When I speak of Marvel in this blog, I am speaking exclusively about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which encompasses the movie/film franchises owned by Disney.
Just this month, Marvel released their Netflix original series Daredevil which focuses on Matt Murdock, the lawyer turned vigilante who fights crime in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Just several days old and the series already has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes (certified fresh) from critics, and a 98% from audiences. After binge watching the entire series myself, I give the show a 9 / 10, and you can read my review here.
About to Happen
But an entire series being released in one day isn’t enough, not for Marvel and Disney who have quite the roller coaster planned for fans over the next several months, and years.
Next month, one of the most anticipated movies of the year comes out, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Audiences have waiting three years for the big four to team up again on the silver screen, and Marvel is repaying that anticipation with interest. The next Marvel cinematic installment will have Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Maria Hill from the previous Avengers, and they’ll be adding to the roster Quicksilver, Scarlett Witch, Vision, War Machine, Falcon, and let’s not forget Ultron. And these are just the ones we know about. Who knows what tricks Marvel has up its’ sleeve.
Then just a few weeks later Marvel is broadening the MCU with the theatrical release of Ant Man starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. While the name is not very inspiring, and most non comic book fans won’t know who this is, Ant Man is a very important keg in the Marvel machine. In the comics, the original Ant Man, Hank Pym, is responsible for creating the maniacal villain Ultron.
The commonly accepted narrative right now is that the story is being rewritten so that Tony Stark is credited for screwing over the world. However with Ant Man the movie following so closely on the heels of Age of Ultron, I suspect there might be more to the story than we’ve been told. My guess is that the central Ant Man characters will be revealed in Age of Ultron and somehow tied into his origins – meaning Marvel isn’t simply broadening their universe, they are entangling it.
Let’s Not Forget About TV
Enough with the silver screen, let’s get back to TV land for a second. If you’ve learned anything about Marvel over the past decade, it’s that they don’t flash and fizzle. Daredevil is the first Netflix series they’ve made, but it is by no means the only one. In fact, a quick look at IMDB would reveal that Charlie Cox will be reprising his role as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen again in another Netflix series The Defenders – Netflix’s shot at their own Superhero team up.
By 2016, Netflix and Marvel intend to release four series in total – I am sure with more on the way. The first three shows are Daredevil, Luke Cage, and A.K.A. Jessica Jones. The title characters of those shows will then join up and form The Defenders – Marvel’s television comeback to the Avengers – a group of heroes starring in a fourth Netflix show of the same name. This is huge news, because in the next year, the number of Marvel/Disney franchises will mushroom 50% from the current tally of eight, up to 12.
Marvel is doubling down on a recipe that has already worked for them when they tied together four franchises for 2012’s Avengers. Will it work out for them on TV like it did in theaters? Time will tell.
But all of this is working towards something even bigger. As we all know, Captain America: Civil War is just around the corner which will focus on the fictional Superhero Registration Act from the comics several years ago. With only about a year to go, can audiences expect all the familiar faces both old and new to take sides in the divisive and controversial tug-of-war between Captain America/Steve Rogers and Iron Man/Tony Stark?
Audiences will get tired of the same old routine of splitting apart and bringing back together the four Avengers every couple years to fight the Bad Guy of the Week. My guess is Marvel is well aware of this, which means that in order to keep the party going they’re going to need to up the stakes. Expect to see an ever increasing number of heroes flying around and blasting their way through Earth and the cosmos.
And to top it all off, Marvel and Sony have reached a nail biting agreement, which will allow Marvel to feature Spider-Man in their movies. Fans are happier than ever that Disney magic can breathe some fresh life into the Spidey saga that thus far has inspired no awe even after two relaunches in the past decade. The big question on nerds’ minds now, is will there be enough time to write Spiderman into the Civil War moving coming out in 2016? In the comics Peter Parker played a huge role in the events of the Civil War story arc, so fingers crossed Kevin Feige can work the web slinger in artistically.
Here is a timeline of recent events and events to come in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- 2010-April-10: [Netflix Series]Daredevil series airs on Netflix
- 2015-May-01: Avengers: Age of Ultron
- 2015-July-17: Ant-Man
- 2015-Sep-Late: [TV Series] Agents of Shield: Season 3
- 2015 Unknown: [Netflix Series] A.K.A. Jessica Jones
- 2015 Unknown: [Netflix Series] Iron Fist
- 2016-May-06: Captain America: Civil War
- 2016-Nov-04: Doctor Strange
- 2016 Unknown: [Netflix Series] Luke Cage
- 2016 Unknown: [Netflix Series] Defenders
- 2017-May-05: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
- 2017-July-28: Thor Ragnarok
- 2017-Nov-3: Black Panther
- 2018-May-4: Avengers: Infiniti War Part I
- 2018-July-6: Captain Marvel
- 2018-Nov-2: Inhumans
- 2019-May-3: Avengers: Infiniti War Part II
And with Marvel brass saying they have plans out to 2028, we can expect years – no – decades of more fun.