At the moment Marvel hasn’t made any official announcements concerning the rest of the Phase Three releases besides Ant-Man in July 2015. Kevin Feige has recently given the impression that only two of those four new releases will be new characters. I assume that means one new character in 2016 and another in 2017. Over the years Marvel Studios has put a large amount of film projects into development for their own feature films. Some of the new films that could be in the running for Marvel’s Phase Three include Doc Strange, Black Panther, Inhumans, Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.
Doc Strange seems the best candidate at this point. Since Marvel’s Kevin Feige has been talking about it more often than any other new property. More recently giving the impression Marvel is set on it for Phase Three. It has a completed script in place which had been reported to haven gone out to potential directors a while back. The news of Doc Strange‘s development has led to lots of official/unofficial casting rumors. Names like Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence, Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Road), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Looper), Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall, The Counsellor), Benedict Cumberbatch (Hobbit Trilogy, Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Zero Dark Thirty, The Thing, Animal Kingdom) were either linked or rumored over the last couple of years/months. I personally like the idea of having Tom Hanks as Dr. Stephen Strange. The character is expected to become the new patriarch of Phase Three (replacing Tony Stark?). Hanks recently was campaigning for role offers in superhero movies. Since Marvel has a tendency to consider Disney alumni and Oscar caliber actors. Hanks could be a solid candidate. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to give some age to Strange.
Black Panther on the other hand, has had a overwhelming amount of fan support online from bloggers and audiences alike. It even has it’s fair share of actors campaigning for the role. Three of them happen to already be apart the MCU. They would include Thor: The Dark World‘s Idris Elba and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Not to mention Guardians of The Galaxy‘s Djimon Hounsou who is among many favorites for T’Challa. Mixed with others being linked or fan favorites such as Chadwick Boseman (42), Nate Parker (Non-Stop, Red Tails), Chitwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, Serenity, 12 Years A Slave, American Gangster), David Oyelowo (The Butler, Planet of The Apes, Jack Reacher), Aldis Hodge (Leverage) and Morris Chestnut (Kick-Ass 2, Nurse Jackie). The only problem is that Marvel seemed hesitant to include Panther in Phase Two. It was in the running to be the only new property for Phase Two but lost to Guardians of The Galaxy instead. A draft of the script by Mark Bailey exists and is rumored to be decent enough.
Development on an Inhumans film has been gathering steam for sometime. The project was in the running alongside Guardians of The Galaxy and Black Panther as the only new release in Phase Two. There is talk The Inhumans will end up the MCU’s version of the X-Men. Having the Inhumans possibly replacing mutants as the genetically gifted beings on Earth. The movie is rumored to be taking influence from Game of Thrones by having warring factions within the world of Inhumans. There are a few people speculating that Vin Diesel’s real Marvel role could be that of Black Bolt. Since he had been referring to another role linked to 2016. There is a script for the project and is said to be much further along in development than most suspect.
The trades previously reported that Ms Marvel has a script in development over at Marvel. Along with rumblings that Emily Blunt (Looper, Edge of Tomorrow) and Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Lone Ranger) were in the running for the role. Blunt was originally cast as Black Widow in Iron Man 2 only to exit over a contract with 20th Century Fox. She would go on to test for Peggy Carter and other female roles in the MCU. Even Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, Riddick) tossed her hat in the ring for the part a few weeks back, saying the Danvers was in her “wheelhouse”. We’ve heard Joss Whedon talk about disliking the comics incarnation of the character. So it’s possible the studio could go another route with her instead. Perhaps, having Danvers as a S.H.I.E.L.D fighter pilot codenamed Warbird (another alias of Carol’s) which could set her up as the female version of Nova/Starlord. Not to mention giving Whedon more control over her limited amount of powers. The Kree have already been established in Guardians of The Galaxy with Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace) set as the main villain of the picture. The Kree Empire technology has a connection to Danvers gaining her powers so it’s possible this could be hinted to in Phase Two. Like Panther, it seems Marvel could have cold feet when trying something new with their lead actors. It’s hard not to notice that every one of the Marvel films has a white male as it’s lead hero. It’s about time they changed that aspect up.
Iron Fist and Luke Cage films have also had scripts in development for ages. However, there was talk recently from producer Louis D’Esposito that a Heroes For Hire film could actually be in the works. It would be a great way for Marvel to combine a bunch street-level heroes like Danny and Luke into one film. Ray Park (X-Men, G.I. Joe) had once been attached to play Danny Rand aka Iron Fist. There was some interest from Idris Elba (The Wire, Pacific Rim, Prometheus, Luther), Dwayne Johnson (Fast Six, G.I. Joe) , Tyrese Gibson and Isaiah Mustafa to play Luke Cage. While the online community rallied around Terry Crews (Gamer, Expendables Trilogy) to play Cage, who didn’t seem too psyched about the role.
While it’s possible that we could see sequels to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of The Galaxy 2 in Phase Three. That hasn’t been made certain or official by Marvel. All we know is that two of the other releases will include established characters. That could point to us seeing Black Widow finally getting her solo spin-off. Another option could be a new Hulk film which has been teased since the release of the Avengers back in 2012. In my opinion, I doubt Marvel is willing to give recently reverted properties such as The Punisher, Blade or Daredevil their own slots in Phase Three.
The Hulk was obviously the breakout character in The Avengers. Around it’s theatrical release there was talk that a new film could be in development. Joss Whedon and Mark Ruffalo had said in interviews about being keen on collaborating on a new movie. Whedon hinted he could be interested in putting the script together himself. As he was responsible for the successful resurrection of the character in Avengers. Since then there is talk comic stories such as Planet Hulk and Indestructible Hulk, could be source material for a new string of movies. There’s even a new cartoon Hulk And The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Which could easily help influence a new batch of films. Instead of having Banner on the run making him the primary hero of the feature.
It’s quite possible that Marvel could even move forward with Nicole Perlman’s (Guardians of The Galaxy) updated script for the Black Widow spin-off film. Since Johansson’s character will be getting a lot more screen time thanks to a great presence in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. At one point the film rights to Black Widow was setup at Lionsgate. There was development with David Hayter (X2) writing and posed to direct it. The studio opted to give it the axe instead. Due to low box office reception from female led comic book films such as Catwoman and Elektra. Marvel has since established Widow as a major player within the ranks of both the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. Having her going off on her own adventure seems like the right direction for the character. Giving Marvel fans what they’ve been asking for since Iron Man 2.