The Avengers - Phase Three
Marvel's Cinematic Universe is widely successful and currently in their second phase of films. However, with Captain America: The Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy releasing this year and The Avengers: Age of Ultron next summer, the question becomes, what next? All that is known thus far for certain is that Marvel has a few release dates already set for their next batch of films. The first being Ant-Man which will be released on July 17th 2015, only two months after Age of Ultron. The other release dates that they have set include May 6th, 2016, July 8th, 2016, May 5th, 2017. It is a little strange how they are going back to solely having their films released over the summer seeing how the Phase two films abandoned that idea, having Thor 2 release over November of 2013, and Captain America 2 over April 2014. Still, the question remains, where do they go with these release dates? Do they introduce new characters or stick to the main three that we have seen thus far?
Edgar Wright's Ant-Man film has been floating around Marvel for quite some time now, and finally it will get to see the light of day. Many believe that it had been held back in large part due to the fact that the character is so smart, so smart to the point that he makes Tony Stark look bad. Joss Whedon believed that if Ant-Man were introduced with Tony already being such a well received character that Ant-Man would then not be liked by audiences. Now, I have a theory that Tony Stark will die at the end of Age of Ultron. Whedon has even said that a major character will die, that would potentially end a franchise as well. Iron Man is the biggest franchise on Marvel's hands but how many more movies does Robert Downey Jr. really want to do. Thus with all of this being said, it just makes sense now as to why we are seeing Ant-Man get his time on the big screen. Marvel did not want Ant-Man and Iron Man on screen together due to how similar they are with how smart they are. Now, do no get me wrong, I do not think they are simply replacing Iron Man with Ant-Man, it would never be that simple. However, if you do look at the comics, this is common place among the Avengers. Characters leave, new ones come in. It is about time we get some fresh faces too.
Not much is known thus far about the film but Paul Rudd is attached to play as Scott Lang, not the man who created the Ant-Man equipment, but Lang in the comics was a thief who eventually stole the equipment to save his daughter. Hank Pym, the creator of the equipment, saw how Lang used the equipment for a good purpose and decided to hand it over to him. Pym is a character in the film and portrayed by Micheal Douglas. This leads me to believe that he did indeed create the Ant-Man suit but grew too old to actually use it and when Lang steals it to save his daughter, he becomes a mentor of sorts to Lang. This would then also get SHIELD's attention, bringing him along as another member of the Avengers. No one has been cast yet as the villain but I'd imagine it would be familiar territory whether it be the continued reign of HYDRA under new control since Red Skull is dead. They could also add in a new face, in the shape of a personal villain for Scott such as the Whirlwind. Whirlwind in the comics was a consistent threat to Ant-Man who eventually after so many defeats joined up with the Masters of Evil to take down the Avengers, which could work for a future Avengers sequel.
This seems like the most likely of the other three films seeing how as of late there were a lot of rumors of Johnny Depp taking the role as the Sorcerer Supreme . It makes sense that Marvel would continue to up the ante. They went from science (Iron Man), gods/aliens (Thor), other dimensions (Guardians of the Galaxy), so why not venture into magic now. After all, at the heart of the character, Stephen Strange is very similar to Tony Stark. Strange was a neurosurgeon who was rather cocky thanks to his terrific abilities, but when he damaged his hands in a car crash it taught him a bit of humility while also filling him with guilt as he looked back on his past. This tragedy eventually lead to him learning his new abilities as he quickly became the Sorcerer Supreme. As for a villain they could easily use Dormammu. He is a rather big villain, which they tend to save for later, but considering how basic every villain has been for the most part, I don't think it would hurt if they use one long over-arching villain for a character. Similarly to how Loki has always been a thorn in Thor's side.
Captain America 3
Captain America is the most relatable character of all of these huge characters but he is also still a very intriguing character that has plenty of engaging stories that they could tell on the big screen. It also seems likely that they would go ahead with a third film seeing how the early screenings of Winter Solider have all been incredibly positive. Thus, Marvel has already resigned directors Joe and Anthony Russo to write and direct Captain America 3. It is tough to say where and what they could do with a third Captain America film currently, but I would imagine it would introduce a new villain. I have a theory that in Winter Solider that Robert Redford's character is some sort of villain and not just some new higher up within SHIELD. Maybe in fact he is now running HYDRA, or maybe long time villain of Captain America, Baron Zemo in disguish. The theories thus far are all over the place as we do not know what could and will come out between then and now. However, I do believe it is a safe bet to believe that Captain America 3 would be a part of Marvel's third phase.
Thor: The Dark World did very well in theaters, in fact it made the second most amount of money behind Iron Man 3. Thus, Marvel has already begun getting the pieces into play for the third entry into the trilogy. Following the events of the second Thor, it would be easy to see where the third could go but considering how much bigger the shared cinematic universe is getting I wouldn't be surprised if they expanded it more in the third Thor. A way that they could continue to do so is by introducing another character that yet again could factor into the Masters of Evil. It is likely that at some point they would have a team up of villains against our heroes, thus continously adding to the villain lineup is a smart idea. With Loki on the throne of Asgard, it is likely that he would need help. In comes, Amora the Enchantress, who has abilities similar to that of Loki. Amora frequently had with her Skurge the Executioner, thus the three of them would form a very powerful threat to both Asgard and Thor. Thor would undoubtedly need help from possibly Beta Ray Bill but more likely his help would come from the familiar Warriors Three and Sif.