MCU Phase 3 and Beyond: Our Guesses

It’s shaping up to be a big year for announcements at San Diego Comic Con, and we here at GRCT are on pins and needles waiting to see what Marvel has in store for their panel tomorrow, even if none of us will be in attendance!

Recently, Marvel announced movie release dates all the way out to 2019, and it got us thinking about what we think is coming up for Marvel after 2015’s Age of Ulton and Ant-Man.

Our guesses and wishes for those empty release dates after the jump!


If you’re wondering about some of my choices, just think about the guy who won $46,000 on a $20 bet that Germany would beat the crap out of Brazil this World Cup. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, OKAY? I may also be completely out of my mind, but whatever, a girl can dream.

May, 2017: I don’t think they’re going to throw another Avengers so quickly after Age of Ultron, so I’m going with a brand new character that hasn’t been in the MCU yet: Black Panther. Rumors have been swirling (John Boyega’s wishful tweeting hasn’t helped any), and I think with Anthony Mackie’s Falcon showing that black heroes can be successful, going with T’Challa’s story should be a good choice.

2973547-inhumans2July, 2017: Inhumans. With Guardians already bringing in the cosmic aspect of the MCU and the push for Inhumans in the latest Inhumanity books, Inhumans could be their answer to not being able to use mutants. This expands the cosmic universe, and could possibly lead to a Netflix series or four culminating in War of Kings. (Look, I just really loved the cosmic era of Marvel, okay? IT WAS GREAT.)

November, 2017Black Widow. I think if Guardians and Ant-Man do well, Marvel is going to expand a lot more to new properties instead of producing sequel after sequel, and by this time they’d be long overdue for a female-led film. God knows Natasha deserves it.

July, 2018: Tying up threads to build up to the big release in May 2019, I think. Guardians 2? Something that will increase Thanos’ presence in the MCU.

November, 2018Captain Marvel. Lots of chances to increase the cosmic aspect of MCU by expanding the Kree universe, and integrating them with Earth in a much more solid way than with Guardians of the Galaxy. Between Inhumans and Guardians, there’d totally be reason for Mar-Vell to be on Earth for a while, and kickstart Carol’s story. Plus, I want Carol to have known Sam during her time in the military and they become the best of friends. DREAMS, I HAVE THEM.ThanosAvengersAssemble

May, 2019: That May date all by its lonesome has to be an indicator of some sort of huge Avengers film bringing the MCU together after a few years pulling things together. Most likely something to do with the Thanos Imperative. Going with Ultron in Avengers 2 leaves the films a lot more room to build up the cosmic gems and build Thanos up to the terrifying level he should be at.

(Side note: I do hope the MCU has nothing to do with Civil War, because that was a hot mess where nobody’s favorite character came out looking good.)



I’ve gone with what might be a somewhat reserved prediction of what Marvel has in store. As much as I kind of hate it, I think that we’ve already got most everything for the next two years pinned down. From there, it gets a little nebulous.

May 6, 2016: Captain America 3, which i definitely don’t think that Marvel will ever
budge on, even if it’s slated to come out the same day as DC’s Batman vs. Superman. We’ve got Cap away from SHIELD (which I assume will be rebuilt in some capacity following Agents of SHIELD season 2), looking for Bucky with Sam Wilson, and while I’m not entirely sure what classic Cap story they’ll use here (besides Steve ultimately bringing Bucky back to the side of good), I think this one will end with Steve Rogers’s death (and the end of Chris Evans’s contract with Marvel.)

July 8, 2016: Doctor Strange, if Marvel’s supposed “one established hero, one new hero” schedule holds. It’s the only new property that’s been announced, and I think they’ll probably officially announce it at the Marvel panel on Saturday. I DON’T however, think that Benedict Cumberbatch is going to play the title role, though. I’m hoping for someone a little more unknown.

May 5, 2017: Thor 3: Reign of Loki. That’s my title and I’m sticking to it. I’m sure they’ll go in a different direction, and I’m not familiar enough with Thor stories to know what plots are ripe for film adaptations, but I’m really more interested in the consequences of Odin’s death and Loki’s impersonating him for what will be several YEARS at this point.  Unless it’s all a lie and Loki IS in Avengers: Age of Ultron somehow, I don’t see any other point where Thor could find out about his father’s death without it seeming like a plot that’s been shoehorned in.

July 28, 2017: So at this point, we’re ripe for a new franchise, and the MCU will be nearly ten years old (Iron Man came out in 2008, remember!) without ever having a female-led film in the franchise. Here, I think Marvel has to go with Captain Marvel. There’s been too much buzz for Marvel to not even consider it, and there’s a built-in and growing fan base right now. I’m not saying that Captain Marvel is anything like Frozen, but seeing what Disney did there with Once Upon a Time makes me believe that they know how to strike when the iron’s hot when it comes to something like this.  Black Widow would also be a new franchise, even if she’s not a new character to the MCU, and considering it will have been two cosmic movies in a row, there probably needs to be something more Earth-based. Then again, a Captain Marvel film could lead amazingly into…

November 3, 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  This could just as easily be Iron Man 4, I think, even if they’ve strongly hinted at the fact that they’re done with that particular franchise. Iron Man 3 seemed a good point to end the solo Iron Man movies, but RDJ seems keen to do more, so…

May 4, 2018: Black Panther, maybe? I really have no idea here, but my wish is for them to pull something else from out of nowhere like they did Guardians of the Galaxy. Part of me wants it as soon as the July 2017 date, but I think they’ll pull the trigger on a female-led film before then. So… why not Runaways? Either way, this is where they might put the wildcard franchise.

July 6, 2018: Ant-Man 2: 2 Ants 2 Furious.

November 2, 2018: The Indestructible Hulk. Has it been enough time for another solo Hulk film? Does Ruffalo’s contract even go this far out? This could also be Captain Marvel 2 and lead into a Kree-Skrull war story in Avengers 3.

May 3, 2019: Avengers 3: Too Many Avengers.



Oh wait, wrong studio/publisher? Right. Sorry about that. I was hoping I had stumbled into that alternate universe. It could’ve been fun. In the meantime, I’ll get to the real point…

My guesses are going to be a little less structured which is a direct side-effect of blogging from a phone in the middle of nowhere. Sorry about that in advance.

Outside of the previously announced films, I can see any of the following popping up to fit the next set:

Inhumans: Because it not only incorporates the bigger galactic scene much like Guardians of the Galaxy, but quickly fixes the “No Mutants” issue that Marvel has.

Black Widow AND Captain Marvel: The first because I think the fans might riot and
go hunting for Fiege’s blood if it doesn’t happen and the latter because it would be both awesome and a great way to incorporate a bunch of different properties into one.

Black Panther: See everyone else’s more insightful comments on this post.

Avengers 3: Bound to happen anyways, but I REALLY want it to feature the Great Lakes Avengers. It could tie into the Jessica Jones/Luke Cages tv series (Hi! Squirrel Girl!). Besides who doesn’t want to random road trip to Milwaukee? Only me? Oh , okay.

Runaways: So they can tie into a Young Avengers film, through in some aged-up Power Pack and grab ahold of the teen market. Just think of the casting possibilities! It’s a goldmine!

Civil War: This last guess is one that I’m actually far more serious about. It is a good way to make commentary on the current political environment AND condense a quickly growing MCU. It’s a great crossover, one that could actually earn Oscar noms if done correctly and well. There are so many good reasons to make this film that I am flailing about it.

That’s the quick and dirty of it from me. A lot could totally go wrong, but I said the same thing before they announced the current set. In the great MCU anything can happen.


LeshiaOkay, this is going to be about equal measures of educated guesses and wild, baseless speculation.  We’ll save the wishful thinking for Phase Four, though, and just stick to the more likely outcomes for now.  That said, here’s my hypothetical Phase Three to the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

July 17, 2015Ant-Man-Comic-Con-poster Ant-Man – Assuming they actually manage to get the thing made.

May 6, 2016Captain America: Fallen Son – They’ve got Sebastian Stan for nine movies, what better way to make good use of him than by offing Evans’ Cap (temporarily, of course)?

July 8, 2016Doctor Strange – #PedroPascalForDoctorStrange

May 5, 2017Planet Hulk – They make such a big point of ruling it out at every turn, at some point the protestations start seeming like overkill.  True, there’s little point in capitalizing on Mark Ruffalo’s fan-favourite turn with a film he would barely appear in.  So you rewrite the story to involve Banner more, it’s really not that big a deal.

July 28, 2017Captain Marvel – The Carol Corps is about the biggest hype machine Marvel Comics have going for them at the moment, thanks to the massive push the character’s been getting over the last few years.  Combined with all of the recent Katee Sackhoff teases?  This is the time.  This is the moment.

November 3, 2017Thor: Ragnarok –  ‘Cause everything’s gotta be a trilogy, apparently.

May 2018Avengers: Annihilation – Marvel hasn’t officially claimed a May 2018 release date yet, which means one of two things: (1) That they’re giving up the slot for the first time in nearly a decade, after releasing three films the year before, or (2) That they didn’t bother, because they’re about to claim it anyway, with a big’un.  The first option really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially since they claimed May 2019, proving they’re not just randomly switching to a July/November release schedule.  Avengers 3, May 2018, calling it now.  (ETA: Since writing this, they have indeed claimed a May 4th, 2018 date. Told ya.) And after a heavy focus on the cosmic and otherworldly throughout the last four films, have it all come full circle with a massive cosmic threat like the Annihilation Wave!  Plenty of opportunities for the Guardians of the Galaxy to show up, as well, since my lineup leaves no immediate room for a sequel to that film.  Maybe they even bring Cap back.

And that’s it!  Seven films, with just over half of them being sequels to existing properties, would make for a slightly meatier slate of films than Phase Two proved to have while also significantly expanding the MCU.  Which means it’s time for WISHFUL THINKING PHASE FOUR PREDICTIONS!

After the massive cosmic adventures of Phase Three, it makes sense to dial it back a bit and bring the story back to good ol’ planet Earth.  It’s just a matter of looking at the unexplored corners of it.  It’s time for Marvel: International!

July 6, 2018Black Panther – Probably one of Marvel’s most talked-about options, it’s gotta get made eventually, and Wakanda would be a great introduction to the Wider World of Marvel.

November 2, 2018Hawkeye/Widow – Budapest, anyone?

Avengers 4 Alpha FlightMay 3, 2019Alpha Flight – JUST SHUT UP AND LET ME HAVE THIS, OKAY.


Okay, first up, no Civil War, because an MCU Civil War makes no sense – who’s your pro-registration side? MCU Tony “get out of my face government” Stark ain’t having no truck with that. Plus Black Widow just released all the secrets to the world AND their identities weren’t secret to begin with.

…although actually Age of Ultron has nothing to do with the comic Age of Ultron so there could be an Avengers fight Avengers movie that has some other excuse. Fuck. Civil War’s back on the table! The name, at least. But it isn’t in my guesses.

So, 2015 is Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, we know this.

May 2016 is Captain America: I Don’t Know Enough Cap Storyline Names To Fill This Space.

July 2016 is very likely Doctor Strange, because that has a director and a rumour-mill already?

May 2017: My first real guesses, then: Thor: A Movie About Loki, to get them to a hat-trick with all of the Big 3.

July 2017: I’m saying Captain Marvel because let’s have a female-led Marvel movie already. Plus the next movie in the list ties into her end-credits bit very nicely. To whit:

November 2017: Guardians of the Galaxy: A Set-Up For An Infiity Gauntlet Movie, a set-up for an Infinity Gauntlet movie.

May 2018: That movie being Avengers: Infinity Something. Probably War. War Sounds Cool.

Then in July 2018… let’s say Black Panther, because the July movie needs to have none of the Avengers in it, really, because they’ll all be busy shooting Avengers when whatever this is is shooting. Then Aaron Taylor-Johnsson goes from the Avengers set to this one I guess if the Infinity movie sets up for The Inhumans in November 2018.

Then in May 2019, fuck it, I don’t know, let’s say it’s a Black Widow movie where her sidekick is Bruce Banner, that’s what I want.


From 2017: In May, Hawkeye. July brings us Nova. In November, Squirrel Girl, leading on to Avengers But It’s The Great Lakes Avengers in May 2018. Then in July, Spider-Woman: Fuck You Sony We Do What We Want. November is Werewolf By Night (Werewolves Are Hip Now Right?), followed in May 2019 by Peter David Said Madrox Wasn’t Exactly A Mutant In That One Issue That Time So Here’s X-Factor The Movie.



For the sake of this exercise, I’m going to try to keep my guesses on the side of what’s realistic versus what I’d actually like to see.

So obviously we have some gimmes: 2015 and 2016 are both spoken for, with Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1st, 2015), Reed’s Ant-Man (July 17th, 2015), The Russo Brothers’ Captain America 3 (May 6th, 2016), and Derrickson’s Dr. Strange (July 8th, 2016).

There’s a very clear pattern here: every year, we have a sequel to an existing franchise and an untested property to launch a new one. So that being established, let’s look at these other release dates.

May 5th, 2017 — Iron Man 4: Downey’s contract, as it currently stands, is only good for Avengers 2 and Avengers 3, but the man’s not getting any younger and Iron Man movies are basically Disney’s license to print money. If a fourth Iron Man movie is ever going to be in the cards, it’ll be sooner rather than later. So if they can renegotiate the contracts, I could see this happening. Tony Stark’s owned the first weekend of May every outing he’s made; Marvel might want to continue that trend.

July 28th, 2017 — Hulk (3?): Let’s just recreate the release schedule from 2008. Ruffalo’s Hulk has captured the public imagination in a way not seen since Bixby and Ferrigno. With Marvel having tapped the expertise of Andy Serkis for some of the motion capture work on Avengers 2, I’ve just got this feeling they might actually try another solo Hulk film.

November 3rd, 2017 — Solo Female Superhero Movie: I saw an argument recently that Disney bought Marvel because Disney couldn’t crack the male demographic. Allow me to make the counter argument that Disney likes money, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen, and Gravity were not only some of the top grossing films of 2013, but also starred primarily women and were released in the fall. With Wonder Woman finally making her live-action debut in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 and Marvel trying out increasingly progressive initiatives in their comics, Fall 2017 seems the most likely place for them to release a Solo Female flick.

So the question becomes: which female superhero? Black Widow has certainly earned it by now (and boy howdy, do I ever want a Widow solo movie), but I would be neither surprised nor disappointed if Captain Marvel slipped in instead. What better way to send a message to DC than putting their brand right in the title?

May 4th, 2018 — I Have No Idea: Marvel only just staked a claim on this date as of this Wednesday. Originally, I’d assumed that they were taking a break from their typical May slot to accommodate one of parent company, Disney’s, new Star Wars films (May the 4th be with you, anyone?). Also, May 4th was initially reserved for Amazing Spider-Man 3, but that got pushed back. So with this brand new information, some of my speculation’s been thrown out of whack. Could this be the slot for a new Iron Man movie instead? Could it be Guardians 2? I don’t think they’d risk the premium slot for a new franchise, so my bet’s definitely on a sequel or a spin-off for an MCU-established character who’s yet to have their turn in the spotlight.

July 6th, 2018 — Black Panther: Wakanda and Vibranium have already been established in the MCU, so T’Challa’s introduction is just a matter of time, right? I don’t have any long reasoning for this one beyond: C’MON, MARVEL.

November 2nd, 2018 — Thor 3/Guardians of the Galaxy appearance: Thor: The Dark World performed well in November, and Hollywood generally likes to copy what’s been proven to work. However, with Thanos rumoured to be part of Avengers 3, Thor 3 seems like the perfect vehicle to begin merging those two properties together, so an appearance by the Guardians gang doesn’t seem out of the question.

May 3rd, 2019 — Avengers 3: If it took three years between the releases of Avengers 1 and Avengers 2, four years between Avengers 2 and Avengers 3 seems entirely reasonable. Moreover, it would mark a clear ending point to Phase 3, and saving the best (or, less arguably, the biggest) announcement for last is what’s really gonna whip the swarming mass of fans in Hall H into a frenzy. Of all my guesses, this is the one I’m most confident about, particularly as it’s the only movie of 2019 thus far to have a firm, public release date.

So bring it on, Phase 3. Because no matter how these announcements pan out, I can pretty much say, “Make Mine Marvel.”


The Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic Con takes place on Saturday, July 26th at 5:30pm, where we’re all hoping they’ll indulge some of our wilder guesses here.

About Chantaal

A book reading, nail polish hoarding, makeup loving, TV marathoning, comic book talking Philosophy major. I want to be Rashida Jones when I grow up.
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1 Response to MCU Phase 3 and Beyond: Our Guesses

  1. Gene Longcrier says:

    I just absolutely love the fact that you and I totally agree that if there is to be a MS.”CAPTAIN” MARVEL (ala Carol Danvers), the MCU can NOT overlook the whole Kree aspect and omit CAPTAIN MAR-VELL! I would love to see Carol in the MCU, but I have to say that in my own opinion, the MUST do something with MAR-VELL first. Starlin’s whole MAD TITAN SAGA (THANOS) would not have made it passed the early ’70s without MAR-VELL and WARLOCK! Neither characters were created by STARLIN, but he rocked MARVEL with them!

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