Marvel Studios has taken a giant step into the future, announcing release dates for five more movies. But what could they be?
Late on Friday (July 18), Marvel unveiled five release dates through May 2019:
July 28, 2017
Nov. 3, 2017
July 6, 2018
Nov. 2, 2018
May 3, 2019
That's in addition to Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1, 2014), The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015), Ant-Man (July 17, 2015), Captain America 3 (May 6, 2016) and two more untitled films on July 8, 2016, and May 5, 2017. That makes for a total of seven new Marvel projects in the next five years, plus the four already confirmed, with three films coming in 2017 alone.
The big question is: What is going to fill those seven slots?
The first and easiest answer is that Doctor Strange will open on July 8, 2016. The movie has a director (Scott Derrickson) and a script, and Marvel is reportedly down to its final round of choices to play the Sorcerer Supreme. In fact, it's quite possible that the person playing Strange could be announced next Saturday at Marvel's Comic-Con presentation (and by some strange coincidence, Benedict Cumberbatch is making his first-ever appearance at the con ... hmm ...).
Let's assume Doctor Strange comes out July 8, 2016, and that two of the other untitled films are almost certainly Thor 3 and The Avengers 3. So let's see:
August 1, 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy
May 1, 2015: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
July 17, 2015: Ant-Man
May 6, 2016: Captain America 3
July 8, 2016: Doctor Strange
May 5, 2017: possibly Thor: Ragnarok (our title, not official)
July 27, 2017: TBA
November 3, 2017: TBA
July 6, 2018: TBA
November 2, 2018: TBA
May 3, 2019: possibly The Avengers: The Infinity Gauntlet (again, our guess for the title)
One thing that stands out is that there is a four-year gap between Avengers 2 and Avengers 3, assuming that Marvel wants to keep opening Avengers movies in May. If they wanted to make the stockholders happy and lop off a year, they could open it in July 2018. But there's a sense out there that Phase 3 (which officially starts with Ant-Man) might be longer than the first two phases.
There are also indications that The Avengers 3 might be a much more complicated film, bringing together many new characters, not to mention a new writer and director. Joss Whedon is not a lock to come back for the third movie. All that might induce Marvel to give themselves an extra year to prep the big showdown with Thanos.
So what about those other four spots? If Guardians of the Galaxy takes off as expected, you can pretty much count on Guardians 2 coming in 2017. You can also figure on possibly seeing Black Panther and Captain/Ms. Marvel make their big-screen debuts on two of those dates. That still leaves one slot which we'll leave open for now (The Inhumans, anyone?).
One thing's for sure: We're almost certain to see some of these questions answered next Saturday, when Marvel president Kevin Feige takes the stage in Hall H. But until then, speculate away below. What do you think Marvel is planning, and what would you like to see?