I’m a big fan of how Marvel Studios used the post-credit scenes in Iron Man, Thor and Captain America during Phase 1 of its movie releases to drum up enthusiasm for 2012’s The Avengers. It didn’t disappoint, and now Phase 2 is barely underway and I’m already thinking about what lies ahead for Marvel Studios, particularly the films in discussion for Phase 3.
Phase 2 launched with the release of Iron Man 3, and continues to 2015 with Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and ending with the eagerly anticipated Avengers 2. I have to admit, I was surprised with their choice of Guardians of the Galaxy considering they’re less well known to the non-comic book reading movie audience (I was hoping for a team like The New Mutants). Considering the level of excitement the studio has for Guardians there should be significant marketing for it, but I’m still skeptical it can draw a large audience.
But while the films of Marvel Phase 2 have me excited for their upcoming release, some of the characters Kevin Feige mentioned to Entertainment Weekly regarding Marvel Studio’s Phase 3 have me intrigued.
Release Date: November 2015
Director: Edgar Wright; Screenwriter: Joe Cornish
Ant-Man has been in development for awhile now, and is on the slate for a 2015 release with Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) attached to direct. The choice of Ant-Man wasn’t as surprising as Guardians considering the character has been around since the 60’s and was a member of The Avengers, but one concern that I hear the most from comic book fans is if Ant-Man is able to hold his own in a feature film like Iron Man or Thor. His powers aren’t the most exciting for a superhero: he can shrink to the size of an ant and yet retain his human strength, and his helmet allows him to communicate with ants.
When I think of Ant-Man, the first thing that comes to mind is the ribbing he received in this Saturday Night Live sketch back in the 70’s.
An Ant-Man cameo in 2012’s The Avengers would have been a good introduction prior to his feature debut, but Wright felt an appearance in The Avengers wouldn’t be conducive to his film.
Possible Release Date: 2016
Doctor Strange has always been on my wish list for the movie treatment. At age six I stayed up late the night of September 6, 1978 to watch Peter Hooten play the title role in the CBS made-for-TV Doctor Strange movie, and I’ve been waiting for someone to get it right ever since. Since his comic book introduction in 1963, Doctor Strange has been brought to life by such talent as Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Bill Everett, Marie Severin, Gene Colan and Frank Brunner, but it was the Roger Stern/Marshall Rogers/Paul Smith runs of the early 80’s that solidified my appreciation of the character.
The casting of Doctor Strange should be interesting. Prior to seeing Iron Man, I had envisioned Robert Downey Jr. as Stephen Strange. But now that he’s firmly entrenched in the role of Tony Stark, that’s unlikely to happen.
The Incredible Hulk
I wasn’t a fan of the last two Hulk films, and prior to The Avengers I wasn’t sure how the Hulk would be utilized. I always saw him as more of a Defender than an Avenger. Mark Ruffalo did a great job as Banner/Hulk and I’m hoping he gets another chance at a stand-alone film.
HOLDING OUT HOPE:
I first heard of the possibility of an Inhumans film a couple of years back and they deserve their own feature film. Normally I would say they should at least be introduced in a Fantastic Four film, but hopefully that won’t happen considering how Fox (in my humble opinion) wasn’t able to provide the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom, the Silver Surfer or Galactus with feature film adaptations that were worthy of their stature in the Marvel Universe.
Another personal favorite of mine that I hope gets done right on film sooner rather than later. I got my hopes up when Joe Carnahan released this sizzle reel with elements from Taxi Driver and The Warriors, but it’s looking doubtful that The Man Without Fear is high enough on Marvel Studio’s priority list for a reboot any time soon. The silver lining: at least it’s back with Marvel Studios (along with Ghost Rider, The Punisher and Blade). As much as I would like to see Daredevil as a feature length film, I think it would work even better as a TV series. Hopefully Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will take off and open the floodgates for more Marvel characters on TV.
MY PERSONAL WISH LIST:
The New Mutants
Marvel Team Up
Power Man and Iron Fist
Hopefully the films of Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 will lead to a Phase 4 in the following decade. Until then, there will be plenty of discussion as to which characters deserve the feature film treatment, but more importantly there will be plenty of Marvel films to tide fans over. Excelsior!