Great Caesar’s ghost, there are a lot of comic book movies coming out over the next five years!
Movies and TV shows based on comic book characters are far from new, but recently it has felt more like like a flood rather than a trickle. Now more than ever, all these various heroes and heroines are coming together under one production roof (whenever possible), leading to a sense of connectivity rarely seen outside of … well, comics.
TV is already getting a bit crowded with heroes, with both new and returning shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham, Arrow, The Flash and more. But the theatrical film train isn’t stopping. If anything, it’s just getting started. If you’ve been paying attention to recent Marvel releases in particular, you might be picking up on hints for movies they’re planning years from now.
What, exactly, can you look forward to? Well, here’s a list of dozens of movies based on comic books that are scheduled to hit theaters between now and 2020. I hope you like blockbusters.
As of right now, some of these movies (especially the ones from DC properties) are currently untitled and unannounced, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have at least some idea of what they are.
Update on October 8: Marvel has shifted course a bit with their plans for "Phase 3." Among the changes is the addition of an Ant-Man sequel coming in 2018.
The full list is below. Slight spoilers for previously released and upcoming films might follow.
Deadpool (February 12, 2016)
Fox is finally ready to start moving forward with a movie based on the comic book character Deadpool. This comes after test footage of a potential Deadpool film leaked with Ryan Reynolds providing the voice of the over-the-top masked hero. That footage impressed a lot of people and generated quite a bit of buzz, so it makes sense that Fox has seemingly changed their mind on making it into a full movie, which they hope to release in 2016.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25, 2016)
Originally thought to be “Man of Steel 2, but with Batman,” Dawn of Justice will see Batman and Superman clash on screen for the first time. Wonder Woman is also expected to play a key role, and we can assume by the subtitle that the formation of the famous Justice League is close at hand.
Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
Following up The Winter Soldier, Captain America 3 will reportedly deal with Cap’s strained relationship with Bucky Barnes.Update: Cap 3 will also include Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and the “Civil War” subtitle implies they’ll be tackling that epic storyline. In that arc, superheroes find themselves on opposite ends of the Superhero Registration Act, a political move that Iron Man is for, but Captain America is against.
X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27, 2016)
Directed by Bryan Singer (who returned to the X-Men franchise to much fanfare with Days of Future Past), Apocalypse finds its villain in (surprise!) Apocalypse, an ancient mutant (one of the first, in fact). His appearance was teased after the credits in Days of Future Past.
Suicide Squad (August 5, 2016)
As Wikipedia tells it, “The modern Suicide Squad (created by John Ostrander and Ryan Scott in the aforementioned Legends #3) is an antihero team of incarcerated supervillains who act as deniable assets for the United States government, undertaking high-risk black ops missions in exchange for commuted prison sentences. The group operates out of Belle Reve Penitentiary, under the directorship of Dr. Amanda Waller. Thus, the Suicide Squad’s existence helps to explain why many convicted villains in the D.C. Universe roam free without having heroes tracking them down—until they, inevitably, attempt or commit another crime.” David Ayer will direct.
Gambit (October 7, 2016)
Channing Tatum will play the Cajun, card-slinging X-Men character in his own spin-off film as well as X-Men: Apocalypse. The spin-off is currently slated for a 2016 release, and it will be the third X-Men film of the year (following Deadpool and Apocalypse). Wolverine 3 will follow in 2017, so I hope you like mutants!
Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016)
Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) will be directing this film based on the character created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. In the comics, Doctor Strange is a former neurosurgeon that turns to mythical/magical powers after an accident damages his hands beyond repair. Benedict Cumberbatch has been rumored for the title role.
The Wolverine 2 (March 3, 2017)
All we really know about Wolverine’s next solo outing is that the film will again star Hugh Jackman, and The Wolverine 2 will start filming after X-Men: Apocalypse. Also, yes, this is actually the third Wolverine-centric film, but it is currently known as The Wolverine 2. That could very well change before release.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5, 2017)
Perhaps sensing they had a hit on their hands, Marvel announced Guardians of the Galaxy 2 shortly before the film even hit theaters in North America. The first film leaves some doors open for the sequel to explore, including identity of one character’s father.
Wonder Woman (June 23, 2017)
After making her debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will get her own time to shine.
Untitled Spider-Man Movie (July 28, 2017)
Sony and Marvel are working together to release a new Spider-Man movie. They had nothing to say about casting, but Andrew Garfield is not expected to return as Peter Parker. In fact, Marvel never said which Spider-Man the new movies would be about, so we might not be seeing Peter Parker again at all. It will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal.
Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017)
The subtitle implies that the third Thor movie will be pretty climactic. If Marvel wanted to keep the films in-step with the comics they could, potentially, make this the final Thor movie with Chris Hemsworth and reboot the franchise with a female Thor.
Justice League Part One (November 17, 2017)
Zack Snyder will direct what will presumably be a major (and expensive) film. Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams will return as Batman, Superman and Lois Lane, respectively. I have to assume that Gal Gadot will also appear as Wonder Woman (it would be insane for her not to be there), and I also expect we will get glimpses (if nothing else) of The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg and Green Lantern.
Black Panther (February 16, 2018)
Chadwick Boseman (who played Jackie Robinson in 42), will be playing the Marvel character Black Panther in a movie of the same name. Boseman was met with a big applause when the casting was announced, and he said, "I'm blessed to be apart of this Marvel Universe, to work with you both, and to make magic together." Black Panther will also be appearing in Captain America: Civil War.
The Flash (March 23, 2018)
Ezra Miller (Perks of Being a Wallflower) is set to star in a film based on The Flash, which seems to imply that they will be ignoring the CW TV show of the same name, which stars Grant Gustin as Barry Allen. (This probably means that they’re also going to ignore Arrow. DC’s film plans thus far haven’t mentioned Green Arrow at all.)
Avengers: Infinity War Part One (May 4, 2018)
The third Avengers outing will be too big for one movie, so they’re splitting it in two. The storyline will deal with the Infinity Gauntlet, and it looks like Thanos will be the big villain.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6, 2018)
Scott Lang will return to theaters alongside Hope Van Dyne in the first Marvel film to have the name of its heroine in the title.
Untitled Fox Superhero Film (July 13, 2018)
If I’m not mistaken, 20th Century Fox currently holds the rights to X-Men (and by extension, Wolverine), The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, Cable and Deadpool. More X-Men wouldn’t be at all surprising here, but Fox could make a lot of fans happy with a really good, over-the-top Deadpool movie, especially after some leaked test footage got everybody excited. Update: Deadpool was announced for 2016. This is probably another X-Men movie.
Aquaman (July 27, 2018)
We can expect to join Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) down in Atlantis as he’s slated to star as the titular hero in an Aquaman flick.
Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019)
Comic Vine says that the Captain Marvel film will focus on Carol Danvers, who is not the original "Captain Marvel" but who has held the title for a long time.
Shazam (April 5, 2019)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will play the villain Black Adam in this film, but the hero has not yet been cast. Jack the Giant Slayer scribe Darren Lemke is writing the script. The character of Shazam first appeared in 1939. Wondering why you haven’t heard of him? You might know him as Captain Marvel. Considering that name always caused trouble with Marvel Comics, who also has a character called Captain Marvel, DC made the full switch to the Shazam name relatively recently.
Avengers: Infinity War Part Two (May 3, 2019)
As the last of the currently-slated Marvel movies between now and 2020, it makes sense that everything else in the Marvel Universe would build up to this one massive movie — especially since it’s the last one many of its starring actors are contracted to be in.
Justice League Part Two (June 14, 2019)
Like Part One above, this movie will be directed by Zack Snyder.
Inhumans (July 12, 2019)
The Inhumans are are society of super-powered people who exist in secret, at least until they start to interact more with other Marvel teams like The Avengers. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC has been going in the direction of an Inhumans storyline in season 2, so they could be setting up the stage for this movie.
Cyborg (April 3, 2020)
Ray Fisher is set to star as Cyborg, a superhero that is (can you guess) a cyborg. In the comics, Cyborg is a member of the Justice League (the character has also shown up in various DC shows, including Smallville).
Untitled Marvel Film (May 1, 2020)
Part of Marvel's Phase 3.
Green Lantern (June 19, 2020)
No actor was attached to the announcement of 2020′s Green Lantern, leading me to believe that DC is either going to ignore the 2011 Ryan Reynolds film and reboot the franchise entirely or go with a Lantern other than Hal Jordan.
Untitled Marvel Film (July 10, 2020)
Part of Marvel's Phase 3.
Untitled Marvel Film (November 6, 2020)
Part of Marvel's Phase 3.