Marvel Studios has announced its new phase of superhero movies, including new films featuring Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and the Inhumans during a fan event in Hollywood on Tuesday that easily rivaled many of its Comic-Con presentations in San Diego.
The superhero powerhouse also revealed that the third “Avengers” will be broken up into two films, called “Avengers: Infinity War,” set for May 4, 2018 and wrap up on May 3, 2019.
That double-pic strategy has paid off for other film franchises, including “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” and is being embraced by the final installments of “The Hunger Games.”
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed plans reported first by Variety that the third “Captain America” would launch the Civil War storyline from the comicbooks and pit Chris Evans’ Captain America against Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.
However, Marvel had some more news up its sleeve, with the casting of Chadwick Boseman (“42”) as T’Challa, otherwise known as superhero Black Panther, with the character playing a large role in “Captain America: Civil War.” Boseman recently played James Brown in the music biopic “Get On Up.”
Boseman appeared onstage alongside “Captain America: Civil War” stars Evans and Downey inside Disney’s El Capitan Theater.
Marvel later introduced concept art for Black Panther’s design for the films, including a standalone movie dated for Nov. 3, 2017.
The hour-long presentation, for which 1,000 fans started lining up at 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, was packed with updates on Marvel’s upcoming release slate, whose dates were previously announced, but hadn’t yet had a film to fill their slots.
“Captain Marvel” will be Marvel’s first film to star a female character. In this case, the character is Carol Danvers, a member of the United States Air Force who has gone by a variety of names in the comicbooks, including Ms. Marvel. She gains superpowers after her genes are fused with that of the alien race, the Kree.
“This film has been in the works almost as long as ‘Doctor Strange’ or ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ before it came out, and one of the key things was figuring out what we wanted to do with it,” Feige said. “Her adventures are very earthbound, but her powers are based in the cosmic realm.”
With “Inhumans,” about a 7,000-year old group of humans that were experimented on and given powers by the Kree, Marvel has a new set of heroes to introduce. The film will be Marvel’s 20th.
“November 3, 2018 will introduce dozens of characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Feige said. “We really do believe the Inhumans can be a franchise or a series of franchises unto themselves. They have dozens of powers and an amazing social structure. We wanted to continue to refine what that universe is about.”
The third “Thor” installment will be called “Thor: Ragnarok,” with the subtitle meaning “the end of all things,” according to Feige, who added that the film, that stars Chris Hemsworth, “is a very important movie for us in Phase 3. We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and impacts everything that comes after.”
The two films that will make up the third “Avengers” will deal a battle against supervillain Thanos that’s been established through Marvel’s movies so far. The character had a larger role in this summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
“We’ve always had a plan since Nick Fury broke into Tony Stark’s house and told him he’s part of a bigger universe,” Feige said. “‘Avengers: Infinity War Part 1’ is the beginning of the culmination of everything that has come before.”
If Marvel’s presentation looked like one of its Comic-Con presentations, that wasn’t accidental.”We wanted to do this at Comic-Con this year,” Feige said, but had to change its plans after it still needed to work out the Civil War plot, find its Black Panther and see if “Guardians of the Galaxy” would find an audience.
“We really do want the fans to be on the front lines of as much of the information as possible,” he said to a packed theater. “We called you and you came.”
As for the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, or the hiring of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” directors Joe and Anthony Russo for the third “Avengers” films, Feige wouldn’t comment. “Anything that wasn’t revealed today is either not true at all or still rumor until it’s worked out,” he said. “When we have information to reveal, we reveal it. Sometimes it’s on a random Tuesday at 11 a.m.”
Marvel Release Dates Through 2019:
The Avengers: Age of Ultron — May 1, 2015
Ant-Man — July 17, 2015
Captain America: Civil War — May 6, 2016
Doctor Strange — Nov. 4, 2016
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 — May 5, 2017
Thor: Ragnarok — July 28, 2017
Black Panther — Nov. 3, 2017
The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 — May 4, 2018
Captain Marvel – July 6, 2018
Inhumans — Nov. 2, 2018
The Avengers: Infinity War Part II — May 3, 2019