Saturday, July 27, 2013

Focusing On The Now

Kevin Feige, President of Production of Marvel Studios, recently said that any more announcements concerning the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe won't be made until next year at the earliest...

To me, I think Feige is simply saying, "Let's focus on what's going on now. Phase 3? We'll save all of that for later." So far, all we know about Phase 3 is that Ant-Man (from the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy director Edgar Wright) is penciled in for a November 6, 2015 release. We also know that three more projects are scheduled for May 6, 2016, July 8, 2016 and May 5, 2017. Doctor Strange is certainly in the cards, Black Panther may be as well. Everything else is up in the air at the moment, though Marvel has expressed interest in characters like Vision, Cable, Iron Fist, Nighthawk and a few others for solo films.

I have my theories as well, but nothing for Phase 3 is really set in stone yet. In fact, Ant-Man is probably going to be moved to the May 2016 date that Marvel secured over a month ago because Sony is planning to open Bond 24 the same day. There's nowhere else for Ant-Man to move, really. I can't see Disney moving it a week back, because more competition such as the final Hunger Games film stands in its way. I'd say 90% chance it moves, which would also make sense since Phase 2 kicked off nearly a year after The Avengers opened. It gives audiences a little time to breathe.

Phase 2's ambitions, I believe, are part of the reason why Marvel won't make any more big Phase 3 announcements. Feige probably feels that people should focus on the 2nd Phase, so no one really plans ahead. We may make predictions for what will come after The Avengers 3, but I think they don't even have an idea of what's coming after Ant-Man... Yet... Either that, or they do know and they just won't tell us, which could very well be the case. In the meantime, Marvel probably wants us to just focus on the Phase 2 films. But I like to predict the future, and many others do too, so...

My other theory is that Marvel and Feige might be planning (or at least thinking about) bigger things... Bigger things as in Sony collaborating with Disney/Marvel to fully bring Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

At Comic-Con, Andrew Garfield (who plays Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man) said that he'd love to see Spider-Man with the Avengers. A lot of us do, since he was an Avenger... But for the longest time, Sony seemed to want no part in any of the MCU, hoping to keep making billions off of future Spider-Man films. After all, they announced that a third and a fourth installment in this series are already planned for release in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

After discussing the studio's future with a fellow Marvel and Disney fan, PJ Campell (Twitter / Blog), it now seems likely to me that the web-slinger might be fighting alongside Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and the like. He said...

"I fully believe that Marvel and Sony have already taken meetings to try and cross their universes. Attempting to add Oscorp Tower in The Avengers proves that there is a solid working relationship between the two, and that they’re at least open to the idea of them wanting it to happen. I think it's more a matter of when, not if."

It's very possible that Marvel and Sony are already discussing this, despite the fact that they have two more Spider-Man films planned after The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He also thinks that director Marc Webb's recent comments about the fourth film being more than a Spider-Man film definitely has something to do with the MCU... Perhaps it'll feature MCU characters in it? Or it'll be what some others are predicting, perhaps the Sinister Six? PJ also adds...

"... If Marvel and Sony strike a deal, Phase 3 will see Spider-Man’s full reveal in that universe. Either that, or a dimension crossing Spider-Man, like in Spider-Men, the Marvel comics crossover. Either way, I see him finding his way into Phase 3 of the MCU, maybe before his encounter with the Sinister Six."

Another fellow Disney and Marvel enthusiast, Tyler Kelso (Twitter / Podcast / Blog), thinks the fourth film will deal with the Sinister Six. He also had this say about Feige's recent comments and Marvel's plans...

"He's working on something BIG, many have said (I disagree) that DC knocked out Marvel with Batman/Superman at SDCC. But I think Feige won the whole of SDCC film-wise. For a year everyone thought the main baddy in Avengers 2 would be Thanos, then Joss announced Ultron, 
which proved to me that they've been planning out 5 steps ahead of where they are all along, making Thanos be like a puppet master sending pawns to Earth (first Loki w/ Chitauri, now Ultron)..."

"I think he might be waiting to confirm anything for Phase 3 beyond Ant-Man to see how the Fantastic 4 reboot goes because being a little over a month from shooting and NO confirmed casting. I think that the rights should go back to Marvel so that he'll [Feige] want to put Fantastic 4 in Phase 3. As far as the potential to add in Wolverine/X-Men & Spidey... Those are trickier to call. If you believe John Campea the odds of it are slim to none... I think if any characters currently owned by Fox and Sony were to make it in to the film it would be Wolverine and Spidey. As long as it's Hugh Jackman and Andrew Garfield, I'm happy. But I think what is more likely to happen in regard to that potential is seeing nods to those characters like having the Daily Bugle in a city scene, same with Mr. Fantastic's home in a city scape... (Like how the one for S.H.I.E.L.D. has Stark Tower in it.)

"Plus it's possible that Feige wants to wait to make Phase 3 announcements until he can potentially iron out some rights agreements with Fox... Plus to be fair, we didn't know what Phase 2 would look like until the year before Avengers, yeah we knew about Iron Man 3 (we know about Ant-Man) but we didn't know it would have Thor and Cap sequels until those movies came out and I don't remember hearing about Guardians until SDCC '12, so it seems right that we'd hear more next summer. I definitely like where they are going..."

Tyler brings up a very good point. Fox surprised some at this year's Comic-Con with no hints on The Fantastic Four, which is shooting soon with no cast (Jurassic Park IV's most recent delay, anyone?) and it's set for a March 6, 2015 release.

Perhaps Feige is waiting to see how things will turn out with this somewhat-promising reboot (Chronicle director Josh Trank is at the helm, for starters), but Tyler thinks that the rights should revert back to Marvel, so that the team will be part of Phase 3. Maybe that's what Feige might be planning, since The Fantastic Four doesn't seem to show any big box office potential just yet... Plus, what if it's a rush-job? If a delay happens, we may have a new set of theories concerning this one film.

As for X-Men, PJ had this to add...

"I want to believe that Fox would want the crossover, but honestly, after this whole Quicksilver incident, I think they made their stance very clear: They want nothing to do with Marvel. They think they can exist without them. No matter how badly fans, or even Hugh Jackman want it to happen, the events of the last month scream Fox has thrown down the gauntlet, severing chances of a crossover.

Unless, somehow at the last minute, they come to terms and use the same Quicksilver from Days of Future Past in Avengers 2, but I honestly won’t hold my breath. Down the line, maybe? But for the foreseeable future, I don’t think there’s a chance of it happening."

I'd have to agree with him on Fox's current X-Men franchise not crossing over with Marvel's because the continuity of that series will contradict the MCU since the first X-Men film debuted eight years before Iron Man. That franchise and its established universe was already set in stone, with two sequels and a prequel in development before 2008. It's simply in another cinematic universe, so I can't see Fox merging that one with the MCU... Though it would be cool to see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine with the Avengers... But that would only mix things up if you ask me.

Since Fox having their X-Men film series cross over with the MCU is out of the question, what will happen if the X-Men rights eventually revert back to Marvel? PJ had this to say...

"If Marvel ever gets the rights back, the universe will be rebooted, I can almost guarantee it. I think Fox’s franchise may be waining once Jackman leaves. Without him as the face, I’m not sure their series will last."

To add to that, a full reboot would probably not occur until 2020 at the least. Fox is gung-ho with their X-Men plans, especially since X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine have gotten better reception. They're gearing up for X-Men: Days of Future Past, big time. An X-Force film and a Deadpool film are also in the cards, so they'll be making X-Men films until the franchise fatigue kicks in. The question is... When will that be? When will Hugh Jackman finally call it quits? Also, will Marvel reboot it for the MCU 5-10 years after the original Fox series wraps up? Or will it be seen as unnecessary since the X-Men film series was already big?

For the sake of comparison, the original Spider-Man film series was just a trilogy, the planned fourth film became the reboot. Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is its own special entity, but audiences probably won't mind a new Batman in the Man of Steel sequel (or is it really a sequel to that film?), because Batman has been rebooted several times with different actors. X-Men on the other hand is one big franchise that's been firing on all cylinders for nearly 13 years with one trilogy, a potential second one and two spin-offs about Wolverine... And perhaps more! So far (counting Days), we have 7 films! I'm not sure how a reboot would work out for this series since it's already so big! What do you think?

What are your theories on Marvel's plans? Do you think Sony will bring Spider-Man into the MCU? Or not? Do you think the Fantastic Four will eventually become part of the MCU? Sound off below!


  1. I just don't understand. If Disney was able to buy the Marvel rights from Paramount, why couldn't they do that with Sony and Fox? Maybe there's an easy, obvious answer for that, but right now, I don't get it...

    1. I think it is in part because when Disney bought Marvel Paramount had only put out 1 movie already being Iron Man. Everything else avter that has been since disney owned Marvel as a whole. sony had already done a full trilogy for Spiderman and was prepping Amazing Spiderman, and Fox has made 2 Fantastic 4 movies plus has 6 X-men movies out with a 7th on the way

  2. @Mychael - Disney only had to buy distribution rights from Paramount, not the entire rights to the characters. Marvel already owned those rights. In order to buy Spider-Man and the X-Men universes, respectively, back from both studios, you're looking at least $2-$4 billion more on just those alone. When you figure that they bought the entire Marvel house for $4 in its entirety, it doesn't seem like that would be the best way to spend the money. Either, they'll wait until those series start to underperform, hoping that the rights will cheapen because of it, or once they decide they need to have them, will make an offer to buy the rights out right. But that's a long time down the road. The best we can hope for is co-productions with all the studios for now.