As Marvel wraps up Phase Two of its Cinematic Universe, it has adjusted the plans for Phase Three and beyond. The Walt Disney-owned studio gave an official name and date to the Ant-Man sequel, added the leading lady to the billing, and moved the dates on the upcoming Black Panther and Captain Marvel films. There are also additional films being added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe roster.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is the official name of the sequel and, as the name suggests, Evangeline Lily’s Hope Van Dyne will partner up with Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang as the two titular characters. The film will debut on July 6, 2018, which puts it in the Phase Three lineup of films.
Ant-Man as earned more than $400 million worldwide at the box office. It had the second lowest opening day of any Marvel film released so far. Only The Incredible Hulk released in 2008 earned less. That could be partly attributed to the movie being an origin story for one of Marvel’s less-known and less-popular superhero characters. Still, it performed well enough at the box office and earned solid reviews (80 percent fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) to warrant a sequel.
The interesting thing about the announcement is The Wasp being pushed up to co-billing with Ant-Man. Her appearance was definitely foretold in a post-credit scene, but Marvel Studios has also been under fire for not featuring female heroes more.
The announcement made sure to note, “The sequel will mark the first Marvel Studios film named after its heroine.”
Meanwhile, the dates for other Phase Three movies has been moved up. Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman, had its date bumped up to February 16, 2018. Meanwhile, the other superheroine movie, Captain Marvel, will land on March 8, 2019.
It’s unclear if these moves are being made to make room for other films during Phase Three. Speaking of which, Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was previously thought to end with Avengers: Infinity War – Part II on May 3, 2019, and Inhumans on July 12, 2019. However, three new untitled films are being added in 2020 with May 1, July 10, and November 6 dates. It’s unknown if these will fall in Phase Three or kick off Phase Four.
Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will kick off next year with the release of Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016. Part of the setup for this was seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron and a post-credits scene in Ant-Man. The ABC television show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appear to be contributing as well with the Inhuman storyline for its current season, which should end not long before the movie.
Civil War will be followed by Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers Infinity War Part II, and Inhumans.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has Marvel rolling in the money. It is the highest grossing franchise in movies today, with 12 films earning nearly $9 billion worldwide. There appears to be no letting up, as two to three films are planned per year over the next five years.
In addition, the Marvel Cinematic Universe includes a growing number of television shows and Netflix series. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in its third season on ABC with at least three more shows in development, including an Agents spin-off and a comedic Damage Control. Meanwhile, Netflix saw success with the first season of Daredevil and is currently promoting the upcoming release of Jessica Jones. A second season of Daredevil and a Luke Cage series are also expected.
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[Images via Marvel]