Marvel Studios made an already crowded superhero movie schedule even more crowded Thursday with the announcement of a 2018 Ant-Man sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp , along with effectively planting their flag on three key dates in 2020 for unspecified films.
Newsarama keeps an updated schedule of the superhero movie slate here, but with the new additions comes some thoughts and observation about the schedule as it stands today.
1.) 2017’s Fantastic Four 2 has got to considered extremely tentative … at best
20th Century Fox hasn’t announced anything since their Josh Trank-directed franchise reboot flopped (to put it kindly) this summer. And the studio may never officially announce anything, but the odds of the June 2, 2017 sequel actually being produced have to be slim at this stage, right?
We’re leaving it on the schedule for now, but we suspect we’ll be making changes to that date eventually.
2.) July 2018 is a beast...
… at least for now, with a major superhero film scheduled to open every week that month. But that comes with some caveats. Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6 seems solid enough of course, and there’s no reason to believe Warner Bros.’ Aquaman on July 27 needs to move. But the other two dates are occupied by a couple of wildcards.
Sony Pictures announced an animated theatrical Spider-Man feature for July 20 several months back, but little to nothing has been mentioned of those plans since. And we still have July 13 down for a untitled 20th Century Fox Marvel mystery film the Hollywood trades announced even farther back. Speculation at the time centered on a possible X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover, but well… see above.
Fault in Our Stars writer/director Josh Boone just recently tweeted that a first draft of the screenplay of an undated New Mutants film for 20th Century Fox was completed, which might be the most likely film to fill this date, but that was before Marvel put a claim on July 6.
If Fox still had designs on that date, it's possible they’ll now have to give them up after today's news. There is no way four high profile Marvel-DC superhero films are opening on four consecutive weeks.
Both Fox’s so-called mystery film and Sony’s animated Spider-Man could take advantage of the holiday 2018 season, however, because of our next observation...
3.) November 2018 and 2019 are (oddly) wide open
Curiously, Marvel newly reserved November 6, 2020, but seemingly gave up November, 2018 (the former date of Captain Marvel) and didn’t reserve a date for November, 2019.
Marvel abandoning Nov. 2, 2018 makes sense as the addition of Ant-Man and the Wasp gives them three films for the year, including Black Panther (February 16) and Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 (May 4), but not reserving November, 2019 is a bit more conspicuous.
Could Marvel know something we don’t, possibly (just spitballing) about a rumored Ben Affleck Batman solo film that would need to find a high-profile release date assuming any plans for the film call for it being released in the next five years?
Just thinking out loud.
4.) What’s Up with Captain Marvel?
Speaking of November 2018, that was Captain Marvel’s last date, and its new date of March 8, 2019 is its third. It was originally scheduled for a high-profile July 6, 2018 release, pushed back to November, and now pushed back further to March, 2019.
Deserved or not, there seems to be a ‘difficult’ aura around solo female superhero films, and it was interesting to see Marvel tout Ant-Man and the Wasp as their first film with a female hero in the title. And we also know Marvel abandoned tentative plans to have Captain Marvel appear for the first time in the final moments of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Now to be fair, Captain Marvel has only been pushed back eight months in total, but one has to wonder if developing a suitable screenplay, and/or nailing down a star is in play here?
And as a side note, did anyone catch the irony of having Captain Marvel (March 8) and Warner Bros. Shazam (April 5) opening within a month of one another?
Who would have predicated something like just happening just a few years ago?
5.) Oh the Inhumanity
Finally, we can help but notice The Inhumans still sitting there on July 12, 2019. Why does it stick out for us? Somewhat unexpectedly, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gone full-on Inhumans for its second and now third seasons, with the super-powered race arguably the central preoccupation of the series.
Marvel, who when asked says the film and TV sides operate somewhat independently of one another, seems to be running the risk of having the film, still nearly four years away, being perceived as a TV-to-movie adaptation.
Sure, Marvel could and probably will keep the classic royal family in their back pocket and perhaps not even set the film on Earth, but you gotta wonder about possible Inhumans fatigue and again the perception it’s more of a TV-concept by the time 2019 rolls around.
Keep your eyes on that one, is all we’re sayin’…