The Geekery Guide: Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
No ‘Age of Ultron’ Spoilers in this article.
You may have noticed that movies and television shows based on comics have exploded in quality and popularity this past couple of years. If not, welcome to Earth! Do you really have talking racoons in space?
You would also have noticed products based on Marvel comics have been at the forefront of this trend with Iron Man kicking things off in 2008. After trotting out The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger they defied the critics and destroyed the box office with the epic team-up The Avengers. In hindsight this clutch of films became classed as ‘Phase 1’. Iron Man 3 was the beginning of Phase 2, which included Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and introduced The Guardians of the Galaxy (the latter being a surprise hit). On TV we have Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter and recently the awesome Daredevil on Netflix.
Some lucky sods are out watching The Avengers: Age of Ultron right now, and then Ant-Man will close things out for Phase 2. So what’s going to happen in Phase 3? Well, let’s take a look:
A.K.A. JESSICA JONES
Joining Agents of SHIELD and Daredevil on television is Jessica Jones. A fairly new character created by Brian Michael Bendis, Jones was granted super strength, flights and near invulnerability due to an accident with radioactive waste as a youth (because of course). She later turned these skills towards a private detective agency in New York.
Netflix is producing the series and will link it with their recently amazing Daredevil. Krysten Ritter from Breaking Bad and Veronica Mars is set to take up the lead role with David Tennant as arch-villain The Purple Man. This old school Daredevil foe was instrumental in Jones’ backstory, having brainwashed her into attacking Daredevil himself. The show will also introduce the super strong, indestructible Luke Cage played by Mike Colter.
The Luke Cage series will also be produced by Netflix and released in 2016, with the long term plan adding an Iron Fist series in the future. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist will then be brought together in The Defenders.
CONTINUED TELEVISION IN 2016
It has been confirmed that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue into a third season later this year, and it will carry on into 2016. Although the series has not been on the level of the movies and the Netflix series it does seem to be the launching point for the Inhumans, and will no doubt continue to provide backstory to the big screen events. Agent Carter looks like it might be more than a mini-series, which is awesome because it was awesome, but nothing has been confirmed at this stage. Daredevil will absolutely be coming back for a second season…good thing, because he just got his suit!
There are also reports of a S.H.I.E.L.D. spin-off getting set up for next year, featuring Hunter and Mockingbird going a bit Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
The Civil War story in Marvel comics had many of the problems that stymie big name comic book cross-overs, but was grounded by a strong concept. The US government wants to regulate superhero activity. Captain America opposed the measure, Iron Man supported it and all heroes picked sides and went to war. The events of Age of Ultron looks to be warming up tensions between the two, with Stark’s AI program possibly being at the root of the conflict. Captain America: Civil War will kick off Phase 3 and is confirmed to introduce Spider-Man and Black Panther to the franchise.
The film will be helmed by Anthony and Joe Russo, returning after The Winter Soldier. Chadwick Boseman will be playing Black Panther. Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson all reprise their Avenger roles, with rumours of Jeremy Renner bringing Hawkeye into the mix.
Biggest question hanging over the film – will this be Chris Evan’s final appearance in the role? He has previously announced his intentions to retire from acting after his 3rd Cap film to move into directing, but if this doesn’t mean the end of the character. In the comics Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan) and Sam Wilson aka Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie) have taken up the shield, giving us two solid options. As Mackie is confirmed to play Falcon in Age of Ultron and Civil War he remains in the mix.
Doctor Strange is going to be an unusual addition to the Marvel screen universe, with his power set being based in magic and mysticism rather than science fiction. Whether the character is going to tweaked or tie into the Power Cosmic like the Inhumans is yet to be seen.
Horror director Scott Derrickson is slated to direct, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2
Being one of the most popular movies of 2014, this previously obscure slice of the Marvel universe had a sequel greenlit almost immediately after release. All we know at this point is that Chris Pratt is signed on as Star Lord and James Gunn with direct again, and Star Lord’s father will play a key role in the story. With arch-villain Thanos being linked in to GotG a cross over with The Avengers is a real possibility.
Who else might join the team in a sequel? Check out Guardians of the Galaxy Who Aren’t in the Movie.
As you no doubt heard, Sony have decided to play nice with Marvel and let the legendary web-swinging vigilante team up with his mates. Once the new actor is introduced in Civil War as an already active spandex clad crime fighter he’ll move on to his own film. Biggest question on our minds…will we get another Peter Parker, or the popular new version Miles Morales?
With a script in the works and Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleson already signed on as Thor and Loki, this adventure is set to round out a bumper super-hero year. We got two different Ragnoraks the title could be referring to. In Norse mythology the Ragnarök is essentially the end times, with natural disasters piling on top of each other across the realms and the deaths of Odin, Thor, Loki and an assortment of other major gods. In the Marvel Comics we have a slightly more barmy possibility – Ragnarok is a half-clone, half-cyborg version of Thor created from a strand of Thor’s hair by Tony Stark, Hank Pym and Reed Richards. Hopefully we’re talking about the first option.
THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PART 1
One thing that leans Ragnarok towards an apocalypse scenario is that Thanos is being set up as the uber-baddie in the epic 2-part Infinity War two part movie. Thanos is the type to try and conquer the entire universe, and destroy any planets that aren’t on board with that plan. His strength comes from the combining the six powerful Infinity Stones into his Infinity Gauntlet – four of which have already been featured in the previous films. The Tesseract, Loki’s staff, the Aether used by the Dark Elves and the Orb from GotG are all game changers in their own right, putting them together is going to cause a bang.
With Thanos coming to Earth we’ll hopefully see Star Lord and friends joining the Avengers along with Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange and Ant-Man. We know that Joss Whedon will be stepping down for this two-parter, with the Russo Brothers stepping up to the plate.
Although Chadwick Boseman will debut this Avenger in Civil War it won’t be until 2018 that he’ll headline his own film. Rather than a vigilante or a super-soldier the Black Panther is the leader of the secret African nation of Wakanda, kept secret to protect it’s supply of vibranium (the metal that forms Captain America’s shield). The title and role are passed down through his family, and he is charged with protecting the nation. Being at the peak of physical strength and agility, a skilled hunter and equipped with vibranium armour and claws Black Panther will be a unique and worthy addition to the canon.
Although comics have made leaps and bounds in recent years in terms of developing female characters (with the occasional stumble over Spider-Woman’s butt) the cinematic universe isn’t keeping up. The only distinctive females characters in the series – Black Widow, Maria Hill, Gamora – are the ones who haven’t had their own solo films. Jessica Jones is headlining her own series, but this will be the first movie focused on a female superhero. Carol Danvers was originally Ms. Marvel, and Captain Marvel has been a series of dudes, but this latest mash-up of the two has been massively popular. The super strong, flight enhanced heavy hitter is the type of character we want to see bringing superwomen into their own. At this point they have a script, casting is still in the air.
THE AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR PART 2
With a massive cast of heroes and an epic villain like Thanos, there was no way they would wrap up that battle in one movie! One thing we have recently learned is that The Defenders will be making the jump from television to join the Avengers in this showdown. Should be epic.
It was revealed in the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that Skye had latent superpowers that are now active. She’s actually Quake from the Inhumans, and word is Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are of a similar origin (as Marvel can’t refer to them as ‘mutants’ in this franchise). With the wider universe opened up in Guardians of the Galaxy we have the Inhumans here to join the fray. A super-powered intergalactic royal family is a different flavour to Star Lord and his Guardians, and they’re a powerful bunch. Black Bolt has a hyper-sonic destructive voice, Medusa has prehensile hair…we’ve got some cool characters here.
POTENTIAL PROJECTS IN PHASE 4
The above projects are basically confirmed, but there are other ideas being kicked around that are worth a mention. Firstly…
Due to her popularity, and her back story being touched on in both Agent Carter and Age of Ultron, there has been whispers about a Black Widow solo film. The only thing more awesome than that would be a Black Widow film backed up with Hawkeye. Or a TV series about them going on badass missions. Get that done.
The Runaways is one of the freshest new concepts in comics, and it’s a shame that it’s rich story telling began to fizzle out (although Whedon’s stint helped bolster it). A movie was underway but got left on the sideline when The Avengers became a possibility. The characters are a group of teens and kids who discover that their parents are a team of super villains. Taking their abilities and technology the kids ran away, leaving on the streets and trying to survive. There’s still a chance it’ll get put back on the table.
There’s also been scripts for a reboot of Blade, a Nick Fury solo film and an Iron Fist movie around the place, but none seem to be in active development. Iron Fist is most likely to be shelved in lieu of the upcoming Netflix series.
And that is that! Bring on Ultron!