Now, the sheer size of the comic book movie-making world has reached a critical mass. There are now seven such films (at least) slated for every year between 2016 and 2019. There’s also a few confirmed for 2020 already, and plenty of other spandex-clad projects scattered around without dates (we’ll stick them at the end of this enormous article).
Without further ado, then, here’s your guide to when each of these comic book properties – including the Avengers, Superman, Deadpool, Batman and many many more – will make it to the big screen…
What’s it about? Deadpool is one of the newest Marvel comics characters to take off in a big way. He first appeared in 1991, and quickly won minds and hearts as a snarky, certifiably insane, wise-cracking ‘merc with a mouth’ who constantly breaks the fourth wall.
Previously on film, Deadpool appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played by Ryan Reynolds. Although the film was far from a fan favourite, Reynolds will get another bite of the anti-hero cherry here.
Not much of the plot is known, but it’s rumoured that Deadpool himself will be self-aware, ragging on his poor portrayal in the Wolvie prequel throughout. We also know it’s going to be R-rated, playing into Wade Wilson’s potty mouth status. Read why we’re hoping this could be a game-changing comic book movie here. The first trailer landed at SDCC 2015 to a huge reaction.
Who’s involved? Ryan Reynolds will star. Newcomer Brianna Hildebrand plays his partner in crime, Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Tim Miller will make his directorial debut, and that Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (who co-wrote Zombieland together) have worked on the script.
When’s it coming out? 12 February 2016 in both the UK and the USA.
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice
What’s it about? Ah, a film that needs no introduction. But heck, we’re going to give it one anyway. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is a film so pre-discussed that even the semantics of the title have been rigorously analysed.
Once a simple Man Of Steel sequel, this flick will see Batman (Ben Affleck) in a bust-up with Superman (Henry Cavill) in Warner Bros/DC’s first step towards shared-universe mega-bucks.
Subverting the usual worry that sequels are too villain-packed, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor is quite clearly the big bad here, with Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) all popping up on the heroic side of the fence, as well as the two title characters.
Who’s involved? As well as that stellar cast, members of the team from Man Of Steel seem to be back too. We know that Zack Snyder will return as director, with the story idea being a collaboration between him and David S Goyer. From this, the full script was written by Argo scribe Chris Terrio.
When’s it coming out? 25 March 2016 in both the UK and the USA.
Captain America: Civil War
What’s it about? Here’s a film that Marvel has so much confidence in that it refused to budge when it looked like Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice wanted to nab its date.
In the comics, Civil War is a sprawling crossover arc from 2006, which saw Tony Stark go toe-to-toe with Cap over a government bill aimed at forcing superheroes to register with the powers that be, reveal their identities and essentially become part of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The film? Well, we had a more detailed look at it here. Short version – it looks like Captain America: Civil War will take elements from the books (namely the Cap v Stark show-down and issues with the government), but perhaps steer away from an all-properties-inclusive mammoth crossover. Either way, it’s likely to be a huge turning point for the Marvel cinematic universe.
Who’s involved? Robert Downey Jnr and Chris Evans will return, and probably a few other familiar Marvel cinematic universe faces. We will also get the Marvel cinematic universe debut of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). On the directorial side, Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s dynamite duo – the Russo brothers – will return. On scripting duties are their fellow Winter Soldier alumni Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Interestingly, this is rumoured to be the film where Spider-Man will make his MCU debut. We await confirmation or denial on that, which we will pass on. If he does appear, he’ll be played by Tom Holland of Wolf Hall.
When’s it coming out? 29 April 2016 in the UK, 6 May 2016 in the USA.
What’s it about? Well, with the franchise-fixing double-bill of X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days Of Future Past ameding a vast amount of damage previously thwarting the X-Men movie universe by introducing a new cast and undoing a lot of things, X-Men: Apocalypse looks set to step forward on very confident footing.
We will witness the First Class cast gracing the 1980s, so we’re hoping for truly gratuitous amounts of hairspray. In this new decade, Xavier’s pupils will face off against Apocalypse – an ancient and immortal mutant hell-bent on destruction. If you stayed through the Days Of Future Past credits, you would have got a sneak peak of this film’s big bad and his powers.
We’ve been told this is considered the closing chapter of a trilogy, so we’d expect some big emotional beats. The film begins shooting in April 2015, so expect more casting announcements soon.
Who’s involved? The main players from the First Class crew are all expected to return, with Quicksilver also believed to be re-joining the gang for another run-around. Hugh Jackman isn’t confirmed, but seems a likely inclusion given the ending to the last X-Men film.
One of the godfathers of the modern comic book movie – Bryan Singer – will again return once more to the franchise he built back in 2000. Simon Kinberg will again script, in collaboration with Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty (who both worked with Singer on X-2 and Superman Returns).
When’s it coming out? 19 May 2016 UK/ 27 May 2016 USA.
What’s it about? The Suicide Squad is a faction of villains from the DC universe that’s coerced (through not very friendly means) into doing missions for the US government. Fans of Arrow have seen an incarnation of this team recently, but don’t expect the same cast or characters for the movie.
Sharp-shooter Deadshot will be played by Will Smith. Harley Quinn will be portrayed by Margot Robbie. Jared Leto’s Joker will also appear. Batman appears briefly in the first trailer. We’ve also heard rumours that Warner Bros. are trying to snare Jesse Eisenberg for another performance as Lex Luthor for this one.
You can read more about the Joker’s role in Suicide Squad here, or see our detailed preview of the film here.
Who’s involved? David Ayer (who most recently helmed Brad Pitt tank movie Fury) is set to direct. The huge cast also includes Joel Kinnaman of RoboCop reboot fame.
When’s it coming out? 5 August 2016, in the USA, is all we know. Well, other than the 4 August 2016 Danish release date.
What’s it about? Following on from a cheeky namedrop in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this standalone film will see Marvel induct Stephen Strange to the Marvel cinematic universe. He’s a surgeon, and a bit of a dick, who becomes a master of the mystic arts soon after losing his ability to work in a car accident.
We discussed a potential source of comic book inspiration for this one here, but there’s years of material to choose from. A sidekick called Wong features regularly, and happens to be a bit of a bad-ass.
Most importantly though, this movie will open up possibilities for parallel worlds and strange magical lands in Marvel Studio’s interconnected universe, which should be very interesting indeed.
Who’s involved? Scott Derrickson of Deliver Us From Evil and Sinister fame will direct. Mr Benedict Cumberbatch is confirmed to be starring.
Interestingly, Rosario Dawson has played Night Nurse (a sometime ally of Strange) in Marvel’s Netflix universe, though it’s unclear if she’ll feature in the film world too.
When’s it coming out? 6 November 2016 in the USA is all we know on this one so far.