Comic-Con International 2014 is officially over and we escaped with an underwhelming number of surprise announcements when compared to expectations leading up to this year’s event. Coming into the San Diego event, Marvel Studios had scheduled new six unannounced films in addition to a few the studio still hadn’t titled from previously.
When we spoke to Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige on Saturday morning, there were nine unannounced projects with release dates in 2016-19. We knew (and still know) one of those is for the untitled Captain America 3 coming May 2016. With so many other dates set, we expected to learn about a bunch of them during the Marvel Studios panel at last week’s San Diego Comic-Con and theorized on the possibility that Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may have quite a few more films than Phase 2 – assuming that their May 2019 date could be for The Avengers 3.
Hours before that panel though, I asked Feige for some background on why Marvel added a third date to 2018 (giving them three in a year for two years in a row) a few days after announcing five other new ones. He wouldn’t offer any hints on how many of the releases we could see unveiled later that day (only one as it turns out - Guardians of the Galaxy 2) but did explain the push to three in 2018.
“The last one was just a scheduling thing. There were other studios that were moving their chess pieces around on their chessboard, which is why that had been in the works, which is why that other 2018 date came up a few days after the initial release.”
The scheduling “thing” is of course the release dates for Sinister Six and The Amazing Spider-Man 3 that Sony announced during Comic-Con. They had pulled their Spider-Man release that year from May which left it open for Marvel Studios to immediately take, and so they did. May 2018 is exactly three years after The Avengers: Age of Ultron will release, which is three years after the first Avengers so we wondered how that may affect when they were planning to release the third team-up.
“We haven’t really talked about when we’ll see Avengers 3. I presume we’d like to stick to three years between Avengers movies like we did…Oh, No, it was two years, wasn’t it? What was it? Yeah, yeah. So it’d probably be three years about Avengers 2 and 3.”
If that’s the case, Phase 3 of the MCU is going to be three releases shorter assuming it takes the most obvious date of May 4, 2018 and so the three films scheduled after that are probably the beginning of Phase 4. A few contracts for the core Avengers reportedly end with The Avengers 3, so that’s going to be a major transition point for The Avengers roster.