Marvel Studios knows how to make an impact. Since the first Iron Man hit, they've built a strong, cohesive world with a vision that created a universe, collectively known as the MCU - the Marvel Cinematic Universe to fans and industry members alike. On what would otherwise be an average Tuesday, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and a slew of guests held an event worthy of a Comic-Con or three, with new characters, new films, release dates for several years, and a roadmap for the entirety of "Phase 3" of their massive plan.
At the head of the list was the title Captain America: Civil War, which will have Marvel superheroes fighting against each other — with Cap specifically taking on Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man. Slated for release on May 6, 2016, the movie confirms the rumors and significant speculation about the introduction of strife between superheroes in the wake of the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron. The movie will also introduce the character of Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman (having already played groundbreaking black men like Jackie Robinson and James Brown in prior films), who will then later appear in his own film, slated for November 3, 2017.
Black Panther was, in Marvel comics history, the first black superhero introduced by the publisher — a ruler of the African nation of Wakanda who's also a costumed superhero.
The Black Panther film represents the first black superhero to have the lead role in a Marvel Studios film. Although the film was expected by fans and had been in development at Marvel, the 2017 date is noteworthy because it comes before the slated 2020 Cyborg film from Warner, which also stars a black superhero.
Joining him in the "new" category was the announcement of Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, being included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After DC and WB beat them to the punch announcing a standalone super hero movie with a female lead officially in an investor call two weeks ago, Marvel Studios brought out the fanfare - and the fans - for their announcement. The film has no real details yet, other than that it's coming on July 6, 2018, and will feature both her Earthly origins and a cosmic adventure. The character has not been cast, and Marvel is currently working on securing a director for the film, first.
However, with its 2018 release date for Captain Marvel, Marvel will not have the first female heroine starring in a modern-day shared-universe feature, since Warner Bros. has already announced a Wonder Woman movie for June 23, 2017, and Sony has also slated an "untitled" female Spider-Man Universe film for 2017. There have of course also been female-starring comic book movies as far back as 1984.
Feige also talked about movies that were previously announced. He said that the Doctor Strange film, announced as having a release date of November 4, 2016 would open up the supernatural side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the sorcerer "entering the world of parallel dimemsions." He stopped short of confirming yesterday's reports that Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing Doctor Strange in that film, however, saying merely that once it's confirmed, they'll confirm it.
And although not in Los Angeles, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn appeared via video to announce that the sequel's release date is moving up to May 5, 2017.
The previously announced date for the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, July 28, 2017, will instead be filled by the third Thor film, now titled Thor: Ragnarok. Feige says that both Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston will reprise their roles as Thor and Loki, and that the film would be "the end of all things."
Back to the new, Marvel also announced Inhumans, a movie they see as having franchise potential. Nothing more was said other than the release date of November 2, 2018, however. Feige hinted that the future of the Inhumans may come "sooner than you think," hinting that they'll be introduced prior to the 2018 release.
The entire film slate release by Marvel:
Captain America: Civil War — May 6, 2016.
Doctor Strange — Nov. 4, 2016.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 — May 5, 2017.
Thor: Ragnarok — July 28, 2017.
Black Panther — Nov. 3, 2017.
Avengers: Infinity War (Part I) — May 4, 2018.
Captain Marvel — July 6, 2018.
Inhumans — Nov. 2, 2018.
Avengers: Infinity War (Part II) — May 3, 2019.
Notably missing are any Black Widow or Hulk solo films, along with an Iron Man 4. Feige said of these that nothing is off the table, and that Black Widow and Hulk would have major roles to play in other Avengers films (and possibly films belonging to other Avengers).
There was also nothing on the rumors of Spider-Man joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe somehow, aside from Feige specifically saying he wouldn't comment on any rumors. A script for Runaways is sitting on a shelf at Marvel Studios, but they have yet to find a way to move forward with the film.
The announcements came on the heels of Warner Bros.' internet-capturing DC movie reveal last week, where they announced a slew of upcoming movies during a shareholder meeting. Included in the Warner announcement were the first mentions of headline-worthy movies like Wonder Woman and a Harry Potter spin-off trilogy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Check out a list of every Marvel and DC Comics based superhero movie on the schedule from 2015-2020.
Additional reporting by Chris Arrant and Vaneta Rogers.