With this week's announcement that Marvel was fast-tracking Avengers 2, one has to wonder: will we see any additional franchises launched between now and the time this week's top-grossing movie gets a sequel?
Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy are among those movies rumored to be coming along before Avengers 2, but as the sequel becomes Disney's top Marvel-related priority, it seems unlikely they'll tinker with the formula much before it's released. Along with Doctor Strange, these seem to be the films not yet on the production slate that will likely be pushed back to accommodate production beginning on Avengers 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy seemed like an idea whose purpose would be in service of Avengers 2, based on the villain we see at the end of The Avengers. After all, Drax the Destroyer was literally made to kill Thanos, and Adam Warlock has a storied history with him as well. Using the Guardians of the Galaxy as they were last seen during the DnA run, would allow for a lot of good Thanos-related storytelling. Without Avengers 2 to lead into, how likely is it that project could simply stop being a viable one?
Ant-Man, meanwhile, has been an amorphous rumor for years now. Without Pym as a founding member of The Avengers, he hasn't yet been established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while the formula up to now has been to introduce characters either with their own films or as a supporting player in another successful film before moving forward, it may be better for the character's prospects if he were to appear (and play a major role) in Avengers 2, thus establishing himself with the fans not unlike Mark Ruffalo's extremely-popular Hulk.
And then there's Dr. Strange. It's a problem. While everyone wants to see a film, and it seems likely that it's one of the Marvel properties most likely to make a great movie, a powerful, magical character would have a hard time fitting into the hard-hitting alien invasion plot that seems likely as a follow-up to The Avengers. Fans take for granted in the comics that super-science and magic can coexist in the same universe, but it's hard to tell whether or not the moviegoing audience will go for it--or, even if they would, whether notoriously (fiscally) conservative studio executives would give them enough credit to try.