Marvel and Disney proved they could dig deep into the catalog with the success of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The movies they announced Tuesday will take us to some of the Marvel universe’s hidden corners, introducing diverse new characters along the way. Let’s dive into this exciting slate:
Chadwick Boseman will tackle the role of Black Panther. He was mainstream comics’ first black superhero, introduced in 1966. His movie is scheduled for release Nov. 3, 2017. We’ll see the character before then in “Captain America: Civil War.” Boseman is on quite the hot streak right now, nailing the part of James Brown in biopic “Get On Up.” His Marvel contract will put him in five superhero blockbusters.
The new schedule of movies also includes Marvel’s first starring vehicle for a female superhero. Captain Marvel is coming July 6, 2018. There was a lot of talk about the Avenger Black Widow perhaps being Marvel’s first female lead hero, but there’s no solo project in the works for her right now. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige promised a big, big part for her in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Doctor Strange, Earth’s Sorceror Supreme has been the subject of all kinds of casting rumors. The latest have Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch donning the cape. Whoever it is, the movie is targeting a Nov. 4, 2016 release date. In Marvel’s previous movies, it has downplayed the role of magic. Thor, the most mystical character currently on the canvas, described his Asgardian powers as not that different from science. The doctor begs to differ.
The Inhumans are a race of people born with super powers, not unlike Marvel’s mutants. They’ve chosen to live in secret, which seeing how the X-Men get treated may not be a bad idea. They’re slated for their closeup Nov. 2, 2018. There was no doubt some behind the scenes wrangling over this property. The Inhumans most often appear as allies of the Fantastic Four, and Fox still has those film rights.
Loki is fond of reminding The Avengers that they can be their own worst enemies. That theme continues in their next several movies. “Captain America: Civil War” will mirror the comic storyline that finds Cap and Iron Man on opposite sides of the Superhero Registration Act. The government wants heroes to reveal their real IDs in a national database so they can be effectively policed. Cap politely disagrees.
The God of Thunder will fight his cybernetic clone in “Thor: Ragnarok,” the biggest WTF announcement from Marvel Tuesday. “Clor” as he was often referred to in the comics factored into the Civil War storyline. It was Iron Man’s bright idea to clone him. Even futurists don’t get it right all the time. “Ragnarok” is coming July 28, 2017.
Marvel will “Avengers: Infinity War” into two movies, one May 4, 2018 with the other May 3, 2019. The original 1992 comic storyline is one of Marvel’s most beloved, pitting nearly every hero in the world against Thanos. We saw this baddie teased at the end of the first Avengers movie. All the hints they’ve been dropping build up to this conflict.
Other than Black Widow, the biggest omission from this slate is a solo flick for the Incredible Hulk. Mark Ruffalo nailed the character better than any actor since Bill Bixby. There were rumors that a Planet Hulk movie was in the works. But since we’re going to see little known heroes such as Ant-Man and Captain Marvel first, it’s safe to say those plans are officially backburnered.