So let me preface with saying that I have been very vocal in the past about my disbelief that Marvel Entertainment would do any adaptation of the Captain America Civil War event in the near future, much less before the entire Thanos Infinity Gauntlet arc is resolved. With that said, Variety (which we have no reason not to believe) is reporting that not only is Robert Downey Jr. joining the cast of Captain America 3, but it will be somehow based on/named after/tied into the Captain America Civil War movie. This is a pretty big turn of events and changes a lot of what we thought we knew about Phase 3 Marvel.

Adding to the already slightly mind-blowing news, the always reliable Devin Faraci over @ BadAssDigest is reporting that some of our favorite Avengers may not be in Avengers 3. This was in response to the news a week before that Marvel Avengers 3 could be split into 2 parts. Basically, he’s saying that Avengers 3 could be a movie full of new faces (Avengers) while the follow up could be something entirely new with our favorite characters back in the fold and not necessarily a 2nd part to Avengers 3. Interesting.

Taking all this recent news into account, I wanted the formulate an overview of where I think Phase 3 Marvel is heading.

The Schedule

  • May 2015 – Daredevil Netflix
  • July 17th, 2015 – Marvel Ant-Man movie
  • May 6th, 2016 – Captain America 3 movie
  • July 8th, 2016 – Doctor Strange movie
  • May 5th, 2017 -
  • July 28th 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2 movie
  • November 3rd, 2017 –
  • May 4th, 2018 –
  • July 6th, 2018 –
  • November 2nd, 2018 –
  • May 3rd 2019 –

These are locked down solid, no rumors or guesses here. We’ll be using this as a starting point from here on out. I will also be operating as though the Marvel Civil War rumor is fact and Captain America 3 has something to do with the storyline. I will be skipping over Ant-Man because I don’t think it will have a whole lot to do with either Captain America Civil War or The Infinity Gauntlet. Let’s get started.

May 2015 – Daredevil

Honestly I don’t have a ton to add about Netflix Daredevil Season 1 since we have no idea how the Daredevil Netflix shows are going to pan out and how the format will work within the MCU, but seeing as it’s being released after Marvel’s Ant-Man movie, it’s safe to assume that the show takes place within Marvel Phase 3. The big addition I can see Daredevil bringing to the table is him being our first real vigilante on screen. Not only could he inspire other people to take matters into their own hands but he could be the foundation for which Civil War gets it start. Taking it even further, he could easily take the place of Spider-Man when it comes to the public un-masking and could setup for a hell of a 2nd season.

November 2015 – Jessica Jones
Another one where I don’t have the slightest clue what will happen. I do think since the entire Netflix phase is centered around street-level heroes and Civil War involved a heck of a lot of them, that we will get a lot of that worked into this series. Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel could very well easily cameo here as she’s a long time friend of Jessica Jones and is rumored to at least be mentioned in Avengers Age of Ultron. The date has not been announced but it seemed like a good spot considering Marvel’s history of using November and Netflix having no original content planned for release that month.

May 2016 – Captain America 3 – Civil War Pt 1.

The title ‘Part 1′ is merely a place-holder, I am sure smarter people at Marvel will come up with a proper name but I am sold on the concept. The reasoning for this is that regardless of how different they make it or how much they slim the story down, they won’t be able to do it justice enough to even bother using its name if they try to fit it all within one movie. If they wanted to force Cap America and Iron Man to be at odds, they could’ve just used the ol’ VS tag and we’d have filled the seats. Marvel Studios has smart folks working for them so I am assuming that is not the case and they are in this for the long haul (or a phase) and want to do Captain America Civil War justice in their own way.

I believe Captain America 3 will have about as much to do with Civil War as Captain America 2 had to do with the Winter Soldier, so a bit. There are still plenty of lingering issues from Cap 2 to resolve but the ground work will be laid out here for Civil War to play out through the entirety of Phase 3. The movie ends with Tony and Captain cutting ties, unable to see eye to eye on whatever the key issue is in the MCU version of Civil War.

May 2016 – Iron Fist

Jeph Loeb has stated that Iron Fist will follow Jessica Jones but I believe Netflix Luke Cage and Netflix Iron Fist will basically be developed back to back with some crossover to allow for the characters to share screen-time. Iron Fist would touch on some mysticism for us and then will be continued on in the Doctor Strange movie. Obviously he’ll meet up with Luke Cage at some point and I’m sure we’ll get some spillover from Marvel Civil War. Outside of that your guess is as good as mine.

July 2016 – Doctor Strange

Marvel’s Doctor Strange movie has a lot going for it. It will be Marvel’s first run at magic and mysticism in the MCU and pretty much every A-List actor is attached to star, some (like Jared Leto, my choice) going as far as actively pursuing the role. Outside of the fact that I believe an Infinity Gauntlet Stone will pop up in this movie (unbeknownst to Steven Strange), I don’t think it will connect a whole lot to the other films around it. We may get a post-credit stinger showing CapAmerica and/or Tony Stark trying to recruit Doctor Strange, but I don’t see a ton of room for other cameos unless they toss in Bruce Banner for good measure.

November 2016 – Luke Cage

Netflix Luke Cage: As I said previously, I believe there will be some overlap production time wise to allow for the Netflix Season 2 shows to crossover. Luke Cage has a pretty cool origin which would translate fairly easily to film, so I think we’ll get a fair amount of that along with his meeting Netflix Iron Fist/Jessica Jones and the standard dose of Civil War Captain America related issues.

February 2017 – The Defenders

I chose February seeing as it has been when Netflix has previously released House of Cards (which I think will have its Final Season in 2016) . The Defenders could have a healthy amount of Civil War Cap America storyline worked in and would be the perfect show to have right in the middle of Marvel Civil War. We’ll probably get some version of the Wrecking Crew villains which will be a culmination of all the random bad guys fought throughout the earlier series, but it will all stay relevant to Captain America Civil War.

May 2017 – Inhumans

This movie is bound to happen sooner rather than later. Plain and simple, Marvel Civil War needs MORE super powered characters to make it work. This movie opens all kinds of avenues for gifted people to pop up all over the earth. Not only would this create more characters, but it would create a lot of inexperienced/stupid ones that could cause the kind of issues that are at the forefront of Marvel’s Civil War. Outside of the logistics that this is the first available slot in the Netflix Marvel lineup and that they need to get more “gifteds” into the mix, there are other reasons to believe its on the docket.

Marvel’s Vin Diesel had been heavily linked to a few Marvel projects before he was cast as Guardians of the Galaxy Groot. Even his casting as Groot came about when he was meeting for another role in the universe.

“What we were initially talking about was a fresh IP and that was the focus of our conversation, which was a fresh IP that would come out in 2016 or 2017, and potentially launch the third phase. And when we went to Comic-Con we realized that people wanted something a little more immediate…”

So what I’m gathering here was that he was met for a part in the Inhumans movie, it went well, but everybody loves Vin so they said well how about we get you to say “I am Groot” for us in the meantime until we can get that other one going. Not only that, but after GoTG started doing so well Vin posted this on facebook.

“I get the strange feeling that Marvel thinks I’m Inhuman… Haha.”

The general consensus is that he’s going to play Inhuman Black Bolt, the guy who almost never talks because when he whispers he knocks down mountains. It would be a clever move on Marvel’s part casting wise. On top of all of that, in the increasingly awesome tied-in TV series (see how its done DC?), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has really been pushing the Aliens/Kree vibe as of late and I have no doubt that’ll continue to be a key plot point until Captain America’s Civil War breaks out. And finally, Collider reported a couple months ago that they have an Inhumans script from Joe Robert Cole which they are happy with and that they plan on moving forward with it.

July 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Not a lot is known about this movie other than Peter Quills dad will be revealed and that it will be awesome. We’ll more than likely get some more backstory on Thanos, learn more about the Infinity Stones from the Infinity Gauntlet, meet some new Kree, and get a better overall understanding of the cosmic side of things. I don’t have a quality guess on any of the main plot points but I do think one of the Guardians of the Galaxy will make contact with an MCU Avenger in some form, even if it’s some sort of Astral Projection from the Doctor Strange movie.

November 2017 – Black Panther

Another one of those movies that was just bound to happen. You can’t have a Marvel Cinematic Universe without eventually including T’Challa. T Challa is the perfect member for an Avengers 3 movie without our usual Avengers film lineup and Wakanda is heavily rumored to be in Avengers Age of Ultron. Marvel Civil War could be weaved in and out of the storyline and Captain America could cameo.

May 2018 – Thor 3

Marvel Comics Thor movie will be a very critical movie when it comes to continuing the cosmic side of things. Both the actual Infinity Gauntlet as well as the Space Stone are in Asgard. Toss in some Thanos and a Loki posing as Odin and you got yourself a pretty interesting premise and many problems for the Odinson.

Many people have said they believe that Thor 3 will take a page from the Thor Rangarok movie storyline from the comics. I do not subscribe to this theory but I do believe we’ll get it down the line when the Thor movie series is the first MCU character to get a 4th installment. I personally feel there is a ton they can do with an original story with Loki dying and Thanos getting both the Infinity Stone and Infinity Gauntlet. It would also allow Thor God of Thunder to return to Earth and begin to inform people there of who Thanos is and what the Stones can do (finally!).

July 2018 – Ant-Man 2

November 2018 – Captain Marvel

This is a tricky one to do but seems like a necessary step for the Marvel Cinematic considering their lack of super powered marvel female characters. With rumors that Carol Danvers will at least be mentioned in Avengers Age of Ultron and my guess that she will popup in the Jessica Jones Netflix series, I think it’s a safe bet we’re getting this movie. Story wise it’s complicated because there is a lot of ground to cover to introduce Kree to earth. My only guess is that something in Inhumans triggers the Kree to search out earth and Carol Danvers is caught in some blast while flying a mission to fight or investigate a Kree ship. Both The Infinity Gauntlet and Captain America Civil War could progress during this movie without much work and Avengers 3 will need new faces.

May 2019 – Avengers 3 – Civil War Pt 2.

So the finale (with hopefully a better name). This will be what the entirety of the earth based stories in Phase 3 have been leading up to. Going on the rumor that Avengers 3 may be missing a lot of faces, I’d wager to say that Cap will be underground, Stark will be behind the scenes and mentioned but not shown, Thor will be in Asgard, Hulk out of the picture (but still on earth) with the others like Vision, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Hawkeye and Black Widow being the only ones from previous movies playing a part. A roster with those characters plus Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Ant-Man and Doctor Strange would be more than adequate. Toss in some Defenders, some bad guys from The Netflix shows or Agents of SHIELD and you got yourself plenty of super powered people to provide a proper dose of Avengers action. I don’t believe everything will be completely resolved by the end but there will definitely be light at the end of the tunnel and the war is over.

On another note, James Gunn has been quoted as saying that Guardians of the Galaxy is connected to Avengers 3. My personal feeling on this quote is that a few things have changed over the last 6 months and the movie he is actually referring to is the big event following Avengers 3, but I could be way off base here and this tiny quote brings my whole theory crashing down.

July 2019 – Doctor Strange 2

Since there is no precedent yet for a phase continuing after an Avengers movie, I thought of the most logical route would be to stick another film in between Avengers 3 and the big phase 3 conclusion im guessing will be simply called “The Infinity Gauntlet”. For those who have read The Infinity Gauntlet, you know that Marvel’s Doctor Strange has a fairly important part, particularly early on. My guess is this movie is a mixture of the first part of The Infinity Gauntlet, some more resolution from Captain America: Civil War and maybe even Doctor Strange 1 attempting to square off with Thanos before realizing he needs a whole hell of a lot more help causing him to start recruiting Avengers/Netflix Defenders/GoTG/etc and leading us right up to the finale.

Winter 2019 – The Infinity Gauntlet

Basically the finale to the trilogy of phases Marvel has done. Scale wise I have no idea how are they going to pull this off, but they definitely have enough firepower to do it justice. The dynamics of this movie should be interesting considering many of these characters involved have been at odds throughout the entire phase and I see a lot of resolution to the overlying negativity going on from the Civil War fallout. It will give everyone a fresh start for Phase 4. The only real theory I have about any plot points would be that Thor dies to setup Thor 4 (him in Hel). Being the youngest and probably cheapest out of the original Avengers, I see him carrying on a bit longer.

Season 2 of Netflix + Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

As proposed by the dates of the Netflix shows, I am anticipating 2 shows a year. This would allow 2 whole seasons to go bye within Phase 3. The only additional character I believe we will get a new show for is Hawkeye. They may need to recast depending on Jeremy Renner’s star status at the time and how well the Netflix shows are doing, but I see a Netflix show in Hawkeye’s future loosely based on Fraction’s work. Luke Cage and Iron Fist can do a Heroes for Hire team-up which would free up that extra slot for Hawkeye.

In terms of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, I think we will continue to just get barebones crossovers and not a ton of people crossing over from the movies. Personally I feel the show has established itself and no longer requires mentions of Black Widow every week to remind viewers they are in the MCU. They will keep their slow pace towards an Inhumans/Hydra story line and then shift to Civil War when it breaks out. The Obelisk shown in Season 2 Episode 1 and 2 may have some link to The Terregin Mists, but thats a pretty weak theory right now.

And now the full theorized list.

Theorized Schedule

  • May 2015 – Daredevil (Netflix)
  • July 17th, 2015 – Ant-Man
  • November 2015 – Jessica Jones (Netflix)
  • May 6th, 2016 – Captain America 3 – Civil War pt 1
  • May 2016 – Iron Fist (Netflix)
  • July 8th, 2016 – Doctor Strange
  • November 2016 – Luke Cage (Netflix)
  • February 2017 – Defenders (Netflix)
  • May 5th, 2017 – Inhumans
  • July 28th 2017 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2
  • August 2017 – Daredevil season 2 (Netflix)
  • November 3rd, 2017 – Black Panther
  • February 2018 – Hawkeye (Netflix)
  • May 4th, 2018 – Thor 3
  • July 6th, 2018 – Ant-Man 2
  • August 2018 – Heroes for Hire (Netflix)
  • November 2nd, 2018 – Captain Marvel
  • February 2018 – Jessica Jones season 2 (Netflix)
  • May 3rd 2019 – Avengers 3 – Civil War pt 2
  • July 2019 – Doctor Strange 2
  • August 2019 – Defenders 2 (Netflix)
  • Winter 2019 – The Infinity Gauntlet

Additional Theories

There has been a lot of rumors lately claiming that Marvel and Sony are talking about ways to include Spider-Man in the MCU. While it’s true The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t perform very well, I truly don’t see this happening in the next 10-15 years. What I do see happening is Fox selling back the right to Fantastic Four. Marvel’s publishing side has basically killed anything Fantastic Four related in their current and upcoming schedule. To top it off, the new reboot of Fantastic Four coming out next year is not looking very promising. I could easily see Fox killing the scheduled sequel, selling it back to Marvel and concentrating 100% on X-Men related properties. I predict this will happen in time for Silver Surfer to be the one to warn Doctor Strange about Thanos. Additionally, they could hold off on a Fantastic Four reboot for a while and just take advantage of all the supporting characters that comes along with the rights (Galactus anyone?). Seeing as Feige is quoted as saying they have things mapped out until 2028, my guess is that they have nothing planned that is reliant on them getting the rights back but I am fairly confident that they’d jump at the chance if it presented itself.

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