Marvel studios had revealed their upcoming slate of superhero films (not including 2015’s already-announced Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron), but with the new addition of Spider-Man to the roster there’s a lot of changed information including a whole new movie and a bunch of delayed release dates.
So, who’s who in this new batch of superheroes?
We’ve dug our way through a big pile of comics to bring you this guide to the superhero flicks coming soon – fully updated to include the webbed wonder.
Avengers: Age of Ultron: 1 May, 2015 (24 April UK)
Next year’s Avengers Assemble sequel sees the team take on mutinous robot Ultron (James Spader) – for more details (and the film’s trailer) see here.
Ant-Man: July 17, 2015
Starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, this film will follow the adventures of Scott Lang (Rudd) a conman and thief who works with a scientist (Douglas) to safeguard the latter’s revolutionary size-altering technology. You can watch the first trailer here.
Captain America: Civil War: May 6, 2016
Details of this film were announced fairly recently, and the new details relate mainly to the finalized title. The film is planned to adapt the events of 2006-7 comic series Civil War, which saw hero turn on hero after the government attempted to register superhumans.
The comic story saw Captain America take on Iron Man in the clash, and Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr are both signed up so it’s likely the basic plot will remain the same.
The film will also see the debut of African hero Black Panther (see below, played by Chadwick Boseman), and is suspected to welcome the newly-cast Spider-Man into the Marvel cinematic universe as well.
Doctor Strange: November 4, 2016
Benedict Cumberbatch is taking the title role in this film, which follows the adventures of surgeon-turned-sorceror Stephen Strange as he defends the earth from magical threats.
“In the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the supernatural, that involves everything from quantum mechanics to string theory,” said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige on Marvel’s website.
“The idea of this film is to open up a whole new corner of the cinematic universe. We want to enter, through Strange, the world of parallel dimensions.”
Guardians of the Galaxy 2: May 5, 2017
The big hit of last summer, Guardians of the Galaxy’s inevitable sequel had its release date shifted in the original Marvel announcement, but now seems set for 2017.
While no firm plot or casting details have emerged, the film is expected to follow the further misadventures of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Drax (Dave Bautista) as they travel in space.
Untitled Spider-Man film: July 12, 2019
After Marvel hooked up with Sony, they slipped this one into the mix – while we don’t know anything about the plot or cast it’s promised to be a new direction for the webslinger to tie him into the wider Marvel Universe, so don’t be surprised if a few other heroes pop up here too.
Presumably, the basic story will stay the same – nerdy Peter Parker is bitten by a spider (radioactive or genetically altered, usually) which gives him great power, with the newly-webbed wonder accepting the responsibility of his skills early on when a burglar he allowed to escape causes him personal tragedy.
It’s likely we’ll get a casting update on this soon – it’s only next year – so we’ll let you know when we know who’s filling Andrew Garfield’s web shooters.
Thor: Ragnarok: November 3, 2017
The third Thor film (starring Chris Hemsworth) looks to have a pretty devastating conclusion – within Norse legends, Ragnarok signifies the death of the entire pantheon, and was turned into a classic Thor story in the character’s few appearances.
At the announcement event, Marvel’s Kevin Feige confirmed that Ragnarok would mean “The end of all things”.
He added: “We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron and impacts everything that comes after.”
Sadly no word whether Tom Hiddleston will return as Thor’s brother Loki – but we’d be surprised if he doesn’t put in an appearance.
Black Panther: July 6, 2018
Ruler of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, this hero (real name T’Challa) gains his abilities from a mysterious heart-shaped herb that is given to whoever is given the ceremonial and religious mantle of the Black Panther.
In the comics T’Challa is a powerful and wealthy figure to rival Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark, but with a keen sense of honour and attachment to his homeland. The character is notable for being one of the first black superheroes (he’s now also the first black superhero to headline his own film).
Relative unknown Chadwick Boseman has been cast in the role, and is first expected to appear as the character in Captain America: Civil War. Helpfully, Marvel has also released some concept art (above) for the character, which looks pretty cool AND IN NO WAY LIKE BATMAN (in fairness he does in the comics too).
Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1: May 4, 2018
OK, this is the big one (and not to be confused with next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron). The infinity gauntlet saga has been the Marvel film series’ long game, with clues devoted to this plotline in almost every film.
“We’ve always had a plan since Nick Fury [Samuel L Jackson] broke into Tony Stark’s house [at the end of Iron Man in 2008] and told him he’s part of a bigger universe,” Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said. “‘Avengers: Infinity War Part 1’ is the beginning of the culmination of everything that has come before.”
The title refers to the Infinity gems – six stones of great power which, when united in a custom-made glove called the Infinity Gauntlet (glimpsed in the background to the first Thor film), give the owner power over all reality.
One gem controls souls, another time, another space, another the mind, another reality and the last power. The power gem was the major plot point in this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, when it was stolen by baddie Ronan (Lee Pace) to destroy a planet. The space gem has also appeared as power source the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger and Avengers Assemble, while mysterious substance the aether from Thor: The Dark World is supposed to be another gem.
In the comics, Thanos (played by Josh Brolin in Guardians of the Galaxy and seen above with the gauntlet) manages to unite the gems and literally kills half the people in the galaxy with the squeeze of a fist – before being stopped by an assembled group of the world’s heroes.
It’s likely we’ll see the Guardians of the Galaxy team up with the Avengers in this movie to take on Thanos – so we might get to see Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) meet tree-beast Groot (Vin Diesel) and punch a big purple man. Films are great.
Captain Marvel: November 2, 2018
A few heroes have gone by the name, but this film will follow the version of the character played by Carol Danvers – a former test pilot who becomes part-alien after an accident, and gains the abilities of flight, super strength, super speed, durability and the ability to absorb different types of energy.
Feige said: “This film has been in the works almost as long as Doctor Strange or Guardians of the Galaxy before it came out, and one of the key things was figuring out what we wanted to do with it. Her adventures are very earthbound, but her powers are based in the cosmic realm.”
Captain Marvel will see the first superhero film from Marvel to feature a female lead – however, it won’t be the first superhero film to do so generally due to rival company DC’s 2017 date for Wonder Woman.
The Inhumans: July 12, 2019
An odd choice, this – the Inhumans are essentially a race of humans that were experimented on by aliens the Kree (who appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy as the race of villain Ronan) and left on the moon for 7,000 years to form a society. At a young age, Inhumans are subjected to the Terrigen Mists, which grant superpowers but often in a debilitating fashion.
For example the Inhumans’ King Black Bolt (above, centre), has a voice so powerful that a single word can destroy a city (so he can never say anything), and another citizen got turned into a huge teleporting dog. For real.
“November 3, 2018 will introduce dozens of characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” Feige said in a statement. “We really do believe the Inhumans can be a franchise or a series of franchise unto themselves. They have dozens of powers and an amazing social structure. With our 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we wanted to continue to refine what that universe is about.”
While no actors are attached at the moment, Guardians of the Galaxy’s Vin Diesel has suggested that he might be involved in some way. He said on Facebook earlier this year:
“Vin and Marvel… you all made it happen!
I get the strange feeling that Marvel thinks I’m Inhuman… Haha.”
Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2: May 3, 2019
Little more to say here, except note that the Avengers threequel is similarly split to DC’s planned Avengers-style Justice League film (where Superman, Batman and other heroes will team up) – and this second part is scheduled against Justice League: Part Two. FIGHT!