Marvel Phase 3 Theory pt. 2: Phase 3 Films
—by Nathan on May 10, 2014—
A little while ago, I posted a blog on how the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 2 films could all tie-together and make way for Marvel's Phase 3. A lot of the theory is just speculation, based on what I know, what I've read, and what I've thought up. I'm not even sure I like how I ended Phase 2 in my mind with Avengers: Age of Ultron: The ignominious defeat of the Avengers (minus the Hulk) at the hands of Ultron and his squadron of AIM and Hydra soldiers. But I also think it could end with the Avengers winning over Ultron. Since I think either way could work, I think I might present this next blog in that fashion. The point of part 2 of my Phase 3 theory is to introduce how Phase 3 movies will tie into the Phase 2 I have envisioned. I might be totally wrong on this, I might be partially right, or I could be totally right! Who knows? This is just how I see it going. Executive producer Kevin Feige has said there will be seven movies in Phase 3, so that's how many I've have.
As I stated in the last blog, it seems like Marvel could be working on two distinct stories, Age of Ultron and the Infinity Gauntlet, with each movie they put switching how each plotline is affected (quick note on Infinity Gems: Six gems in all, four so far have been found and one is speculated...Here's my list: Tesseract is Space Gem, Aether is Power Gem, Loki's staff gem would be Mind Gem, GotG gem could be Reality Gem, and possible Adam Warlock gem would be Soul Gem). This next part of my theory will carry that out. Since Phase 2 is going to end with Age of Ultron, it would make sense that the Infinity Gauntlet story gets carried out. However, Feige has specifically stated that Phase 3 beings with Ant-Man, so I'm starting with him and the Age of Ultron storyline. Ah, Ant-Man. Sounds ridiculous, but they're going through with it. Let's just get this over with, shall we?
ANT-MAN: For Marvel's second 2015 film, it looks like Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) will be creating the shrinking substance (Pym Particle's) that Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) will be using as Ant-Man. In the comics, Ant-Man creates Ultron, which means he might have a hand in that here despite the fact the Ant-Man film comes out after Age of Ultron (even though Whedon has stated Ant-Man has nothing to do with Ultron's creation, there HAS to be a connection somewhere). It's been described as a "heist movie," which seems like a very easy thing for Ant-Man to slip into. But what's he stealing? If the Avengers lose to Ultron, will it be something to help them out? If they win, will it be something to totally destroy Ultron's presence? Director Edgar Wright has said this is a "stand-alone" movie, so the tether to the MU may be thin. Maybe we'll see Ant-Man verses Egghead or Whirlwind. Whatever happens, fans should get ready for a strange story with a tiny hero. At the very least, Ant-Man will kick off Phase 3 and the post-Ultron world. I'll probably know more about this as the year moves on.
THOR 3: RAGNAROK: 2016 may get the jump on with a third Thor flick. The event Ragnarok ("Doom of the Gods" or "Twilight of the Gods") has been talked about in hushed whispers, but it would make for a really interesting storyline. Loki sits on the throne, nobody knows...this means he can secretly plot all kinds of evil without anyone knowing (and it's funny that Odin's wife Frigga died in the last movie; she apparently has the gift of foresight, seeing the future, and she seems to be the one person who could tell Odin isn't really Odin). Loki is the catalyst for Ragnarok in the myth, so he could help push it forward in the film. Before the Norse pantheon knows it, they may be pushed into an all-out war with Frost Giants, Fire Demons, and the like. Whether the Avengers win in Age of Ultron or not, Thor will need to race to Asgard for his final battle with his enemies, including the Midgard Serpent. And in the midst of chaos, as I said in the last blog, in comes Thanos through Loki's back door to swipe the Infinity Gauntlet and the Tesseract (an Infinity Gem)...or Loki takes them to him (I had thought Loki's staff was in Asgard, but Baron Von Strucker and the remnants of Hydra have it). However it happens, it could be that Loki's been manipulating people for a LONG time, ever since the Avengers. The Chitauri invasion was a ploy to get caught, so he could be sent to Asgard (and assure the Tesseract would be there, too), so he could assume the throne, so he could get Thanos his precious baubles.
CAPTAIN AMERICA 3: Not sure of a good subtitle for this. "Project Rebirth" maybe? Let's keep it at Cap 3 for now. At the end of the Winter Soldier, two big things happened, though Red Skull was not one of them: SHIELD, infiltrated for years by Hydra, fell, all their secrets leaked to the public. And Cap decided to go after Bucky, the Winter Soldier. So what now? How will the events of Age of Ultron affect this third installment? Ultron's rise interrupts Cap's search for a bit, maybe, especially if he loses at the end. But Cap may once be back on the trail after Bucky, who may very well be on his own mission to destroy the fiends who made him a deadly assassin. With SHIELD decimated (especially if Ultron IS a rogue robot of theirs), Cap may have to stake out on his own, a wanderer across the country, not sure who exactly to trust. Hopefully, we've see more villains than just Hydra again; probably Crossbones, who could be hunting Cap himself. I see a lot of tracking and hunting in this film. We've had a war movie, we've had a political thriller, and it could all be wrapped up in a survival flick. Getting Cap out to see how the country has changed so much would be a lot of fun. After Age of Ultron, he'll need it, probably.
DOCTOR STRANGE: Thank you, Jasper Sitwell, for confirming this one for us. Even though you're a Hydra jerk that eventually got pasted, we are still in your debt. Doctor Stephen Strange, Marvel's resident Sorcerer Supreme, may be hitting theaters in a few years, giving us an interesting origin story. Strange's origin is one of struggle and desperation, and that will be cool to see on screen. It may also introduce the Ancient One (Strange's mentor), Baron Mordo (a jealous pupil), and Dormammu (a fiery dude who would also add to Marvel's "cosmic being" list) as the main villain. Fans wonder if Strange's Eye of Agamatto is the final Infinity Gem, the Reality Gem. It could be, which would put Strange into Thanos' line of sight as well. A cosmic villain team-up? It should be fun for Marvel to dive into the realm of magic with this movie, racing towards the Infinity Gauntlet story.
INCREDIBLE HULK 2: The fans loved the Hulk in Avengers, and Ruffalo makes a great Banner, so why not another film? Will this be a Planet Hulk movie, though? I speculated on that in the last blog, but I believe it's a little too far-fetched. So right now, I'm keeping Hulk on Earth. What I think fans really want to see is the Hulk stare down the Abomination again and even the Leader, who was teased way back in 2008. Hulk's supposed to have a lot of screen time in Age of Ultron, so hopefully he'll be able to smash Ultron around a bit. But what's next to the Not-So-Jolly Green Giant? In the wake of Ultron, heroes may be a little less-trusted, even if he is beaten. Monsters like the Hulk more so. So Hulk is, once again, a wanderer, especially if there's any hard feelings between him and the team. And then here comes the Leader and the Abomination to smash him around a little bit. Like Iron Man 3, maybe this film wouldn't do as much to lead into Avengers 3. I think it could more of a fun Hulk film that the fans really want. End credits scenes could tie into Thanos or something, but I don't see much of a connection between the Green Goliath and our purple alien friend.
BLACK PANTHER: Ant-Man 2015, Thor and Cap 2016, and Strange and Hulk 2017. Black Panther has been considered for a solo film, and maybe he'll get one in 2018, probably before Avengers 3. So what does the Wakandian king bring to the table? Here's an idea: Introduce him in Cap 3. Not kidding. Cap is on the run, maybe his shield gets lost or broken. Where can he get another? Oh, yeah. Wakanda, cause they have vibranium. Easy way to set up Black Panther. He's heard of these heroes, he's even met one, and now he wants to become one. In the comics, T'Challa becomes the Black Panther to avenge (ah...) his father's death by Klaw. They probably won't have Klaw (Fox may have rights to him for FF), but some other villain would work. And maybe Hydra or AIM would be interested in vibranium, so now Black Panther has to defend his homeland from them. Hence the reason he gets involved with the Avengers. Which story this may add to, I'm not sure. With Hydra looking into Loki's staff, maybe vibranium works to stablize it? There's an Infinity Gauntlet connection. Or it could just be fun origin story that brings the hero into the Marvel fold. Should be interesting, either way.
AVENGERS 3: THE INFINITY GAUNTLET: SHIELD? Fallen. Avengers? Not the heroes they once were, now wandering around a bit. Asgard? Crushed, maybe with Thor dead. But we still have Hulk, Cap, Iron Man, Quickilver, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Ant Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and maybe the Guardians. Seems like a lot of heroes, but the Infinity Gauntlet comic had a lot of heroes. So now we've got this super-team facing down Thanos and his gem-studded fist. With the Gauntlet, Thanos is super-powerful, able to bend reality and time and all kinds of stuff. So these heroes will have to work together in order to bring him down. It'll be a huge slugfest, absolutely huge. Maybe of intergalactic preportions. And the whole world will be watching. Once again, Earth is plunged into danger and the Avengers need to save her. Coming off of a stinky Ultron confrontation, they need to get their confidence back, they need to show that world that they truly are Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Cue music. Cue action and explosions. This movie is gonna be huge.
The Marvel Universe is expanding. Rapidly. It's cool, it's fun, it's a comic geek's dream. However it happens, whether I'm kinda right or now, it should be really neat to see how these little pieces that have been hinted at all fit together. With Marvel having plans until 2028 or something like that, we've got a lot of movies to go. Should be really, really awesome.