The Coronavirus pandemic still hasn’t peaked in many parts of the world yet, and the continued uncertainty about how long the social restrictions will last is wreaking absolute havoc on the entertainment industry. 2020 is shaping up to be one of the leanest years in Hollywood history at this rate, with a huge number of movies that are already completed and good to go still awaiting new release dates, while the overwhelming majority of projects that were either already in front of cameras or set to start shooting imminently also getting halted.
As a series that plans years in advance, with each new installment offering up plot details, characters and Easter Eggs that will eventually be paid off in the future, the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be hit harder than most. All of the moving pieces of the shared universe need to be organized in a certain way for it all to fit together, and all of the recent setbacks could see the rollout of Phase Four slowed to a crawl.
Black Widow has been delayed indefinitely, and as the first entry in Phase Four, the movie is set to lay the foundations for what comes next, which has already reportedly had a knock-on effect to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The Eternals should still theoretically be good for the planned November release, having wrapped in February before the pandemic hit, but Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is also on hiatus and may not be good to go by February 2021.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to kick off production in June and hasn’t been officially postponed as of yet, but with Spider-Man 3’s July start date reportedly not happening anymore, it seems that the aforementioned sequel is next to be delayed. Thor: Love and Thunder’s Australian shoot, meanwhile, isn’t even set to begin until August, but already questions are being asked if things don’t improve, so it could be a long time yet before we see the entirety of Phase Four on both the big and small screens, especially with Marvel having to potentially look for a number of new release dates in a calendar that could become increasingly crowded by delayed blockbusters.