Marvel’s Intense Future Planning

Me, being an excited child
Me, being an excited child

So I know this topic seems like a pretty surface-level thing to cover, which doesn’t really fit with the whole “Depth of Field” thing I’m going for here. And it would be! But I’m not just rehashing everything you’ve already read about Marvel’s latest timeline announcement, so just…rest assured, pal.

Okay. So Marvel.

If you haven’t heard about Marvel’s crazy five-year timeline of films announcement due to that coma you must have been in, here’s what’s up:

  • Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (Nov. 4, 2016)
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (July 28, 2017)
  • Black Panther (Nov. 3, 2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (May, 2018)
  • Captain Marvel (July 6, 2018)
  • Inhumans (Nov. 2, 2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 (May 3, 2019)

Yeah. Kind of a lot to announce. And so far in advance!

All right, I’m going to fight back the incredibly strong urge to just nerd out about all of the incredible comic things being turned into movies over the next half-decade of my life and talk about something deeper. And that’s the fact that, before Marvel, we’d never really seen (or expected) this kind of heads-up from a movie studio.

Sure, we get release dates for films all the time, but not like this. Not like Marvel. And this five-year plan is just what they’ve announced publicly! I’ve heard tell that Kevin Feige has his sights set even further into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Like, decades further.

So…why? Why reveal this kind of info? Why put yourself out there and make yourself beholden to millions of people who have marked these dates on their Google Calendars? Film production is nothing if not unpredictable. If golf is a long walk ruined, then film production is a sprint towards a finish line you can’t see, where the number of steps you can take correlates to the size of your budget, and a man is hitting you with a shovel while you run. How did he get there and why does he have a shovel? Who knows! Production!

My point is that Marvel seems pretty confident about their ability to hit those dates. And actually, so am I. For two reasons:

  1. Marvel has proven itself to be an eerily efficient movie-making machine.
  2. Disney money.

To get back to my larger point, though, we have never been given this kind of glimpse into a movie studio’s plans before. I think the reason Marvel is able to do this comes mostly from the films’ source material. The superhero stories being adapted to the silver screen are just that — adaptations. These stories have been played out before, and in a visual medium! Marvel has the unique advantage of being able to draw on decades of amazing stories and characters and scenes, allowing them to figure out what would be the coolest things to make into movies (read: make the most money), what can fit where in their timeline, and what future seeds to plant in what other movies, all of which allows them plan way into the future of this interconnected universe of movies they have built.

Civil War, Ragnarok, Infinity War: all of these things have already occurred in the comics. And they’re amazing, by the way. I’ve been dreaming of an Infinity Gauntlet movie since I first read that arc a few years back. But all of this, coupled with Marvel’s equally unique control over their own properties, under Disney of course, allows them to create not only this vast universe of interconnected films, but also their incredible machine of blockbuster-churn-out-edness.

DC is trying to do the same thing, but they’ve floundered for years, and I’m not confident that they can do what Marvel has done, or at least not to the same extent or level of success. Prove me wrong, Justice League!

In any case, when we talk about Marvel’s future plans, and their vast timeline, I don’t know that anyone really grasps the fact that we don’t ever get this much notice. Because we never talk about that aspect of their announcements. But movie studios DO NOT just say “we have movie plans in this universe for the next 20 years, and here are titles and release dates for the next five of those years.”

That doesn’t happen. But it can happen with Marvel. Because Marvel is awesome.

— Mike Egan, Film Blogger

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2 thoughts on “Marvel’s Intense Future Planning

  1. Editor November 6, 2014 / 1:01 am

    Love this photo of you, Michael!

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