Friday, February 14, 2014

Marvel's Rumored Phase 3 Slate Revealed

Shortly after one rumor placed a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel among the next phase of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, the guys over at Schmoes Know revealed some conflicting information that was passed along to them.

The Schmoes have a very reliable track record and typically do not go on record with garbage, so when they passed on the info from their source, Victor Jones, I was inclined to take it seriously. According to the source, Marvel's Phase 3 will consist of Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and a third solo film for both Captain America and Thor en route to a third Avengers film. With Ant-Man scheduled to open on July 17, 2015, the other 3 solo films fill up the dates Marvel has set aside at this point (May 6, 2016, July 8, 2016 and May 5, 2017).

This information, which the Schmoes add will be confirmed at SDCC '14 if not sooner, brings up some interesting points on which to speculate. Just a week ago the guys at JoBlo passed on a rumor that the May 6, 2016 date was slated for a sequel to this summer's Guardians of the Galaxy. The Schmoes source had the following to say in regards to that rumor:
I can confirm that as of the end of January, Marvel had no plans to make a Guardians 2. Marvel was planning on Guardians being a one and done. So unless they have done a complete 180 in the last couple weeks, I very much doubt there will be a Guardians 2.
My initial reaction to this is that there's wiggle room on both sides. Certainly, if Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge hit, the studio will consider greenlighting a sequel. Chris Pratt has revealed he is signed to a multi-picture deal and it's not outside of the realm of possibilities that most of the other cast has as well.  Something to keep in mind, however, is now that Marvel is expanding into the Cosmic portion of their universe, there are several different films in which any of these characters could show up and none of them have to be a straight Guardians sequel. You can be sure we will see Pratt's Star-Lord again and I'd be stunned if Lee Pace's Ronan didn't reappear at some point too, but there's no reason that couldn't be in a Nova film or a larger cross-over story like War of Kings.

If the source is correct and there will only be 4 movies that would build up towards a third Avengers film, that raises a question. Is Marvel going to push Avengers 3 into summer of 2017, will they add another film to an as yet unannounced 2017 date, or will they veer from their plan of pushing out 2 films a year? For that matter, will Marvel do two films in 2018 with the second film being the Avengers three-quel?

I have a hard time thinking Marvel would leave money on the table when they have so many projects at various stages of development. I'm certain they could have one ready to go into production by Spring of 2016, so I don't think we see Marvel put only one film out in 2017. While the rumors could be presented as laying out the entire slate of Phase 3 films, a quote from their source does leave some room for interpretation:
The movies that will be a part of Phase III for absolute certain are: Ant-Man, Captain America 3, Thor 3, The Avengers 3 and Dr. Strange.
 Key words, if we're looking for room to include a second solo film in 2017, are "for absolute certain." For the time being, I'm choosing to interpret this as the source passing along the best information available at the time which may not be a complete set of information about Marvel's Phase 3 slate. This doesn't mean we won't see Avengers 3 in 2017 or that Marvel will skip a date, it just means that my deduction is that there's going to be a second solo film in 2017, there's just not been a decision made on what that will be at this time.

For the time being, this leaves highly desired projects like Black Panther, Inhumans, another Hulk solo film and a Ms. Marvel solo film on the shelf, but that doesn't mean one of those won't pop into 2017 or that we won't see them in the future. Marvel will make those films, but they aren't doing it until they have it right.

Given all the news about Captain America and Thor sequels in the past weeks, it was pretty clear they'd be a part of Phase 3. If I had to guess, I'd say the Cap three-quel is a little further along than the Thor three-quel, given the news that Craig Kyle will team up with Thor: The Dark World co-writer Christopher Yost. Clearly a third Thor film, which may well involve the Ragnarok story line that Kyle teased during a set visit by Rob Keyes at Screen Rant, is still in the very early stages. While there's no word on whether a script already exists for a third Captain America film, Marvel has resigned the Russo brothers, the duo that directed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, for the next installment. Of course, I'm of the opinion that the studio already knows exactly where they are headed with the 3rd installment of Captain America.

A Doctor Strange film was almost a guarantee given it's a pet project of Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige, who unofficially added the film to Phase 3 last year, but rumors have sprung up that the studio is now reworking the script causing some questions as to just how sure of a thing it would be. If, as rumored, Strange is to be one of the 2016 films, we should see some movement towards landing a director sometime soon. Marvel has a recent track record of trying to pin down directors roughly two years ahead of release. Shane Black was tabbed to direct Iron Man 3 just about this time in 2011, with Patty Jenkins being joining Thor: The Dark World in mid-October of 2011 before being replaced by Alan Taylor in December and the Russo brothers signing on for Captain America: The Winter Soldier in June of 2012. That having been said, it seems that Captain America 3 will be one of the 2016 films and it's a pretty safe bet that we'll have an inkling of the other 2016 film before SDCC '14.

So, based on what the Schmoes source is saying, we're potentially looking at something like this:

July 17, 2015: Ant-Man
May 6, 2016: Captain America 3
July 8, 2016:  Doctor Strange
May 5, 2017: Thor 3
July 7/14, 2017: Avengers 3 (no date has been announced yet for a film in July)

I'm not sure that's all we'll see. It seems like something is missing in that group. I'm not sure we won't see another solo film in 2017 and one in early 2018 ahead of Avengers 3, but at this point there is no way to tell.

Of course, until Marvel comes out with some official word on all of this, it's all subject to change and it's important to remember that much of what you just read was speculation by me given the facts we know now. Doing the best with what I have until I get better info!

Sources: Schmoes Know, Screen Rant and JoBlo