[Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) marks the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to tackle a major Marvel story line (albeit, slightly different than the comics), followed by the Infinity War movies to finish Phase 3. As we wait with anticipation for these iconic stories to come to the big screen, let's take a look at some other major story lines that could hit us by Phase 4 and beyond (with the current movie rights Marvel has to their characters).
A cosmic entity known as the Beyonder gathered a large assortment of superheroes and super-villains on Battleworld to see who would win in a fight of good against evil (marvel.wikia.com).
This synopsis is based off the original 1984 event. The Marvel Comic universe has another Secret Wars happening now, but it's a little more detailed in its happenings with multi-verse stuff and colliding worlds, but it's where the Marvel Comic Universe is currently. Is it possible to see Secret Wars come to the Silver Screen anytime soon? Let's remember that a Guardians of the Galaxy comic book launched before the movie was released to familiarize fans with the characters, so it wouldn't be out of question. There are a few big players that Marvel doesn't have the movie rights to that are connected to this story arc, Doctor Doom potentially being the biggest (though with the recent Fant4stic failure, here's hoping we get all of these characters back!). I think this story line is the most likely to come to us (at least in part) as Marvel heads into Phase 3 and beyond. If recent rumors are to be trusted, Marvel plans to leave most of the original Avengers out of Avengers 3 and save them for some big event type film.
World War Hulk/Planet Hulk
When Hulk was jettisoned away from Earth on a S.H.I.E.L.D. commissioned space ship, his intended landing place was a lush green planet devoid of any intelligent lifeforms. Unfortunately, the ship was sucked into a wormhole, and Hulk found himself on a planet where a corrupt empire oppressed barbarian tribes (marvel.com).
From everything I've read, when Mark Ruffalo joined Marvel Studios for The Avengers he signed a six-picture contract, one being The Avengers and one being Age of Ultron. Does that give us hope in seeing cinematic versions of one of these story lines? Perhaps, though there seems to be a snafu with Universal when it comes to the rights to a solo Hulk movie. Lionsgate released an animated version of Planet Hulk in 2010 which may give us a viable example of how the live-action film could replace a critical part of the story in the Silver Surfer, since Fox currently owns his movie rights. So, obviously there are some rights issues to figure out in order for this to happen, but it's easily one of the biggest story arcs being wished for by fans.
Interestingly, NYCC has given a few more unofficial hints at this as well:
Hot on the heels of NYCC, we’ve gotten word from our inside sources that THOR: RAGNAROK will see Chris Hemsworth’s Thor team up with none other than Mark Ruffalo’s HULK for the Odinson's third solo film, which finds the God of Thunder facing what amounts to the Norse Apocalypse. Only this time out he'll have some help from a fellow Avenger.
Mark Ruffalo joins Tom Hiddleston (also confirmed by our sources) and Jaimie Alexander in RAGNAROK, which we’ve also heard will involve a “distant planet” that is "not Asgard and not Earth." What does that mean? Certainly the theory will be made that this is where Marvel will work in the long-rumored Planet Hulk storyline, and although we can’t completely verify that, we can’t completely deny it either. I’ll leave it to you on how you want to place your bets, but I know where my money is going. Regardless, Ruffalo is on board. As to how much time he’ll spend as Hulk vs. Banner, we can’t say, only that he’s absolutely part of the supporting cast and will feature prominently (joblo.com).
Secret Invasion was Marvel's major crossover event of the summer of 2008. It revolved around the infiltration of Earth's superhuman community by new genetically-altered super-Skrulls. Similar to the Super-Skrull Kl'rt, who mimicked the abilities of the Fantastic Four, each of these Super-Skrulls mimicked the abilities of an individual or group, or different combinations of their powers (marvel.wikia.com).
I know we keep running into the same problem with movie rights not belonging to Marvel, but we've seen how they've gotten around this before. Remember the Chitauri from The Avengers? They are the Skrull replacements. Easy fix, right? For the MCU, this could be the culmination of a Kree/Skrull war and the events from The Avengers. And, with all of the crazy happenings with Kree/Inhumans in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., would it really be unfounded that something like this does eventually happen?
After sensing that Silk was released from captivity by Spider-Man, Morlun stated that the Great Hunt, where he and his family would kill every Spider-Totem in the Multiverse, had begun. As the Inheritors killed numerous Spider-themed heroes, the time-displaced Spider-Man (Otto Octavius) created a team to fight the enemies.
With the advent of the Marvel/Sony deal, the gates have been blown open for the possibilities of how Peter Parker's addition to the MCU could change things. If they wanted to introduce interdimensional travel, there's not a better way than the Spider-verse story arc. While I think this sort of thing is way, way off (Sony does still have a hand in this deal, after all), maybe one of these days we could get screen versions of some of our favorite alternate Spider-peeps.
Avengers vs. X-men
When the Phoenix Force approaches Earth, Hope Summers is assumed its next host. The X-Men and the Avengers divide on how to handle the situation. The X-Men believe that the Phoenix Force will herald the rebirth of the Mutant Species, while the Avengers believe that it will bring an end all life on Earth. This leads into a war between Marvel's two powerful superhero factions (marvel.wikia.com).
The movie rights battle to finish them all. Yes, I know this is a far reaching hope, but you know we would all love to see it happen (even without Hugh Jackman's Wolverine being involved). There is already a rumor of this being in the works as a 2020 cinematic event (keep your eyes peeled at SDCC 2016). Yet another way to open up the interdimensional idea to the MCU, this has the potential to be bigger than the Spidey deal (and that was HUGE!).