Marvel Studios is very organized. So much so that they make sure to reserve dates for movies that are up to half a decade away, with over an additional decade’s worth of stories planned for their movie and television arms at any given point!
Having already reserved placeholder dates for movies in 2016 and 2017, specifically having an unannounced movie set for July 8th, 2016 and another for May 5th, 2017, Marvel Studios has now set five more untitled mystery movies; One for July 28th, 2017, one for November 3rd, 2017, one for July 6th, 2018, one for November 2nd, 2018, and one for May 3rd, 2019.
These are the movies set to follow the Marvel Studios movies that we already know about: Guardians of the Galaxy, an all-new movie franchise debuting on August 1st, crossover sequel and Phase Two movie conclusion, Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1st of next year, Phase Three kick-off movie and new franchise starter, Ant-Man on July 17th of next year, and a formally untitled third Captain America movie on May 6th, 2016.
Here’s where the inevitable speculation begins. What could the mystery movies be? Well, we do have some clues, even if some are sure to be complete left-field surprises, like Guardians of the Galaxy was when it was first announced.
Obviously, the recently confirmed Doctor Strange movie, which now has a writer and director, though no lead actor set to play The Sorcerer Supreme at this point, has got to be one of these mystery flicks. We’d place it as the July 8th, 2016 release, given how fast production is ramping up, and considering that Marvel Studios already has a high-profile sequel to kick off that Summer with the third Captain America movie. Fox and Sony will also be releasing two other Marvel-branded sequels that Summer, X-Men: Apocalypse and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 respectively, making it an especially good time for the follow-ups to be offset by an all-new Marvel Studios movie brand.
The May 5th, 2017 date is most likely to be another sequel, and our bet is a third Thor movie. Chris Hemsworth is signed for a third solo flick as the God of Thunder, and the previous Thor: The Dark World from last year left no shortage of hints that Thor’s affairs in Asgard and across the Nine Realms are far from over. Considering that Thor will no doubt need yet more setup for his inevitable role in a confirmed third crossover Avengers movie, it’s probable that a third Thor movie is in the mix somewhere, and the timeline would fit for that release date.
Notice something else subtle with these five new dates however; Marvel Studios is now releasing an increased three movies in 2017, rather than their most usual slate of two. Our guess? One of the movies has to be smaller and a bit easier to produce, likely involving a character without a huge suite of powers or scale. It’s probable that one of the 2017 flicks is a solo movie about Black Widow and/or Hawkeye, or perhaps the oft-demanded Black Panther, a highly physical African hero who has yet to be represented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The remaining movie in 2017 is probably a surprise, like the stalled movie adaptation of The Runaways for instance, or perhaps something else entirely. That said, it could be a new (and overdue) solo Hulk movie. Current Hulk actor, Mark Ruffalo teased that Marvel Studios was, “Warming up” to the idea of a solo Hulk flick, and perhaps they’ve decided to commit to one now, given Ruffalo’s immensely positive reception in the part from 2012’s The Avengers.
It’s slightly more likely however that a new Hulk movie would release in 2018. This is because the villain of the next Hulk movie would almost certainly be The Leader, who was teased before the climax of The Incredible Hulk all the way back in 2008, when Edward Norton was portraying the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Jade Giant.
Problem is, The Leader is being played by Tim Blake Nelson, who is still signed in the role for more than one movie. Nelson has been tapped in the meantime to play the villain, Mole Man in Fox’s rebooted Fantastic Four movie and its sequel however, with the sequel already set to release in the Summer of 2017. Nelson would no doubt want a break before leaping into more superhero work, though it’s not impossible that he may wish to move directly from one super-villain role to another.
Since it’s unlikely that Marvel Studios would want a lone Phase Four flick hanging in 2019 at this point, the third Avengers movie will likely occupy the 2019 date, especially considering that it’s a Summer kick-off date, and Marvel Studios is unlikely to toss its highest-profile crossover sequel halfway through a Summer, given that The Amazing Spider-Man 4 is already occupying the May 2018 kick-off date from Sony. What’s the other 2018 movie then? Again, probably another surprise. Perhaps it could be a Namor movie, or a movie about The Inhumans, so Marvel Studios could explore the depths that remain uncharted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point? Time will tell.
This is obviously just a series of educated guesses. Until Marvel Studios issues confirmation on any of this, that’s all it is.
Still, San Diego Comic-Con is rapidly approaching next week, and it’s pretty well certain that Marvel Studios will be drawing back the veil on some of these mystery projects for the first time at the convention. They’re no doubt going to be outlining the next chunk of Phase Three at the very least, as we move towards gearing up for Phase Two’s conclusion with the enormously anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron next year.
Keep assembling at Eggplante for all of your news and updates related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.