Prior to 2015, comic movies were all about origins and teams, 2016 saw heroes clash on the big screen and in 2017 characters will pop up in each other’s films to attract more viewers.
It was Olivia Munn who said earlier this year, that comic hero movies are “never just one character anymore” and this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially in the coming year.
Let’s quickly rewind to 2008 when the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with its first hero – Iron Man. Tony Stark’s origin flick focused entirely on the development of his suit and his rise from businessman and genius to hero.
This was followed by the Incredible Hulk, which centered and only featured Bruce Banner, as did the first Thor and Captain America releases.
Fast forward a little to 2012 when Marvel’s The Avengers made it to the big screen and audiences were exposed to multiple heroes in one two-to-three hour viewing (one could argue that the X-Men movies would have been the first to do this, but that’s different in that the X-Men were introduced as a team while the Avengers were individuals before they came together – that’s what made it exciting).
This movie created a demand among comic movie fans for more movies featuring several heroes.
So, Disney sent The Black Widow to keep Steve Rogers company in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Scott Lang bumped into The Falcon in Ant-Man and even Stephen shared a cold one with the God of Thunder towards the end of Doctor Strange.
Now, it’s almost expected for characters to crossover and it’s definitely not stopping in 2017, in fact it looks like fans can expect their favourite comic heroes to pop up in each other’s movies more frequently next year and more openly (aka no surprise cameos but rather pre-marketed ones).
For example, Disney has agreed to lend Sony Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man character for Spider-Man: Homecoming, in which Tony Stark not only upgrades the young hero’s suit but may also fight alongside him.
There’s also the giant and indestructible Hulk’s forthcoming appearance in Thor: Ragnarok. Bruce Banner’s meeting with the Norse God, his merry men and his wicked sibling has been a topic of discussion among Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fans since the green hero’s absence in Captain America: Civil War. It was further hyped up when Mark Ruffalo shared a video from the set of the third Thor movie and then again when Hulk’s Gladiator armor was revealed at San Diego Comic Com.
And then there’s Wolverine, who won’t be the only famous mutant in Logan – the third and final Wolverine movie. Professor X aka Patrick Stewart is scripted to join the clawed hero, although the extent of his appearance is still unknown.
Of course, next year there will also be two team releases, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 scheduled to premiere in May followed by The Justice League in November, and then there’s Wonder Woman, which appears to be the only 2017 movie to feature a single hero – but we wouldn’t be surprised if Warner Bros. threw in a surprise cameo.