The entertainment landscape underwent a massive shift towards the end of March 2020. Major tentpole films planned for April, May, and June are all tentatively working out new release timetables. Some already got the jump on things, like James Bond’s No Time To Die, which rescheduled to Thanksgiving, or the next Fast & Furious film rescheduling to 2021. But for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, moving the first installment of Phase 4 was a little more complicated. In the end, Black Widow‘s new release date will also move to November, but that’s only the beginning.
The good news is that Black Widow will come out in 2020. It’s been moved to Nov. 6, 2020, a date Disney already had staked out with little competition from other franchises, as it was the planned release date for the next film to follow in the MCU franchise, The Eternals.
But even so, the six-month delay for Black Widow is a set back for a film certain segments of the fandom already view as coming five years too late. It also breaks a streak that the MCU had prided itself on, releasing multiple big-screen films a year every year since 2013. Black Widow‘s move back to November means 2020 will be the first year since 2012 the Marvel Cinematic Universe has only released one title.
The 18-month stretch between Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow is the longest break between Marvel films since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and 2010’s Iron Man 2. Even counting Sony’s MCU entry, Spider-Man: Far From Home, the 14-month gap is still the longest since Phase 1.
But Black Widow‘s move to November will also have massive repercussions down to the line for the MCU. The franchise’s whole deal is that everything hangs together. Events in one film have ripple effects for the next, even if the characters in the two films haven’t met yet.
For the big-screen entries, this won’t be a problem, as all the MCU movies are simply bumping down one spot. The Eternals will move down to Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings‘ original February launch date, Shang-Chi takes over Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ May release slot, Dr. Strange moves to July, and so forth.
But Phase 4 is also supposed to add a new twist. For the first time since Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first season, what happens on the big-screen was supposed to have consequences on the small. The launch of Disney+ series like Falcon & The Winter Soldier and WandaVision represented the MCU’s overarching narrative crossing between visual mediums in a significant way. Currently, both series have tentative release windows of August and December 2020, respectively.
Falcon & The Winter Soldier has not completed filming, so it may yet be both streaming series will be delayed to match their big-screen counterparts. If so, Marvel fans will be waiting a long time for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to return.
Black Widow will finally reach theaters on Nov. 6, 2020.
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