The work that Marvel has done in turning its signature characters into international sensations in the last several years is remarkable. The most recognizable triumph is of course the budding Avengers film franchise. But the truth is, in bringing its most iconic characters to the world of film, Marvel has effectively expanded its entire universe beyond comic book pages and into pop culture.
In gaming, there are innumerable examples of Marvel's character exposure popping up in all different corners of the industry. Just consider these examples: when you pull out your mobile phone and open up the app store, you can scroll through and find numerous games based on Marvel themes and characters, including games for individual characters, for the Avengers, etc. In online gaming, you can find Avengers themes just about anywhere you look, and not just in arcade or adventure gaming forums. Even at the Betfair poker site online, where players might expect to find only poker games, there are side games for the likes of Hulk, Captain America, etc. And then of course, there's the console gaming world, where the Avengers have popped up in various gaming titles available for Xbox and Playstation devices.
Marvel's signature characters are also having pop culture impacts beyond the world of video games and online poker. The infamous Iron Man Audi product placement has been one of the car company's most recognizable ads of the last decade. Avenger film promos have been used in collaboration with major television events like the NBA playoffs. And of course, the characters have spawned some of the top selling Halloween costumes of the past decade as well!
Even on television, we're seeing the impact of Marvel's enormous success, with the ABC action series Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. having brought the Avenger story to a popular series format for the first time.
And in the end, all of these adaptations - from halloween costumes, to new television shows, to online poker and console gaming themes - have occurred almost entirely as a result of the popularity of just four characters: Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. So what will happen when Marvel enters its mysterious “Phase 3?” We're not sure, but Phase 3 itself is becoming clearer by the day.
For those unfamiliar with the phases, there are (apparently) four of them. Phase 1 consisted of the introduction of the Avengers, as well as the first film, The Avengers. Phase 2 is currently underway, and features sequel films for individual characters, in addition to the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy and Avengers: Age Of Ultron. So what's Phase 3 all about? Essentially, the introduction of even more new characters. Here are the rumored films as noted by Gotcha Movies.
Set for release in 2014, Ant-Man is the most concrete item in Phase 3, and will star Paul Rudd in the titular role.
Captain America 3
Further development of the Captain America character.
Further development of the Thor character, likely with more direct tie-ins to larger Avenger themes, as we've seen in Thors 1 & 2.
The Avengers 3
Rumored to be set for a 2018 release, but neither the title nor release date are confirmed.
There is no official title or release date yet, but it seems that Dr. Strange will be another key character introduced in Phase 3.
All in all, it's an exciting lineup, though perhaps lacking some of the new faces many expected. Some believed Black Widow would get her own film, or that Black Panther would be introduced. Still, even a few new characters likely means further impact across pop culture, as we noted with regard to the films that have already been released.
Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Feb. 27, 2014
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