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The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a media franchise and shared fictional universe that is centered on aseries of superhero films, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. The franchise has expanded to include comic books, short films, and a television series. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.

The first film released in the MCU was Iron Man (2008), which began the first phase of films, culminating in Marvel's The Avengers (2012). Phase Two began with Iron Man 3 (2013), and will conclude in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Marvel is also preparing Phase Three, with the release of Ant-Man (2015). The universe began to expand with the release of the Marvel One-Shots direct-to-video short films in 2011, and saw further expansion with the premiere of the TV seriesMarvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 2013-14 season. Marvel has multiple films and television projects in various stages of development.

The films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe have received both critical and commercial success, and the franchise as a whole ranks as the second highest-grossing film franchise of all time.

(Cited from Wikipedia)

Phase One - Avengers AssembledEdit

Iron Man (2008)Edit

Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark builds himself a suit of armor after he is taken captive by a terrorist organization. Free from his captors, he decides to upgrade and don his armor as Iron Man in order to hunt down weapons that were sold under the table.[6]

In April 2006, Marvel hired Jon Favreau to direct Iron Man,[7] with Arthur Marcum and Matt Holloway, and Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby writing competing scripts.[7][8] Favreau consolidated both into one script, which was then polished byJohn August.[9] Robert Downey, Jr. was cast in the title role in September 2006, after growing out a goatee and working out to convince the filmmakers he was right for the part.[10] Principal photography began on March 12, 2007,[11] with the first few weeks spent on Stark's captivity in Afghanistan,[12] which was filmed in Inyo County, California.[13]Production also occurred on the former Hughes Company soundstages in Playa Vista, Los Angeles, California,[14] with additional filming at Edwards Air Force Base[15] and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.[16] Iron Man premiered at the Greater Union theater in George Street, Sydney, on April 14, 2008,[17] and was released internationally on April 30, and in North America on May 2.[18][19]

The film ended with a post-credits scene featuring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, who approaches Stark regarding the "Avenger Initiative". Favreau said that he included the scene as "a little tip of the hat for the fans [...] a way to sort of tee up The Avengers." Jackson was only on set for a day, with a skeletal crew to avoid the news of his cameo leaking.[20] Captain America's shield was also visible in the background of a scene; it had initially been inserted by an ILM artist as a joke, but Favreau decided to leave it in the film.[21]

The Incredible Hulk (2008)Edit

After being exposed to gamma radiation that causes him to transform into the monstrous Hulk, scientist Bruce Banner goes on the run and isolates himself from his love, Betty Ross. Hunted by the military, Banner seeks to cure himself and prevent his condition from being weaponized.[22]

In January 2006,[23] Marvel reclaimed the film rights for the Hulk character from Universal Pictures after Universal failed to meet a deadline to develop a sequel to director Ang Lee's 2003 film Hulk.[24] Universal retained distribution rights for future Hulk films.[24] Instead of moving forward with a sequel, Marvel hired Louis Leterrier to direct The Incredible Hulk, a reboot.[25] Leterrier initially turned down the job out of respect for Lee, but later reconsidered and signed on.[25] The script was written by Zak Penn, who drafted a treatment for the 2003 film.[26] In April 2006, Edward Norton entered negotiations to portray Bruce Banner and rewrite Penn's script,[27] although Penn received sole credit for the screenplay.[28] Production began on July 9, 2007 and filming primarily took place in Toronto,[29] with additional filming in New York City and Rio de Janeiro.[30] The film premiered at the Gibson Amphitheatre on June 8, 2008, and was released on June 13.[31][32]

Downey briefly reprised his role from Iron Man as Tony Stark in a cameo appearance at the end of the film. Downey said that the filmmakers "were just cross-pollinating our superheroes. It happens to be a scene where I basically approach [actor William Hurt's character General Ross], and we may be considering going into some sort of limited partnership together. The great thing is he—and I don't want to give too much away—but he's in disrepair at the time I find him. It was really fun seeing him play this really powerful character who's half in the bag."[33] In addition, Captain America is briefly seen frozen in ice in an alternate opening of the film, included in the DVD release.[34]

Iron Man 2 (2010)Edit

After Tony Stark reveals himself to be Iron Man, the U.S. government demands he hand over his technology. Meanwhile, a rival industrialist and a Russian scientist conspire to use his own technology against him.[35]

Immediately following the successful release of Iron Man in May 2008, Marvel Studios announced it was developing a sequel, Iron Man 2.[36] Favreau returned as director[37] and Justin Theroux was hired to write the screenplay, which would be based on an original story by Favreau and Downey.[38] In October 2008, Downey signed a new four-picture deal, that retroactively included the first film, to reprise his role and Don Cheadle was hired to replace Terrance Howard as James Rhodes.[39][40] Jackson signed on to reprise his role as Nick Fury from the Iron Man post-credits sequence in up to nine films,[41] and Scarlett Johansson was cast as theBlack Widow, as part of a multi-film commitment.[42] Principal photography began April 6, 2009,[43] at the Pasadena Masonic Temple in Pasadena, California.[44] The majority of filming took place at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, California.[45] Other locations included Edwards Air Force Base,[46] Monaco,[47] and the Sepulveda Dam.[45] Iron Man 2 premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California on April 26, 2010,[48] and was released internationally between April 28 and May 7 before releasing in North America on May 7.[49]

The filmmakers continued to reference other Marvel films by again including Captain America's shield. Favreau explained, "We introduced Captain America's shield briefly in one shot in the last film. So now it really was in his room, so we had figure out how to deal with the reality that the shield was in his workshop."[21] A scene toward the end of Iron Man 2 in a S.H.I.E.L.D. safehouse contains several Easter eggs, ranging from footage from The Incredible Hulk displayed on a monitor to pointers on a map indicating several locales related to other Marvel films, including one pointing toward a region of Africa in reference to the Black Panther.[50]The film's post-credits scene showed the discovery of Thor's hammer in a crater.[51]

Thor (2011)Edit

Thor, crown prince of Asgard, is banished to Earth and stripped of his powers after he reignites a dormant war. As his brother, Loki, plots to take the throne for himself, Thor must prove himself worthy and reclaim his hammer Mjolnir.[52]

Mark Protosevich was hired to develop a script for Thor in April 2006, after the rights were acquired from Sony Pictures.[7] In August 2007 Marvel hired Matthew Vaughn to direct the film,[53] however he exited the project in May 2008.[54] In September 2008, Kenneth Branagh entered into negotiations to replace Vaughn.[55] In May 2009, Chris Hemsworth was in negotiations to portray the titular character,[56] and Tom Hiddleston was set to play his brother, Loki.[57] Both actors were contracted to star in several films.[58] Marvel hired Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz to write a new script for the film, which was then rewritten by Don Payne.[59]Production began on January 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California,[60] before moving to Galisteo, New Mexico in March.[61] Thor had its world premiere on April 17, 2011 at the Event Cinemas theatre in George Street, Sydney[62] and a U.S. premiere on May 2 at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California.[63] The film was released internationally from April 21 to 30, and on May 6 in North America.[64]

Clark Gregg, who appeared in Iron Man and Iron Man 2 as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, reprised the role in Thor. About his role in Thor he stated, "Agent Coulson was one of the guys who wasn't really in the comic books, and he [had] a very kind of small role in Iron Man. And I was just very lucky that they chose to expand that character and [chose] to put him more into the universe of it."[65] After signing on to appear as Hawkeye in The AvengersJeremy Renner made a cameo appearance as the character during a scene in Thor.[66] Branagh said that they "were always going to have a guy in a basket above the action where Thor breaks in the S.H.I.E.L.D. camp", and that he was thrilled when the producers told him they wanted to use Renner's Hawkeye for that role.[67] The film ends with a post-credits scene featuring Loki, watching as Erik Selvig and Nick Fury discuss a Cosmic Cube.[68] The scene was directed by Joss Whedon, who directed The Avengers.[69]Stellan Skarsgård, who played Selvig, said the scene was not included when he first read the screenplay for Thor, and that he was sent pages for the scene after agreeing to appear in The Avengers.[70]

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)Edit

In 1942, Steve Rogers is deemed physically unfit to enlist in the U.S. Army and fight the Nazis in World War II. Recruited for a secret military operation, he is physically transformed into a super-soldier dubbed Captain America and must battle the Red Skull, head of a Nazi weaponry division known as Hydra.[71]

In April 2006, Marvel hired David Self to write the script for a Captain America film.[7] Joe Johnston signed on to direct in November 2008,[72] and Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were hired to rewrite the script.[73] In March 2010, Chris Evans was cast as Captain America and Hugo Weaving was cast as the Red Skull.[74]Production began on June 28, 2010 in the United Kingdom,[75] with locations in London,[76] Caerwent,[77] Manchester and Liverpool.[78] The film premiered on July 19, 2011, at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California,[79] and was released in North America on July 22, and in international markets starting July 27.[80]

The cosmic cube from the Thor post-credits scene (now referred to as the "Tesseract") appears as a macguffin in Captain America: The First Avenger.[81] In the film,Dominic Cooper portrays a young Howard Stark, the father of Tony Stark,[82] who hosts an early version of the Stark Expo, the fair Tony hosts in Iron Man 2.[83] The final scene of the film includes a brief appearance by Jackson's Nick Fury followed by a teaser trailer for Marvel's The Avengers after the credits.[84]

Marvel's The Avengers (2012)Edit

Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., gathers the superheroes Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye to fight off Thor's brother Loki, who plots to subjugate the Earth.[85]

Zak Penn, who wrote The Incredible Hulk, was hired to write a script for The Avengers in June 2007.[86] In April 2010, Joss Whedon closed a deal to direct the film, and to rework Penn's script.[87] Marvel announced that Edward Norton would not be reprising the role of Bruce Banner / The Hulk,[88] and in July 2010, Mark Ruffalo was cast in his place.[89] Downey, Evans, Hemsworth, Johansson, Renner, Hiddleston and Jackson reprised their respective roles from previous films.[90] Principal photography began in April 2011 inAlbuquerque, New Mexico,[85] before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in August,[91] and New York City in September.[92] The premiere was held on April 11, 2012 at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California,[93] and the film was released in North America on May 4.[94]

Gwyneth Paltrow, who portrayed Pepper Potts in Iron Man and Iron Man 2, was included in the film at Downey's insistence. Prior to this, Whedon had not intended the film to include supporting characters from the heroes' individual films, commenting, "You need to separate the characters from their support systems in order to create the isolation you need for a team."[95] Avi Arad said that Sony Pictures and Disney discussed incorporating the OsCorp Tower from the The Amazing Spider-Man into the climax of The Avengers,[96] but Feige said that "the deal was never close to happening."[97] The supervillain Thanos appears in a post-credits scene, portrayed by Damion Poitier.

Phase 2

Iron Man 3 (2013)Edit

Tony Stark faces a powerful enemy, the Mandarin, who attacks and destroys his mansion. Left to his own devices and battling posttraumatic stress disorder, Stark struggles to get to the bottom of a series of mysterious explosions.[99]

In late 2010, Marvel and Disney announced that they were developing a third Iron Man film.[100] In February 2011, Marvel hired Shane Black to direct Iron Man 3.[101] Black co-wrote the film's script with Drew Pearce.[102][103] Downey, Paltrow, and Cheadle reprised their roles from Iron Man 2, while Guy Pearce and Ben Kingsley joined the cast as Aldrich Killian and Trevor Slattery, respectively.[104] Filming began in May 2012, in North Carolina.[105] Additional filming took place in southern Florida,[106] China,[107] and Los Angeles.[108] Iron Man 3 premiered at Le Grand Rex in Paris, France on April 14, 2013 and at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles, California on April 24.[109][110] The film released internationally on April 25[111] and in the U.S. on May 3.[100]

The film is set six months after the events that occurred in The Avengers.[112] In the film Tony Stark experiences PTSD-like symptoms following the Battle of New York in The Avengers. Black explained, "that's an anxiety response to feeling inferior to The Avengers, but also to being humbled by sights he cannot possibly begin to understand or reconcile with the realities he's used to... There's a line in the movie about 'ever since that big guy with the hammer fell out of the sky, the rules have changed'. That's what we're dealing with here."[113] Dr. Bruce Banner appears in a post-credits scene, with Ruffalo reprising the role. About the scene, Ruffalo said "They were about to wrap the movie and I saw Robert [Downey Jr.] at the Academy Awards... and he said, 'What do you think about coming and doing a day?' I said, 'Are you kidding me? Bang, lets do it!' We sort of spitballed that scene, then I came in and we shot for a couple of hours and laughed."[114]

Thor: The Dark World (2013)Edit

Thor reunites with astrophysicist Jane Foster as a series of portals, linking worlds at random, begin to appear. He discovers that Malekith and his army of Dark Elvesintend to destroy the universe utilizing a powerful artifact. Thor must join forces with his now-imprisoned brother Loki to stop them.[115]

A sequel to Thor was first announced in June 2011, with Hemsworth reprising his role as Thor.[116] Hiddleston confirmed he would return as Loki in September,[117]and Alan Taylor signed on to direct the film in December.[118] The film's title was announced as Thor: The Dark World in July 2012 at the San Diego Comic-Con International,[119] and Christopher Eccleston was cast as Malekith a month later.[120] Production started in September 2012 in Bourne WoodSurrey,[121] with additional filming taking place in Iceland and London.[122][123] The film premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on October 22, 2013.[124] It was internationally released on October 30, 2013 and on November 8, 2013 in North America.[125]

The film is set one year after the events of The Avengers.[126] Evans briefly makes a cameo appearance in the film as Captain America when Loki shapeshifts into him while mocking Thor.[127] Hiddleston wore the Captain America costume while standing in for Evans, before Evans came to shoot the scene. Hiddleston said, "I did an impression of Loki in the Captain America costume, and then they showed Chris [Evans] my performance on tape. It's him doing an impression of me doing an impression of him. And it's brilliant."[127] James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, directed the mid-credits scene which featured the The Collector, played by Benicio del Toro. Asked about shooting the scene, Gunn said, "I got the script that morning, and I did it in two hours at the end of a day of second unit shooting [for Guardians of the Galaxy]."[128]

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)Edit

Steve Rogers, now working with S.H.I.E.L.D., teams up with Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow and Sam Wilson / Falcon to expose a deep conspiracy which involves a mysterious assassin known only as the Winter Soldier.[129]

A sequel to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger was announced in April 2012.[130] Anthony and Joe Russo were hired to direct in June,[131] and in July it was officially titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier.[119] Evans and Jackson were set to reprise their respective roles as Captain America and Nick Fury,[131] and Johansson would again play the Black Widow.[132] Sebastian Stan, who portrayed Bucky in Captain America: The First Avenger, returned as the Winter Soldier.[133]Production started in April 2013 in Manhattan Beach, California, and filming also took place in Washington, D.C. andCleveland, Ohio.[134][135] The film premiered in Los Angeles on March 13, 2014.[136] Captain America: The Winter Soldierwas released internationally on March 26[137] and in North America on April 4.[130]

The film is set two years after the events of The Avengers.[112] Stephen Strange, the alter-ego of the Marvel superheroDoctor Strange, is mentioned by name in the film by the character Jasper Sitwell.[138] A remodeled Stark Tower from The Avengers, now known as Avengers Tower, also makes an appearance in the film.[139] Whedon directed a post-credits scene featuring Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann), Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who are scheduled to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron.[140][141] The revelation in the film that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by Hydra informed the final six episodes of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a television series set in the MCU.

Future Films

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)Edit

Peter Quill / Star-Lord and a group of misfits, including GamoraRocketDrax the Destroyer and Groot, fight to keep a powerful orb from the clutches of the villainousRonan.[167][168][169]

Marvel Studios announced it was developing a Guardians of the Galaxy film in July 2012, with a release date of August 1, 2014.[119] The film is to be directed byJames Gunn, based on his screenplay, and story written by Nicole Perlman and Gunn.[166] In August 2012, Chris McCoy was hired to rewrite the screenplay.[170]However, he did not receive production credit in the initial press release released in July 2013.[166] In February 2013, Chris Pratt was cast in the lead role, as Peter Quill.[171] The film was shot at Shepperton Studios and in London from July to October 2013.[172]

Thanos, the supervillain who appeared in The Avengers mid-credits scene, will appear in the film via performance capture, although casting has yet to be announced for the character. Gunn noted that the film would be connected to Avengers 3.[173]

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)Edit

A sequel to The Avengers was announced by Disney in May 2012, shortly after the first film's release.[174] It is set for release on May 1, 2015.[175] In August 2012, Joss Whedon was signed to return as writer and director.[176] In June 2013, Robert Downey, Jr. signed a deal to reprise the role of Iron Man for the second and third films.[164] On July 20, 2013, at San Diego Comic-Con International, Whedon announced that the subtitle of the film would be Age of Ultron.[177] In August 2013,James Spader was announced as portraying Ultron.[178] Second unit filming began on February 11, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa.[179][180] Principal photography began in March 2014 at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England,[164][181] with additional footage filmed at Fort Bard and various other locations in theAosta Valley region of Italy,[182] and Seoul, South Korea.[183]

Ant-Man (2015)Edit

The screenplay for Ant-Man is written by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, and includes both Scott Lang and Hank Pym.[184] It is set for release on July 17, 2015,[185]and Feige confirmed that it will be the first film in Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.[5] Pre-production started in October 2013,[186] and Feige stated that filming would begin in mid-2014.[187] Filming will occur in Fayette County, Georgia at Pinewood Atlanta.[188] In December 2013, Paul Rudd was cast as Ant-Man,[189]followed in January 2014 with the casting of Michael Douglas as Pym and the confirmation of Rudd as Lang.[190] Wright was initially slated to direct the film, but left the project in May 2014 due to creative differences.[191]

Captain America 3 (2016)Edit

By January 2014, Anthony and Joe Russo had signed on to return to direct a third Captain America installment, which they confirmed in March 2014, with Chris Evans returning as Captain America, Feige returning to produce, and Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely writing the screenplay.[159][192] The film will be part of Phase Three[193] and will be released on May 6, 2016.[194]

Other potential projectsEdit

In June 2013, Disney and Marvel Studios set July 8, 2016 and May 5, 2017 release dates for two untitled Marvel films.[195][196] Feige later revealed that a second untitled film would also release in 2017,[197] and said that any official announcements regarding future projects would not be made until mid-2014 at the earliest.[198]

In January 2013, Feige confirmed that Doctor Strange would be a part of their Phase Three slate of movies.[5] Marvel had hired Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to write a screenplay for Doctor Strange in June 2010.[199] In January 2014, The Wrap reported that a third Thor film was in the works, with Craig Kyleand Christopher Yost writing the screenplay,[200] also intended to appear in Phase Three.[193]

A film based on The Runaways went through a number of iterations. Brian K. Vaughan was originally hired to write a screenplay based on the property in May 2008.[201] In April 2010, Marvel hired Peter Sollett to direct the film,[202] and Drew Pearce was hired to write the script in May.[203] In September 2013, Pearce revealed that The Runaways film had been shelved in favor of The Avengers, with the earliest it could release being Phase Three.[204]

Marvel has hired screenwriters for a number of other properties: Andrew W. Marlowe was hired to write a script for Nick Fury in April 2006;[7] Rich Wilkes was hired to write a screenplay for Iron Fist in August 2010;[205] and documentary filmmaker Mark Bailey was hired to write a script for Black Panther in January 2011.[206] In May 2013, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Marvel had working scripts for Blade and Ms. Marvel.[207] Feige mentioned Inhumans as a property out of which he was "confident" a movie would be made.[208] Feige stated that, after exploring Black Widow's past in Avengers: Age of Ultron, he would like to see it explored further in a solo film, which already had development work done for it.[209] Feige and Marvel have films and story lines planned through 2028.

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