Save the dates: More Marvel movies

dr strange

The least surprising news out of Hollywood this week: More Marvel Comics movies are on the horizon.

Marvel announced a still-unspecified movie would debut in theaters on July 8, 2016.

That’s in addition to Marvel movies – also unspecified – set for May 6, 2016, and May 5, 2017 that were announced in recent weeks.

Those are all in the wake of previously-announced – and specified – Marvel movies for 2015, namely the sequel to “The Avengers” and “Ant-Man.”

We’ll know – maybe as early as next month’s San Diego Comic Con – details of those 2016 and 2017 movies. Last year, for example, Comic Con audiences were the first to hear the full titles for upcoming Marvel movies like “Thor: The Dark World” (out this November) and 2014 titles like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

So we’ll know before long if those upcoming movies will be sequels featuring Thor and Cap or new movies featuring the likes of “Dr. Strange” and “Black Panther.”

Some online reports this week indicated that “Dr. Strange” – the movie and character – would be a running thread through future Marvel movies not unlike the way Iron Man has been in the first set of movies.

It would be an interesting choice, considering that Stephen Strange, surgeon turned master of the mystic arts, is a more fantasy-oriented character than any we’ve seen so far (with the possible exception of Thor) and making him a central character like Iron Man is an indication that Marvel is edging further “out there” in its films. It would also, if cast correctly, be a character that could equal Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in the hearts of moviegoers – a good move since Downey is only so far signed to appear in the two “Avengers” sequels.

Here’s looking forward to some new news.

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