Top Upcoming Standalone MCU Films [Both Rumored and Confirmed!]
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Avengers Infinity War and potential spoilers for upcoming MCU properties (or at least speculation that very well could end up becoming true, so if you’re the type that likes to go into these movie blinds, thanks for the click, but you might want to skip the rest of this piece! You’ve been warned)!
Now that basically everyone and their parents have seen Avengers: Infinity War, all eyes are on the future of the MCU. The ending of Avengers: Infinity War can be definied as nothing less than an uppercut to your gut, and it leaves all sorts of questions up in the air, especially as outside of a few confirmed sequels/tentpoles there aren’t a lot of confirmed films for Marvel’s Phase 4, so we wanted to scour the internet to find as many confirmed films as possible for the Post Avengers 4 (or Avengets Infinity War II as some are calling it, as we probably won’t know the actual title for next summmer’s follow up to this year years (and perhaps histories) biggest film. So, let’s break down what those films will be and what they may mean for the future of the MCU and beyond. Especially considering the fact that Disney is in the process of purchasing Fox and it’s subsidiaries, meaning that soon the X-Men will be able to fight either against or alongside the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the Avengers (as soon as 2019 and as late as 2020). So let’s break things down to get even more hyped up than we already are! While keeping in mind that some of this is simply speculation or assumed follow up films, as there have only been a couple confirmed films for the post Avengers 4 MCU, while also perhaps pointing out the films that are set to be released between Infinity War and next year’s Infinity War 2, as it might give us some clues as to what the hell is actually going on in the MCU!
10. Antman and the Wasp
Speaking of being set in stone. Ant-Man and the Wasp is one of those films that we know for a fact is coming out as we’ve seen a teaser and full trailer for this film that’s going to be released on July 6th of 2018. The film reportedly takes place directly after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War and finds Scott Lang on house arrest thanks to his role in the airport battle in Germany that destroyed much of that airport along with some relatively large jumbo jets (most of which was done by Ant Man or at that point, Giant Man). The film seems to be about Lang’s attempts to balance his role as a super hero who was doing what he believed in with his roles as a father. It also appears that Mark Douglas’ Hank Pym was able to replicate Scott’s trip (and return) to the Quantum Realm (perhaps with the assistance of Dr. Strange?) to recover his wife who had been “trapped” there for decades, as well,as that role of Janet Van Dyne/The original Wasp is being played by Michielle Pfieffer. Beyond those core characters the scene stealer from the first film in Michael Pena will be returning, and there will be some new faces in Lawrence Fisburne who is portraying Bill Foster who was the original Goliath or Giant Man, which makes sense considering the fact that Scott Lang ended up going full on Giant Man during Captain America Civil War. The villian will be Ghost, who will be portrayed by Hanna John-Kamen, a “Criminal who gains the ability to phase through objects after stealing Pym technology.” and while the character is typically protrayed as a man in the comics but the casting directors felt that John-Kamen was too good to pass up. It is rumored that the disappearances that occurred after Thanos snapped his finger will take place at some point during this movie, which could be an interesting way to end the film, or perhaps Pym/Lang and the Van Dynes are trying to find a way to stay safe from Thanos by entering a realm his finger snapping can’t reach (namely in the Quantum Realm). Either way the film looks amazing and should be able to build off of the surprising greatness of the first and so it looks like it could really be the sleeper hit of the summer!
Now, we know what you’re thinking. Venom isn’t part of the MCU, it’s part of Sony and you’re completely right but at the same time Spider-Man: Homecoming also fell under those same facts and is still considered to be party of the MCU in terms of the story. Now, you’d think that if Venom was part of the MCU’s story that they’d be promoting the hell out of it because that could only help the film in terms of hype and money, but some people believe that because it’s an “MCU Adjacent” movie, a lot like the television shows where it’s sort of a one way street in that when major things happen in the films (like the attack on New York or the Thanos Finger Snap, it affects the television shows and they react to it but nothing in the television shows actually affect anything in the major films). The idea that Venom will take place at least in the same universe as the Spider-Man (and rest of the Avengers/characters) films came from the long since viral interview with Sony’s Amy Pascal and Marve Studio’s head honcho Kevin Feige in which she stated that Venom would be part of the MCU, or rather the Spider-verse that exists within the MCU. That there’d be “adjuncts” to it, but that Peter Parker would definitely exist in Tom Hardy’s Venom. Considering that this film will take place far away from Queens, in San Francisco, the filmmakers could end up just showing Spider-Man on a news report in the background and that’s perhaps where the suit’ll get it’s aesthetic as it’ll see Spider-Man on screen and add the spider to it’s chest a la how Vision added it’s cape in Age of Ultron after looking at Thor. Perhaps that’s why the trailer has thus far only shown the symbiote using itself as a projectile as opposed to using it’s version of webs, as it hasn’t really learned the in’s and out’s of that whole deal by being attached to Peter Parker yet. There are still people holding out hope, for example, that the symbiote ends up on earth thanks to the events of Infinity War, and that this will all be building towards a Maximum Carnage battle where Venom teams up with Spider-Man to defeat Carnage. But, it’s looking like Carnage might be the big bad of this film, played by Woody Harrelson, and that Venom will be an anti-hero. While that’s disappointing considering there are some of us that have waited for decades for a proper Maximum Carnage film, it could be worse. Much, Much Worse. So, we’ll take what we can get with the hopes that these films do well enough to warant a cross over with Spider-Man in a year or two.
8. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel is going to be the first female centric super hero(ine) film set in the MCU, a group of films that is working hard to balance things between men and women so it’s no accident that they strongest character that they’ve rolled out (or are going to roll out) in the MCU will be the Carol Danvers version of Captain Marvel. If you’re unfamiliar, Captain Marvel is like Super Man on steroids, a character that most of you are probably familiar with but not for reasons you’d think. If you grew up watching the X-Men Cartoons every Saturday morning on Fox, you’ll remember that Rogue had the ability to fly and was basically able to lift things like tanks over her heads and throw them pretty far distances. She was able to do that as she was capable of absorbing other mutants powers and at that time in both the cartoon and the comics she had actually stolen the powers of Captain Marvel herself. Marvel can fly, is so strong that she’s nearly invulnerable and she also has the ability to shoot energy projections from her hands. She was an airforce pilot that had worked alongside Nick Fury and a few hereos like Wolverine, but it was her work with Kree Soldier Mar-Vell that ended up getting her DNA infused with his, making her basically half human, half kree, which granted her the ability to fly, becoming invulnverable, shoot energy from her hands but beyond that she is also capable of “going binary”, where she basically transforms fully into her enegry manipulating state, her skin turns red and her hair basically becomes cosmic flame. From there she reaches class 100 strength (the highest strength level there is) as she is able to tap into the energy of a white hole which is a region of space that is the exit point of a singularity ultimate inward collapse out of this universe and into another”. So needless to say, she’ll evem of she’s nerfed like most of the film characters have been this far, she’ll still easily become the heaviest hitter on the Avengers perhaps outside of someone like Thor if he ever actually taps into the Odin Force or Hulk if he ever stop being afraid of Thanos.
7. Fantastic Four
These next two films may take awhile to actually be released but unless President Trump throws a wrench into the gears of this merger the way he recently did with AT&T and Time Warner, we will eventually see these films. Since they are so far out there is literally nothing known about how things will shake out, narratively, so it might be more fun to discuss a potential way that this could happen. Now, the Disney/Fox Merger is set to be finalized in 2019 at the earliest and 2020 at the latest and because of that there hasn’t been any changes to the MCU schedule before then. The Fantastic Four are considered Marvel’s First Family as they were the first comic by the fledling comic book label, or at least the first comic that became popular. They’ve been portrayed on film three separate times with a decent budget and also three separate times in terms of different teams/actors (including the early 90’s version that was mainly created so the films rights could be retained which, to be fair, is also what happened with the most recent attempt at making a Fantastic Four film). The best part of the Fantastic Four, without a doubt, is their villains, as they have some of the best Marvel villains under the umbrellas that is their intellectual property. From Dr. Doom, to Galactus and his heralds, to Annihilus to Kang the Conqueror, there are just so many. But they also do feel like a quintessential 60’s book and what would be amazing would be if at the end of 2019’s Avengers 4, some sort of wormhole opened and a family of astronauts that were still wearing their 1960’s, Planet of the Apes style space suits, who got lost into a pocket dimension that placed them in suspended animation and bombarded them with cosmic rays, reappeared. That, or during Captain Marvel, which is set to take place in the 90’s, it is discussed that back before the time of the original Ant-Man (which was shown a bit in 2015’s Ant-Man where Michael Douglas kicked all sorts of Cold Era ass) that there were heroes before him and Ant-Man was a replacement for the Fantastic Four. That’d make the line from the end credit scene of 2008’s IRon Man (“You think you’re the only superhero in the world? You just because part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it yet”) even more poignant. That’d open up the door to including the Fantastic Four, explain the Skrull connection to the FF and Captain Marvel and also make it okay if they were sort of dorky because they’re decades old and not of our time.
A similar set of logic could be used to introduce the X-Men to the MCU, but perhaps in a different way. Since the InHumans were introduced as the default Mutants in the MCU because they didn’t think they’d ever actually have Mutants, they could perhaps use some of the events of Infinity War as a way of activating a dormant gene, the Mutant X Gene, in people (whether it be those that were temporarily blinked out of existence. Beyond that and speaking of the word “Beyond”, the big bad after Thanos could be the Beyonder, who could combine the universe that the current MCU resides within, with the universe where Fox’s X-Men reside, forcing them to come together to fight perhaps alongside Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster and his melt-stick. Granted, you’d think that the MCU would want to start fresh with the X-Men because of the crazy timeline that Fox has created with the X-Men, so perhaps the only one they bring over could be Deadpool, which would explain his fourth wall breaking which is seen by others as a sign of insanity. It would be great to have the original X-Men also be part of a trip gone wrong that suspended them in time or space since the 60’s, with complete original 60’s costumes and the 60’s line up. The question then becomes who you cast as Cyclops, Jean Grey, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Kitty Pryde. While Wolverine joined much later, I’m sure no one would mind making an exception to add him to that list. Tom Hardy is often named, but they should find someone who is capable of playing the role for upwards of 20 years, so… Shia Lebouf is getting our vote.
5. Black Widow
The longest overdue film on this list (perhaps outside of any solo film that follows Michael Penas character from Ant-Man who could drive around in that sick van and one punch people that look at him the wrong way) is the upcoming Black Widow film starring Scarlett Johansson. Debuting way back in Iron Man 2, which was really the first MCU film that focused on the expanded universe outside of each heroes own relatively self contained origin story, Black Widow’s back story is extremely interesting and while it was touched on during those awful visions that Scarlett Witch either put in the Avengers heads or made them relive back in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it really only touched the tip of the tip of the iceberg. While we don’t really know how Natasha ended up in the Black Widow program (whether she was taken, her parents died, she somehoe enlisted.. as a child), what we do know is that she was a highly effective killer as a young girl and was basically the head of the class of Widows. That process, which we saw in Age of Ultron, ended with the girls going through a hysterectomy because the Soviets knew that if the girls ended up having children that they children would get in between them and their country. That is really, really dark and something that’d be different for a Marvel film but that tonal (and perhaps rating) difference could be a welcome change to what people are used to from Marvel films and open up the MCU to a different genres of film. My best guess is, though, that the film will focus on her basically going against Hawkeye, who she explained to Loki in the first Avengers film was sent to kill her when she was young but he ended up changing his mind and bringing her in to SHIELD to offer her freedom and a second chance fighting for the “right guys”. That’d be a great story as well and would explain why Hawkeye’s kids refer to Black Widow as “Aunty Nat”.
4. Dr. Strange 2
It’s sort of funny to be talking about these films as a lot of the newer Avengers ended up quite literally biting the dust at the end of Infinity War, but considering what we know about the contracts for a lot of the newer actors, we d know that most if not all of them will be brough back somehow. One of those main characters is Dr. Stephen Strange himself, a character who peered into the furture (or more accurately, 14 million futures) to find the one way that the heroes could actually beat Thanos and even though that meant that he would “die”, it was what was best for humanity and so he went through with it). That’s actually not out of character for Dr. Strange, who died thousands of times at the hand of Dormammu in his film, after catching the extra-dimensional being in a time loop to save his reality. Rumors are that the writers for Doctor Strange 2 want to focus on Nightmare, another extra-dimensional being that draws his powers from, you guessed it… Recycling! Kidding, your nightmares. He’s actually a pretty large villain in the comics for Strange, but after the first film you’d have to think that Baron Mordo would also come into play at some point in the second film as well, especially after that end credit scene where he basically stole the magical essense of Julia Roberts’ ex-boyfriend and turned him (back) into a paraplegic in the process. Dr. Strange was one of the most amazing visual spectacles in the history of film, making both Inception and Interstellar look like Fried Green Tomatoes, so let’s hope that they up the ante with the sequel to Strange as the first was one of the few that actually made seeing the film in 3D worthwhile.
3. Black Panther 2
Move over Iron Man because there’s a new most popular Avenger in town and his name is T’Challa! It’s amazing to think that of the characters introduced in Captain America Civil War that the one that would end up breaking all sorts of box office records would be Black Panther and not Spider-Man as Black Panther isn’t nearly as well known as Spider-Man. While a $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion dollar total haul is impressive what’s even more impressive is the fact that almost half of that came from the domestic box office, as Black Panther (at least as of the writing of this piece) is the third highest grossing domestic film of all-time). Because films with African American’s (or African’s period) don’t play as well in markets like Asia, the film actually made more domestically than it did in the entirity of the rest of the world and for a tentpole comic book film that’s not something we see a lot these days. What that means, though, is that the first Black Panther was an out and out cultural phenomenon, which should get people excited for the follow up as it’ll get the whole pesky set-up/origin story out of the way (even if Civil War helped do a lot of that anyway). So far not much is known about Black Panther 2 outside of the fact that it will definitely happen. People think that it’ll be released in either 2021 or 2022, but beyond that it could cover any number of topics. My guess is that what happens in Avengers 4 will really shape a lot of these sequels, especially if some of the rumored deaths end up happening. So, our money is that Black Panther 2 will focus on T’Challa struggling to balance his role as king as well as his role as the leader of the new Avengers after some of the OG Avengers like Captain America and Tony Stark either die and or retire. Sounds like a good time.
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3
One of the least well received MCU films in recent memory was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and by least well received we mean that it had about 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s how amazing the MCU properties have been both historically, but especially as of late. Regardless of whether or not that disappointed you as an MCU fan (who takes pride in all those > 90% scores on RT) you have to love the fact that James Gunn and company have really take Marvel from the earth and realism based universe that it was back around 2008-2011 to one that literally had a talking Raccoon and a sentient baby tree fighting a planet with a brain at it’s center. Things should only get more out there and awesome with Volume three as James Gunn has discussed the 2020 release of Vol. 3 a bit and from what we’ve gleaned here at BabbleTop it’s sounding/looking like they’ll not only pay off the after credit scene that hinted towards Adam Warlock (something that has been hinted towards since the post-credit scene from Thor: The Dark World) but also perhaps the High Evolutionary and “Counter-Earth” as the place where Rocket was torn apart and put back together again over and over again. Considering the fact that Warlock is known as the master of the Soul Gem (or Stone in the films) in the comics and Infinity War showed that at least part of Gamora’s soul is alive inside that Stone, perhaps they’ll be using Warlock to get Gamora back or out? Granted, she was like eight years old in Soul World so perhaps Vol. 3 will show Star-Lord becoming increasingly jealous as the third version of Groot has a mutual crush on young Gamora. As long as it’s not Drax, we should be fine.
1. Spider-Man: Far From Home
Spider-Man: Far From Home, as it’s reportedly been called, is definitely not going to be the title to the follow up to 2017’s smash hit Spider-Man: Homecoming, a film that made sense as it had a homecoming dance and also was Spidey’s homecoming to the Marvel Comics owned Marvel Studios as a character on loan from Sony Pictures. That means that Sony Pictures actually has final creative control/say over these films and pays for the filming and distribution but also that it receives 100% off the box office take from these films. That makes sense to the MCU and Marvel as they receive 100% of the merchandise/toys sales and because Spider-Man is actually the biggest super hero there is, with his toy/merchandise sales being large enough to acclipse the number two and number three in that regard in Bat-Man and Super Man. So while Homecoming wasn’t as large as the Tobey McGuire starring Spidey films it eclipsed the returns of the Amazing Spider-Man films and was received well by critics and fans alike, setting the stage for an even bigger sequel. Perhaps the title hasn’t been released as it could also be spoilery as if you’ve seen Infinity War you’ll know that the most gut wrenching part came from the disappearance of Peter Parker after Thanos snapped his fingers and Spidey explained “Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good…” among other things we can’t mention because we’re out of kleenex. Withe 2018’s Venom film also being released by Sony, perhaps they’ll be building towards some sort of Maximum Carnage or Symbiote war storyline, or with the brief in film (and after credit) allusion to Scorpion, perhaps they’re building towards a Sinister Six storyline. Either way, Spider-Man is back on solid… Wall and the sky seems to be the limit for the wall-crawler especially with the Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio rumors and the fact that Spidey will for the first time be fighing outside of New York City/The United States in his own film (as he fought in Germany in Civil War and did save some people in Washington, D.C. in Homecoming).