As we all struggle with the effects of the Coronavirus and the mass stay at home order, now more than ever, people are looking for something to entertain them and take their minds off this scary and anxiety-inducing quarantine. I do not want to, in any way, diminish the tragic and horrendous effect this pandemic is having on the health and wellbeing of every human being, the financial stability of every household, and the economic ramifications this will have. I also wholeheartedly recognize how important it is for everyone to follow the guidelines set out by the CDC and our governments to help stem the flow of this pandemic. Still, it is hard not to mourn the fact many of the things we love are not only being denied us but also inevitably delaying and forestalling our future enjoyment when this is all over. One of the many sources of entertainment, the theater, has been shut down due to this pandemic. To make matters worse, there are now changes to future release dates for not only 2020 but 2021.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. It wasn’t that long ago, at the 2019 San Digo Comic Con, that Kevin Feige first revealed the timetable for Phase 4 of the MCU following the enormous success of End Game and the ten years of story development that began with 2008’s Iron Man. Last summer, we first learned that the next movie we would see was the solo Black Widow film with Scarlett Johanson set to release in May 2020, followed by the ambitious and star-packed Eternals in November of 2020. Once Covid stranged the US, most people anticipated the delay of the Black Widow release day. May was just too close, considering most states and businesses have effectively shut down until at least April 30th.
What many perhaps did not see, or forgot, was the ripple effect it would have in the unique connected universe that is the MCU. On April 3rd, the MCU announced the release date changes for all of Phase 4. As expected, Black Widow’s May release was canceled and moved to a November 6th, 2020 release date, the date in which The Eternals was set to release. Not only did this cause The Eternals to be canceled for November but to move all the way to February 12, 2021. The domino effect did not end there.
The Eternals move to February 12th, 2021 date took the spot of the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings slot, which was moved to May 7th, 2021. Shang Chi was the first MCU movie to have its production halted due to the COVID Pandemic. In short order, Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness was changed to November 5th, 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder to Feburary 18, 2022. The one bright spot to this announcement is that an 8th movie was added to the Phase 4 line up, that being Captain Marvel 2, which will release on July 8th, 2022.
One of the few condolences we have is the quick to VOD and streaming releases we have gotten. Movies such as Bloodshot, The Hunt, The Rise of Skywalker, and Birds of Prey got early VOD releases, as well as Frozen 2 and Onward releasing early to Disney+. However, so far, Disney and MCU have been quiet on when the Marvel Disney+ line up of shows will release. While those seem a slam dunk to release, we still do not know how it will affect the continuity and how they tie into what is now a wholly reshuffled cinematic release schedule.
Only time will tell how much chaos this tragic time in our lives will cause—all we can do in hunker down and find some peace and enjoyment where we can find it. Currently, creators like myself and the patron of this site Luis Lecca of Nerd Report are running as many youtube livestreams as we can to keep people entertained and bring some happiness and fun during these difficult times. Please check them out and give them a like and subscribe. It is free and there for all to enjoy.