Superhero movies are more popular than ever right now. In 2012, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Amazing Spider-Man made up three of the top four box office smashes of the year. In 2013, Iron Man 3 came in at #2, and in 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy hit #2, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier came in at #4.
The success of comic book superhero movies led to Marvel’s 2014 announcement of “Phase Three” in their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which gave us 10 more movies slated to be released all the way up until 2019. On top of that, spin-off TV shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are sprouting up and giving networks huge ratings, and even Netflix has signed into the money-making mix.
Although some of the most famous characters have been portrayed, such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four, many quality characters have been left out. So what comes after the 25th-part X-Men movie? Well, here are 12 Marvel superhero movies that are in the works – some of which were announced during Marvel’s “Phase Three” report, and some that you might have never seen coming.
12. Doctor Strange
Fans of Marvel have wanted to see a Dr. Strange movie for years. The character first appeared in the 1960s, as a filler character in the Strange Tales comic series. He quickly became popular for the darker themes that the comics introduced, bizarre storylines, and for the use of magic rather than technology. Since the ‘80s, live-action adaptations for the character had been in the works, but they always fell through.
In 2013, a finished script for a Dr. Strange film was finally announced, with Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Blade II) as a big favorite to direct. It turns out Scott Derrickson (Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil) will direct, so we might get a horror-story feel. Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios president, confirmed that the film would appear as part of “Phase Three” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s scheduled for release on November 4, 2016. Benedict Cumberbatch was announced as the leading man in late 2014.
The Inhumans are a race of superhumans that first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 in 1965. Their home was first mentioned in Captain America Comics #1 (1941), and was described as the city of a race that was evolutionarily advanced when human beings were still in the Stone Age. They have since appeared in numerous storylines, and have aided different groups against threats such as Doctor Doom, Ultron 7, Magneto, and Apocalypse.
In 2011, a report said that Marvel Entertainment was developing an Inhumans film, and in November 2012 Stan Lee confirmed that the film was in development. In August 2014, Marvel moved forward with the film, with a screenplay written by Joe Robert Cole. The film has since been given a release date of July 12, 2019, making it the movie furthest from release since Marvel’s most recent film line-up announcement.
10. Adam Warlock
After his cocoon was sighted in the Collector’s chamber in Guardians of the Galaxy, fans became convinced that an Adam Warlock movie was in development. Adam Warlock is the guardian of the Soul Gem and a longtime nemesis of Thanos, so people believe he might play a major role in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and/or Avengers: Infinity War.
James Gunn, the director and writer of Guardians of the Galaxy, has also acknowledged that it was no coincidence that the cocoon showed up in the film. Also, Warlock fans have been waiting for his arrival since that first shot of Thanos in the Avengers. So, at this point, it seems that his arrival isn’t a matter of if, but rather when.
9. Black Panther
Besides Samuel L. Jackson playing Nick Fury in the MCU, there hasn’t been a strong black lead in Marvel films. That got people wondering when we’d see someone like T’Challa, aka Black Panther, in his own film. Black Panther was the first black superhero in mainstream American comics, so it would make sense that the ruler and defender of the African country Wakanda would get his own film at some point.
In 1992, Wesley Snipes announced his intent to make a film about the Black Panther, and he even got so far as to enter talks with Columbia Pictures. In 1997, Black Panther was listed as part of Marvel Comics’ film slate, but corporate problems forced the film to be put on hold. Finally, in 2013, Kevin Feige announced that a Black Panther film was in development, and a scheduled release date of July 6, 2018, has been given. The character will also debut in Captain America: Civil War, in 2016.
8. Captain Marvel
In the comics, there have been several Captain Marvel characters, played by both men and women. The current version of the character is named Carol Danvers (formerly known as Ms. Marvel), and that character will be portrayed in the upcoming film, set to be released on November 2, 2018.
The character, set to mirror and give DC Comics’ Wonder Woman a run for her money, has risen in popularity during the 2000s, and is an easy choice for a female-starring superhero film. In the male-centered superhero films that have been released (Thor, The Avengers, Iron Man, etc.) it should come as no surprise that a female-lead superhero film will have a huge box-office success.
Created by Brian K. Vaughan in 2003 (who later crossed over as a TV writer for Lost and Under the Dome), the ensemble group of the Runaways gave Marvel their freshest comics in years. The stories revolve around a gang of children who flee their homes after realizing that their parent’s charity events are actually supervillain conclaves. The kids steal weapons and powers and band together to defeat their parents.
A script for a Runaways film initially began in 2008, and preliminary casting for the film began in 2010. However, by August 2010, production plans were halted due to Marvel focusing on The Avengers. During an interview in 2013, Kevin Feige said that Marvel elected not to make the film, and that scriptwriter Drew Pearce had been reassigned to Iron Man 3. On September 24, 2013, Pearce revealed that the film is currently shelved, but he also suggested it could see a release some point in the future, after Marvel’s “Phase Three” duration of 2016 to 2019.
6. Iron Fist
The Iron Fist is a martial arts practitioner and the wielder of a mystical force (ie, the Iron Fist), who first appeared in Marvel Premiere #15 in 1974. He has starred in numerous solo titles, and shared the title with Power Man and Iron Fist for several years. The character went through numerous hold-ups and almost-start-ups for a film adaptation from 2000 to 2007.
In 2009, Marvel hired a group of writers to help come up with creative ways to launch its lesser-known properties such as Iron Fist. In August 2010, Marvel Studios hired Rich Wilkes to write the screenplay. In 2013, Marvel and Netflix confirmed a deal for four TV shows based around Marvel characters, one of them being Iron Fist. Disney CEO Bob Iger went on to say that if series such as Iron Fist became popular, “It’s quite possible that they could become feature films.”
Hawkeye first appeared as a villain in Tales of Suspense #57 (1964), before joining the Avengers as a superhero in Avengers #16 (1965). He has been a prominent member of the group ever since, and was also ranked at #44 on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes list. Jeremy Renner first portrayed the character in 2011’s Thor, before reprising the role in The Avengers. He’s set to return to the role a third time in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
What many fans of the character and Renner’s portrayed want to know, is when will Hawkeye get his own film? Renner felt he was underutilized in The Avengers, and when asked if he would be interested in doing a Hawkeye movie during a Reddit AMA in 2014, he responded by saying, ‘It all comes down to the content, and really how the puppeteers at Marvel can manifest a story that’s worthy of a solo movie…And I’d be game.’ Lucky for fans, Renner has signed on to reprise his role in a third Avengers film, and – gasp – a Hawkeye spin-off!
Scott Summers, is considered the first X-Man, and he is one of the teams primary leaders. He is usually portrayed as the archetypal hero and antithesis of Wolverine’s tough-guy, anti-authoritarian personality. IGN rated Cyclops #1 on their list of Top 25 X-Men from the past forty characters, and he remains one of Marvel’s most popular characters.
If any X-Man deserves a spinoff film more than Wolverine, it would be Cyclops, especially after his underwhelming presence in the X-Men films up to date. As one IGN contributor put it, “Cyclops was misunderstood, miswritten, misdirected, and generally mismanaged in this series.” He will appear in 2016‘s X-Men: Apocalypse, and there’s been an origin film rumored.
Nathan Summers, better known as Cable, is the son of – surprise – Scott Summers. He is a cyborg-mutant mercenary who was sent to the distant future. If Marvel did do a solo Cyclops film, Cable would fit perfectly in it, and given the time-travel aspect of Cable’s storyline, his film would be a sci-fi director’s dream.
In 2013, 20th Century Fox reported that they were developing an X-Force film. Comic-book writer/artist Rob Liefeld confirmed that Cable and Deadpool would both appear in the film. Maybe a spinoff solo film will be made, depending on Cable’s success in X-Force (Deadpool is already slated for a solo film). Although one of his lead storylines in the comics is him leading a desperate war against the immortal villain Apocalypse, Cable’s name so far hasn’t shown up on the roster for X-Men: Apocalypse.
2. Venom and Carnage
Venom is one of the most popular of Marvel’s villains, and one of Spider-Man’s arch-enemies. The character is a symbiote – a sentient alien – who requires a host, and then endows that person with enhanced (albeit evil) powers. Despite Marvel trying to get back the Spider-Man rights, Sony currently has the rights to the web-slinger, and in 2013 they announced two spin-offs of the Amazing Spider-Man film series, which are Venom and Sinister Six.
In 2014, the name to the movie was changed to ‘Venom Carnage,’ which fans can assume means Venom would be some sort of anti-hero and Carnage (another symbiote, although even more chaotic) would be his enemy. That means that Spider-Man might be put aside for a few years. A version of Venom/host Eddie Brock showed up in Spider-Man 3 in 2007, played by Topher Grace, although he was only around for about 15 minutes, and fans were severely underwhelmed with how Venom was portrayed. That might be good news for people hoping to see Venom’s spin-off get off the ground.
1. Namor, the Sub-Mariner
Namor the Sub-Mariner is one of Marvel’s oldest characters, first appearing in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939. He is the first known comic book antihero, and he’s been alternately portrayed as short-fused but good-natured, and as a hostile invader seeking vengeance for what surface-dwellers did against his lost kingdom, Atlantis.
Namor has served with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and more, making fans believe that he’d sooner-or-later show up in one of those storylines. Talks to develop a Namor movie stalled in 1998, but by 2001 Namor was set up at Universal Pictures. Universal’s release date was pushed back to 2007, but that never transpired. In 2014, Marvel finally regained the rights to the character from Universal, and Kevin Feige has stated that a number of contracts and deals need to be sorted out before a Namor film will be made. But at least there’s hope.
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