Today brought the news that fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were dreading, as Black Widow was pushed back another six months. Natasha Romanoff’s long-awaited solo outing will now reach theaters a full year behind schedule, but that wasn’t the only Phase Four project hit by a further delay.
While it wasn’t as extensive as the last reshuffle that saw Marvel Studios’ entire slate of upcoming projects rearranged, Chloe Zhao’s Eternals was also shunted by nine months, and the MCU’s next cosmic adventure now won’t be seen until November 2021. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings got off pretty lightly by comparison, moving from May to June of 2021, while Spider-Man 3, Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness remain in their previously announced dates.
The news won’t go down well, of course, as it officially lengthens the gap between new big screen installments to 22 months, but one small positive is that the MCU will have four movies debuting in a single calendar year for the first time ever in 2021. Although, given that the box office isn’t rebounding as quickly or strongly as Hollywood would have hoped, this could be far from the last change made to the release schedule.
There’s no word on how this might yet affect The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, either, which was rumored to connect to Black Widow in a way that meant Sam and Bucky’s spinoff had to follow Cate Shortland’s prequel instead of precede it. The MCU‘s second Disney Plus show has been delayed to next year already, but no official premiere date has been announced as of yet, leading fans to expect the worst given recent events.