Anticipation is running high in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the universal franchise gets ready for the first big screen debut of a new superhero since Black Panther last year. Rumors have been flying about who Captain Marvel is, and what her abilities are since Nick Fury whipped out the most hopped up pager this side of 1999. However, like with most MCU films, the gaze is always forward, looking to the next installment and beyond. Will there be a Captain Marvel sequel?
Here's what fans know for sure. The current movie, which arrives in theaters on March 8, is the first "origin story" film since Doctor Strange in 2016. (Though Black Panther dove into T'Challa's family history, and his taking the throne, it was less an "origin" story than a tale of how he chose to join in with the rest of the world.) In fact, Captain Marvel's production was so committed to being an origin story, it set the film in the mid-1990s and spent millions digitally de-aging Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg to match.
This decision leaves room for new stories featuring Captain Marvel in the present day as a sequel. It's not unlike another Marvel character fans know and love, Captain America.
Moreover, like Captain America, Captain Marvel's next appearance has already been scheduled on the Marvel calendar. When Captain America: The First Avenger arrived in 2011, everyone knew The Avengers would follow. Due to the post credit scene at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, everyone knows Captain Marvel will return in Avengers: Endgame.
Will Captain Marvel get a standalone sequel? So far, the heads at the MCU have kept plans for Phase IV tightly under wraps.
This secrecy is partially due to forces it can't control. The MCU's overlords at Disney are in the middle of finalizing a merger with 20th Century Fox, who own the rights to several Marvel characters the MCU would dearly love to get back and integrate into their franchise universe as part of Phase IV. Until the merger is complete, no public announcements can be made. Current expectations say the merger will finalize by the end of Q1 2019 (aka March 31). Until then, much of Phase IV, including a Captain Marvel sequel, is on hold.
However, there are signs Captain Marvel will do well enough to earn a spot in the next round of films. Though the movie is still days away from opening, current long-range box office projections have the film tracking at a $140 million opening weekend. This number may rise or fall over the coming week as last-minute ticket buyers plunk down for opening weekend. But if those projections hold, it would put Captain Marvel's debut just below Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($146m) while soundly beating the next highest entrant, Spider-Man: Homecoming ($117m), and landing it solidly in the Top Ten MCU openings of all time.
With numbers like that, chances are Captain Marvel should keep those flight uniforms handy. Another takeoff will be scheduled shortly.
Captain Marvel lands in theaters on Friday, March 8, 2019.