“Captain America: Civil War” introduces new characters, adds nuances to others and helps lay the groundwork for a packed slate of Marvel Comics movies into the next decade:
Benedict Cumberbatch is the damaged neurosurgeon who unlocks a hidden world of magic, thanks to an ancient mentor (a bald Tilda Swinton).
Avengers connection: He goes unmentioned in “Civil War,” but he was name-checked in “Captain America: Winter Soldier.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
May 5, 2017
Star-Lord Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) may finally learn who his dad is.
Avengers connection: Thanos, the behind-the-scenes villain in the first “Guardians” and the first “Avengers,” is the big villain in the upcoming two-part “Infinity War.”
July 7, 2017
Tom Holland (if you were one of the few who saw “In the Heart of the Sea,” he was the young Tom Nickerson) is the third big-screen Spidey and, at 19, the youngest to have played the teenage webslinger. (And Marisa Tomei is the youngest Aunt May.)
Avengers connection: Sony gave Disney the rights to use this superhero in Avengers movies, and in the new “Captain America,” Tony Stark immediately recognizes his potential.
Nov. 3, 2017
The God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) and big green Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) are MIA in “Civil War,” but they’ll be teaming up in some way to take on the pesky Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a villain played by Cate Blanchett.
Avengers connection: Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has said this film “impacts everything that comes after.”
Feb. 16, 2018
We meet T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman of “42”), the king of the (fictional) African nation of Wakanda, in “Civil War” as he sets out to avenge his father’s murder. His own movie will be “a big geo-political action adventure,” Feige says.
Avengers connection: Marvel moved up this release date by five months, supposedly to set important plot points into motion. And his nation is rich in Vibranium, the impenetrable metal used in Cap’s shield.
“Avengers: Infinity War Part 1”
May 4, 2018
Though the film’s title is expected to change, the story remains the same: Thanos is bent on gaining absolute power by collecting six Infinity Stones, including the Tesseract from the first “Captain America,” the purple Power Stone from “Guardians” and, maybe, the yellow Soul Gem on Vision’s forehead in the new “Cap.”
Avengers connection: Expect even more characters to be introduced, including the fan-demanded Captain Marvel.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp”
July 6, 2018
KC’s Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly reprise their roles as Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne, but that’s all we know.
Avengers connection: This marks the first time a female superhero gets her name in a Marvel title, perhaps opening doors for more women to follow? (How about a Black Widow movie already?)
“Avengers: Infinity War Part 2”
May 3, 2019
We bet things go poorly for our heroes in Part 1, so Part 2 can only get better.
Avengers connection: See Part 1.
March 8, 2019
We expect to meet this Captain in the “Infinity War” movies, but she’ll really show her incredible powers in her stand-alone film.
Avengers connection: Several Captain Marvels have hung out with the comic-book Avengers since the 1960s. We’re all expecting the female version introduced as Ms. Marvel in 1977.