Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2: A Primer (Part 3: Ahead of The Game)

Welcome back, hopefully you’ve went through the first two parts of my primer on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 2, all leading to Avengers 2. Last time we covered the bulk of Phase 2 with just about everything you need to know, and now we end this blog trilogy with a look to the distant future. What does Marvel Studios have planned beyond Avengers 2? A lot more than you think. And while we’re at it, let’s speculate on what this monumental shared universe means for superhero movies, particularly their biggest rival (and let’s get up to speed with them, why not). Let’s start with the first officially announced hero of Phase Three, and also the smallest…

See what I did there?!

Ant-Man:

Gestating in development hell for what feels like forever, Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man movie finally seems to be moving forward. Though it will not make it by Phase Two (perhaps due to Marvel Studios regulating MCU movies to two a year), it has the honor of kicking off the following macro-arc. Not much is known of this project, other than Edgard Wright attached as director and special effects test shots already done to satisfaction. Another question is whether it would star Hank Pym (likely) or Scott Lang (not as likely but worth keeping in mind). Another very important detail is if Hank Pym takes the lead, you simply can’t ignore the presence of Ultron – a major Avengers villain. Hank was instrumental in Ultron’s creation in the comics, and I would be surprised if Marvel didn’t play with this.

Moreover, the appearance of Ant-Man expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe to considerable super science. The most advanced Earth-bound tech thus far has come from Stark (or at least his father). Introducing Hank Pym adds another super genius in the movie-verse, and paves the way for characters like Ultron, Vision, and longtime romantic partner Janet van Dyne (The Wasp). While not as ‘out there’ as Thor and Guardians, we are still talking about a guy whose chief ability is shrinking (or growing!). Once again marvel Studios is in a position where they are challenged to make something work on screen. If their catalog so far is any sign, Ant-Man will not ruin their picnic (see what I did there?!).

Doctor Strange:

Another movie that was only heavily insinuated to be ready for Phase Three is Doctor Strange. The Master of the Mystic Arts would add another layer to what Earth has been capable of. Thor’s setting seems mystical, yes, but it is really a cosmic sort of science – magic to our feeble brains. Dr. Strange on the other hand is the real deal, and I doubt Marvel would down play a character so iconic in his representation of Marvel’s mystical world. With this movie not exactly official, there’s not much more to go on. We can expect dimensional conqueror Dormammu to be a key villain, though.

Journey Into Mystery:

It has been an amazing experience what Marvel Studios managed to put together. An actual shared universe amongst superhero movies, a thing thought unattainable a mere decade ago. Now we’re living in a post-Avengers world, the gamble has paid off. If only X-Men and Spider-Man could join the fun, but exclusive deals make this impossible. Sony has Spidey and Fox has X-Men, this is the fate of things. Is it…?

Contracts? You know how I feel about promises, right?

It was revealed after Avengers premiered that an easter egg was planned for the New York battle scene: The Oscorp Tower from the Amazing Spider-Man was going to be added in post. Think about that for a second… Oscorp was going to have presence in a Marvel Studios movie. Is Sony more willing to make friends with Marvel after Avengers’ success? Assume for a moment that by the time Avengers 2 comes around, Amazing Spider-Man 3 will head into production (if not already there). Is it too much to hope that Andrew Garfield’s Spidey make an appearance in Phase Three? Remember, talk of this sort of crossover was insane a decade ago, but now…

Don’t worry about us, bub.

There was a time when I would have settled with at least Hugh Jackman joining the MCU as a one-off deal between Fox and Marvel/Disney. Potential scenes with Nick Fury, Bruce Banner, or Steve Rogers practically write themselves. But I relented, for no other reason than Fox taking some cues from Marvel Studios and preparing something huge. Original X-Men director Bryan Singer has returned to helm Days of Future Past, an epic X-Men adventure that aims to feature the original trilogy cast and the recent First Class cast. That’s not all; this movie could potentially launch three timelines for future movies – past, present, and future. Fox appointed Mark Miller (who’s pretty Kick-Ass) in a role similar to Joss Whedon at Marvel Studios, overseeing Fox’s production of X-Men movies. So yeah, I think Fox will do just fine expanding their own cinematic universe.

And The Other Guys..?

Listen, WB/DC also had an amazing movie last Summer. The Dark Knight Rises was amazing, the whole Dark Knight trilogy was amazing. But in my opinion; what Marvel Studios is doing sets a precedent that transcends even an epic trilogy. Let’s be honest, none of the Phase One movies match the quality of either Dark Knight movie, but the scale of which a shared universe was pulled off balances it out. Furthermore, it’s something that pays off down the line. This is why WB and DC needs to catch up and get a Justice League movie up and running. It’s already been stated that they would reverse Marvel’s strategy and use a team movie to diverge into individual movies. That’s smart, since you could gauge which characters audiences react to best and make sure they get their own movies. But before we get to that point, it’s all up to one man, as it usually is for DC Comics…

Mark my words if Man of Steel is anything less than great, we will never see a Justice League movie. Please, Zack Snyder, deliver something that can give us fans a whole new cinematic universe to cheer on. We love Avengers, but the world needs a Superman.

A Marvelous Journey:

Thank you for treading through these blogs, analyzing Marvel Studio’s huge plans and seeing what the future holds. Hopefully, this will usher a new age of superhero movies where epic crossovers are just a pen stroke away. And who knows… maybe just maybe…

An Avengers movie sounded crazy as well… Once.

Thanks for reading. Kalyx Out.

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