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[Updated] An In-Depth Look At Each Of Marvel’s Huge Phase 3 Films (And What They Mean For All Comic Book Movies)



Marvel’s big announcement today means a lot, for the future of their films and for comic book movies as a whole. Let’s take a good look at everything we know about each upcoming film. And freak out some more about Captain Marvel.

In a broader sense, Marvel’s announcement and Warner Bros. recent DC Comics films announcement mean huge things for the future of comic book movies. In a genre which has been widely dominated by straight white male leads (and, no, I’m not counting Catwoman and neither should you), between the two major comic houses we’re getting multiple films led by women and people of color.

Over on the DC side, we have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in 2017, Jason Momoa as Aquaman in 2018, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg in 2020 (along with a recently-announced Supergirl TV show). Marvel is giving us Black Panther in 2017 and Captain Marvel in 2018, with Luke Cage and Peggy Carter hitting our TV screens over the next few years. If those properties do well (and they hopefully will – they’re superhero films, and people will see them) this might prove to The Powers That Be that you people will still fork over cash to see flicks that don’t star Common White Dude. That could lead to way awesomer things, like a Black Widow solo film, or a new Batgirl TV show based on the recent re-launch (which I would die to see).

[Update: here’s a video a fan captured of the press conference. Watch it before it disappears! Personal favorite moment: The Infinity War trailer, starting at 10 minutes and 37 seconds]

Okay, now let’s dive into the specifics of each film Marvel announced today, and what they mean in the context of the grander comic book and film universes.

Civil War

The next Captain America film will start Marvel’s Phase 3 off in 2016, and will be based on the best-selling limited cross-over series from 2006 written by Mark Millar. In the comics, the US goverment decides to enact a Superhero Registration Act for the safety of all citizens, compromising their secret identities. Iron Man leads the charge for registration, while Captain America is firmly against it – and the rest of the world’s superheroes take one side or the other, battling it out.

Obviously in the MCU, Civil War will have to work a little bit differently since there really are no secret identities to speak of, and because Marvel doesn’t own the film rights to a whole whack of their own superheroes. Feige had this to say on how it’ll work in the films:

I don’t want to give too much away, but needless to say, the generalities of the act are the same. Something happens, perhaps it’s cumulative for things that have happened though all of the movies leading up to this point. It has made the governments of the world say “we need to have some oversight of these guys. They need to report to somebody. So it becomes more… it falls under that umbrella, rather than “you have to take off your mask.” It’s not about the secret identity thing, as much as it is about, overall, who reports to who, and who can agree to oversight committee. Because as of now, in Avengers 2, there is no more security council, there is no SHIELD, obviously. Stark is paying for it, Captain America is running it, and things occur that will make governments begin to question.

So I guess that means neither Cap nor Tony are dying in Ultron. Well, we hope.

Feige confirmed Black Panther will also appear in Civil War, though it’s not clear which side he’ll be on – in the comics, he was busy marrying the X-Men’s Storm in Wakanda. Storm, I believe (and correct me if I’m wrong, it’s been a while since I’ve read the event), was anti-registration so they might put Panther on Cap’s side – especially since Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel, at the time) was pro-registration, so the two newest members of the MCU could face off in Civil War.

In aweome(r) news, Civil War will be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the same guys who made Winter Soldier so successful. And, sorry, fans who were hoping for Captain America 3 to be “Serpent Society.” Feige said in regards to that storyline: “there are always plans, but mainly jokes.”

Doctor Strange

Okay, let’s just get this right out of the way: Benedict Cumberbatch has not been officially confirmed for Doctor Strange. Yes, people are saying “negotiations are about to begin,” but as Feige said today:

Which means, hallelujah, there’s still time for them to cast Oded Fehr or Pedro Pascal. Do you hear us, Marvel?

It’s also widely accepted that some items related to Strange showed up in Odin’s vault in the last Thor film. What we do know for sure is that the flick is going to be directed by Scott Derrickson, who has pretty exclusively done horror films (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Deliver Us From Evil), so this is going to be interesting. The script is being written by Jon Spaihts (who also wrote an early draft of Prometheus where someone explodes during sex, what could go wrong?), while the first pass was done by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (A Sound of Thunder, Conan the Barbarian, oh dear). I’m not sure what a horror movie director and those writers are going to do with a film about Earth’s primary protector against magical and mystical threats, but I’m very curious to find out.

As long as Oded Fehr or Pedro Pascal are cast as Strange.


It’s no secret I saw Guardians of the Galaxy four times this summer, so I’m obvious pretty excited to see the a-holes back in action. If Carol Danvers is in the MCU game by this point, I’d love to see her chastising them in space a little bit (Rocket Raccoon especially hates her cat).

We know GOTG2 is being written and directed by James Gunn, which is great; except Nicole Perlman, the original screenwriter of the first film and the first woman to have a screenwriting credit on a Marvel film, isn’t going to be involved in the sequel (she’s going to be writing a Gamora comic, though). We’ve heard many times that, despite Gunn’s jerky comments about her and her writing, Perlman’s influence was a huge part of what made Guardians so good. When the second film comes out, it will be interesting to see if we miss her voice.

We know all the Guardians we be returning (and potentially another Guardian from the comics), and everyone thinks James Brolin and Karen Gillan will be back as Thanos and Nebula (especially since Thanos will be the major villain in Infinity War). We’re going to be learning about Star-Lord’s mysterious father – who is not J-Son, his father from the comics. All I want is a super-sweet Awesome Mix Part 2, and I’m happy.


Feige was careful to point out that “Ragnarok” means “the end of all things,” so that doesn’t bode well for our titular hero (but perhaps it does bode well for a female Thor in future films? Hey, a girl can dream). The flick is definitely going to involve Armageddon if we’re going with the Ragnrok storyline. Basically, Loki summons Surtur, leader of the Fire Demons of Muspelheim (stay with me here), and they are supposed to bring about the destruction of all the Norse gods. In the comics, Surtur is eventually defeated by all of the Avengers and Doctor Strange (HOW CONVENIENT).

Who knows, really. But that all works pretty well with the current film line-up and the end of Thor 2, dontcha think?

Click over to the next page for our in-depth look at everything we know about Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Inhumans, and Avengers: Infinity War!

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Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.