Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will come to an end with Ant-Man this July. Phase Three will start up with the last announced Captain America film, Captain America: Civil War. I’ll go into more of what to expect after the break but first let’s look at the major McGuffin of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Infinity Gems.
Currently if you are not living under a rock and avoiding the current telling of the Marvel Cinematic Universe you will have noticed some references to the Infinity Gems over the last couple of movies in the First and Second Phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the comics each of the six gems control an aspect of reality, when all six are harnessed the wielder is akin to a god in levels of power and control of all aspects of reality. The primary story arc for the Infinity Stones was the Infinity Gauntlet minis series where Thanos with all six gems take on the entire marvel Heroes in an all-out battle royal.
Let’s first ID the stones we’ve seen.
The Space Stone: The source of power for the weapons of Hydra, known as the Tesseract it later becomes the source of conflict in the first Avengers Film.
The Reality Stone: Shown in a fluid state in Thor: Dark World and called the Aether. Used by Malekith to bring the universe into darkness. It is given to the Collector at the end of the film to safe guard the Reality Stone.
The Power Stone: The object of desire in Guardians of the Galaxy, used by Ronan and later controlled by the Guardians who gave it to the Nova Corps to hide in their super space cop evidence vault.
The identity of the most recent stone with SPOILERS after the break.
The Mind Stone: Found as the source for Loki’s staff, which was given to him by Thanos, and used by Hydra to enhance humans giving them super powers. It was used to complete Vision who currently wields the stone and acts as a keeper.
So where is the next set of stones going to come from? Let’s hazard some guesses:
The Time Stone: Able to control time I’d not be surprised if it shows up in Thor: Ragnarok as Thor does return to Asgard at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron because the showing of so many of the gems at one time is a bad sign. It may even explain the cycle of life on Asgard and the legend of Ragnarok.
The Soul Stone: Doctor Strange would be an easy fit to show off of the soul stone, but I’d really like to see it in Marvel’s Iron Fist which should be a great seed for Doctor Strange and add stronger ties to the Netflix TV series and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I think the rest of the planned films outside of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, should avoid direct use of the stones as the source of conflict for those stories. We have had three films where the stones are major plot drivers, while the most recent Mind Stone and early showings of the Tesseract were more subtle with their place in the plot.
So what do we expect from the next set of films for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
Captain America: Civil War (May 2016)
This will get the ball rolling and it will break up the status quo of the current set of Heroes. I expect Captain America will be arrested at the end of the film, with Bucky taking the mantel of Captain America with prodding from Black Widow, Hawkeye, Falcon and Nick Fury. I think they could even kill off Captain America as per the comics and the Time or Soul Gem could be used to bring him back later –
Doctor Strange (2016)
This will be an intro movie but it will have seeds from the Marvel’s TV series. Already we’re seeing a more mystic side in the series: The image one the wee bags of drugs from Gao’s business are the symbol of the Steel Serpent. The ‘greek girl’ is Elektra. The red ninja is a member of the Hand. Even that old lady Gao is super strong and she sees a psychic, lots of references to K'un-L'un a multi-dimensional realm that is accessed through magic and is where Iron Fist gets’ his powers that also has links to Doctor Strange being about eastern mystics. Doctor Strange will fight off his classic rival after mastering magic and at the end he will start his role as the Sorcerer Supreme. I can see him being important to tap into the Infinity Gems once the war starts.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017) will be one of the pillars that launches Avengers: Infinity War. I expect Thanos to show up or be somewhere in the background but otherwise I have only a few small guesses on the next chapter for writer director James Gunn and his film. My best guess is it will have to do with Peter Quill’s half alien heritage and maybe how the Power Gem may have affected the team long term.
Hopefully something better than the last Spider-Man film.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
A film ending the Thor movies, and another lead up to the next Avengers Film. Thor will fight Loki, Asagrd will go to war and the nine realms will fall. I expect Thanos to be part of this either directly or indirectly.
Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (2018)
This will be starter film leading into the next half of the Phase Three films acknowledging the scope of the danger, or it will be part 1 of a two part film – a shitty idea. I think this one will be about the heroes fighting Thanos’ last minion and figuring out he’s been the threat since the start. Black Panther will have already been in Captain America: Civil War, I think the end of this film will lead him to go home and gather his people’s resources for the coming final battle.
Black Panther (2018)
With Wakanda mentioned now a few times, I expect the Black Panther being him versus Claw (as seen in the most recent Avengers film) as he deals with leading his people to join the rest of the world.
Captain Marvel (2018)
I expect they will keep parts of the Mrs Marvel origin. She will be wounded in one of the most recent films either on screen in that film or flashed back. Captain Marvel will rise and learn how to be a hero while fighting off one of the many Captain Marvel villains.
Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 (2018)
This is the big final movie for many of the characters. Captain America will come back from jail or death with the powers of the Soul Gem. Iron Man will put on the suit one more time. Thanos is come and the Avengers will knock out his teeth.
The last film on the list is the odd duck. We’re seeing Inhummans in the current series of the Agents of SHIELD series, with Skye being a big pusher but this movie is after Avnegers: Infinity War and 5 years after we started Skye’s story. They will come out of hiding after being forced to help out in maybe the infinity war… I dunno. They are hard to fit without being careful to not break the mold, much like Thor had to do when he first showed up.
Well that's a lot of guessing.