"Avengers" actors Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans welcome the newest hero, actor Chadwick Boseman, who will be the Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)Link
Fans and media gathered at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to hear Marvel Studios announce its upcoming slate of films. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)Link
Fans line up for the Marvel Studios fan event at the El Capitan Theatre. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)Link
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announces the "Doctor Strange" film onstage. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)Link
Fans line up for the Marvel Studios event at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)Link
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stands in front of a screen spotlighting the opening dates for Marvel's newly announced slate of films. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)Link
Marvel's "Black Panther" is slated for Nov. 3, 2017. (Marvel)Link
A line of comic-book movie fans stretched down Hollywood Boulevard late Tuesday morning, each person hoping for a seat inside the historic El Capitan Theatre, where the electronic marquee had been taken over by the Marvel Studios logo.
Bringing a touch of Comic-Con International frenzy to Disney’s movie palace, Marvel movie chief Kevin Feige took the wraps off the company’s latest lineup at a launch event that felt like an Apple product unveiling, only for superheroes.
Feige, wearing a ball cap and jeans, stood alone at the side of the El Capitan stage while release dates and titles for nine new films were projected onto the screen behind him like a road map to box-office gold.
Particularly notable were the introduction of actor Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, the first black character to anchor his own Marvel film, and the announcement of a film starring Captain Marvel, alternately known as Carol Danvers, who will be the first woman to headline a project in Marvel’s cinematic universe.
To date, that universe has yielded 10 films that have brought in more than $7 billion. The company’s August hit, “Guardians of the Galaxy” starring Chris Pratt, stands as the highest-grossing domestic release of 2014; its April film, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” ranks second.
Feige said that unbroken string of hits helped bolster a plan of expansion, leading Marvel to increase its annual output from two films a year to three in some cases.
Leading off Marvel’s so-called Phase 3, “Captain America: Civil War,” set to open May 6, 2016, will follow a story line introduced in the comics in 2006 that saw Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) on opposite sides of a debate over registering superheroes with the government.
Boseman is set to appear in costume as Black Panther for the first time in that film, and the actor, known for standout roles as Jackie Robinson and James Brown, briefly took the stage with Downey and Evans to tease the rivalry that will play a central part in “Captain America: Civil War.”
To settle the question of whether Iron Man or Captain America will be the one to ultimately win the allegiance of the newest member of the Marvel roster, Downey and Evans played a quick on-stage game of rock, paper, scissors. Evans, engaged in full charm offensive, saluted one fan who shouted support during the exchange. But Boseman stayed neutral, saying only, “Black Panther is kind of his own guy.”
“Black Panther” will open Nov. 3, 2017.
Before that, however, Marvel will release “Doctor Strange” from writer-director Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”) on Nov. 4, 2016; the film centers on a brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon who taps into supernatural powers after being injured in a car crash.
It has long been a passion project for Feige, who said Tuesday that “the idea for this film is to open up a new corner of the cinematic universe.” He stopped short of confirming that Benedict Cumberbatch has signed to star in the title role, suggesting that negotiations are continuing with the actor.
“Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” which previously had been set for release July 28, 2017, now will open May 5, 2017, again with writer-director James Gunn at the helm, while the third installment in the “Thor” series, starring Chris Hemsworth as the Norse god, “Thor: Ragnarok,” will arrive in theaters July 28, 2017.
Feige said actor Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role as trickster Loki in the third “Thor” film.
Also on the docket: “Captain Marvel” on July 6, 2018, and “Inhumans” on Nov. 2, 2018.
Feige revealed that a third “Avengers” movie will be split into two installments. “Avengers: Infinity War Part 1” will open May 4, 2018, with Part 2 due for release May 3, 2019.
Feige described the movies as “a culmination of everything that has come before,” with Earth’s mightiest heroes facing off against the mad titan Thanos (Josh Brolin).
The presentation kicked off with the recently released trailer for Joss Whedon’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel’s next release, which opens May 1, 2015, though no footage was shown from Marvel’s other planned 2015 offering, “Ant-Man,” currently shooting in Georgia.
The unveiling of Phase 3 comes on the heels of a similar announcement from Marvel’s chief rival, DC Entertainment, which took the wraps off its own slate of 10 comic-book-inspired projects earlier this month.
DC announced its intentions to diversify the world of screen superheroes with a “Wonder Woman” stand-alone film and a planned “Cyborg” movie starring Ray Fisher, who will make his screen debut as the character in 2016’s “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Addressing the timing of the news, Feige said that he had wanted to reveal Marvel’s slate at San Diego’s Comic-Con this July, but a number of the relevant deals were not in place at the time.
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