Both of Marvel’s ever-expanding TV and cinematic universes enjoyed an absolutely overwhelming level of success last year, with the total profits from the latter exceeding a staggering £8 billion worldwide.
They’re of course hoping to replicate this over the rest of 2018 with the release of three new films and six new TV series, the release dates of which we’ve handily collected together for you to mark in your diaries so you’ll never miss a moment of exciting superhero action.
Jessica Jones season 2 – 8th March on Netflix
The skilled way it continues to explore emotionally charged themes, the engaging character relationships and superb lead performance from Krysten Ritter means Jessica Jones’s second season still makes for hugely entertaining and thoughtful viewing, even if it’s not quite as good as the first.
Although the plot is definitely compelling when its more character focused, examining the troubling self-identity crisis Jessica is experiencing after fully embracing her darker side and killing Kilgrave (David Tennant) for example, it can feel quite sluggish in other parts without such a first-rate villain to propel it forward.
Where season one did fall down slightly was the inclusion of some bland side characters, so it comes with relief that the two most interesting ones, Trish Walker (Racheal Taylor) and Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss), are also awarded quite a bit more development this time around.
Infinity War – 27th April
One of the most highly-anticipated films of 2018, Infinity War is the absolutely epic action-packed blockbuster that Marvel’s eighteen previous films have been slowly building towards ever since the release of the first Iron Man all the way back in 2008.
Every comic book fan’s wildest dreams will be finally brought to life as all of the superheroes seen on the big-screen so far unite in a frantic effort to stop Thanos, an immensely powerful and ruthless cosmic being, from collecting the infinity stones and destroying the universe.
The much-hyped first trailer heavily suggests the film will be much darker and feel more desperate than before (potentially to accommodate major deaths!) but still expect to enjoy plenty of incredibly cool massive-scale fight scenes, amazingly vibrant CGI effects and classic quippy banter.
Luke Cage season 2 – 22nd June on Netflix
Hopefully, creator Cheo Hodari Coker is capable of packing Luke Cage’s second Netflix outing with exactly the same kind of fearlessly cool fight sequences, genuinely insightful observation about race, beautifully vibrant hip-hop soundtrack which made the first such a success.
Sparse plot details have confirmed it’ll pick up as bulletproof Luke Cage (Mike Coulter) heads back to Harlem to deal with his newfound fame and come face-to-face with two new villains, vengeful crime lord John McIver (Mustafa Shakir) and super-genius doctor Tilda Johnson (Gabrielle Dennis).
Joining them will be straight-talking detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick), nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and the Iron Fist (Finn Jones), who actually fared much better when paired with the naturally charismatic Coulter in The Defenders than in his own much maligned solo series.
Ant-Man and The Wasp – 6th July
The first Ant-Man came as a pleasant surprise when it was released in 2015, just a few months after the disappointing Age of Ultron, with a very likeable and effortlessly charming lead in Paul Rudd, refreshingly low stakes and some immensely creative fight scenes.
After Ant-Man’s first post-credits scene teased at her appearance in future films, it’s finally time for Ant-Man to team-up with Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp (Evangeline Lily) who’s got a supercharged winged shrinking suit of her very own to defeat mysterious hacker Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen).
Judging from the trailer which features an identical streak of sharp witty humour and offers a few glimpses of Dr Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) brilliantly unique size-changing gadgets in action, this sequel happily looks like it’ll be able to replicate the hugely enjoyable nature of the original.
Venom – 5th October
After previously appearing as one of the two woefully underdeveloped antagonists in Sam Ramini’s abysmal Spiderman 3, Marvel and Sony have decided to have another go at bringing one of the web-slinger’s most popular villains to the big-screen with a solo spin-off film starring Tom Hardy.
Not too much is actually known about the film’s plot at this stage but Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer has previously stated that, in complete contrast to the nicely colourful and cartoonish nature of Spiderman: Homecoming, he’s keen to imbue the project with a dark horror vibe.
Hardy is a fantastic actor so it’ll be very interesting to see his intense take on such an iconic character and, as actor Tom Holland has already confirmed Spiderman won’t be in the film, exactly how Venom works without his greatest nemesis around.
Daredevil season 3 – mid to late 2018 on Netflix
With the second eagerly-awaited seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage set to premiere on Netflix in March and June respectively, it’s very probable that blind vigilante Matt Murdock/Daredevil will return to for a third 13-episode run in the latter half of 2018.
The welcome news gangster Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) is returning lends strong credence to the rumour that series creator Drew Goddard will be adapting Frank Miller’s classic Born Again arc, which sees Fisk set out to completely destroy Daredevil's life after discovering who he really is.
Murdock’s former legal partner Foggy (Elden Henson) and journalist Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) are naturally set to return, but its less certain if Elektra (Elodie Yung) or The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) will make an appearance, especially after the events of The Defenders.
Cloak and Dagger season 1 - sometime in 2018
A UK air date is yet to be confirmed for Marvel’s new romantically charged young-adult superhero outing but going by the US premiere date of 7th June, UK fans should definitely expect to see it on their TV screens during the latter half of 2018.
Runaways Tyrone (Aubrey Joseph) and Tandy (Olivia Holt) become the titular couple, he Cloak with the ability to manipulate the deadly darkforce and she Dagger with the complete opposite power to access the healing but equally unstable lightforce, after being injected with an unknown drug.
Although a heavy focus on romance alongside their general vigilante activities might be a turn-off for some viewers, if their fascinating symbiotic relationship is cleverly built upon in a very natural feeling way which doesn’t shy away from the more sinister elements, it has the potential be quite touching.
Marvel’s Runaways season 1 – sometime in 2018
Marvel’s other foray into the young adult genre, which sees a group of superpowered teenagers discovering their parents are supervillains, aired exclusively on streaming service Hulu which unfortunately can’t be legally accessed in the UK.
However, Bruce Miller’s superb dystopian drama The Handmaid’s Tale was also originally created for just for this platform and then later broadcast in the UK on Channel 4. With the amount of critical praise The Runaways has received, it’s looking likely Marvel will decide to do something similar here.
Created by the duo behind The O.C and Gossip Girl, The Runaways feels a lot fresher and more grounded than either of those two shows. There’s thankfully not as much soapy melodrama and both the younger and older characters are fantastically written so as to feel unusually well-rounded and likeable.
New Warriors season 1 – potentially in 2018
Marvel’s brand-new comedy series was originally slated to premiere mid-2018 on the US’s Freeform TV network, but they’ve since decided to shop it elsewhere. As it’s not currently scheduled to air in the US anytime soon, it could be that we don’t get New Warriors in 2018 after all.
It definitely is one to keep an eye out for however, as if done right a full-on superhero comedy series could work very well and, perhaps more importantly, it will also mark the live-action debut of one of Marvel’s more bizarre heroes, Squirrel Girl (Milana Vayntrub).
She’ll be appearing alongside a cast of fantastically average but happy superheroes like low-level telekinetic Debril (Kate Comer) and Night Thrasher (Jeremy Tardy) who’s Batman with a million YouTube subscribers which hopefully signals a uniquely self-aware tone for the series.
Coming in 2019
As is Marvel's way, there's already quite a few major projects in the pipeline for 2019.
Perhaps most excitingly in their by then 20 film strong Cinematic Universe will be the release of their first female led superhero film Captain Marvel starring Academy-Award winner Brie Larson on 8th March followed by the currently untitled Avengers sequel on 3rd May.
The small screen on the other hand, will see the release of the hopefully much improved second season of Iron Fist as well as second season of Steve Lightfoot's The Punisher which, judging from the fact filming began last month, will be available to stream on Netflix around early-to-mid 2019.