Add another Phase 3 title to Marvel's slate — this one will mark the first time a female hero has gotten top billing in a Marvel Studios film. The news was just announced at a panel at New York Comic Con.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is coming to theaters on July 6, 2018. The sequel to this summer's Ant-Man will find Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly reprising their roles as Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and Hope Van Dyne (the Wasp). As viewers of the first film may recall, Ant-Man's post-credits scene had Michael Douglas' Hank Pym reveal a little present to his daughter Hope: her own battle suit with shrinking powers built in. And comics fans recognized the suit instantly as the one worn by longtime Avenger the Wasp.
Evangeline Lilly has already played a fierce elf warrior in The Hobbit, though she's probably still best known as Kate Austen on TV's Lost. Watching her go superhero should be a gas.
This addition to the roster means that Black Panther and Captain Marvel will have their dates shifted. In Black Panther's case, it will be coming five months earlier than previously expected, on February 16, 2018 — even leapfrogging over Avengers: Infinity War - Part I. (That could have no small effect on Panther's storyline.) Unfortunately, Captain Marvel is being delayed by three months, bumped up to March 8, 2019.
Marvel Studios also added three more films to its slate at the panel — all for release dates after everything it had already announced up through 2019. Marvel was cagey with the details, referring to the three newcomers only as "untitled" flicks, but noted that they will release on May 1, July 10, and November 6 of 2020.
Aside from wondering what those films might be, it begs the question: Will the three untitled movies constitute part of "Phase 4"? Marvel has thus far marked the end of each phase of its cinematic universe with the release of an Avengers film (more or less). With Avengers: Infinity War - Part II dropping in 2019, won't Phase 3 end around that same time? Inhumans arrives just two months later, so that could be the end of Phase 3 — but 2020 seems like a solid place to mark the beginning of whatever comes next.
Just what Phase 4 will look like is way up in the air, since Infinity War will signify the end of contracts for Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and probably Robert Downey Jr., too (though rumor has it he's signing up on a movie-by-movie basis these days). That's the core trio of the Avengers, and while Evans has publicly stated his desire to keep going, the others are playing their cards a lot closer to the vest. So it's been assumed that the big-screen Avengers might feature a rotating-door kind of roster after Infinity War.
Marvel will have no shortage of heroes to choose from for that updated team. Here's what the studio's calendar now looks like.
May 6, 2016 - Captain America: Civil War
Nov. 4, 2016 - Doctor Strange
May 5, 2017 - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Jul. 28, 2017 - the Spider-Man reboot co-produced by Sony
Nov. 3, 2017 - Thor: Ragnarok
Feb. 16, 2018 - Black Panther
May 4, 2018 - Avengers: Infinity War - Part I
July 6, 2018 - Ant-Man and the Wasp
Mar. 8, 2019 - Captain Marvel
May 3, 2019 - Avengers: Infinity War - Part II
Jul. 12, 2019 - Inhumans
May 1, 2020 - TBA
Jul. 10, 2020 - TBA
Nov. 6, 2020 - TBA
What might those last three films on the docket be? It's anybody's guess — but we wouldn't be surprised to see Doctor Strange 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy 3 among them.
Stay tuned to T-Lounge all week long for more from New York Comic Con 2015.