With "Guardians of the Galaxy" hitting theaters on Aug. 1, it marks the first new Marvel movie property since "Captain America: The First Avenger" was released in 2011. But the next few years will be loaded with new Avengers being introduced, as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige promised at least one standalone movie and one sequel to be released
Many of those superheroes' identities remain above Level 7 clearance, but it has been revealed that "Ant-Man" and "Doctor Strange" will be the two of the new properties released after "Guardians of the Galaxy."
spoke to Feige during a group interview at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, and he set up the direction each movie will go.
"With 'Guardians,' we very much wanted to go to the other side of the cosmic universe," Feige says. "There's an amazing amount of outer space-based storylines in our comics, and we'd only just scratched the surface of that in the other movies. It felt like time with our 10th Marvel Studios MCU movie to do that. We'd earned the right to say, 'Let's bring a bunch of characters no one's ever heard of.'"
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Rocket Raccoon, Peter Quill, Groot, Gamora and Drax
after meeting them in "Guardians of the Galaxy," but there are plenty of other cosmic characters yet to be introduced. When asked if someone like Nova will one day get a standalone movie, Feige says that is probably a ways away.
"If 'Guardians' works the way we hope it works, that will probably be the franchise to meet a lot of those people. That will be our entrance into numerous other cosmic folk," he teases. "If we spin any of those out into individual movies, that's a question for down the line. But I think we would see those kinds of characters in a future 'Guardians' movie."
As for "Ant-Man," Feige touts the familiar line of it being a "heist" movie as well as being a passing-of-the-torch film, "which we haven't done before." He says that notorious Hank Pym spousal abuse story won't be popping up in the film as well.
"Hank Pym did a lot of things in the comics, and he's a super cool character," Feige says. "The spin that we have on him, playing by Michael Douglas, is even more unique and more different. I would say that some of the spirit of that plays into his temperament in the film, plays into his gruffness in the film. It certainly does not, in this movie, go into spousal abuse."
With "Doctor Strange," "it is a classic Marvel origin story, because he's got one of the best origins ever," Feige promises. "It's our opportunity to take that left turn into the supernatural. Now what is the definition of 'supernatural'? It varies. We like the idea of playing with alternate dimensions. 'Strange,' in a very acid trip way, traveling through dimensions and traveling through other realms, is something that we think is very, very cool, playing with the perceptions of reality."
Beyond the Marvel movies, the studio is introducing four new characters through standalone Netflix shows -- Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist -- that will culminate in a "Defenders" series. As for whether those characters will ever intersect with the Marvel movies, Feige says, "We haven't talked about that yet, really because it's early days for that. 'Daredevil' is in production right now. But it is the same universe, so always potential for that."
For fans wondering how Marvel and Feige choose which characters to bring to life, he explains, "It ultimately comes down to what do we think will be cinematic? What do we think would be the kind of movie we want to make?"
The upcoming Marvel slate includes: "Guardians of the Galaxy" being released on Aug. 1, 2014; "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" on May 1, 2015; "Ant-Man" on July 17, 2015; "Captain America 3" on May 6, 2016; likely "Doctor Strange" on July 8, 2016; maybe "Thor 3" on May 5, 2017; and "Guardians of the Galaxy 2" on July 28, 2017. There also are claimed release dates for movies coming out on Nov. 3, 2017, May 4, 2018, July 6, 2018, November 2, 2018 and May 3, 2019.