I said last week that the latest rumors about Captain America 3 and the Civil War story line had blown my mind. Well today Marvel took those little bits of brain still left in my skull and blew them completely out. Today at the El Captain theater in Hollywood Marvel laid out the future of it’s cinematic universe for all the world to see.
Wow. Wow. Triple Wow. Things just got kicked up a notch.
Warner Brothers did something similar earlier in the month when they laid out their schedule for their upcoming slate of DC Comics shared universe movies with Batman v. Superman leading the way. A lot of people wondered if Marvel would follow suit and lay their hand on the table. There had been a lot of little rumors and leaks coming from Marvel studios lately it seems. Well, where there’s smoke there’s fire and it seems Marvel is engulfing itself in a 5 alarm fire for the foreseeable future as they announced a new slate of movies leading all the way into 2019. It’s Phase Three lineup. (Phase Two will end with Avengers: Age of Ultron in summer, 2015
Where else to start then at the beginning of the announcements?
Avengers: Infinity War Part I and II As many have speculated the third Avengers movie will be split into two parts, filmed simultaneously and released a year apart. This is common practice for studios these days wanting to milk every last dime out of their franchises. See The Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, so it’s not surprising to see Marvel copy a page out of somebody else playbook for once. What is Marvel’s Infinity War? it’s what all Marvel movies before it have been building up to. A common connection between Marvel’s movies have been artifacts of incredible power seeded throughout the Marvel universe. The glowing cube called the Tesseract in Avengers, the powerful gem in Guardians of the Galaxy are all suspected to be the cinematic universe’s version of the Infinity Gems. Gems that can bend and alter the laws of physics and reality. Once assembled the gems can be placed into the knuckles of the Infinity Gauntlet, seen briefly in the first Thor movie, and control God like power. Josh Brolin’s mad purple chinned Thanos is secretly collecting the gems. Why? Because he would love nothing more than to extinguish all life as we know it to impress a girl named Death. At least in the comics that was the story. I would fully expect not only the Guardians of the Galaxy to make an appearance in this film but every Marvel character ever put on film. Perhaps even two full teams of Avengers. More on that later.
Dr. Strange News broke yesterday that Benedict Cumberbatch was in final negations to play Dr. Stephen Strange, Marvel’s master magician on film. He was not announced today as those negotiations must still be ongoing, but his film sure was. Expect a cross between a superhero movie and a horror film as Strange explores the supernatural and mystical aspects of Marvel. Here’s hoping the film pushes hard for an R rating like 1998’s Blade to truly make it scary and live up to the promise of the character.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Guardians was the surprise hit of the summer as it became not only the highest grossing film of the hottest months in the year, but all of 2014 as well. Marvel announced a sequel right away as fans are STILL eating this movie up months after release. They won’t have to wait too long as Guardians 2 is slated to hit theaters May 5, 2017. Director James Gunn began writing the sequel on the day of the first films release. Expect to learn a bit more about Chris Pratt’s Star Lord’s parentage as well as to include a few new team members, most notably Adam Warlock, a God like perfect human being of immense power. The film should be a direct set up to Avengers: Infinity War as Thanos would have to get his hands on the Infinity Gems to start attacking Avengers in 2018. Who knows, maybe even Howard the Duck will make an appearance.
Thor: Ragnarok It’s nice to see Thor get a third movie just as Iron Man and Captain America have. All we know about Thor Ragnarok is it’s sure to give audience’s it’s share of Loki, who is secretly controlling the throne of Asgard. In the comics Ragnarok is the end of a long Asgardian cycle of death and rebirth for Thor’s realm. So expect some pretty apocalyptic scenes as Thor’s world comes to an end. Or there is a slight chance the subtitle could reference the character of Ragnarok, a Terminator like clone of Thor created by Tony Stark who of course goes mad. Does anything Stark makes ever work out as planned? If nothing else this should be the most epic Thor movie yet.
Black Panther The Black Panther is another long rumored hero waiting to make the jump to the big screen. Like all of Marvel’s movies, the clues have been seeded before us. The Black Panther is the warrior king of the fictional African country of Wakanda and we know Wakanda is a location the Avengers will travel to in Age of Ultron. Why? Wakanda is an an extremely advanced nation, perhaps the most advanced on Earth, but also one of the most secretive and protective because it is one of the only places in the world with deposits of Vibranium. A special metal alloy resistant to vibrations. It’s extremely strong stuff, in demand, and also rare. It’s mentioned in the first Captain America movie that Cap’s shield was made with all the alloy the United States had. Why they took that extremely expensive metal and made a disc shaped shield out of it I’ll never know, but we know from the newest trailer that Cap’s shield shatters in Age of Ultron. To fix it you’d have to go to Wakanda. Oh, and speaking of Ultron, he’s made out of the stuff. To show they mean business Marvel also announced they had cast up and coming star Chadwick Boseman of 42 and Get on Up to play the lead. First Jackie Robinson, then James Brown, and now T’Challa? Boseman is on a roll. Also I love the concept art for the suit. Black Panther’s costume has often been portrayed as a cloth jumpsuit with a flowing cape but I’m glad to see a more militarized look with enough touches of the character like the claws and necklace to make him unique. Also we’ll have a legitimate black superhero onscreen in his own movie for perhaps the first time. It depends if Warner Brothers can push out their Cyborg movie first.
Captain Marvel Finally! First we get an African American superhero film, oh wait, sorry Blade, sorry Spawn, sorry Steel? for what I said above, but now Marvel is set to give us the first female film starring Captain Marvel. Who is Captain Marvel? She’s a woman infused with super strength, speed, the ability to fly, and has the ability to shoot beams of energy from her hands thanks to an alien race called the Kree. The same Kree race that Guardians of the Galaxy bad guy, Ronan the Accuser was. Actually the logo for Captain Marvel looks very retro and yellowish like the logo for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Coincidence? But who is Captain Marvel really? In the comics she is the alter ego of a former air force pilot named Carol Danvers. Who? Don’t worry, you’ll see her in Age of Ultron as rumors suggest she will play a small role in the film. Oh, Marvel. It’s almost like you’ve been planning all this in secret the whole time!
Inhumans Now this is a bit trickier. The Inhumans used to be human but after being exposed to exotic terrigan mists they develop special, and sometimes abnormal powers. They are lead by their King, Blackbolt who can never talk as even a whisper of his voice is enough to level a mountain, and his queen Medusa, a red head who has total control of her hair. Odd? very. In theory anybody can become an Inhuman when exposed to the mists but Marvel has had a hard time making them relatable in the comics which might make this Marvel’s most difficult movie yet. The inhumans are very powerful beings but choose to live in isolation and seclusion rather than to get involved in the affairs of humanity. Plus they live on the moon and have a giant teleporting pet bulldog named LockJaw. This movie might make Rocket Racoon and Groot look easy.
Captain America: Civil War Well, now it’s official. Civil War is coming to the Marvel movies. All you need to know is this movie should be titled Captain America v. Iron Man as the two biggest heros in Marvel’s cinematic universe square off over a superhero registration act that would make secret identities a thing of the past. This movie has the potential to split marvel’s movies wide open as it’s increasing stable of heros will be pitted against each other as they choose sides. The cast for this movie could also be very large if Marvel wants to go wide with it as both Cap and Stark gather their own team of heros to fight each other. Or they could keep the scale small and focus just on the conflict between the two personally. Here’s hoping everything isn’t all tied up in a pretty little bow by the time the credits roll as a divided group of Avengers could be just the right amount of change needed to keep these movies from growing stale.
Phew! That’a a lot of movies! Enough to last into 2020. But there are still some questions that need asking. Where is our Black Widow movie? Is Captain Marvel really getting hers first? What about the Hulk? The fans have been wanting a new Hulk film after he stole the show in Avengers and Marvel has the perfect Hulk story to spin into a movie with Planet Hulk. (Think Hulk lost in space meets Gladiator) Will there by any Ant-Man sequels coming down the pike soon? And don’t forget Marvel’s TV presence with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Netflix only shows like Daredevil being filmed as we speak. You can’t leave them out of the bigger picture.
Whatever happens, Marvel just threw down the Infinity Gauntlet. Our theaters may never be the same.