Edgar Wright's Ant-Man is the official kick-off to Marvel's Phase Three, but it's been in development longer than any of their other films. First announced way back in 2006 before there ever was an Iron Man, there were some who saw it as an enticing pipe dream up until Marvel/Disney finally dated it for November 6th 2015. But now Marvel has decided you shouldn't have to wait even that long, as they've bumped Ant-Man up more than three months to July 31st.
So what's the reason for the move? Deadline has no answers, and it's a decision that is odd for a couple of reasons. First of all, this moves it extremely close to the May release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, meaning there won't be much elbow between the films. It's even more curious considering the amount of blockbusters already lined up for that summer, with Star Wars 7, Man of Steel 2, Jurassic Park 4, the Terminator reboot, and Pirates of the Caribbean 5 all vying for attention. Half of these are Disney films, as well, so the decision to pack so many so close together doesn't seem like the soundest business strategy.
With this move we can probably expect production to begin sooner than expected, and for some hard casting news to start showing up. Ant-Man fans have been begging for Nathan Fillion to get a shot at playing founding Avenger Henry "Hank" Pym, but there's nothing to suggest he's even on their radar.
One person we know to be in Marvel's crosshairs is Katee Sackhoff, who just recently joined with
Guardians of the Galaxy stars Vin Diesel and Dave Bautista for Riddick. While on the (dreadful) Schmoes Know podcast (seriously, it pains me even to link to them), Sackhoff revealed that she's been talking to Marvel, and that "there's been some stuff going on" and "a lot of checking of availability for the first quarter of next year." That's around the same time 'Age of Ultron' is due to start production, and one has to think maybe she's in contention to play Carol "Ms. Marvel" Danvers. She has the look for it, and Joss Whedon has basically told us a female Avenger would be joining the team, and we've already heard names like Emily Blunt and Ruth Wilson rumored for it. Any of those three would be perfect for it, but Sackhoff comes with the ready-made look and battle-hardened demeanor the role would demand.
Between this and Vin Diesel's recent comments about a major shake-up in 2016, it's clear that Marvel isn't easing up on the throttle heading into their third phase.