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When Marvel Studios took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con and announced the next five Marvel Cinematic Universe films, fans expected that would be all they would hear for a while. By announcing all of the big screen projects set to come out in 2020 and 2021, the Phase 4 slate was revealed, and there was no reason to believe that any more news was coming.
Then D23 Expo 2019 happened, and Ryan Coogler’s untitled Black Panther 2 was officially announced to be released on May 6, 2022.
This was a huge surprise, and there are still many unanswered questions that extend from it… but one particular angle we continue seriously mulling over is what it means for the rest of Marvel Studios’ output for 2022. In addition to the first weekend of May, the company has also planted flags in both February 18, 2022 and July 29, 2022, but they’ve offered no hint as to what films will come out on those dates. So what will they wind up being? Let’s analyze!
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
At this point every Marvel Studios fan in the world knows at least the basics of the drama that has gone on behind the scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The project was initially being developed as one of the earliest releases of Phase 4, tentatively scheduled for a date in 2020, but all those plans went to hell when writer/director James Gunn was fired due to some offensive, decade-old social media posts. The whole situation ended up having a happy ending, with Gunn being rehired by Marvel a few months after his dismissal, but a scheduling hiccup was created due to the fact that the filmmaker is helming Warner Bros.’ The Suicide Squad in preparation for a 2021 release.
This competing project is the reason why Gunn isn’t making Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as part of Phase 4 anymore, but it’s also pretty easy to believe that the film will be one of the earliest in Phase 5 – which is another way of saying one of the titles that will be released in 2022. Specifically, July 29, 2022 makes sense given that it’s almost exactly one year after the release of The Suicide Squad, allowing for solid development time, but given Gunn’s long term plans launched with the first Guardians, and the fact that he’s already completed drafts of the script, it’s not impossible that Marvel could find a way to have the title ready in time for mid-February.
Captain Marvel 2
It makes all the sense in the world that Marvel Studios has made Black Panther 2 a priority, as the titular character’s previous eponymous adventure became a worldwide phenomenon in early 2018, and wound up winning the company its first Oscars. However, we’re still waiting for news on a sequel for the brand’s other billion dollar solo hero: Captain Marvel. A follow-up feature for Carol Danvers was teased by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, but we have yet to hear about any developments suggesting wheels are in motion. Still, it seems like a pretty safe bet at this point that we could see Captain Marvel 2 wind up on the schedule for 2022.
Marvel doesn’t have any kind of established rules about the number of years between sequels and their predecessors (Iron Man 2 came out two years after Iron Man; but Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is arriving five years after Doctor Strange), so we can’t really say with absolute certainty when Captain Marvel 2 will come out. But the studio most definitely will be paying attention to demand in their development strategy going forward, and they have to know that keeping Brie Larson’s cosmic power-infused heroine off of the big screen for an extended time is of interest to very few.
Likelihood: Medium High
Scheduling the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is basically a juggling act at this point, as the franchise has a bit of an exponential growth problem: as characters are introduced to the canon, the audience demand to see more of them in sequels makes it more challenging for the brand to launch new series, especially because the company still isn’t ready to release more than three blockbusters a year. That being said, the brand does still make an effort to mix things up, and it’s why Fantastic Four may have a chance for 2022. If the year is going to see the release of two sequels, namely Black Panther 2 and one of the titles mentioned above, Marvel might try and introduce their First Family as an original counterbalance.
Unlike the X-Men, which will require some heavy lifting to include in the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to the existence of mutants, the brand is really free to introduce the Fantastic Four any way they like, and that could mean a relatively quick development period if all goes well. If the in the next two years Marvel Studios is able to find a filmmaker they like and the right story to tell, it’s absolutely possible that this project gets scheduled either right before or right after Black Panther 2 (is now the right time to also mention that Black Panther was first introduced in a Fantastic Four comic?)
Likelihood: Medium Low
It was all the way back in 2013 that Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to make Blade movies, but only now is the company actually planning to do something with the property. It was made official at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 that Mahershala Ali has signed a deal to play the brand’s most famous vampire hunter – which was apparently something that came together directly from the Oscar-winner’s interest in playing the part. It was made clear during the casting announcement that things are very much in the early stages with this one, but a lot can change in two years, so there does exist a possibility that we could see Blade as a part of Marvel’s 2022 plans.
Again, this is another project that would be a nice “original” feature to be released alongside two sequels in the first year of Phase 5, and like the case with Fantastic Four the key will be hiring the proper filmmakers that will be able to bring a new and exciting version of Blade to the big screen. Having a massively talented star attached will surely get a lot of exciting names paying attention and putting their hat into the ring, but at the same time Marvel doesn’t really have any incentive to rush things. Plus, if they can work out an October 2023 date (perhaps October 13, 2023?) the franchise could have its first Halloween hit.
It may actually be years before we learn what other two films Marvel Studios has planned for 2022 – but that just means that we have more time to speculate. Hit the comments section below with your own predictions, and be on the lookout for more MCU updates here on CinemaBlend.