San Diego International Comic-Con (SDCC) is looming, and as always, Marvel is demanding all eyes on it as it unveils its updated film-release-date schedule. It’s the hype before the hype; get people talking about what those dates could possibly mean before any announcements are made. The Marvel folks have added five new dates to two previous ones, with nary a title announcement in sight. That brings the total up to seven unknown Marvel films.

Let’s dive in! Here are the dates we do know:

Guardians of the Galaxy August 1, 2014

– Avengers: Age of Ultron May 1, 2015

 Ant-Man July 17, 2015

– Captain America 3 (Not the official title, this may get a formal title at SDCC ala The Winter Soldier) May 6, 2016

The rest of the announced schedule looks like this so far:

– Untitled Film, July 8, 2016

– Untitled Film, May 5, 2017

– Untitled Film, July 28, 2017

– Untitled Film, November 3, 2017

– Untitled Film, July 6, 2018

– Untitled Film, November 2, 2018

– Untitled Film, May 3, 2019

Marvel has signed Scott Derrickson for Doctor Strange and that July 8 date seems timed right for it, especially if production starts creeping forward soon (even more likely if Marvel announces the actor playing Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts, at SDCC). It seems apparent that May 5, 2017 date is for Avengers 3 (can we start calling it Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet yet?). That leaves the remaining five dates as the mysteries.

We’re going to guess that two of those dates are sequels. We like July 28, 2017 for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and November 3, 2017 for Thor 3. That would put Guardians 2 released in the same window as this year, only three years later — pretty standard turnaround for a Marvel sequel. Thor 3 feels like a given at some point and Marvel has proven it can draw audiences with Thor in that pre-Thanksgiving holiday release date. Thor 3‘s plot is anybody’s guess at this point, though fans are clamoring for Thor characters Beta Ray Bill and Enchantress to make their Marvel cinematic universe debut at some point.

If we’re right, an updated schedule would look like this:

– Guardians of the Galaxy, August 1, 2014

– Avengers: Age of Ultron, May 1, 2015

– Ant-Man, July 17, 2015

– Captain America 3 (Not the official title, this may get a formal title at SDCC ala The Winter Soldier), May 6, 2016

– Doctor Strange, July 8, 2016

– Avengers 3, May 5, 2017

– Guardians of the Galaxy 2, July 28, 2017

– Thor 3, November 3, 2017

– Untitled Film, July 6, 2018

– Untitled Film, November 2, 2018

– Untitled Film, May 3, 2019

That leaves three “mystery spots.” One of those, May 3, 2019 is prime real estate. Movies released the first week of May are tailor-made to kick off the summer movie season and the date is so far out there at this point that it wouldn’t surprise me at all for May 3, 2019 to be Avengers 4. Maybe it will be titled New Avengers to accommodate a modified roster, as it’s expected that some of Avengers’ core cast will move on before 2019, and begin a new trilogy of Avengers films.

If that’s true, then there are two remaining slots for nonsequel Marvel films. The most requested color character films from fans are Black Widow, Black Panther and Captain Marvel. I think the July 6 date could work for any of the them, but if we were forced to choose between just those three, Captain Marvel is the one that feels the most right. If the schedule doesn’t change, that means July 6 is the only Marvel Studios film for the summer of 2018. Captain Marvel is the character amongst those three that lends itself to the most summer spectacle (with her alien origins and limitless storyline potential). Black Widow is grounded in “real world” espionage (as real as Marvel gets anyway), which sort of reduces its cache as Marvel’s sole release for that summer, and Black Panther, sadly, just doesn’t feel like a priority for Marvel at this time (but the studio could surprise us).

November 2, 2018 looks perfect for The Inhumans. It has the same kind of cosmic fantasy that Thor delivers (in the same proven box office release window) and it’s a property that Marvel is keenly interested in cultivating both in comics and on the screen. We’ve often wondered how these characters — otherworldly descendants of alien experimentation on human DNA — would translate to film, but two recent comic book examples, Inhuman and Ms. Marvel, chronicle regular folks whose entire world is turned upside down when they discover they have latent Inhuman genes that give them superpowers. Either Dante from Inhuman or Kamala Khan from Ms. Marvel would provide perfectly relatable characters to guide audiences into the larger, unbelievable world of the Inhumans.

We’ll know more the evening of July 26 when Marvel presents its panel at San Diego’s notorious Hall H. Maybe we’re right across the board, but knowing the people at Marvel, they’ll surprise us. And that’s perfectly fine! As fans, we’d rather be surprised than right! Still doesn’t make it any less fun to make an educated guess.


What do you think Marvel Studios has up its sleeve?



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