Now that Ant-Man is out, Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is over. This slate of six movies began with Iron Man 3, and included some bold experiments (Guardians of the Galaxy) as well as huge upheavals. Now that it’s over, where do all our favorite characters stand? Let’s get you up to speed for Phase Three.
Phase Three won’t begin until May 6, 2016, when Captain America: Civil War hits theaters. After that, it’ll continue through 2019 with Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 and finally, Inhumans. That’s a lot of ground to cover—which is why we thought you might want a refresher course. Here’s where everybody’s at, after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.
Iron Man - Tony Stark is pretty messed up after Avengers: Age of Ultron. He’s still footing the bill for the Avengers, even letting them set up shop at one of his own private bunkers in upstate New York. Emotionally though, he’s recovering from the fact his creation—Ultron—almost destroyed the world. At the moment, he is not a part of the Avengers. And our only clue to what he actually is doing comes at the end of Ant-Man, when Steve Rogers says Tony probably can’t help, because of “the Accords”—whatever those are. In any case, we know that Iron Man and Captain America won’t be on the same page, the next time they meet. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Captain America - With Tony Stark gone, Cap is the new leader of the Avengers. He surely feels bitter toward Tony for what he did with Ultron, but also proud the team was able to overcome an impossible-to-defeat enemy. With Stark now out of the equation, he’s tasked with whipping together a new batch of superheroes to defend the world as The Avengers. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Hulk - After finally forming a bond with someone (Black Widow), Bruce Banner flew the Hulk away from everything after it went south. Going into Phase Three, we don’t know his status. A downed jet found by The Avengers may be him, but he could be anywhere. We just know he’s so in love, he couldn’t bear to hurt anyone anymore, so he removed himself from the equation. Next appearance: Unknown, rumored to be in Captain America: Civil War.
Thor - Though Thor helped his fellow Avengers defeat Ultron, he was preoccupied. He had some visions and realized that the Avengers and Ultron were pawns in a much larger game of chess. That game may have to do with Infinity Gems. He’s once again left Earth for Asgard to try and figure out who, or what, is really going on. Next appearance: Thor: Ragnarok, probably. Maybe sooner, though.
Loki - He was the big bad guy in Phase One but for most of Phase Two, Loki was on the sidelines. For a brief time, he helped his brother in Thor: The Dark World—but, in the end, Loki got even badder. He finished that film posing as his father, Odin, aka the ruler of Asgard. Which means he either killed or captured his father, and now is the most powerful person on that world. That can’t be good. Next appearance: Likely Thor: Ragnarok.
Guardians of the Galaxy - The MVPs of Phase Two, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe newcomers, are somewhere in space, doing a little something good and a little something bad. We know that the mystery of Peter Quill’s father is going to be a big thing coming up, and they also have unfinished business with Thanos, who stands to play a huge role in the Infinity War. Next appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Black Widow - After dealing with personal demons, kicking ass, falling in love and then losing it, as Phase Two ended, Widow was pretty down. She sucked it up, however, and is now helping Captain America run his brand new team of Avengers. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
The Vision - Keeper of the only Infinity Gem on Earth (at least, that we know of) the mysterious Vision kicked major ass in Age of Ultron. Now he’ll likely do more of the same as the most mysterious, and powerful, member of the new Avengers. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Hawkeye - In Age of Ultron, we finally found out what the expert archer had been doing for the majority of Phase Two: He spent it with his family. As we get ready for Phase Three, he’s back with them again, probably fixing the porch or something, but he’ll be back in the game when he’s needed. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
The Falcon - From best friend to trusted confidant, The Falcon is one of the newest members of The Avengers. He’s being trained by Captain America and Black Widow, and may have just met a new ally. While guarding the Avengers’ new hideout, he encountered Ant-Man, a hero who can shrink, and the Falcon is currently looking for Ant-Man. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Scarlet Witch - The Scarlet Witch lost her brother, Quicksilver, while battling Ultron, but she won’t let his death be in vain. She’s now a member of the Avengers, fighting alongside Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon, Vision and War Machine. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
War Machine - He wanted some action, and now he’s got it. After working with the government in one of Tony Stark’s suits, War Machine has gone from the sidelines to a full-fledged member of the Avengers. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Ant-Man - The newest member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe tried to keep a low profile as he saved the world from the Yellowjacket. However, he got on the radar of the Avengers, and now The Falcon is looking for him. He’ll join the team soon and—if rumor holds—figure out that his suit can do more than just shrink. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Thanos - Probably the baddest man in the galaxy, Thanos first made an appearance at the end of Phase One. He next appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy, still on the hunt for some Infinity Stones. Then, at the end of Age of Ultron, he said he’s going to “do it himself.” That suggests he’s finished with being a puppetmaster and is going to take more direct action. Next appearance: Unknown. Likely Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, maybe Thor Ragnarok, or possibly not until Avengers: Infinity War.
The Winter Soldier - Formerly Captain America’s best friend, Bucky, this genetically modified super soldier was on the run at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s briefly alluded to in Age of Ultron with Falcon being on the case and then, at the end of Ant-Man, we see that he’s in Cap’s custody. We’ll find how he ended up in Steve Rogers’ clutches, and where his allegiances lie, soon. Next appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Nick Fury - The man who put all of this together was a helpful, but minor, player in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Curiously, Samuel L. Jackson has said he’s not in Captain America: Civil War, so where or what Fury’s doing is a mystery. Next appearance: Unknown.
Black Panther - Chadwick Boseman has been cast as the Wakandan superhero who, as of now, has only been tangentially referred to the films. His country is the source of vibranium, the strongest metal in the world, which is found in Cap’s shield, the Vision’s body, and Ultron’s city floating creation. As for the Panther himself, what he’s like and what his alliances are, we don’t know. We just know we’ll meet him soon. First appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
The Wasp - As Ant-Man ended, Hope Van Dyne was given an advanced prototype suit that will make her the Wasp. She’ll, eventually, join in all this fun—but as it stands now, we have no idea when. Next appearance: Unknown, possibly Avengers: Infinity War Part 1.
Doctor Strange - The Sorcerer Supreme was briefly name-dropped in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as someone HYDRA knew was a potential threat. Benedict Cumberbatch will play the role, but we know very little of his overall connection. First appearance: Doctor Strange.
Spider-Man - Everyone’s favorite Web-slinger is finally coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Phase Three, as played by actor Tom Holland. This is a full reboot from the Andrew Garfield films, and he’ll appear with the rest of the gang before showing up in his own movie, so how the whole story gets handled is a mystery. But it’s extremely exciting nonetheless. First appearance: Captain America: Civil War.
Infinity Stones - Not a character—but these have long been a crucial part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are six stones in total, and whoever can get all of them will have unlimited power. So far in the MCU, we’ve only seen four. There’s the Blue Space Stone (currently on Asgard, as seen in The Avengers), the Yellow Mind stone (currently on Earth with Vision, as seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron), the Red Reality Stone (currently with The Collector, as seen in Thor: The Dark World) and the Purple Power Stone (currently on Xandar, as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.) At the end of Age of Ultron, Thanos was seen with an Infinity Gauntlet with six empty slots. The above image is from a teaser trailer for 2018 and 2019’s Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 and 2.
Tom Holland photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images