What other film is Marvel making in 2014?

Feature James Hunt
16 May 2012 - 10:00

Marvel Studios has two as-yet unnamed movies scheduled for release in 2014. But what are they? James lays out a few theories...

With Avengers destroying box-office records the world over, all eyes are on the future of Marvel Studios. Although there’s no question that Avengers 2 is coming, that first film is the result of four years of planning, and required five previous movies to be made before it could be brought into existence. We know that Marvel Studios is planning Iron Man 3 and Thor 2 for release in 2013, but it also has two release dates (May 16th and June 27th) locked down for 2014.

For that reason, we can’t help but wonder what other stories we’re going to see before Avengers 2. One we know, one we don't. Here are our guesses.

Ant-Man – Odds: even

By now, you’ve probably seen the not-so-cryptic teaser image which heavily implies that the eternally gestating Wright/Cornish Ant-Man movie is as close to being born as at any point in the past, but the question remains: when will we see it? A 2013 release isn’t out of the question - Wright did turn around the effects-heavy Scott Pilgrim in a little over 12 months, after all - but every day that passes makes it more and more unlikely that we’ll see it before 2014. And let’s face it, if we can say anything for certain about Ant-Man, it’s that no one’s in a rush to get it made.

Of course, that may have changed since Avengers. After all, the sequel will have to give us some new blood, and Ant-Man/Hank Pym would be a shoo-in. Wright has previously denied any possibility of his version of Ant-Man hooking up with the Avengers – but plans do change. Either way, it’s by far the most likely candidate for 2014.

Captain America 2 – Confirmed

Little point betting here, as the Cap has now been confirmed for one of the 2014 slots. Joss Whedon used Steve Rogers as his entry point for Avengers, and in many ways, his appearance there was the real third act of his own movie (which, lest we forget, was subtitled The First Avenger.)

He’s also the character with the most obvious future: there’s a new America for him to go out and discover, and plenty of loose ends from the first movie that need tying up. The pointed shot of him heading out on a motorbike at the close of Avengers virtually compels you to imagine what he’s going to find.

We'll discover that in two years time, even if it's unlikely that the director of The First Avenger, Joe Johnston, will be calling the shots this time around.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Odds: 5-1

A few months ago, Marvel Studios’ top producer Kevin Feige was asked about the possibility of Marvel’s more obscure developments, such as Ant-Man, Runaways, Inhumans and Guardians of the Galaxy, making it to screens. His reply admitted that “two of those four” were closer than we think, and that he’d talk about them “in the coming months”.

Now that a few weeks have passed, we can guess that Ant-Man was one of the two he meant – but what’s the other? It’s hard not to consider that Avengers gave us a post-credits look at Thanos, a villain from Marvel’s cosmic stable, and the Guardians are heroes with similarly cosmic scope. Could a Guardians film with Thanos as the villain arrive before Avengers 2?

After all, part of what made Avengers work was that we already were already invested in Loki as a villain – perhaps setting up Thanos in advance might be a good idea, transforming the stakes from “Powerful guy we need to introduce attacks Earth!” to “Villain you’ve already seen smash up the galactic backwaters comes to Earth!” It’s possible that the poor performance of Green Lantern might put Marvel off pursuing a similarly space-faring property, but on the other hand, if anyone can make it work, they can.

The Hulk – Odds: 10-1

Pretty much everyone came out of Avengers saying the same thing: the Hulk was awesome. This was quite the opposite of what they were saying the last two times the Hulk got his own film. Still, with reception that good, there’s got to be a whiteboard somewhere at Marvel Studios with “Hulk?” written on it, and we’d be fools not to address the gamma-irradiated angry green elephant in the room.

Here’s the thing: you don’t want to poison the well. To Marvel’s credit, they’re playing things coy and suggesting that maybe the Hulk will remain as a guest star in Avengers films rather than return to his own movie franchise. Even if he did get another shot at solo stardom, it’s unlikely to be in cinemas by 2014 if only because they locked down their 2014 release dates well before anyone had the slightest clue that Hulk was going to be the best thing in an already amazing Avengers film. We all probably think we want a Hulk film, but hopefully Marvel Studios are smart enough to know the difference between what we say we want, and what we actually want.

Agents of SHIELD – Odds: 10-1

Of course, Hulk isn’t the only spin-off you could do from Avengers. Take the Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury and a Helicarrier, then mix together with your favourite Mission: Impossible/James Bond/Jason Bourne plot. A recipe for mild success.

As much as we’d all like to see Johansson and Renner pouting their way through an espionage caper, something about a SHIELD movie to follow up Avengers seems a little too obvious – not to mention the fact that it’d probably just feel like an Avengers movie without any of the main Avengers.

A solo Black Widow movie seems like a better fit, but the Widow, Hawkeye and Fury are all closely intertwined – it’d be difficult to use one without the others. And ultimately, the biggest obstacle to this coming out in 2014 is the pesky fact that no one official has mentioned any development in progress, serious or otherwise. Still, maybe it’s a surprise…

Doctor Strange – Odds: 20-1

The script by Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer was delivered in 2011, but there’s been very little news since. Making it even more unlikely to appear in 2014 is the fact that the Sorcerer Supreme is a difficult concept to make work in the context of a science-heavy Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thor just about scrapes by on the “science so advanced it looks like magic” ticket, but you can’t really take that line when your main character is a wizard by trade.

As much as we’d like to see Doctor Strange waving the Wand of Watoomb and invoking the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak (X-Men license permitting!) the lack of solid chatter suggests that 2014 is an unlikely home for this one. We’d expect to see this alongside, if not after Avengers 2.

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