Meet the Marvel unknowns before they become blockbusters

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Lesser known characters join the lineup of Marvel movie madness. Photo: Marvel Studios
Lesser known characters join the lineup of Marvel movie madness. Photo: Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige took to the stage at a special event at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday to talk about the next slate of blockbuster films the company is planning to release over the next few years. The full docket, with projected dates, is as follows:

· 5/1/15 – Avengers: Age of Ultron
· 7/17/15 – Ant-Man
· 5/6/16 – Captain America: Civil War
· 11/4/16 – Doctor Strange
· 5/5/17 – Guardians of the Galaxy 2
· 7/28/17 – Thor: Ragnarok
· 11/3/17 – Black Panther
· 5/4/18 – Avengers: Infinity War Part I
· 7/6/18 – Captain Marvel
· 11/2/18 – Inhumans
· 5/3/19 – Avengers: Infinity War Part II

While most of us are clear on who The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are, there are some lesser-known characters getting the full movie spotlight that you may not be aware of. Here’s how they fit into the larger Marvel cinematic universe.

A tiny man with incredible strength. Photo: Marvel
A tiny man with incredible strength. Photo: Marvel

Ant-Man: Several fictional characters have taken on the mantle of Ant-Man over the years, but the original was the superhero identity of Dr. Hank Pym, a brilliant scientist who invented both the substance that allowed him to shrink down to the size of an ant, but also the featured villain in the upcoming Avengers 2, Ultron. Pym ultimately left Ant-Man behind, becoming Giant Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket. First appearing in comic books in 1962, he was also a founding member of the original Avengers, along with his girlfriend, Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp. Once Pym retired as Ant-Man, two other characters have filled the role, including Scott Lang and Eric O’Grady, the former of which has been confirmed as the titular character in the Ant-Man movie. Paul Rudd will play as Lang, while Michael Douglas will star as Hank Pym.

The "sorcerer supreme" still has somewhat of an ego problem. Photo: Marvel
The “sorcerer supreme” still has somewhat of an ego problem. Photo: Marvel

Doctor Strange: Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange debuted as half of Strange Tales #110 in 1963 (sharing story duties with the Human Torch). He’s a mystical character who operates as the primary protector of Earth against all threats mystical and magical. The character is a brilliant, self-centered neurosurgeon who damages his hands in a car accident, causing them to tremble uncontrollably. Instead of taking a safe teaching gig, Strange ends up homeless and performing back alley medical procedures for ready cash. He meets and ultimately saves The Ancient One, who ends up teaching Strange the magical ways of the universe. Dr. Strange is now a practicing magician who can also do martial arts, calling himself the Sorcerer Supreme. The upcoming movie has big names like Tom Hardy, Jared Leto, and Joaquin Phoenix being considered for the title role, though the current front runner seems to be none other than Benedict Cumberbatch.

Not affiliated with the political party. Photo: Marvel
Not affiliated with the political party. Photo: Marvel

Black Panther: T’Challa is the first black superhero in mainstream American comics, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, where he appeared in Fantastic Four issue 52. Chadwick Boseman will play the character as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His character predates the actual Black Panther party, though not the panther logo of the organization that evolved into it. T’Challa is the chieftain of the Wakandan Panther Clan, and as such gets to eat a special herb which endows him with superhuman speed, senses, and agility as well as a connection to the mystical Wakandand Panther God. Black Panther joined the Avengers in 1968, and appeared in Daredevil and Fantastic Four comics. He starred in several miniseries in the ’70s, ’80s, and 90’s, as well. Actor Chadwick Boseman will play T’Challa, and the character will debut in Captain America: Civil War in 2016 before going on to his own film the following year.

That's Ms. Marvel, if you're nasty. Photo: Marvel
That’s Ms. Marvel, if you’re nasty. Photo: Marvel

Captain Marvel: Not to be confused with DC Comic’s character of the same name (or, Shazam), Marvel’s own captian originated as an alien military officer created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in 1967. The Captain Marvel role has been filled by no fewer than seven different characters, many of them featuring the same naming convention, like Mar-Vell, Genis-Vell, and Phyla-Vell. Captain Marvel has been female twice, and (as of 2012) is currently taken on by Carol Danvers, the former Ms. Marvel who gained her superpowers from the original Mar-Vell. Captain Marvel has superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, the ability to fly, and has a precognitive sixth sense. No casting details have been released, but there are rumors out there.

Little is known about the upcoming film with these badasses. Photo: Marvel
Little is known about the upcoming film with these badasses. Photo: Marvel

Inhumans: This race of superhumans appears in various Marvel books, usually focused on the adventures of the Inhuman Royal Family, first appearing in Fantastic Four issue 45 in 1965. They also appeared in Thor through the late 1960s and showed up as antagonists to Silver Surver in the 1970s. The Inhumans ran as its own series from 1975 to 1977, and then received a limited miniseries for 12 issues in the late 1990s, and another in 2007. So far the only detail we can find rumored is that the screenplay will be written by Joe Robert Cole

While it’s not a sure thing that all of these planned Marvel movies will prove as popular and make as much money as the bigger names, we’re betting that at least some of these films, if done right, will add to an already pretty amazing cinematic universe. It’s great to see some diversity in the line up, as well.