Let’s Look at Marvel Phase 3

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Marvel Studios made some big announcements recently and if you haven’t seen them yet, head here for the outline of Phase 3. Before we continue let’s also put up a quick spoiler warning. This article is a discussion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) at large, so it may touch on some important plot points for previous films and rumours for Age of Ultron and beyond.

Since the last San Diego Comic Con it might be fair to say that some of us were becoming a little concerned by the lack of information coming out of Marvel and even a bit disappointed. We stayed up late to catch the Marvel presentation, only to learn there would be no video streaming (something which happened again with their recent announcement). Then when we did find out about what happened, there wasn’t a whole lot to discover.

While it’s great to see the whole Avengers team back together again, people were expecting some big announcements that just never came. There was a whole roster of unnamed movies left unnamed and enormous potential left untapped. More major events came and went and that fact remained the same. Until last week when we finally heard mention of a trailer.

The trailer for Age of Ultron was supposed to air during the next episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but was leaked mere hours after they told everyone. The trailer was epic, even if it was probably a bit of a blow to the makers of S.H.I.E.L.D. But it’s okay because Marvel weren’t going to leave them with nothing and now we’ll be getting an extra special scene from Age of Ultron instead.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 18.40.28A little while after the leaked trailer fiasco (damn you Hydra!) Marvel Studios decided it was about time they invited a bunch of journalists over for music and extra-special announcements. For someone who has taken on the mantra “I’ll believe it when I see it”, I tried not to get my hopes up. As it turns out, I had nothing to fear.

The biggest news by far was the announcement of Black Panther and Captain Marvel. For years fans have been hoping to see Black Panther and Carol Danvers and now they’re finally getting their wish. But even more than that, it’s Marvel’s first go at creating stories that don’t star yet another white guy. Phase 3 was their chance to fix something unbalanced and it looks like they’re going for it.

Marvel has always featured excellent female characters and there’s enough black heroes in the MCU to start their own team. But putting those characters front and centre is a whole other thing entirely. Carol Danvers especially has a huge following online by the name of the Carol Corps. (In fact she’s a character that means a lot to me personally.) So roll on 2017!

Or is that roll on 2016? In the Q and A with Marvel Studio President himself Kevin Feige, he was asked if the solo movies for Black Panther and Captain Marvel would be their introductions. His answer was the reveal, “We will see Black Panther in Civil War in costume.” In fact he’s already been cast with Chadwick Boseman playing the role. There are also rumours we may see Carol snuck in Age of Ultron somewhere, but that is unconfirmed at this point.

The reveal that Cap 3 will be Captain America: Civil War isn’t hugely surprising given recent speculation on Tony Stark’s place in the film. Kevin Feige‘s word on the subject was this:

“Events of the whole cinematic universe will make all governments in the world want regulation. Not so much about secret identity, but about who reports to who.”

All of which makes complete sense in a post-S.H.I.E.L.D. (sort of) universe. And it’s most certainly a topic that Age of Ultron will touch on as well, in a big way. After all it’s Tony’s experiments as a peacekeeper that will set everything in motion.

The original Civil War in the comics was based around the question of whether or not superheroes should give up their identities to the government and register themselves. But in a cinematic universe where secret identities aren’t really a thing and S.H.I.E.L.D. kinda exploded, that storyline just wouldn’t make much sense. So it’s great to hear a new take on Civil War that manages to capture the main themes.

It’s looking like we’ll see a splintering of our heroes and potentially two differing factions either as we head into Civil War or out of it. Feige has always said the Avengers roster will change and this will most likely be a major part of that reshuffle.

Following on from that will come Doctor Strange. Recently there was the news that Benedict Cumberbatch is in talks for the role. There wasn’t mention of it during the Marvel announcements, but it was very clear that Kevin Feige didn’t want this to be a day of “maybe”. So even if Cumberbatch IS in discussions, we won’t hear about it from Marvel until the contract is signed.

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Feige revealed that the “Serpent Society” title for Captain America was a joke designed to throw keen fans off the scent.

Thor 3 is going to be Thor: Ragnarok, and for an Asgardian that means “The end of all things.” Potentially this means a story mainly set in Asgard. Plus we’ll probably get to see the ramifications of Loki being in charge while Thor parties with the Avengers and kisses Jane at every opportunity.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is missing a full title at the moment, although leaving it as just “2” would sort of feel refreshing at this point.

Inhumans is most definitely an interesting addition to the roster. There’s a theory that Inhumans could be the MCU replacement for mutants and if you’re up to date with the comics at the moment, it certainly feels like that could be true. The title in the comics refers to a specific group of heroes (who have a totally badass base on the moon), but is also the name for a sub-species of super powered human.

Finally we come to the end of Phase 3, with not one, but two Avengers movies. Titled Infinity Wars it will be the culmination of years of set-up. Just think about that for a second. The first time we saw the Tesseract was way back in the first Captain America, something we would later learn was actually one of the Infinity Stones. It won’t be until 2018 that we’ll see where that story is going, and 2019 is when we see it end.

It’s rare to see a film like this announced as being in two parts so early on. It’s normally a relatively late decision made by studios adapting hefty books. But this is what Marvel is good at. They’ve always known where they’re going and their road map has served them pretty well so far.

TLDR: Marvel Studios has plans. Big plans. And it’s going to be one heck of a journey.

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Sources: Marvel Live Coverage, Marvel Phase 3 Photo Gallery, Agent M

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