The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a shared fictional universe that is the setting of superhero films independently developed by Marvel Studios, based on characters published in Marvel Comics. The setting is much like the Marvel Universe in comic books. The universe was established by crossing over shared plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.
In 2005, Variety reported that Marvel Studios would start producing its own films and distribute them through Paramount Pictures. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige in 2009 initially referred to the shared narrative continuity of these films as the "Marvel Cinema Universe", but later used the term "Marvel Cinematic Universe".
The first group of films, culminating and concluding with The Avengers, is now known as "Phase 1" of the MCU. "Phase 2" has concluded with the release of Ant-Man. We are now entering into "Phase 3", the first film of which will be Captain America: Civil War. At this time it is unknown how many Phases the MCU is planned to have but Kevin Feige has stated they have films planned through 2028 so be sure to check back in to get any updates on this growing Cinematic Universe!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Release: May 5th, 2017
James Gunn is confirmed to once again write and direct. Gunn has said he wishes to include more female members of the team and expand the roles of those with minor parts in the first film, such as Cosmo. Mantis is confirmed to join the team, played by Pom Klementieff. He has also said the film will be more emotional and introduce Star Lord's father. Kurt Russell has been cast in an unknown role and Sylvester Stallone will also have a cameo of some sort. Kurt Russell will appear as Ego the Living Planet. The 5 guardians from the first film, Neblua, and Yondu will all return.
Release: July 7th, 2017
After an outing in Civil War,Tom Holland will return to play the title role with Jon Watts directing. The film was subtitled "Homecoming" in April 2016. Robert Downey Jr confirmed that Tony Stark will appear. Marisa Tomei plays Aunt May. Michael Keaton will play The Vulture.
Release: November 3rd, 2017
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston will return as Thor and Loki respectively. Jamie Alexander will return as Sif. Idris Elba is also expected to return as Heimdall. Natalie Portman is confirmed to not return as Jane Foster. It is uncertain if Anthony Hopkins will return. Taika Waititi is the film's director. The movie will feature Mark Ruffalo's Hulk and has been described as a cosmic roadtrip. Cate Blanchett will play the antagonist Hela. The cast is rounded out by Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and Karl Urban as Skurge The Executioner.
Release: February 16th, 2018
In January 2011, Marvel Studios hired documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey to write a script for a Black Panther film with Marvel's Kevin Feige producing. In October 2013 Kevin Feige confirmed that Black Panther was in development for the near future. Chadwick Boseman will play the title roll, first appearing in 2016's Captain America: Civil War. Ryan Coogler will direct.
Avengers: Infinity War
Release: May 4th, 2018
In October 2014 it was announced that the third Avengers story would be split into two films. The first will release in May 2018. Thanos will be the primary antagonist, played by Josh Brolin. The Civil War/Winter Soldier writing and directing team is back. Adam Magus is rumoured to appear. The Russos, who are confirmed to direct both films, have since announced that both Infinity War movies will stand alone and thus be re-titled.
Ant-Man and The Wasp
Release: July 6th, 2018
A sequel to the 2015 original, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly will return as the title characters. Michael Douglas will return as Hank Pym and Peyton Reed will return as the director.
Release: March 8th, 2019
Captain Marvel has been confirmed as one of the two films between the two Avengers: Infinity War movies. The character will be Carol Danvers. Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve will write the script. The character is rumoured to first appear in the preceding Avengers movie.
Release: May 3rd, 2019
The second part of the Infinity War story will release in May 2019.
Release: July 5th, 2019
A sequel to Spider-Man Homecoming has already been announced.
Guardians of the Galaxy 3
In April 2016 Kevin Feige confirmed that Guardians 3 would be a phase 4 film. In the past James Gunn has said he'd be game to direct a 3rd Guardians film, but he is not yet confirmed to return to write or direct.
In October 2015 Marvel announced that three more films would be released in 2020, however it is currently unknown what exactly they will be about.
With Marvel going ahead with expanding the Cosmic side of the MCU, Nova is a likely cosmic property to get a film. Richard Rider was in the original draft of Guardians of the Galaxy and the Nova Corps features prominently in the film. Aspects of Nova's backstory already show up in the initial Guardians of the Galaxy movie including Rhomann Dey and Garthan Saal.
In promoting Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn has expressed interest in making a Thunderbolts movie. He has stated that he has already talked with Kevin Feige about it, although it is unknown how fruitful those talks have been. Currently Gunn will first write and direct the sequel to Guardians, meaning Thunderbolts if it does come is on the back burner. It is potentially even a Phase 4 option. Zemo was introduced in Civil War and is potentially setup for this film as well.
In August 2014 news broke that Wesley Snipes will be back in the title role for another Blade film, this time produced by Marvel Studios. A new Blade film has yet to be confirmed. If the rumour is true, there is no indication if it would be connected to the prior three films apart from Snipes still starring. There is also no indication that the film would take place in the MCU, although Marvel Studios has yet to produce a film outside of the MCU. In July 2015 Snipes confirmed that he has talked with Marvel both about reprising the character and possibly joining the MCU as someone else. In 2016 a new rumour surfaced that instead of Blade returning to the big screen he would instead join the MCU with a Netflix original series.
Ghost Rider & Moon Knight
Both of these heroes are rumoured to be part of a second phase of Netflix original series along with Blade and The Punisher (whose series has already been confirmed).
The Incredible Hulk 2
Following the universal praise of the character in The Avengers, Marvel immediately began planning on a new stand alone film starring Mark Ruffalo. In 2012 rumours circulated about Marvel being interested in adapting the story Planet Hulk, although these rumours have since seemingly been debunked. There are not currently any active rumours but The Hulk getting another film. In October 2014 Kevin Feige stated that Hulk would continue to appear in Avengers and other films rather than get his own...for now. There has also been some indication that Hulk's former license agreement with Universal may hold some sort of sway in preventing a film releasing that features "Hulk" in the title, which poses an odd obstacle.
Besides these there's been small talk in the past (even leading to some writers hired) to begin production on movies or television series based around other heroes, including:
- Power Pack