11:21am PT by Rebecca Ford, Borys Kit
Marvel Reveals Complete Phase 3 Plans, Dates 'Black Panther,' 'Inhumans,' 'Avengers: Infinity War'
At a special presentation at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on Tuesday, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige gave the press and around 600 fans some insight into the studio's plans for their huge superhero movie slate.
Avengers helmer Joss Whedon, Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson and Captain America 2 and 3 helmers the Russo brothers were all in attendance.
It was a dizzying parade of news, with Feige revealing complete plans for Phase 3 and announcing new titles like Black Panther and Inhumans, plus two more Avengers films.
Marvel made it official that Captain America: Civil War will hit theaters on May 6, 2016, and pushed the release of Doctor Strange to Nov. 4, 2016.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which will see James Gunn return to direct, will hit theaters on May 5, 2017 (moved up from the previously announced date of July 2017). That will be followed by next Thor film, Thor 3: Ragnarok, slated for July 28, 2017. Black Panther, headlined by 42 and Get On Up star Chadwick Boseman, also will hit theaters in 2017, on Nov. 3.
Feige also announced that the studio will make a Captain Marvel film, set for July 6, 2018. It will be the studio's first female-led film, ending speculation that Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) would be the first female character to get her own stand-alone movie.
The Inhumans are a group of superpowered alien beings that have appeared in various Marvel comics including Fantastic Four and Captain America.
Two more ensemble Avengers films were also dated: Avengers: Infinity War — Part 1 for May 4, 2018, and Part 2 for May 2019. All films will be released in 3D.
Marvel has already announced dates for several Phase 3 films: Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd, is slated for July 17, 2015, and Captain America 3, which will star Chris Evans, is slated for May 6, 2016.
Doctor Strange had been originally dated for July 8, 2016, but Derrickson and Marvel have been unable to nail down a leading man. After negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix fell apart in early October, Benedict Cumberbatch entered talks to take on the titular role.
Marvel is currently in Phase 2 of its universe-building film slate, which will culminate with Avengers: Age of Ultron (hitting U.S. theaters on May 1, 2015).
The whole notion of phases emerged when Marvel found itself overperforming with its initial movies. That first wave consisted of Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. Phase 1 climaxed with 2012's Avengers, which grossed more than $1 billion and set the stage for Marvel to secretly plan out years and years of possible movies.
Phase 2 includes Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Phase 1 has grossed more than $3.8 billion worldwide while Phase 2 has made $3.3 billion, with the Avengers sequel still to come.