Comic book fan? Marvel is coming up with a whole host of films including Doctor Strange and female Captain Marvel films

The Marvel cinematic universe is expanding with new characters Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, who will be the first female superhero to anchor her own Marvel film, said Marvel.

Marvel's new slate of eight superhero films announced at a fan event includes sequels to Captain America, Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. It will also introduce new franchises, with Doctor Strange kicking off the newcomers in 2016.

Doctor Strange is a former neurosurgeon who loses the ability to perform surgery and turns to magic. Despite widespread reports that he would be played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, Marvel did not confirm casting.

Photo: AFP

"We are excited to tap into what excites us the most, which is the supernatural," Marvel studio president Kevin Feige said.

"If (casting) were confirmed, we would have introduced him today. Every single actor of a certain age has been rumored to be Doctor Strange," he added.

Feige also said there is plenty of time to find an actress to play Captain Marvel, the alter-ego of a character named Carol Danvers, for the film that will be released in July 2018.

While Marvel has female superheroes like Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson, this is the first time a woman will anchor a film in what is widely seen as an effort to bring more women and girls to the fanboy heavy Marvel universe.

Photo: Marvel

Black Widow fans will be disappointed as there are no plans for a stand-alone Black Widow film. But Scarlet Johansson's character will be prominently featured in the other Marvel films.

With Disney Animation releasing its first Marvel-inspired movie Big Hero 6 next week and Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron scheduled for next year, Marvel is pushing ahead with new characters and franchises.

In addition to new solo superheroes, Marvel will unveil the ensemble cast of Inhumans in 2018 for its 20th film, with Feige saying he hopes it will lead to numerous spin-off franchises. - Reuters

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