Thursday, 30 October 2014

Marvel's Going To Infinity and Beyond (VOR #29)



I've been adverse to deconstructing every morsel of comic-book news over the last few weeks, but today's bombshell from Marvel was just too big to ignore. Essentially, Kevin Feige and co. sat down hundreds of journos in the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and outlined every Marvel movie in between now and May 2019. 

We've got a Civil War brewing, more Guardians of the Galaxy, a third Thor and not one, but two new Avengers movies in addition to raft of new character franchises. Let's go through what this means for the future of Marvel's Cinematic Universe...

New Franchises


One of the biggest talking points from Marvel's latest slate of films is the number of new franchises they plan to launch over the next few years, many of which delve deeper into the cosmic side of the Universe, and also diversify their protagonists.

The first new franchise off the block in Phase 3 is Doctor Strange (Nov. 4 2016). I suspect that this movie will work with the 'age of miracles' angle teased at the end of Winter Soldier, and build upon the direction Joss Whedon is taking with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in Age of Ultron.

The good Doctor is reportedly being played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which many people have criticised for being too 'safe' of a casting decision (yeah, because Chris Evans as Captain America is so left-field). After considering guys like Joaquin Phoenix and Ewan McGregor, Cumberbatch is a choice more in line with what people expected. Personally, I don't really mind either way - I'm sure Cucumberbag will knock it out of the park regardless.

The next new character Marvel plan to launch is Black Panther in November 2017. Not only is the role already cast (Chadwick Boseman from Get on Up and 42), but he's been confirmed as appearing in the third Captain America film, Civil War. At the event, Evans and Downey Jnr (who appeared on stage to introduce Boseman) joked about which 'side' Panther would take in the film, hinting that he will play a more integral role than previously thought.

In scheduling this film for 2017, Marvel are also beating DC to the punch in releasing a superhero film fronted by a black character - DC's Cyborg movie is pencilled in for 2020.

In all the forums I've been reading today, the film most fans are excited about is Captain Marvel (July 2018), the first female Marvel superhero to get her own movie. Captain Marvel (for those not in the know like myself) is sort of like the Superman of the MCU, with a classic raft of powers like flight and laser hands. Kevin Feige described Captain Marvel (or her pseudonym, Carol Danvers) as the most powerful Marvel superhero yet.

There was no comment from Marvel on which actress will play Danvers, and maybe I can save fan-casting her for another day (hint: Emily Blunt and Natalie Dormer are popular on the aforementioned forums).

The last new property to be introduced during Phase 3 is Inhumans, a bunch of characters I literally know nothing about. Like, at all. Kind of like how I felt when Guardians was first announced. If someone can detail me in the comments, that'd be awesome.

Anyway, these four new franchises show scope from Marvel (they obviously can't rely upon RDJ and Chris Evans to stick around forever), as well as confirming they understand the need to diversify their characters across race and gender. Black Panther and Captain Marvel are a good start on the road away from 100% white, male protagonists. All in all, colour me excited!

Returning Faces


As well as introducing new characters, Phase 3 will see a raft of Marvel heroes return. 

As we learnt a few weeks back, Captain America 3 (subtitled Civil War) will arrive in May 2016 and pit the First Avenger, Captain America, against the Iron Avenger, Iron Man, in an almighty smack-down. The events of this film are reportedly following on from the conclusion of the very dark and gloomy looking Age of Ultron

Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor in Thor: Ragnarok (July 2017), and if my knowledge of Norse mythology serves me well, this third entry into the series will see Thor go up against all sorts of hideous beasties like Fenrir, a gigantic wolf, and J√∂rmungandr, the Midgard Serpent. Or their comic-book counterparts at least. 

Finally, Marvel confirmed that the Guardians of the frickin' Galaxy are indeed retuning, with a scheduled release date of May 2017 for their second intergalactic adventure. 

The Future of Earth's Mightiest Heroes


Josh Brolin as Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy
This is the big one that everyone is talking about - Phase 3 is set to be concluded with a double-whammy of Avengers movies subtitled Infinity War. Part 1 will arrive in 2018, with Part 2 following it 12 months later in 2019. 

The two-parter will be the crescendo (or conclusion?) to everything Marvel has done so far, pitting the Avengers against their greatest foe, Thanos and his terrifying Infinity Gauntlet, on which the various McGuffins from Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy will be placed. 

Now, like most of these story-lines, I know very little about the source texts. I tend to familiarise myself with the comicbooks on which they are based after learning they're being translated for the big screen, and as such, the 'Infinity War' premise is fairly new to me. But, from what I have read, it sounds brilliantly bonkers, a complete culmination of every character you can imagine in one huge throwdown across space, time, reality and all manner of cosmic stuff.

I also like that they're splitting this across two movies, as it'll make for some really epic, but not rushed, character moments and what I can only assume will be the mother of all cliffhangers to Part 1. 

So there we have it - some thoughts on everything Marvel announced for Phase 3 earlier today - what do you guys think? Which movie are you most excited for? Or does the whole thing bore you? Let me know below!  

4 comments:

  1. Nice round up here. Yeah, all this news all at once is quite a bit to take in. In some ways almost overwhelming, even. Still, even so, it's pretty incredible what Marvel is accomplishing here, and all the while doing so without access to any of their actual biggest named properties (Spider-Man, X-Men/Wolverine, Fantastic 4, etc.). And from what little I've heard of the Inhumans, apparently that'll also solve their lack of mutants issue from not having the X-Men to utilize, so there you go! :P

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    1. Thanks Chris :) I'd certainly say its a big overwhelming. Hyping a future film is one thing, but hyping six or seven over the next four years is a bit much, IMO. Part of me wishes they'd just keep them all underwraps until closer to the release date. People would really lose their shit when they realise Infinity War came out six months from now, rather than six years.

      Awesome! Inhumans instead of mutants hey? I can get onboard with that! :)

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  2. I'm so psyched for Thor: Ragnarok, Thor films are my fav standalone movies and this story means the return of Loki and the whole idea of the Apocalypse is going to be such an amazing thing on the big screen. I just wish Hulk and Black Widow would get their movies, how is it possible that BW still doesn't have one. It's ridiculous.

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    1. Yeah, I've been reading up on the whole thing and looks like shit is gonna get really real in Asgard! :D Hulk, I can see why they've not done a second film. But Black Widow, seems like such an integral (and popular) character that it kind of feels like they're missing a beat by not giving her her own film. At least Captain Marvel will fill that 'strong female character' void (to some degree anyway - two is better than one).

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