How Marvel’s Upcoming Crop of Movie Heroes Cross Over

(Marvel/The Daily Beast)
(Marvel/The Daily Beast)

Marvel unveiled their movie plans through 2019, including Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, and Avengers: Infinity War. Here’s how this diverse group of heroes cross over.

The other superhero factory struck first. Last week, DC Comics undraped an impressive slate of ten films through 2020, including the long-overdue Wonder Woman, marking the first female-led superhero flick since the brutal one-two punch of Catwoman and Elektra; their version of The Avengers in all-star squad Justice League; an ethnic superhero in Aquaman, played by Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa; and one played by an out actor in Ezra Miller’s The Flash. DC’s impressive reveal brought some much-needed diversity to the subgenre, ushering in a new era of silver screen saviors.

Like all things in Hollywood, the news came in twos. On Tuesday, in front of a packed house at Los Angeles’ El Capitan Theatre (“Captain,” get it?), Marvel President Kevin Feige unveiled his studio’s Phase 3 lineup of nine movies through 2019—those following next summer’s duo of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, which will close out Phase 2—and it’s a doozy.

Here they are:

  • Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (July 28, 2017)
  • Black Panther (November 3, 2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War – Part I (May 4, 2018)
  • Captain Marvel (July 6, 2018)
  • Inhumans (November 2, 2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War – Part II (May 3, 2019)

While the rumored casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange wasn’t confirmed, Feige did confirm that Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up, would play Black Panther, making him the first black actor top-lining a Marvel blockbuster.

“Black Panther and all of Wakanda is one of the most interesting characters in Marvel history,” said Feige. “Something I already showed you today contains an Easter egg that leads directly into ‘Black Panther.’ He’s a bit of a prince, he may even become a bit of a king, but it’s all about how this isolationist country meets the world. Maybe it goes well, maybe it doesn’t.”

Feige revealed that Black Panther will debut in Captain America: Civil War, which is based off Marvel’s seven-issue limited series Civil War, released in 2006. It centers on the U.S. government’s passing the Superhero Registration Act—an act requiring any U.S. person with superhuman powers to register with the government as “a human weapon of mass destruction,” disclose their true identity, and enter into a rigorous training program where they’ll operate as a sort of superhero police task force, helping to keep order. The act was passed due to anti-mutant hysteria in the wake of a series of superhero-related events that wreaked havoc on the general populous—in particular, a Hulk rampage in Vegas resulting in the death of 26 civilians (perhaps alluded to in the recent Age of Ultron trailer that saw Hulk clashing with Iron Man in his Hulkbuster armor).

The SRA—which many are comparing to the NSA—breaks the superheroes up into two factions: the anti-registration folks, a.k.a. Secret Avengers, who are led by Captain America and feel the act infringes on their civil liberties, and the pro-registration team, led by Iron Man (The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man are also involved, but since those properties are run by competing studios Fox and Sony, it’s fairly safe to say they won’t pop up in Marvel’s Civil War arc).

The Civil War comes to a head at “Project 42,” a prison constructed by Iron Man to house anti-registration offenders at Rikers Island. Once they’re all freed, a battle royal commences in the heart of New York City, where Captain Marvel joins the pro-registration team. It ends with Captain America sacrificing himself to end the carnage, the Mighty Avengers (led by Stark) assembling, the Avengers Initiative passing, providing a superhero team in every U.S. state, and Stark being appointed Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. The anti-registration heroes form underground group New Avengers, who convene in Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum in Greenwich Village, while Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman take a leave of absence from The Fantastic Four, and are replaced by Black Panther and Storm. Captain America, meanwhile, is shot to death outside a courthouse by the villainous Crossbones and brainwashed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter.

The 2016 film Captain America: Civil War will be helmed once again by the Russo Brothers, who directed Winter Soldier, and pit Chris Evans’s Captain America against Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man. Black Panther will also make an appearance, though it hasn’t been confirmed if Doctor Strange or Captain Marvel will pop up as well. Many are speculating that the film will mirror the comic and Captain America will die at the end of Civil War, since Evans’s contract only calls for six Marvel films total, and he’s openly discussed his desire to lay down the shield when it expires.

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast
Marlow Stern

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