The Road To Marvel’s Phase Three
Can’t Talk Media requested, and our newest contributor Justin volunteered! Here for your reading pleasure is a summary and prediction list for the upcoming Marvel Phase Three movies (and how they match up to the comic book storylines). Warning: Includes jokes about Tumblr, sarcasm, and wishful thinking.
Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
What It Is: The title comes from Mark Millar’s “Civil War” story arc from 2007, which pitted hero against hero after a government registration act called for superheroes to reveal their identities to the public. Iron Man was all for it, while Steve was very much against it. The way things are looking in Age of Ultron, people aren’t going to have a lot of love left for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which was hinted a bit at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The government would call for all heroes and vigilantes to be registered.
What It Means: Civil War was an arc that led to two shocking developments at the time: Steve Rogers was shot to death by Crossbones and Spider-Man revealed his public identity. There’s no official word that the film will end with Steve meeting his unfortunate fate, but with Frank Grillo returning as Brock Rumlow, the ex-Hydra agent will definitely have a bone to pick with Steve and Sam. And even not counting Rumlow, the battle between Steve and Tony is bound to end with some punches thrown. Sorry, Stony shippers.
Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016)
What It Is: Successful neurosurgeon Stephen Strange lost all feeling in his hands after a car accident. His quest for a treatment led him to the Ancient One, who taught him the ways of magic and helped him become the Sorcerer Supreme.
What It Means: Bumblebee Chrysler is now in the MCU, to the delight of Tumblr. If you’re not a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, it’s best to avoid seeing the film in theaters for the first month. Also, I guess it’s important that the supernatural world is introduced to the MCU? After Thor and Guardians opened the Marvel universe to the mythological and galactic elements, respectively, it was only a matter of time before things got all mystical on us. More than anything, it’s a safe bet that one of the Infinity Stones will be involved as a lead-in to Infinity War.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017)
What It Is: The most successful losers in the galaxy return for another adventure. Expect more songs, more laughs, and more Draxisms. And yes, that’s a word now.
What It Means: People like unlikely heroes. We don’t have much plot information, but director James Gunn has confirmed that the identity of Star-Lord’s father would be revealed and Karen Gillan’s Nebula would receive a bigger role. And Gunn has already said we’ll be seeing that some characters “are worse than what we think they are”. Given that all of them are murderers and convicts, it’s hard to imagine how much worse they could be. One thing is certain, though: Guardians 2 will not be a prequel to Infinity War.
Thor: Ragnarok (July 28, 2017)
What It Is: In the third film in the Thor franchise, the God of Thunder will be dealing with the reveal that his brother Loki has been in disguise as Odin, the appearance of a new villain, and the end of the world. Typical day in the life for Thor, y’know?
What It Means: In the comics, Ragnarok is basically a war that ends with the death of all Norse gods, and helping bring that end about is Surtur, the fire demon. It’s a safe bet that he’ll be the big bad and just like in the comics, Loki will probably help his plans in some way. In the same way that Winter Soldier changed everything for Phase Two, Ragnarok is meant to be the big film that changes everything for Phase Three. Given the recent Marvel trend, it’s safe to say that it won’t end with smiles and happy times for Thor once the dust has settled.
Black Panther (November 3, 2017)
What It Is: T’Challa the Black Panther is the king and protector of Wakanda–a powerful, isolationist African nation that’s the prime source of the metal Vibranium. Chadwick Boseman of 42 will be playing our hero, and it’ll be the first Marvel movie with a black actor in the lead role. Way to go, Marvel, it only took you nine goddamn by the Jesus years to realize that someone other than a white guy named Chris could headline one of your films.
What it Means: Rumors have been circulating for months that T’Challa’s first appearance will be in Age of Ultron. Because the robot uses Vibranium for his outer shell, he’ll attack the country and undoubtedly bring the Avengers and destruction along with him, for sure pissing off their king. T’Challa will also be making an appearance in Captain America: Civil War before his title film, but it’s a mystery as to which side he’ll take regarding the registration act. With Spider-Man in Sony’s hands, it’s possible he’ll be a stand-in for the wallcrawler and be the human element to that film while his solo film deals with the fallout from Civil War.
Avengers: Infinity War (Part I: May 4, 2018; Part II: May 3, 2019)
What It Is: The Avengers. The Infinity Stones. Thanos. It’s going down, split up into two parts of action and humor, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, the lovely directors of Winter Soldier.
What It Means: Thanos is here to play, and he plays for keeps. The Mad Titan will have all six Infinity Stones in his possession, and the Infinity Gauntlet along with it. We’ve had four films devoted to showing how just one Infinity Stone can ruin someone’s day, and all of them in the possession of a madman will ruin everyone’s day. It’s everything the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building towards since The Avengers, and it’ll take all the heroes to stop him. Maybe even some Guardians of those Galaxies?
Captain Marvel (July 6, 2018)
What It Is: Marvel’s first solo female film (again, way to take your sweet bloody time, House of Ideas) will focus on Carol Danvers– an Air Force pilot who acquires superpowers after a fusion of Kree and human genes.
What It Means: The Carol Corps will grow stronger! Not much has been said about the film, aside from the fact that they’re working on it. There was a rumor last year that Marvel is pretty much done with doing origin stories in their films. If true, it’s likely this will take place after Infinity War and focus on Carol becoming Captain Marvel and exploring the galaxy. It’s also possible that at some point down the line, we’ll see a live action appearance of her number one fan Kamala Khan, which leads perfectly to…
Inhumans (November 2, 2018)
What It Is: In broad terms, they’re the space X-Men. When humanity was in its early stages, the Kree experimented on them before leaving to form their own society away from humanity with their own advanced technology. They performed experiments with the Terrigen Mist, which gave them powers through Terrigenesis. The Inhumans are led by their king, Black Bolt, whose voice is so powerful that he can’t speak or make a sound. Seriously, it’s so powerful that it could level a city.
What It Means: The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to reach its full potential.
…Oh god, that was an awful tagline. But seriously, if you’ve been watching Agents of SHIELD, you know that the show has been slowly revealing the Kree with Skye and Raina. The first half of season two ended with the Terrigen crystals unlocking the full genetic potential in both, turning Skye, real name Daisy Johnson, into the comic book hero Quake. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who are–or rather, were mutants in the comics, are Inhumans in Age of Ultron. SHIELD will definitely be doing what it can to make the Inhumans prominent until they hit the big screen in three years.
It’s a safe bet to say that Black Bolt, his wife Medusa, their dog Lockjaw, and the rest of the Inhuman Royal Family will be in the film. Quake may also be in it, to further establish her as a big player in the overall MCU. The current Inhuman comic has also introduced NuHumans, humans with the then-dormant Inhuman gene. It’s possible that the film will introduce them as well, and maybe even some characters from the comics such as Inferno, Ms. Marvel (pleeeeeeeeeeease), and Korvostax.
If I had any say in how things went, I would start with putting Inhumans first as the Phase 3 film. Nothing against Civil War, but asking fans to wait three freaking years to pay off a storyline in a show that may not even be on in the future is like asking a child to stand completely still for 36 hours and they may get ice cream. They need to further build the Inhumans now while the fire is hot with Agents and the Twins in Ultron. Civil War can come out in May 2016, with Black Panther in November. Thor and Guardians can stay in their 2017 dates, but have Captain Marvel where Panther’s spot used to be, to have the three be a sort of cosmic trilogy. Infinity War I can keep its 2018 date, Doctor Strange can come in November, then close things off with Infinity War II.
Regardless, barring Doctor Strange and my personal dislike of Cumberbatch, I genuinely am interested in the Phase Three films. Always wanted an MCU film with a non-white or female actor, which we’re getting here with Panther and Marvel; Civil War has the excellent Winter Soldier to build off of; Thor looks like it’ll have the stakes right from the get-go; can’t go wrong with Guardians 2 after the first was such a hit; and of course I’m excited for Infinity War. At this point, Marvel could announce a movie for bloody Pizza Dog from the Hawkeye comics and I’d fork over money to see it. The only issue here will be to stay alive over the next four years…
Justin is a college student who spends his time playing games, watching TV, or writing. Or doing one of the three while also eating pop tarts. On Twitter @GigawattConduit.