Walt Disney jostled its release-date calendar around last night, setting fresh dates for several anticipated titles … including two future Marvel projects that have yet to be clarified.
As Eric points out in his piece, Marvel loves locking up the opening weekend of the summer. See Iron Man 3 for the studio’s most recent example – and then gawk at the tremendous box office success of that high-flying Marvel sequel. Sony beat Marvel to the punch next summer, scheduling The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for May 2, 2014 (probably because Captain America: The Winter Soldier already had circled April 4 as its release date). But Marvel made sure to lock up its favorite frame for 2015 (when The Avengers 2 will kick off the summer on May 1), as well as the newly announced dates of May 6, 2016 and May 5, 2017.
So, what movies do we think Marvel will drop onto those coveted dates?
Clearly, we’ll be into Phase Three of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, which takes place after Avengers 2, and is rumored to include standalone films for such heroes as Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Ms. Marvel and Black Panther. We can cross Ant-Man off the list of potential projects, as Edgar Wright already revealed he will have his Ant-Man movie in theaters Nov. 6, 2015 (in the slot occupied by Thor this year).
If I had to make an educated guess, I’d reserve the May 6, 2016 slot for a Doctor Strange movie. Marvel President Kevin Feige has mentioned Strange often, confirming his role in Marvel’s Phase Three and seemingly chomping at the bit to get the mystical character on screen. I could see him being introduced in Avengers 2, then built up into his own standalone movie for the start of Summer 2016.
The 2017 date is harder to button down. While it’s easy to assume that Marvel will plan to introduce one of the many heroes they have teased for Phase Three, three years is a LONG time away, and so many things can happen between now and then. Maybe that slot is reserved for a Daredevil or Punisher movie, now that the rights to those characters have reverted back to Marvel? Maybe it’s chapter three of either Thor or Captain America? That 2017 slot could do for those two franchises what this year did for Iron Man 3, and that’s the right amount of time to put between sequels, so that makes a lot of sense.
I could see Marvel not having a concrete plan in place at the moment, but simply knowing that it wants to have some movie playing in that slot, so they might as well lock it up. If I had to guess now, I’d say Doctor Strange in May 2016, and either Thor 3 or Cap 3 in May 2017, depending on which character makes the most sense in terms of the stories being told in the next phase of Marvel movies. Do you have different thoughts? Share them with us below!