into a Breaking Dawn situation, but if it does, I'll suffer through it. At least it probably won't involve abortions and sparkly vampires. But I do like that both parts are scattered, it makes me think that rather than splitting the story in half, each part will be its own story that feeds into the other. But only time will tell.
Now for random other thoughts. Obviously, the lack of anything involving Hulk, Black Widow, or Hawkeye is disappointing, but not surprising. They've been dancing around the subjects for ages now, and I don't think we'll see anything for a while. It does raise the question of whether Hawkeye might die, but I hope they'll keep him around and finally make more use of him. This is suddenly making me want a movie where all three go off on their own adventure. That could be pretty fun.
Now we get to an interesting point with this: the timing. It was only last week that Warner Brothers (WB) announced their film line-up for the DC heroes. So this begs the question, why was Marvel's line-up released now? Did they decide now because they wanted to one-up WB? To be honest, it wasn't that hard, given that Marvel's current reputation rivals PIXAR in its heyday, whereas WB only seems capable of big success when making Batman movies. However, I will say that I'm trying to maintain a cautious optimism for the DCCU, as for now all we know is that Man of Steel wasn't the success we were all hoping for.
But this does raise an even bigger question: are we flooding the market? Nearly everyone is trying to get a piece of the superhero pie, and I'm starting to worry that maybe we're overloading people. If it gets to the point where people are starting to get tired, and something like Batman and Robin comes along, the whole thing could come crashing down. That's a pretty gloomy thought, sure, but it's more than possible. Now, I don't think superhero films will ever truly go away, don't get me wrong. Even today, there are still some Westerns being made. But this Golden Age of Superhero films can't last forever. At some point, the bubble will burst, and the public's interest will move on. But hopefully that won't be for a long while off. As for now, well, I feel confident saying that despite some hiccups, it's a great time to be a comic book movie fan, and I can't wait until we get to see what's coming on the horizon.