Editorial – Taking A Look At The ‘Golden Age’ Of Comic Book Movies

Well, well, well… another huge comic-book movie announcement, another opportunistic Minty article about it! I’m sure by now you’re all aware of the fantastic news Marvel have just released: Civil War! Captain Marvel! Black Panther! Howard The Duck! It appears that Feige and his team have pulled it out of the bag with another exciting slate of movies.

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But what does this mean for the comic-book movie market in general? There are many who believe such a high number of superhero films per year will oversaturate the genre. Personally, I’d love to see this bubble continue to grow – at least until 2019, and hopefully much further beyond that. But in the meantime, it’s not a question we, the consumer, need to be worrying out – so long as the quality’s still there.

So sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy the next six years!

Note: While a lot of this information has been confirmed, it’s important to keep in mind that scheduling conflicts, script re-writes, and various end-of-the-world scenarios could cause changes to release dates/directors in the future.

(*Director is not officially confirmed)


2015


Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Marvel Studios – May 1st, 2015

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Director: Joss Whedon

The Buzz: Joining everyone’s favourite Avengers this time around are brother-sister duo Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, who, from the trailers, appear to boast some pretty impressive abilities. Elsewhere, Andy Serkis’ mystery role appears to be Ulysses Klaw – potentially setting up a visit to Wakanda. However, the most exciting addition has to be James Spader’s Ultron – the villain of the piece, who looks truly terrifying.


Ant-Man, Marvel Studios – July 17th, 2015

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Director: Peyton Reed

The Buzz: Almost the ‘forgotten child’ of the MCU, Ant-Man is finally making his big screen debut after some long-term behind the scenes drama. Paul Rudd will play Scott Lang, and joining him is a fantastic supporting cast, headlined by Michael Douglas’ Hank Pym, and Evangeline Lilly as Pym’s daughter, Hope Van Dyne – a character who may well go on to become The Wasp. This movie will mark the end of Phase 2.


The Fantastic Four, 20th Century Fox – August 7th, 2015

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Director: Josh Trank

The Buzz: This reboot sees Chronicle’s Josh Trank stamp his own unique style of filmmaking on Marvel’s first family. Not much is known as far as the story goes, but a lot of work has seemingly gone in to make it ‘gritty and realistic’ – and you can bet it’s an origins tale too. The movie’s cast is undeniably full of rising talent, and Toby Kebbel’s take on Doctor Doom ought to be a villain that fans can truly be excited to see.


2016


Deadpool, 20th Century Fox – February 12th, 2016

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Director: Tim Miller*

The Buzz: Expectations for this movie couldn’t be higher after that brilliant test footage leak. Regardless of the PG-13/R-Rated debate that endlessly follows this movie around, the key to success here is finding the right tone – and lead actor Ryan Reynolds looks the right man to deliver it. While it’s most likely a solo outing for Wade Wilson, don’t rule out seeing a few X-Men easter eggs – they’re part of the same universe.


Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, DC/WB – March 25th, 2016

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Director: Zack Snyder

The Buzz: The ‘key to the DCCU’ – this movie will launch DC’s much-anticipated shared universe. In addition to appearances from Ben Affleck’s Batman and Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, we’ll also be seeing CyborgAquamanand Wonder Woman for the first time, and maybe a few more Justice League hero cameos too. This is still primarily believed to be a sequel to Man Of Steel – so expect the lead role to be Superman’s.


Captain America: Civil War, Marvel Studios – May 6th, 2016

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Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

The Buzz: Almost acting as an Avengers: 2.5, Cap 3 will continue the stories from both Age Of Ultron and The Winter Soldier. The core premise of the story will, however, be the rivalry between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers as Marvel adapt the famous ‘Civil War’ storyline. Caught in between them will be Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, while fans can hope to see a host of MCU heroes – from Ant-Man to the Hulk.


X-Men: Apocalypse, 20th Century Fox – May 27th, 2016

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Director: Bryan Singer

The Buzz: X-Men: Days Of Future Past changed the X-Men franchise for good, and the movie’s sequel will explore the new future it created. Most likely set in the 1980s, Bryan Singer is rumoured to be on the hunt for younger versions of StormCyclops and Jean Grey, as James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier prepares to face his biggest threat yet: Apocalypse. Channing Tatum’s Gambit is likely to appear in a small role too.


Suicide Squad, DC/WB – August 5th, 2016

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Director: David Ayer

The Buzz: With David Ayer now seemingly confirmed to helm this piece, WB are looking to cast some A-List acting talent in the lead roles – including the likes of Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie. The roster has yet to be announced, but you can bet that Deadshot is involved, while Capt. BoomerangHarley Quinn andLex Luthor have all been rumoured to appear.


Doctor Strange, Marvel Studios – November 4th, 2016

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Director: Scott Derrickson

The Buzz: Kevin Feige’s passion project will open up a new ‘supernatural corner’ of the MCU, aiming to be the most visually breath-taking Marvel movie yet. Bennedict Cumberbatch is being heavily linked to the lead role as the arrogant but brilliant Stephen Strange – set to take on Iron Man’s responsibilities as the MCU’s ‘core hero’. Don’t rule out appearances from either Scarlet Witch or an Infinity Stone here.


Sinister Six, Sony – November 11th, 2016

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Director: Drew Goddard

The Buzz: In light of Spider-Man’s bad publicity, and the recent Marvel and DC news, this movie may end up moving or simply not happening altogether. If it is released, it’ll be sure to feature Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblinand Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, while KravenMysterioVulture and Doctor Octopus are all believed to be in the frame. The TASM franchise has stalled somewhat recently. Will this get things back on track?


2017


Untitled Wolverine Sequel, 20th Century Fox – March 3rd, 2017

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Director: James Mangold

The Buzz: Wolverine’s stand-alone 2013 adventure was, for the most part, a big success, prompting Hollywood’s longest serving superhero, Hugh Jackman, to re-team with director James Mangold. Free to adapt almost whatever they choose in this new timeline, many believe we’ll get to see Old Man Logan – or perhaps a fresh take on the Weapon X Saga… you know… without butchering Deadpool…


Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, Marvel Studios – May 5th, 2017

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Director: James Gunn

The Buzz: Everyone’s favourite bunch of A-Holes return with a new and improved May release date – showing just how much faith Marvel have in this kooky little franchise. Likely to spin-off into deeper cosmic mythology, the movie will hopefully reveal the identity of Star-Lord’s father, as well as feature more of Marvel’s cosmic universe. If the rumours are true, we may see HulkThanos & Adam Warlock too.


Wonder Woman, DC/WB – June 23rd, 2017

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: The first solo female superhero outing (that we’d like to remember at least…) rests on the shoulders of comics’ most famous heroine. Appropriate, isn’t it? With the release being so far away, not much is known about this project, but for the fact that it’ll star Gal Gadot – building on her appearance in Batman V Superman the year before. This movie will most likely set-up Justice League.


The Fantastic Four 2, 20th Century Fox – July 14th, 2017

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Director: Josh Trank*

The Buzz: Fox are confident, aren’t they? Assuming everything goes well, and Josh Trank and co are able to smash it out of the park with 2015’s The Fantastic Four, we should be getting a sequel two years later. With both Doom and Mole Man involved in the first movie, fans can hope to see a little bit more of the cosmic side of the F4-verse with this one – possibly leading towards either Galactus or Annihilus?


Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel Studios – July 26th, 2017

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: Reuniting Thor with his fan-favourite brother Loki, this movie is said to “impact everything that comes after” it in the MCU, with an effect comparable to The Winter Soldier’s on Phase 2. Kevin Feige claimed that Ragnarok in this sense was meant to represent “the end of all things”. However it plays out, fans will most likely see Surtur as the movie’s villain, as well as further exploration of the nine realms.


Black Panther, Marvel Studios – November 3rd, 2017

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: It’s finally happening! After making his first appearance in Civil War, this movie will likely flesh out the character of T’Challa, – perhaps including his origins. With Ulysses Klaw likely to pop-up in Age Of Ultron, and with him, hopefully, Wakanda, we may already have had a significant peek at the story of Black Panther onscreen. One thing’s for certain though: Chadwick Boseman will own the role.


Justice League, DC/WB – November 17th, 2017

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Director: Zack Snyder

The Buzz: This is what it all comes down to, in the DC Cinematic Universe. Uniting BatmanSupermanWonder WomanAquamanThe FlashCyborg and possibly Green Lantern too, to protect the Earth from a powerful threat. The villain is widely rumoured to be Brainiac, while the story will most likely set-up the arrival of Darkseidin Justice League, Part 2, in 2019.


Untitled Female Spider-Man Spin-Off, Sony – Unknown, 2017

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: Not much is known about this property, although the protagonist is widely rumoured to be Felicity Jones’ Felicia Hardy aka Black Cat. Much like the Sinister Six, the release of this film all depends on Sony’s future plans with its Spider-Man universe. Recently, there were a few rumours floating around about this movie focusing on a female superhero team. Just please, please, please don’t call it ‘Glass Ceiling‘, Sony…


Venom/Carnage, Sony – Unknown, 2017

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Director: Alex Kurtzman

The Buzz: This is a movie Sony have had in the works for a very long time now. It’s easy to see it’s a appeal: Venom is a fan-favourite character, and could make for a fantastic movie subject if handled correctly. Additionally, the deranged Cletus Kassidy is a villain Spider-Man fans have been waiting to see for years. However, with 2017 so full of CBMs already, it would not be surprising to see this movie delayed a further.


2018


The Flash, DC/WB – March 23rd, 2018

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: The reaction to Ezra Miller as The Flash was incredibly mixed, with many hailing his fantastic acting ability, while others questioned his physical likeness to the role. Regardless, we’ll only be able to judge fairly closer to the time of release. By then, general audience buzz for the Scarlet Speedster should be at an all-time high, with Grant Gustin and co. delivering the goods week-in-week-out over on The CW.


Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1, Marvel Studios – May 4th, 2018

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: Well this was inevitable. It’s Thanos Vs. The Avengers (and hopefully a few friends) as the first three Phases of the MCU begin their exciting climax. It’s difficult to speculate on any details, but you can imagine Civil War and Ragnarok will both play a big part in the build-up to this movie. As for the villain, expect the Mad Titan to have a limited role as The Avengers fight a smaller foe – as well as each other!


Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios – July 6th, 2018

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: Meet Carol Danvers – a member of the USAF whose encounter with a Kree named Mahr-Vehl left her as a Kree-Human hybrid… with superpowers to boot. Like Black Panther, by the time this movie rolls around, we may have already been introduced to Carol – either in Age Of Ultron or Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. Regardless, this movie will definitely play a key role in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline.


Untitled X-Men Movie, 20th Century Fox – July 13th, 2018

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: This is most likely one of three films: either a sequel to 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, an X-Force spin-off, or a Gambit solo movie. Personally, I’m leaning towards the latter, with Channing Tatum already confirmed to play the fan-favourite character in his own movie. If so, don’t rule out appearances from the likes of RogueThe Marauders and potentially even Mister Sinister as the movie’s main villain.


Aquaman, DC/WB – July 27th, 2018

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: “Aquaman sucks!” Said no one, ever… once they had a look at Jason Momoa, that is. It’s already pretty clear that we’re going to get a more badass, barbaric side to the King of the Ocean – who will have already appeared in 2016’s Batman V Superman and 2017’s Justice League by the time we get to see this. Joining Orin will most likely be his wife Mera, his treacherous brother, Ocean Master and Black Manta.


Inhumans, Marvel Studios – November 2nd, 2018

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: Set to introduce a host of new characters to the MCU, this movie will likely not only play into the Infinity Gauntlet story, but also set-up Marvel’s ‘post-Avengers’ future. It will likely centre around the royal family (led by the all-powerful Black Bolt), but may also feature an Earth-based storyline, involving various Miracles created by the Terrigan Mists – so don’t rule out seeing Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver either.


The Amazing Spider-Man 3, Sony – Unknown, 2018

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Director: Mark Webb*

The Buzz: Six months ago, Sony seemed a lot more confidant about their Spider-Man universe, setting a summer 2016 release for this threequel, as well as looking at a number of spin-offs too. Since then, this film has seen a two-year delay, possibly on the back of it’s predecessor’s mixed critical and commercial performance. The story and existence of this movie now heavily depends on the outcome of Sinister Six.


2019


Shazam, DC/WB – April 5th, 2019

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: Likely to be based on Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s excellent New 52 relaunch, DC’s latest adventure will focus on Billy Batson, a young teen who gains extraordinary powers, allowing him to turn into the adult hero known as Shazam. The Rock will play his nemesis, Black Adam, while family has always been a key theme with this character, so expect appearances from Mary Marvel and Freddie Freeman too.


Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2, Marvel Studios – May 3rd, 2019

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Director: TBD

The Buzz: “And so we come to it at last.” This is the movie that ends Marvel’s 11-year project, which began with Iron Man all those years ago, and spawned one of the greatest franchises in movie history. It will probably be the last time we will see the likes of Tony StarkCaptain America and Thor as they team-up with a new generation of AvengersThe Guardians Of The Galaxy and maybe even The Inhumans to defeat the Mad Titan, Thanos – once and for all.


Justice League, Part 2, DC/WB – June 14th, 2019

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Director: Zack Snyder

The Buzz: 2019 is likely to be a very special year for the CBM fan. For the first time ever, we will be receiving movies from both Marvel and DC’s premiere teams in the same calendar year. Matching The Infinity Gauntlet’s Thanos will be DC’s universal big bad: Darkseid, as he takes his war to Earth to fight the Justice League. With a 2020 movie on the horizon, expect Green Lantern in particular to play a big role in this movie, as well as a few more new faces.


The Future


With Green Lantern and Cyborg solo movies already confirmed for 2020, the superhero movie-making machine certainly doesn’t stop in 2019. Who can count against Batman and Superman movies popping up at some point? Elsewhere, Marvel have already sown their seeds for a fourth and fifth Phase with their Doctor Strange and Inhumans franchises, while there’s no telling what Fox or Sony have planned beyond 2016. We could be receiving updated slates from either company at any point in the near future.

However, if there were ever a perfect time for the ‘bubble’ to burst, it would be at the end of this magnificent period. All good things must come to an end, and it would be wonderful to watch both The Avengers and The Justice League go out with a bang – for the fans – rather than being dragged out for profit motivations. Regardless, I do believe that 2019 will represent the ‘end of an era’ of sorts – but that doesn’t necessarily mean the CBMs have to stop. They just have to… adapt.

It’s going to be a great few years.

Thanks for reading!  So, which of these movies are you looking forward to the most? Do you think the industry will continue being so successful with all these movies coming out? Let me know below in the comments, and let me know if you enjoyed this!

I’ve been Minty. You’ve been wonderful. Check out my other CBM articles if you’re interested too!

MintyFreshness

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About Minty

Writer for @ComicBook_Movie & @MoviesTVComics. Professional procrastinator. Real human bean.
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