Make no mistake -- as much as there is coming down the pipeline, this shift is happening right now. Then, we turn our attention to Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to the Paul Rudd-starring film. The original Ant-Man featured Evangeline Lilly's Hope Van Dyne in a supporting capacity, while the film focused on Scott Lang's rise as a superhero. But in the background, there was Hope. While some argued that her character was reduced to a cinematic trope, the sequel is looking to right the wrongs of its predecessor. Not only is Wasp getting billing in the movie's title, the first teaser for the sequel indicates that this will very much be Hope's movie as much as it is Scott's. We've already seen her in action in costume, and we've long known that she will be crucial to the film's plot. But it's still exciting to see that Marvel seems intent on showing us how big of a presence the Wasp will have by way of the marketing for the anticipated superhero team-up film.
Black Panther releases February 16, and early reactions to the film have been overwhelmingly positive. Not only have people praised the movie's tone, direction and exploration, they've also been excited over its female characters. While Black Panther may focus on Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa, the character is also surrounded by all manner of strong women. There is his sister Shuri, who has already been confirmed to be the smartest person in the MCU, and then there are the Dora Milaje, the fiercest warriors of Wakanda, devoted to their King and the safety of their African nation. Early word is, T'Challa shares the spotlight with all of these strong female characters, making them as essential to the story as he is.
Black Panther's Shuri and the Dora Milaje are just a few short weeks away from being introduced to the world. A renewed Black Widow will likely take the lead in a fight against Thanos' invading forces in Avengers: Infinity War, before (hopefully) starring in her own film. Captain Marvel is coming, sooner rather than later, and the Wasp is set to take the world by microscopic storm very soon. After the introduction of Valkyrie and Mantis in 2017, the number of Marvel's female superheroes continues to rise, and we don't see that stopping anytime soon. The present of the MCU belongs to them, and the future is firmly in their grasp. After more than 17 movies, Marvel isn't showing any signs of slowing down. If anything, it's finally moving forward.