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By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth: Doctor Strange, Ant-Man films lead Marvel Studios’ Phase Three

Doctor Strange
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When Marvel Comics first spun off a film-making wing specifically to turn the company’s comic book heroes into feature film stars, there was a lot of trepidation about the decision. Movies like Blade and X-Men were successful adaptations of Marvel properties, but it seemed very unlikely at that time that the superhero movie fad could prop up an entire film studio for very long. We don’t yet know the final fate of Marvel Studios, but to date it’s done very well for itself, and its plans for the future consist of sticking to the proven formula of creating legitimately quality films based on comic books.

At the moment, we’re right at the beginning of what Marvel Studios has dubbed “Phase Two.” Phase One included such films as Captain America, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers. Phase Two will include movies like Captain America 2, Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and The Avengers 2. Phase Three is still a few years off but as of this morning we finally know which movies it includes – or at least, which movies have been earmarked to kick off the next phase of Marvel Studios’ existence.

Speaking with MTV, Marvel’s president of production Kevin Feige offered a candid look at the first two films to emerge as part of Phase Three: Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man movie, and the upcoming film adaptation of Doctor Strange. That second one is especially notable, as Feige’s discussion of the Doctor Strange film is the first official confirmation we’ve seen that the Doc will be headed to the silver screen. Rumors of this movie date back nearly three years, but now we’ve finally got official word that it does indeed exist and is a part of Phase Three.

Doctor Strange, which I’ve been talking about for years, is definitely one of them,” Feige said referring to the Phase Three films. “He’s a great, original character, and he checks the box off this criteria that I have: he’s totally different from anything else we have, just like Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s totally different from anything we’ve done before, as is Ant-Man, which keeps us excited.”

Marvel Studios may be positioning itself to use Phase Three to experiment with films it wouldn’t have had the opportunity to create prior to the massive success of The Avengers. That makes sense, and perfectly ties into Feige’s explanation of why the Ant-Man movie even exists in the first place.

Ant-Man is definitely part of Phase Three,” Feige explained. “Like Iron Man 3, it’s certainly set in the Marvel Universe, but it’s also through the lens of [director] Edgar Wright – which is the only reason we’re making the movie.”

“I’ve known Edgar since our first lunch together at Comic-Con in 2004. He asked me what Marvel was doing with Ant-Man – we weren’t even a studio then; what a difference eight years makes! It’s very much an Ant-Man origin movie from the perspective of Edgar Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish. It will of course be firmly planted in the MCU, but a different corner than we’ve seen before.”

Much of Phase Three may be influenced by the most egregious villain in all comics – legal hurdles. Now that the Daredevil rights have returned to Marvel, it would make sense to add that name to the list. But if Phase Three is dedicated to experimental movies, we’re left wondering which other B-list heroes the firm might tap for the silver screen. Iron Fist? the Inhumans? Forbush Man? There’s something for every comic book fan in Marvel’s lineup. Maybe after all these years our dreams will finally be answered, and we’ll have a live action version of the time Squirrel Girl singlehandedly defeated the real Doctor Doom. Sounds like an awesome way to spend a few hours.

Earnest Cavalli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Earnest Cavalli has been writing about games, tech and digital culture since 2005 for outlets including Wired, Joystiq…
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