When I spoke with Marvel maestro Kevin Feige back in July for Guardians of the Galaxy, he revealed that he wants to stay close to the template the studio created with Phase One, with each concurrent phase likely ending with an Avengers sequel. During the Q&A session after Marvel's press event at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, the studio president confirmed those plans have changed, with Ant-Man (July 17, 2015) now closing out Phase Two, and the newly-christened Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016) kicking off a nine-movie Phase Three.
"I don't say we set out to have any particular number. Phase One was six films.Phase Two, for those following along you'll realize that Ant-Man truly is the end of Phase Two, and Civil War truly is the beginning of Phase Three. So that leaves us with six films in Phase Two, and it is nine films in Phase Three. One of the reasons is one of the films is being split into two parts, Infinity War, and, because, frankly, the success that we've had, which is beyond our wildest dreams. I mentioned before, 10 films, over $7 billion, it is amazing. It gave us confidence, and, frankly, the studio is firing on all cylinders right now. We have the absolute best team in Hollywood, in front of the camera, behind the camera, working on these movies, which made us comfortable for the first time, as you see in 2017 and 2018, that we had the ability to increase it to three films a year, instead of just two, without changing our methods at all."
In case you missed the full announcement earlier today, here's the entire Marvel Phase Three rundown, complete with release dates.
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 1 - May 4, 2018
Captain Marvel - July 6, 2018
Inhumans - November 2, 2018
Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 - May 3, 2019
Of course, this all may change over the next five years, especially if Ant-Man proves to be as big of a hit as this summer's Guardians of the Galaxy, which is still the top-grossing movie of 2014 with $328.6 million domestic. If the schedule remains unchanged, then it seems fans will have to wait until at least late 2019 or 2020 for an Ant-Man sequel.
Do you think nine movies is too much for Marvel Phase Three? Or do you think it should be even bigger? Chime in with your thoughts below.