One downside to Marvel having its Phase 3 plans on the table for all to see is that when the studio wants to make changes, it has to become headline news. For example, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) wasn’t supposed to have a second movie on the docket for some time… and yet, now today we are learning that Ant-Man and The Wasp will hit theaters on July 6, 2018.
This announcement was part of a slew of updates made by Marvel, confirming that Lang will team up with Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) for an adventure that will mark "the first Marvel movie named after its heroine." Ant-Man was yet another hit for Marvel Studios, earning $178.5M domestically and a total global cume of $409.8 million. Needless to say, that’s not Avengers money, but it’s more than enough to prove that the solo, standalone Marvel adventure connected with audiences, and the addition of The Wasp to Ant-Man world should help power the sequel to greater heights.
As is mentioned in the Marvel release, the addition of Ant-Man and The Wasp to Marvel’s plans will cause a shift in the studio’s existing Phase 3. The July 6, 2018 date was occupied by Black Panther, which Marvel now says will open up February 16, 2018. That moves the Black Panther movie ahead of the first The Avengers: Infinity War- Part 1. From a narrative standpoint, that probably makes more sense, and it means audiences will get to spend more time with Chadwick Boseman’s hero before he’s likely used in the battle against Thanos.
Bad news for fans waiting for Captain Marvel, however. Carol Danvers’ origin story has been bumped off of November 2, 2018. According to this new report, the Captain Marvel feature won’t arrive in theaters until March 8, 2019. And there’s no mention of the Inhumans movie in this release.
Ant-Man is expected to make an appearance in next year’s Captain America: Civil War, where he’ll fight alongside Cap (Chris Evans) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) – and even help them complete a mission that was hinted at in the end credits of the Ant-Man movie. Beyond that, we’re not sure where Ant-Man and The Wasp can go, or who they might battle. We expect the landscape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to look very different following the Civil War, but at least this new announcement helps clear the vision of the studio, and the stories it still wants to tell.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.