Marvel Phase Four began with Black Widow and is set to conclude with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, released this November. But what about Marvel Phase Five, as confirmed at the recent Comic-Con? Here's the Cineworld blog lowdown.
CONFIRMED MARVEL PHASE FIVE MOVIES
1. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (released 17th February 2023)
Both Ant-Man movies have proved critical and commercial success stories, plunging us into the world of miniature thief-turned-superhero Scott Lang (the ever-likeable Paul Rudd).
In 2018, sequel Ant-Man And The Wasp introduced the notion of the Quantum Realm, an area in which any human conception of time ceases to exist. It was into this realm that Scott disappeared, before re-emerging five years later in Avengers: Endgame. Many correctly predicted that the Quantum Realm would have a bearing on the storyline of Endgame, and indeed it did, as our superhero collective splintered the space-time continuum to reclaim the infinity stones.
While Scott and his quantum knowledge proved to be unexpected saviours in Endgame, it remains to be seen where his own story will go in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. We've already seen his brief reunion with his grown-up daughter Cassie (played in the upcoming movie by Kathryn Newton), so maybe a third movie will explore how he's coming to terms with that loss of five years. We're also curious as to how Scott's allies Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), both of whom were present at the funeral of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in Endgame, will play their part.
Director Peyton Reed is back behind the camera and based on the previous two movies, we can expect a zippy, humorous, palate-cleanser of a movie. The title of the movie tells us two things. Firstly, that Hope van Dyne will again be front and centre, as per the 2018 movie. Secondly, we have a lot more to learn about the mysteries of the Quantum Realm.
"Kicking off Phase 5 is really exciting for us, because, we’re the Ant-Man movies," Reed told Access. "It’s our third movie. It’s this trilogy now. But things happen in this movie that are going to change the Marvel Cinematic Universe permanently. And it’s fun for us that Scott Lang is at the center of that change."
Phase 5 kicks off in 2023 with Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. https://t.co/8nCJUeKyRp— Ant-Man (@AntMan) July 24, 2022
Michael Douglas will be reprising his role as Scott Lang's mentor (and Hope's father) Hank Pym, the original designer of the Ant-Man suit. And Michelle Pfeiffer returns from the 2018 movie as Pym's wife Janet van Dyne. Lovecraft Country's Jonathan Majors, meanwhile, will be making his MCU movie debut as Kang the Conqueror.
In fact, Quantumania sets up Kang as a key player in the MCU: he will take pride of place in the Marvel Phase Six movie Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, to be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton.
2. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 (released 5th May 2023)
The third Guardians movie has had a bumpy journey en route to the big screen. Initially, writer-director James Gunn was set to round off the pop-infused, candy-coloured nirvana that had made the first two Guardians movies such a joy. But tweets dredged up from the filmmaker's past led to his sacking from the project, to the anger of the film's actors, including Dave Bautista.
In the aftermath, Gunn agreed to helm the Suicide Squad reboot for rival studio DC. Subsequently, he's been reinstated as the director of Guardians Vol. 3, although all the disruption has bumped the release date back.
Whatever happens, we can't wait to be re-acquainted with Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and the gang. At the end of Avengers: Endgame, the Guardians took off into space with Thor (Chris Hemsworth), so we might expect some overlap with the different Marvel properties. Gunn has even released Meredith Quill's complete Awesome Mix to tide us over until more news comes in.
The trailer for Guardians Vol. 3 played at Comic-Con 2022 although at the time of writing, it's yet to be released online. Gunn was joined onstage by Guardians vets Chris Pratt, Pom Klementieff and his brother Sean Gunn (who provides mo-cap movement for Rocket Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper).
New additions to the Guardians cast, who were also present in Hall H at Comic-Con: Will Poulter's Adam Warlock, teased during the Guardians Vol. 2 post-credits scene. We'll also bid welcome to Chukwudi Iwuji, who is set to portray the villainous High Evolutionary. The latter turned up in costume to signal his arrival in the MCU.
The story sees Pratt's Peter Quill reeling from the loss of Zoe Saldana's Gamora. In James Gunn's words, Quill must "rally his team around him to defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them."
Gunn describes the movie as "an incredibly emotional story", telling IGN that it's "much more mature than the other Guardian stories in a way because, you know, we started making these movies that were 10, 11 years old when they saw the first one, and now they're 20, 21 years old. The movie has grown up with them."
3. The Marvels (released 28th July 2023)
Released in 2019, Captain Marvel unleashed Oscar-winner Brie Larson as the eponymous Marvel superhero. The movie acts as a jigsaw, re-constructing Captain Marvel's memory as she recalls her human life as pilot Carol Danvers. And because the film is set in 1995, it allows de-ageing CGI to reach new heights with its depiction of the younger Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the movie eventually soared to grosses of more than $1 billion worldwide. It remains to be seen how The Marvels will continue Carol's journey – the last we saw of her, she assisted in the fight against Thanos (Josh Brolin) during the climax of Avengers: Endgame. This was, of course, made possible by the all-encompassing powers that we saw her achieve at the end of the solo Captain Marvel movie.
In Avengers: Endgame, Carol alludes to having been away from Earth, assisting other planets who don't have an Avengers initiative to save the day. Might we see some of those adventures in the sequel? One thing is likely: a continuation of the Skrulls' storyline, the shape-shifting aliens initially established as the villains in Captain Marvel, before later being revealed as the victims of the insidious Kree regime, to which Captain Marvel herself once belonged.
Candyman helmer Nia DaCosta will direct while new faces Iman Vellani and Teyonah Parris will be joining the cast. Both actors will be incorporated from their respective Disney+ projects, playing Ms Marvel and the grown-up Monica Rambeau (from WandaVision), respectively.
4. Captain America: New World Order (released May 3rd 2024)
Upon the retirement of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is now set to adopt the mantle of the Star Spangled Man. Following the events of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which paired Wilson with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), the former now becomes a new Captain America for a troubled new age.
Luce and The Cloverfield Paradox director Julius Onah is at the helm of the fourth Captain America movie. Scroll down to check out the title treatment for the penultimate Marvel Phase Five movie, as revealed at Comic-Con 2022.
5. Thunderbolts (released July 26th 2024)
Marvel Phase Five will conclude with the Thunderbolts movie, directed by Robot & Frank and Paper Towns helmer Jake Schreier.
So, who are the Thunderbolts? Broadly speaking, within Marvel Comics lore, they're a group of anti-heroes that consists of reformed Marvel villains. (Think of them as the Marvel equivalent of the Suicide Squad.) The history of the collective is a complicated one, and it's unclear how the comics history will translate into the finished film.
However, a recent Variety article speculates that the MCU likes of Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Ghost (Hannah John Kamen), Abomination (Tim Roth) and Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko) could make an appearance. All four characters were members of the Thunderbolts collective in the comics, so maybe this isn't such a pipedream after all?
We'll find out for certain when the movie rounds off Marvel Phase Five in two years' time.
6. Blade (released 6th September 2024)
The Black Panther movie wasn't the first big-screen comic book blockbuster to showcase a black superhero. Back in 1998, actor Wesley Snipes portrayed maverick vampire-hunter Blade in the gnarly and blood-soaked Marvel movie of the same name. Preceding all thoughts of a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the first Blade film is far tougher and nastier than many of its successors, a facet that landed it with an 18 certificate in the UK.
The current wave of comic book epics owes itself to Blade, which arrived to tear up the big screen even before the first X-Men film. Snipes' stylish title character, who mixes martial arts, weaponry and swishy trench coats, appeared in two more films in 2002 and 2005, before being put on ice. The first of those was directed by Guillermo Del Toro, and was good, gory fun. The last film, Blade: Trinity, was critically mauled and dogged by reports of Snipes' bizarre on-set behaviour.
Very soon, Blade is returning to reassert his dominance, as played by Mahershala Ali. The actor has swiftly ascended the Hollywood ranks to nab Oscars for his roles in Moonlight and Green Book, and the prospect of him playing Marvel's 'day-walker' is enormously exciting.
Snipes has given his blessing to Ali's casting, stating: "Honor and respect to the grandmaster Stan [Lee]. Congratulations and Salaam to Mahershala Ali, a beautiful and talented artist whose expressions I look forward to experiencing for many years to come. Inshallah, we will someday work together. “Most importantly to my loyal fans, the incredible outpouring of love is overwhelming. I am grateful for the never-ending support. So, ‘nah fret nah worry, it’s not de end of de story.’ Welcome to the Daywalker Klique."
The news was made public at Comic-Con 2019, attended by Ali and Kevin Feige. The director is Bassam Tariq who helmed the terrific indie music drama Mogul Mowgli, starring Riz Ahmed. Blade is set to go into production this year, so keep your eyes peeled on the blog for more details.
UPDATE: It has been confirmed that Bassam Tariq is no longer helming the Blade movie, and the film has been put on production pause (hence the new release date) while the script is worked on and a new filmmaker is located.
7. Deadpool 3 (released 8th November 2024)
It can't have escaped you that Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is returning for Deadpool 3. Yes, the thought-to-be-dead Logan is teaming up with Ryan Reynolds' mouthy merc in the third, sure-to-be-anarchic Deadpool movie. We're imagining it takes place before the events of 2017's tragic Logan, right? Mind you, given that this is Deadpool, it can gleefully offer a fourth-wall-breaking middle finger to any kind of franchise consistency and chronology.
The news all but confirms the long-awaited arrival of the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was alluded to in 2022's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but then savagely dropped in a blast of ultraviolent mayhem. It is also, of course, Deadpool's very own debut in the MCU, and it remains to be seen if his usual savage edge will be neutered somewhat.
We hope not. Deadpool 3 will be directed by Shawn Levy who guided Reynolds to box office success (and a potential new franchise) with 2021's Free Guy. Stay updated here on the blog and our social channels for more news about Deadpool 3 as it comes in. For the time being, here's that gloriously offhand video that confirmed Jackman's involvement in the new Deadpool project.
Which Marvel Phase Five movie are you most excited about seeing? Let us know @Cineworld.
In the meantime, you can now book your Cineworld tickets for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, releasing on November 11.