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Marvel’s ‘Phase 3’ – Explaining and Predicting


In anticipation for San Diego Comic Con 2014, there has been countless speculation as to what “Phase 3” of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe will look like, following Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.  While SDCC ‘14 will bring us most of Marvel Studios’ plans for their next batch of films, as per usual, we won’t know for certain until July (assuming no previous announcements are let slip).

As of right now, the only Phase 3 film that has been announced is Ant-Man, which is set for a July 31st, 2015 release, just two months after Age of Ultron. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has also said before that Doctor Strange is a almost definitely a planned character to appear in the near future.


Other characters that fans hope will be introduced soon include Black Panther, Inhumans, as well as the long-awaited Incredible Hulk sequel, which would star Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner.

However, while all of these ideas should definitely happen, recall that Marvel Studios has things planned out until 2021; which means that Marvel doesn’t necessarily need to rush through any of their projects just to get them on screen as soon as possible.

And while new characters are always fun, let us not forget that the MCU already has four main characters in their films that need to be kept relevant if they are going to appear in Avengers 3 in 2018.


Sequels for Captain America, Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man should see the light of day somewhere in the mix, rather than being forgotten for a number of years at a time. Odds are the next time we’ll see Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark after Age of Ultron probably won’t be for three years until Avengers 3, unless he appears in between with a cameo role.

See what I mean?  Marvel needs to be well-balanced with introducing new characters, as well as keeping the stories of their established heroes running. Phase 2 has accomplished that well so far, known by me as the “sequel phase”, while introducing Cap 2, Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, but at the same time introducing a major team franchise in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Kevin Feige has said that “in an ideal world” it would be nice to have one new character and one existing character showcased each year, and it seems likely that this will be the case in Phase 3.


Very recently, Screen Rant compiled a list of what the MCU’s Phase 3 may end up looking like, and I gotta say I can’t help but agree for the most part. Here’s what I think will go down between 2015 and 2018:

  • Ant-Man (July 31st, 2015)
  • Thor 3 (May 6th, 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (July 8th, 2016)
  • Captain America 3 (May 5th, 2017)
  • Doctor Strange (July 2017)
  • Avengers 3 (May 2018)

Let’s face it; Thor 3 is going to happen either way. With the way Thor: The Dark World ended, it’s simply inevitable. It’d be best if Marvel gets Thor 3 out of the way sooner than later, to both tie up loose ends, and to leave more time to introduce more new heroes.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is a tough call for a date so soon, though I think it could be manageable.  If it is a possibility for 2016, then it would need to be announced at Comic Con this year, which takes place a week before the first movie is even released on August 1st.  The problem here may be that Marvel Studios would need to jump the gun and put their money on a sequel before the first film gets any big reception or box office numbers.  However, they did take a chance by announcing a Guardians film in the first place, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they go off of what test audiences think of the film, and to go from there.

Captain America 3 is a film that should definitely occur in Phase 3.  It would be three years after Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and there are still tons of stories that could be told about the star-spangled hero. Stories which fans are itching to see on screen, and which could play out very well for continuing the stories of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters like Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Clint Barton (Hawkeye).

Doctor Strange, like I said, is a character who Kevin Feige has said will most likely appear in Phase 3. Recent rumors have pointed to Johnny Depp as a possible leading man for the film. If this were the case, Depp currently has Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and Alice in Wonderland 2 set for 2016 releases, so if he does happen to be cast for to play Strange, he wouldn’t be available to shoot until 2016 anyways; leaving a 2017 release date as a likely guess.


And then, it all leads up to Avengers 3, which is likely to be released in Summer 2018. While all of these potential movies could set up the much-anticipated Infinity Gauntlet storyline involving the menacing villain Thanos, it’s likely that Avengers 3 will play out closely to what fans are expecting to happen.

When it comes to Marvel and their current movies, you can tell I have a lot to say. Marvel is one of my favorite franchises, and I love seeing whatever they have in store for fans. What do you think will happen in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  Thanks to Screen Rant for the insight on a possible timeline.

Written by Josh Sazin on January 14th, 2014, with thanks to


2 comments on “Marvel’s ‘Phase 3’ – Explaining and Predicting

  1. Power
    January 19, 2014

    My ideal Phase 3 would be:
    Ant-Man (Fall)
    Doctor Strange (Spring)
    Black Panther (Summer)
    Thor: Battle for Asgard (Fall)
    Captain America: Reborn
    Guardians of the Galaxy 2
    The Avengers: Rise of Thanos

    • jsazin
      January 19, 2014

      Interesting titles, but 7 films is really pushing it. Phase One had 6 but Iron Man 2, Thor and Cap all felt rushed IMO. They need to do 5 or 6 films for Phase 3 and add 2 or 3 new characters; 2 sequels and Avengers 3

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