As 2015 draws to a close, Marvel fans everywhere can put a bookend on a phenomenal world-expanding year that brought new characters and some great content to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But with another year beginning and the first installment of the studio’s Phase Three dead ahead, it's time to start planning your year in Marvel content now.
There’s never been a more exciting time to be a fan of the Marvel brand, thanks to the cavalcade of television shows like “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones” and “Agent Carter,” as well as some canon-changing movies like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Ant-Man.” With a new year, however, comes the expansion of the connected universe across multiple platforms.
With the continuous story running throughout film, TV, streaming TV and more, it’s more difficult than ever to keep track of everything. To help the dedicated Marvel fan avoid confusion, here is a rundown of everything we can expect from the fantasy-action giant in 2016.
The flagship Marvel medium is film (not counting its origin in comic books, of course). In that spirit, the studio will put out two feature films that will connect to the events of “Age of Ultron” as well as establish something completely new.
First, the studio kicks things off with what is essentially an “Avengers” follow up – “Captain America: Civil War.” As previously reported, the film focuses on a conflict between the characters Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) over the emotional issue of Superhuman Registration. According to the film’s trailer, after an international incident involving Cap’s new team of Avengers leaves collateral damage, the government and Iron Man become obsessed with the idea of regulating all superhero activity in the world. Hoping to bring his friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) back from the brink of villainy, Steve Rogers leads a faction of heroes and Avengers against Tony Stark and his own band of intrepid pro-registration heroes when the film hits theaters on May 16, 2016. The film is also significant as it will be the springboard for the heroes Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
That conflict will set the stage for something entirely new to the MCU, magic. Marvel will introduce the mystical world of “Doctor Strange” on Nov. 4, 2016, to its vast film canon. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the hero who, according to a synopsis released by Collider, is a neurosurgeon named Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the world of magic that’s remained a mystery to science-based characters like Stark, Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Strange’s introduction into the MCU is expected to have a big impact on the TV world, especially for characters like Netflix’s upcoming Iron Fist character, whose origins are heavily rooted in magic.
Marvel and Netflix have proved to be a match made in heaven thanks to their two most recent series, “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones.” As previously reported, the duo will produce two more superhero origin series, “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist,” before all four join forces in “The Defenders.” Unfortunately, with “Jessica Jones” having premiered at the end of November, it will be a while before a Season 2 turns up. “Daredevil,” however, is hard at work pitting the hero against The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) in Season 2, which will come out at an unspecified date in 2016. Meanwhile, the direct “Jessica Jones” spinoff featuring Mike Coulter’s “Luke Cage” is also expected to come out in the New Year, likely after “Daredevil” makes his return.
Meanwhile, over at ABC, the minds behind the flagship Marvel TV series, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will return for the second half of Season 3 on March 8, 2016, according to Heroic Hollywood. In addition, the direct spinoff to both “S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” is already poised for a triumphant return, this time in Los Angeles. Hayley Atwell’s “Agent Carter” will be joined by Jarvis (James D’Arcy), Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) for another period adventure in the early days of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Jan. 19, 2016.
Finally, for the younger members of the Marvel fan club, you’ll be pleased to know that Marvel’s “Avengers Assemble” cartoon on Disney XD will be returning for a third season titled “Ultron Revolution.” According to the studio, the new season will pit Earth’s mightiest heroes against their old nemesis, Ultron, as well as a cavalcade of new characters poised to cause a rift between the super friends. Joining them on Disney XD will be the return of “Ultimate Spider-Man” for his fourth season, titled “The Sinister Six.” Although the studio has yet to set an official release date for either of these non-MCU shows, they’ve been promised to drop before the end of 2016.
What Marvel property are you most looking forward to in 2016? Comment below or tweet your thoughts to @TylerMcCarthy.