Premptive SPOILER WARNING!!! I am pretty sure I will have to mention the mid credit scene from the Avengers when disscussing these annouced films as well as maybe lightly spoil some comic book specific storylines. So yea read at your own will
If you for some reason haven't left the interenet for fear of The Dark Knight Rises spoilers showing up when they totally don't deserve to be (I'm looking at you douchebag on IGN), you'll have heard that Marvel has annouced their Phase 2 set of films set in a post Avengers world. These films are as follows: Iron Man 3 (May 13, 2013),Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013),Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014.), Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man both TBA. Now these will all lead into the inevitable Avengers 2 that may or may not be directed by Joss Whedon.
From the release dates given Marvel and Disney appear to be spreading their comic book franchises across the calendar year and not just saving them for summer. I like this move since the summer movie season is becoming increasingly stacked. Moving your movies 6 months apart allows each to both stand on its own and not potentially compete with not only one another but other blockbusters. Thor and Captian America:FA came out about a month apart. This also could help with superhero fatigue with just so many films coming out in the same genre close together is a sure fire way to kill the latest genre cash cow.
So time to begin rampant internet speculation about how this quartet of films can tie togoether and lead us to The Mad Titan
This is the franchise that started Phase 1 and now it starts Phase 2. Not a lot is known since the film is only halfway through production. Descrptions of footage shown at SDCC describe Stark being attacked at his home (possibly by Guy Pierce) and that yes Ben Kingsly is The Mandiran 10 rings and all. Now I doubt we will get some sort of post credit scene with Thanos showing up it wouldn't make much sense. But where there is Thanos the infinity gems/guantlent are sure to be near by. Perhaps the Mandarians 10 rings are those gems.
The next film to come out will be Thor: The Dark World. Now Marvel did a good job getting across that Asgard,Thor,Magic are just sceince we just don't understand so they are cosmic characters. My favorite part of Thor was all the Asgard stuff not boring old earth. By the sound of the title looks like we will be getting more Asgard and less earth. Villians haven't been annouced but Mads Mikkelsen was rumored to play Skurge the Executioner before being cast as Hanibal Lector in the forthcoming Hanibal TV series on NBC. Thors rogues gallery isn't that interesting most of the time it comes back Skurge and Amora the Enchantress doing Lokis bidding or some colossal demon like Surtur. Playing around with Surtur would be fun. What the "Dark World" means is unknown but looking over Norse cosmotology the realm of Niflhel sounds promising it is the realm of ice and mist where the wicked dead are cast. As a cosmic character perhaps we get our first hints of Thanos here, he was in a dark place.
After Thor it's back to earth for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Of the first phase of films Captain America is probably my favorite. Now the subheading of The Winter Soldier is a dead give away to the return of Bucky Barnes(Sebastian Stan). In the comics Barnes was found by the Russians somehow lost his arm which they replaced with a sweet robotic one and brainwashed him into becoming the ultimate killing machine who they would than throw into the literal deep freeze until they needed him. I doubt it'll be the Russians who find him more likely it'll be HYDRA or possibly AIM (who exist somewhat given IM3 set photos). Other than a Stark cameo I don't see this one really tying into a cosmic threat this appears to be a more personal Captain America story. Anthony Mackie has been cast as the Falcon.
Than there is the matter of the two films without release dates. Ant-Man has been on again off again development with Edgar Wright for what feels like a decade now. He and Marvel claim it is finally happening. What is surprising is that Hank Pym will be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper and not some off shoot. Wright and Attack the Block director Joe Cornish have written another 2 versions of the script. Wright has described Ant Man as a bit of a comedic James Bond and from decription of the test footage Hank Pym sounds like he will be doing plenty of sneaking. Also the suit apparently looks a bit like a mecha. Like Iron Man 3 it wouldn't be surprising if some Infinity Gems or cosimic technology show up in the film.
Guardians of the Galaxy is actually going to be a movie. If people where afraid they wouldn't be able to make Thor understandable I wonder how they will explaining Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. One of which is a giant tree creature. Star-Lord should be pretty easy he is partially human and hopefully they keep him with his steam punkish mask. This is where I'd expect Thanos to make the biggest appearance before Avengers 2. Like the title implies the protect the Galaxy and Thanos clearly a threat to him. In recent comics they accidently revived the mad titan. Perhaps the organization SWORD shows up it's space SHIELD.
Did I miss anything or do I just sounds like some crazy internet fanboy with to much free time?