Taking a look at the upcoming slate of Marvel Studios Phase Two...
Iron Man 3 made a pretty big splash as the first film of Marvel Studios’ Phase Two. For those unsure of Marvel’s phases, Phase One included every movie under the Marvel Studios umbrella up through The Avengers. This included Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger, which all culminated in Joss Whedon’s ultimate superhero team up movie.
Phase Two will operate very similarly, with the next film of each franchise leading up to the highly anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron. While we still don’t know of any confirmed plans for another standalone Hulk film with Mark Ruffalo, the open slot in the 2 films a year plan is being filled by a very interesting entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guardians of the Galaxy promises a new direction for Marvel Studios, and opens the doors for a number of films in the MCU unrelated to the Avengers cast of characters.
Without getting too ahead of ourselves, we are going to take a look at what we can expect from Marvel’s Phase Two, starting with the newest addition to the MCU:.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Hype has been building over the first TV series set in the MCU, and for good reasons. Most importantly, Coulson lives! This ABC series will see Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) form a team of operatives to deal with burgeoning superhero population. While not necessarily considered as a part of Marvel Studios Phase Two, we would be foolish not to include Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when discussing the next stage of the MCU.
Joss Whedon shows us not all heroes are super with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Fresh from his role in the summer’s box office smash, Marvel’s The Avengers, Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) returns to the worldwide law enforcement organization S.H.I.E.L.D. He puts together a small, highly trained, team of Agents to tackle the cases that haven’t been classified yet, the new, the strange and the unknown. That team consists of straight arrow Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), an expert in combat and espionage; pilot and martial artist Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen); and brilliant if socially awkward scientists Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). They’ll be joined by civilian new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).
Prepare for an epic adventure that showcases the hope and wonder of the human spirit. This is a world of Super Heroes, aliens and the unusual – of action, spectacle and world spanning stories. The show will speak to the human condition through the lens of our very human, non-powered S.H.I.E.L.D agents – that together we are greater than we are apart, and that we can make a difference in the world.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres Tuesday, September 24th at 8/7c on ABC.
Thor: The Dark World
We have seen a few Thor: The Dark World trailers so far, and they haven’t failed to impress. Alan Taylor’s film looks to draw on the best parts of its predecessor, while expanding on the huge mythology of Thor and Asgard. Most of the original cast is returning, and are this time joined by a few new faces. Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who) as Malekith, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Oz) as Kurse, who are both Dark Elves and will antagonize Thor and his allies.
There is also a rumored appearance by Benicio del Toro as The Collector, but we’ll talk more about him in a bit. Below are some recently released character posters that only amp up the excitement for the November 8th release.
Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Thor: The Dark World opens November 8th, 2013.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
We have yet to see much from Captain America: The Winter Soldier besides a few set pics and a look at the new Cap uniform he will be sporting for part of the movie. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, the film will takes place during the present, and features Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as he continues to adapt to his new life in the modern world.
He will be joined by Scarlett Johannsson, who will be reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is back, and Colbie Smulders Maria Hill is also rumored to make an appearance. We will also see the first appearances of Agent 13 Sharon Carter, played by Emily VanCamp, and Anthony Mackie will be joining up as the Falcon, long time comic book partner of Captain America.
The title of the film is something of a dead giveaway to fans of the series, but the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) will certainly be playing a large role in the film. He isn’t the only ‘villain’ we’ll see. UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre will be playing Batroc the Leaper, and Frank Grillo will be taking on the role of Crossbones, who has frequently crossed paths with Cap over the years. Arnim Zola, played by Toby Jones in The First Avenger is also slated to appear, although hopefully we will see the more recognizable robotic body that allowed him to survive over the years.
At this point we are waiting for the first trailer where will we hopefully learn a bit more about the film and see some more of the great characters that were added to the MCU.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is scheduled for release on April 4th, 2014.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The next film of Phase Two is a departure from the previous releases. No longer are we looking at members of the Avengers, or even an Earth-bound hero team. Guardians of the Galaxy takes us to the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and director James Gunn has assembled a fantastic cast that will fit right into the MCU.
Chris Pratt takes the lead as Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord. That news was well received by pretty much everyone who has ever seen NBC’s Parks and Recreation and enjoyed his turn as Andy Dwyer. Casting announcements came pretty quick after that, and he was joined by Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, and the voice talents of Vin Diesel as Groot, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon.
Facing this unlikely team of heroes will be a number of cosmic characters who can range from villain to hero depending on the day, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser is rumored to be the main bad guy, while the previously-teased Thanos may also have a part to play in the film. Michael Rooker will play Yondu, Djimon Hounsou joined the cast as Korath the Pursuer, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Benicio del Toro as the Collector, a role that is set to have many appearances in the MCU, the first of which will probably be in Thor: The Dark World.
Aside from all the villains, there will be a few friendly faces as well. The addition of Glenn Close as Nova Prime, a role that helps introduce a popular character who is sure to appear elsewhere in the MCU at some point. John C. Reilly will also play a member of the Nova Corps named Rhomann Dey, who is known in the comics as the Xandarian who passed the Nova Force on to the first human Nova Centurion.
Guardians of the Galaxy is currently filming in London, and we have only really seen a brief bit of footage that was shown at Comic-Con, which was pretty amazing. We are definitely looking forward to seeing more from GotG.
Guardians of the Galaxy is currently slated for a July 31st, 2014 release date.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The sequel to the blockbuster hit The Avengers received an official title at Comic-Con and cast the titular villain as well. Avengers: Age of Ultron will end Marvel Studios Phase Two, so we still haven’t heard that much info from the film. The biggest news so far would undoubtedly be the announcement that James Spader will be portraying the ultimate villain, Ultron. Joss Whedon had a bit to say on this casting choice with Lorraine Cink of Marvel’s The Watcher:
“Spader was my first and only choice,” Whedon said, according to Cink. “He’s got that hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling, but he’s also very human and humorous.”
“Ultron is not HAL,” Whedon says, referring to the fictional computer character in 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Spader can play all of the levels. He is the guy to break all of the Avengers into pieces.”
Ultron’s origin will be an original take on the villain’s history, and will fall more in line with the accepted roles of the MCU than the original comic origin. While Ultron was originally created by Hank Pym AKA Ant-Man, the movie version will have Tony Stark to thank for his creation. We will still get to see Hank Pym at some point in the near future, but not in connection with Ultron. Small price to pay for one of the best Avengers villains ever.
There have been a few casting rumors over the last few weeks, the most credible being that Marvel Studios is looking to Elizabeth Olsen for the role of Scarlet Witch, who would be joining the ensemble along with her brother Quicksilver. The roll of Quicksilver was rumored to be going to Aaron Taylor Johnson, but there was again no further news on the rumor. We have yet to receive any confirmation on this possible casting, but you can be sure we will share the news once it is announced.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron will hit theaters on May 1st, 2015.
Technically Ant-Man will kick off Marvel Studios Phase Three, but some recent news warrants a mention. Originally planned for a fall release, Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man was scheduled for November 5, 2015, but has been bumped up a few months for a highly touted summer release. Ant-Man will now hit theaters on July 31. 2015, only two short weeks after the unnamed Batman/Superman film makes its way to the cineplex.
We still don’t have much information on Ant-Man, but Wright has expressed his love for a certain storyline that reveals a path the film could follow. In Marvel Premiere #47, a storyline titled “To Steal an Ant-Man!” introduced the character of Scott Lang as the new Ant-Man. Lang was forced to steal the Ant-Man tech in order to save his daughter, which brought the attention of Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man. We’ll know more once production on Ant-Man begins, which is rumored to start as early as this fall.
Now, what else can we expect for Marvel Studios Phase Three? After Ant-Man, we were told Doctor Strange would be one of the next heroes to join the MCU, and rumored films featuring Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and the Inhumans may also be possible candidates for the cinematic treatment in Phase Three.
Are you excited for the next couple of years of Phase Two? Let us know in the comments section below!
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