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PopCultHQ Looks at Marvel’s Upcoming Phase 3 + What is in Store for Phase 4

With Captain America: Civil War due to hit theaters May 6th, Marvel Studios is beginning what they call their Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This third phase consists of eleven films between 2016-2019, with three dates reserved in 2020 for unnamed films. These films, combined with the 12 films in the combined first two phases (six films each), have a truly unique success strategy in the way the films are interconnected, even if just for a little bit, to truly incorporate a shared universe feel.

PopCultHQ wanted to take you on a journey and look ahead at this juggernaut (no pun intended) which is the Marvel Cinematic Universe and everything we now so far.

CA CW

Now that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been released for a few weeks (DC Comics property, I know), the latest focus has been the highly-anticipated Captain America: Civil War. Early reviews for this third installment of Cap’s have been overwhelmingly positive. From interviews with the cast and crew, as well as other news agencies, it truly appears that the Russo brothers have directed quite the film.

Here is the most recent outing by the cast of Captain America: Civil War, as well as numerous other individuals connected with Marvel, as they appeared Live in Hollywood for the Red/Blue Carpet Premiere on April 12th. Filled with trailers, interviews, featurettes and more!  Skip to 3:37 where the red carpet celebration begins.

Storyline:

After another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

Doctor Strange

Towards the holiday season, Marvel will release the second film in its Phase 3, that being Doctor Strange. The film features Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, and stars Mads Mikkelson, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Marvel’s first venture into the mystic arts on-screen, early footage has been stunning and will be a fresh, new look at one of the admired characters in the Marvel Universe. Recently on Jimmy Limmel Live!, Cumberbatch visited the show and debuted the first full teaser trailer for his upcoming mystical romp.

 

Storyline:

After his career is destroyed, a brilliant but arrogant and conceited surgeon gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under her wing and trains him to defend the world against evil.

GotG 2

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was an inevitability as the first flick drew a better-than-expected crowd. All the members of the ragtag crew are returning, along with Michael Rooker (Yondu), Glenn Close (Nova Prime), and Karen Gillan (Nebula). New to the cast are Sean Gunn (Kraglin), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Chris Sullivan (Taserface) and Kurt Russell. Director James Gunn is back at the helm of the sequel, which is currently filming in Atlanta.

Storyline:

Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.

Spider-Man

One of the hottest, most talked about things people are looking forward to in Captain America: Civil War is the addition, and inclusion, of Spider-Man (portrayed by Tom Holland) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Looks like Marvel/Disney and Sony Pictures have found a way to share their property and are giving him his first MCU film, Spider-Man: Homecoming. Joining Holland in this reboot of a slightly younger Peter Parker are Marisa Tomei (Anut May Parker), Zendaya, and Michael Keaton. Currently in pre-production, actors Laura Harrier and Tony Revolori have recently been cast in the film, which is scheduled to begin filming in June 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia and New York City.

Thor

Thor’s absence in Captain America: Civil War lead many to think that his reason why be explained in Thor: RagnarokThe film, currently in pre-production, sees the return of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and an cameo by Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Samuel L. Jackson is also listed on the Marvel Movies wikia site as appearing as Nick Fury. Cate Blanchett has been announced as portraying Hela, and Tessa Thompson (Creed) has been cast as apparently the new female lead. Taika Waititi takes over directing duties and we have learned that Natalie Portman will not be reprising her role as Jane Foster. Filming is slated to begin in June 2016 in Australia and Georgia.

Black Panther

After debuting in next month’s Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther receives his standalone film. As of now, only stars Chadwick Boseman and Andy Serkis have been confirmed for the flick. What we do know is that Boseman has signed a 5-picture deal to portray Black Panther, which will likely include the two Infinity War films.

Storyline:

T’Challa, prince of Wakanda, must rise to take the mantle of the Black Panther after his father, the king, is treacherously killed.

Avengers

Even though Captain America: Civil War has yet to be released, the directors (Anthony and Joe Russo) and writers (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) have already begun working on Avengers: Infinity War. These films have been said to both end and begin something for the MCU in wrapping up Phase 3 and as it looks to Phase 4 and doing something new. We know that these films will finally see the uniting of the Infinity Stones and that villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) assembles all six of them and places them in the Infinity Gauntlet making him an all-powerful entity to be reckoned with. With this epic event giving this might being power of the entire universe, that ultimately means that we are looking at universe-changing events.

The film is scheduled to begin shooting back-to-back for 9 months with Part II in 2016. Principal photography is slated to begin in November 2016.

Ant-Man Wasp

Peyton Reed, director of the first Ant-Man film, said at the Captain America: Civil War red carpet premiere that although the film is not due out until July 6, 2018, they have begun putting together this sequel,

We’re hard at work writing the movie right now. We’ve been holed up in a room, Paul Rudd, myself, Adam McKay Gabe Ferrari and Andrew Barrar are our writers, so we’re all brainstorming the story. I think the only thing I can tell you with certainty at this point, because there’s still about two years until the movie comes out, it’s going to have stuff in it that you’ve never, ever seen in a movie before.

We do know that Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas are signed on to do Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Captain Marvel

While a script is still in development, Captain Marvel has its writing team lined up. A director has not be selected as of yet. This movie will focus on the story of the female Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers. There have been rumors surrounding just who might be cast, with names such as Katee Sackhoff to MMA fighter Ronda Roussey, who expressed interest in the role. As for now, since we do not like to speculate, we will just have to wait and see who is cast for the title role. It may be some time, as they still haven’t lined up a director yet.

Avengers

Though labeled Part I and Part II, the creative team at Marvel has stated that these aren’t really a two-part film. They will have distinct stories with the occasional overlap and references to prior films.

Inhumans

The Inhumans has generated a little bit of buzz as to whether or not this film will actually be produced and released by its November 2, 2018 planned debut. As truly the first MCU feature film to spawn from one of their television show properties (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), not only does the studio want to create a great movie/story, this film could set the stage for how other tv shows in the MCU make the crossover to the big screen. With Marvel having great success on the small screen, especially so with their original series for Netflix (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and the upcoming Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders). As Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to build on the Inhumans in their series, this film will start, and continue, to shape and take form. After all, the Terrigen Mist and Terrigen Crystals that create the Inhumans were first introduced in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and likely are pivotal to this film.

Marvel Phase 4

As for Phase 4, we can’t truly expect to have much revealed given it technically won’t kick off until 2020. Recently, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige did speak with Entertainment Weekly as to what we can expect from Phase 4 and beyond,

I think you look at comics as a guide. I think there will be a finality to moments of Phase Three, as well as new beginnings that will mark a different, a very different, a distinctively different chapter in what will someday be a complete first saga made up of three phases.”

Another thing to take into consideration is how Phase 4 will change the environment. Robert Downey Jr. has already stated that there are no plans for an Iron Man 4 and that he may not be portraying the tech billionaire for much longer. Chris Evans is also reported no longer committed to future Marvel films after the Infinity War films. So we already see new individual characters and their stories planned for the upcoming phase, and this will likely result in a changing of the guards, so to speak. One of the things about the Avengers in the comic books is that the group was always fluid, always changing, always evolving. With so many iterations of the superhero group, it has the potential to translate into freshness on the big screen as new members join the team, some leave, and possibly have some return.

Various Marvel properties have been rumored for some time, and given the interest and demand it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see most, if not all, of these films see the light of day. Originally, the Channing Tatum-led Gambit was expected to debut in late 2016. That date has been pushed back, as production fell behind schedule. There currently isn’t a release date scheduled and could be one of the un-yet titled films in 2020. Could we see a reboot/relaunch of Marvel’s first family of superheroes The Fantastic Four? Comedian/actor/writer Chris Rock has practically begged director J.J. Abrams to revitalize and save the foursome’s franchise while attending this month’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Other characters who have been oft-mentioned for future films are Black Widow, Moon Knight, Nova (GotG spinoff w/ Nova Corps?), Namor, the Submariner, and World War Hulk.


Captain America: Civil War is gracing the cover of the April 22/29 issue of Entertainment Weekly. For this double-sized issue, four alternate connecting covers are available pitting Team Cap versus Team Iron Man.  On Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) side we have Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), “Bucky” Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Over aligning with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) are The Vision (Paul Bettany), T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Natasha Romanov/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle). Absent for this film are fellow Avengers Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). And what team does Spider-Man (Tom Holland) align?

Jason Bennett
Jason Bennett is PopCultHQ's senior editor, a contributing writer, and comic book reviewer/reporter. He is a big lover of coffee, cats, cooking and comics (plus all things Green Lantern). He is a strong supporter of indie comics, creators, and publishers and Chris Hardwick is his spirit animal (we don't know how to respond to that). Follow Jason on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @TahoeJBennett
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