This summer’s Ant-Man was apparently enough of a hit to justify a follow-up, because a sequel – Ant-Man & The Wasp – is due out July 2018, Marvel and Disney announced today at New York Comic-Con. Not much else is known beyond that at this point, but presumably Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lily will reprise their roles as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Hope van Dyne/The Wasp, respectively.
This is welcome news – Ant-Man wasn’t spectacular but it was pretty fun – but it’s not without a bit of fallout. See, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is planned out through 2020, so pushing a new, previously unannounced movie into the schedule means some reshuffling is in order. This is a bit of a mixed bag; firstly, Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman, was originally slated to hit in July 2018, so it’s now been pushed up to February. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel will now drop in March 2019, pushed back from its previous release date of November 2018; the titular role has yet to be cast.
That’s a bit of a blessing and a curse, honestly. Black Panther and Captain Marvel are two Marvel films that fans would argue are sorely needed at this point in the MCU’s lifespan – the first two movies fronted by heroes who aren’t straight, white dudes. Both are well overdue even at this point in the mega-franchise, so pushing up Black Panther even by a few months is welcome news, but punting Captain Marvel back to the next year feels like two steps forward, one step back, especially for fans still wondering where in the heck their Black Widow solo outing is. That said, the fact that Evangeline Lily’s Wasp is getting bumped up to the title role feels like it mitigates the sting of that a little bit; Lily should have arguably suited up in the original movie and it’s great to see her receive (close to) top billing here.
This isn’t the first time Marvel has showed a willingness to shuffle its schedule to accommodate unexpected additions to its universe; earlier this year, a few previously-announced releases were adjusted (including Black Panther and Captain Marvel) to accommodate the new Spider-Man once the studio was able to reach a deal with Sony to jointly-produce movies bringing the web-slinger into the MCU.
In addition, Marvel announced released dates for three as-yet-titled projects – May, July and November 2020, which presumably extend take the MCU beyond its latest known release, Inhumans, due in July 2019. Meanwhile, Scott Rudd will next appear as Ant-Man in Captain America: Civil War, due in theaters in May.