Marvel Worldwide Inc. (under its parent company Marvel Entertainment, owned by Walt Disney) is the American company that publishes the Marvel comics. These comics flesh out the Marvel Universe, a fictional one in which the adventures of those superhero characters created and/or owned by Marvel take place. Heroes such as The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Spider-man, The Avengers, Iron Man etc.
It is worth noting that as the various comics were published it became clear that the Marvel Universe accepts the concept of a “multiverse”, meaning that the possibility for possible parallel plots in thousands of other universes exists for all stories. As such, the “original” universe, if you will, meaning that in which the main continuity takes place, has been identified as “Earth-616”.
With us so far? Good. Because it gets a bit more complicated.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is the media franchise consisting of a series of superhero films set in the Marvel Universe. And Disney is ambitious, because it’s a pretty big series. (The competition from Warner Bros., with their DC comics based DC Extended Universe probably has something to do with it too).
It’s so big that it is broken up into phases (like a military campaign, you ask?).
Phase 1 lasted from 2008 to 2012 and is made up of the movies: “Iron Man” (2008), “The Incredible Hulk” (2008), “Iron Man 2” (2010), “Thor” (2011), “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011) and “The Avengers” (2012).
Phase 2 started in 2013 with “Iron Man 3”. Then, until its conclusion in 2015, the following movies came out: “Thor The Dark World” (2013), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014), “Guardians Of The Galaxy” (2014), “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” (2015) and “Ant-Man” (2015).
Regarding the future, due to the various changes in release dates quite recently announced (most recent on the 8th of October), it is yet unclear whether the movies announced are part of a single Phase 3 or whether Marvel plans a Phase 3 and a Phase 4.
What is clear is that Marvel has planned and announced movies set in the MCU until 2020. And judging by their most recent post, it would appear that Phase 3 extends from 2016 to 2020. So let’s assume that there is just a Phase 3 for the moment, until an official declaration clarifies things.
Anyway, it’s unimportant whether there are 2 phases or just 1. What is important is that among the movies announced until 2020 there are 3 of them whose title has not yet been released. But the movies themselves have been confirmed. So, the big hype now is all about those movies’ theme. Which superhero(es) will they present? What story.
A little guesswork in the complicated Marvel Cinematic Universe is in order.
The movies whose titles have been confirmed are: “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “Doctor Strange” (2016), “Guardians Of The Galaxy vol. 2” (2017), “Spider-man” (2017) – a reboot, “Thor: Ragnarock” (2017), “The Black Panther” (2018), “The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1” (2018), “Ant-Man And The Wasp” (2018), “Captain Marvel” (2019), “The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2” (2019), “Inhumans” (2019).
Looking at the release year of movies for each phase we can see Disney has a penchant for patterns. To be more precise, the number of movies released in the same year, per each phase is as follows:
Phase 1: 2 – 1 – 2 – 1
Phase 2: 2 – 2 – 2
Phase 3: 2 – 3 – 3 – 3 – (3?)
With the last (3?) representing the 3 mysterious movies set to be released in 2020.
These patterns look like a thorough, thought-of marketing strategy, which seems to warm audiences to the MCU by starting Phase 1 strong with 2 movies, to keep them interested, then releasing 1 more the next year so as not to spam yet, but still keep them hooked. Then releasing two more the next year for a surge, then toning it down with just 1 movie “tease” in order to prepare Phase 2, which goes all the way with 2 movies/year.
Though Phase 2 has the same number of movies in it (6), it is more “intense”, as it is shorter than Phase 1 (which lasted 4 years), Phase 2 running for 3 years. And this build-up goes all the way to Phase 3 which, in the span of just 5 years will bring 14 movies to the public! More than double the number of movies Phase 1 had with just an extra year longer. Pretty good build-up, eh?
Of course, it could just be that it’s NOT a marketing strategy and is in fact an Illuminati scheme to take over the world! (Wait! I’m confused… From themselves? Since everyone knows they rule it … Maybe it’s some weird “Capture The Flag” style tournament they hold once in a while in which they pass the rule from one family to another… Whatever.).
Back to patterns, another predilection of Disney’s regarding the MCU, is doing things in threes. Each hero OR team of heroes centered story has three installments or is planned to have three installments. Best example? “Iron Man 1”, “Iron Man 2”, “Iron Man 3”. Robert Downey Jr.’s official declaration confirms beyond a doubt that there are no plans for a fourth one. The Captain America cycle was also confirmed to end with “Captain America: Civil War” by producer Kevin Feige.
And finally, the last clue we get is the pattern of sequels and “introductory” or “original” movies. Which is as follows:
Phase 1: 5 original / 1 sequel
Phase 2: 2 originals / 4 sequels
Phase 3: 5 originals / 6 sequels / 3 ???
Looks like the number of originals is set to grow each phase?
Anyway, in essence, because Iron Man has 3 installments and Captain America, Thor and The Avengers will also have 3 installments confirmed in Phase 3, the possible choices left for the three unannounced titles in this phase are: Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Spider-man, Doctor Strange, The Black Panther, Captain Marvel or Inhumans sequels, OR new detailed/original movies for other Marvel heroes (of which there are many).
Of the sequels, a Hulk one would encounter some legal difficulties as Universal has distribution rights, so that seems unlikely. And Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, The Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Inhumans have movies with release dates too close to 2020.
Therefore, the plausible choices for sequels seem to be those of: Guardians Of The Galaxy (almost certainly) and… Spider-man. As for the original/detailing installments, a Black Widow movie seems most plausible, a fact that even Feige declared that he would like to see happening.
So, what do you think about the guesswork performed and the conclusions reached? Leave a comment if you have a different reasoning oooor if you’ve managed to find the secret Illuminati message in the patterns.
Image source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.