There hasn't been a threat to the Marvel Universe like this since Thanos had the Infinity Stones. The novel coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, has affected numerous industries worldwide, from travel to dining.
The film and TV industry is no exception. With the world retreated indoors, Hollywood studios like Disney have shut down ongoing productions and are delaying releases to varying degrees. Not even the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with its many upcoming movies and Disney+ shows, is safe, with movies delayed all the way into 2022.
Here is a rundown of the upcoming Marvel Studios movies and shows in "Phase Four" and their new release dates. Check back frequently as we'll update this page when more changes are made.
Black Widow new release date: November 6, 2020
Black Widow original release date: May 1, 2020
Delayed time: Six months, five days.
Plot summary — Set after the events of 2016's Captain America: Civil War and before 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, Scarlett Johansson returns to her role of Natasha Romanov, also known as the Black Widow, and is now on the run. Without her Avengers allies to back her up, Natasha reunites with old friends and confronts an old enemy: Those behind the "Red Room," the top-secret Russian spy program that trained her into a living weapon.
Johansson's solo superhero movie wrapped production months ago and has been in post-production. Originally scheduled to be released on May 1, the film was delayed to November 6, taking the release date previously reserved for The Eternals.
What director Cate Shortland says — Shortland hasn't made any public comments about the delay or how it's affecting the movie if at all, but the delay was reported on by Variety as part of a bundle of movies that saw their debuts pushed back.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier new release date: Unknown
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier original release date: August 2020
Delayed time: Unknown
Plot summary — Set after 2019's Avengers: Endgame, the first Marvel series to premiere on Disney+ will feature Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return as their Marvel superheroes, the Falcon and the Winter Soldier respectively, in a six-episode miniseries that will see Sam take up the shield of his friend, Captain America.
The show was the first Marvel Studios production to react to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 10, a shoot scheduled to take place in Prague was halted as the virus hit Europe. At the time, Deadline reported that the shoot, expected to last a week, had ended early as everyone "was called home to Atlanta." Less than a week later, on March 14, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was announced among the Marvel slate to be halted entirely.
What Sebastian Stan says — In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Stan said production was only about two or three weeks from completion before production stopped. In a March interview with Muscle & Fitness, Stan said: "We haven’t finished. The plan is to go back whenever we can, whenever that might be, to finish. Whenever we can turn this thing around and people can get back together, we can pick back up, but I just don’t know at this point."
The Eternals new release date: February 12, 2021
The Eternals original release date: November 6, 2020
Delayed time: Three months, six days.
Plot summary — An ancient race of powerful aliens have hidden among humans for untold millennia. Now, when a great threat emerges and in the absence of the Avengers, the powerful "Eternals" must band together to save Earth from their genetic counterparts known as the "Deviants."
The sci-fi ensemble movie The Eternals, an adaptation of comic book legend Jack Kirby's thematic successor to his DC Comics creation the New Gods (and the Marvel movie actor Kumail Nanjiani got shredded for) wrapped production in February. It was originally set to be released in theaters in November 2020 but was pushed to February after the pandemic.
What star Kumail Nanjiani says — On April 3, Nanjiani tweeted about the movie's delayed, saying: "There are many more important things happening in the world right now. But the Eternals release date has moved from November 6th, 2020 to February 12th, 2021. So be safe, wash your hands, stay away from crowds, social distance, and we'll see you in February."
WandaVision new release date: December 2020
WandaVision original release date: December 2020 (unchanged)
Delayed time: None
Plot summary — The trippy Marvel TV series WandaVision, set to stream on Disney+, will star Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as they return to their roles of Wanda and the Vision. Although the specifics of the plot are unclear, it is rumored that much of the series will take place in the Vision's mind, as Wanda "enters" his techno-organic mind space to bring him back after his death at the hands of Thanos in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War.
The series was deep into filming when Disney shut production down on March 14. It is unknown how much the show has left to film. The show was also previously scheduled to stream in the spring of 2021 but was pushed up earlier to December 2020 prior to the pandemic. But with production now on pause, it remains to be seen whether the show can keep to that new date.
What Paul Bettany or Elizabeth Olsen says — Neither Olsen nor Bettany have commented on the impact of Covid-19 on the series.
Morbius new release date: March 19, 2021
Morbius original release date: July 10, 2020
Delayed time: Eight months, nine days.
Plot summary — When celebrated scientist Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) attempts a cure to rid himself of a rare blood disease, the formula slowly turns him into a superhuman with traits that resemble a vampire. The film also stars Adria Arjona, Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Al Madrigal, and Tyrese Gibson. Michael Keaton will also appear in a yet unknown capacity, reprising his role of Adrian Toomes/Vulture from 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Originally thought to take place in Sony's "Marvel Universe," a parallel continuity disconnected from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and in continuity with 2018's Venom), the trailer for Morbius contained a surprise: Explicit connections to the MCU, with references to Spider-Man as a "murderer" (from the events of 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home) and the appearance of Keaton's Adrian Toomes, who may recruit Morbius into the alliance of Spider-Man villains known as the Sinister Six.
What Jared Leto says — Morbius is close to finished and was on track to release in July 2020 until the pandemic forced movie theaters to close and studios to monitor the ongoing spread of Covid-19. In a cautionary move, Sony delayed the release of the movie to March 2021. For his part, Jared Leto was apparently unaware of the pandemic. The actor and Thirty Seconds to Mars singer was in exile in "a silent meditation in the desert" with his cult as the world entered quarantine.
On Instagram on March 17, Leto wrote: "Wow. 12 days ago I began a silent meditation in the desert. We were totally isolated. No phone, no communication etc. We had no idea what was happening outside the facility. Walked out yesterday into a very different world. One that's been changed forever. Mind blowing - to say the least."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings new release date: May 7, 2021
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings original release date: February 12, 2021
Delayed time: Two months, 25 days.
Plot summary — The cinematic debut of the East Asian Marvel superhero Shang-Chi (played by Simu Liu), this movie matches him up with an array of allies to take down the ancient terrorist known as the Mandarin (Hong Kong film legend Tony Leung). Awkwafina will also star in a so-far undisclosed role. Rumors about the movie's plot include the reveal that the Mandarin is Shang-Chi's father, and that Shang-Chi will team up with a crack team of specialists from a British intelligence agency.
Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton submitted himself to testing and isolation out of an "abundance of caution." Production on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which had just begun in Australia in early 2020, is now on hold.
Shang-Chi will now open in May, recognized as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
What Simu Liu says — Actor Simu Liu has been active on Twitter, with style of humor that's already endeared him to Marvel fans. Liu has said, "YA BOY IS GONNA BE IN A SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness new release date: March 25, 2022
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness original release date: Announced for May 7, 2021, and was moved to November 5, 2021. It has now moved for a second time.
Delayed time: Four months, 20 days. (Nice.)
Plot summary — Little is known about the plot for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a sequel to the 2016 movie Doctor Strange. What is known is that the movie will explore the abundant alternate realities that exist parallel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film will have significant connections to the Disney+ series WandaVision that are still unclear.
Marvel also looks to make the movie something of a horror movie. While this is still in dispute, previous director Scott Derrickson and his successor, Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Spider-Man) support the movie's horror flavor given the filmmakers' shared histories in the genre.
Director Scott Derrickson and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, who collaborated on the 2016 origin story, both left the production of Multiverse of Madness in January 2020, citing "creative differences." Sam Raimi will now direct the movie, which he confirmed in April.
What director Sam Raimi says — In an April interview to promote his anthology series 50 States of Fright on Quibi, Raimi said: “I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman for me, he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters. He was so original, but when we had that moment in Spider-Man 2, I had no idea that we would ever be making a Doctor Strange movie, so it was really funny to me that coincidentally that line was in the movie. I gotta say I wish we had the foresight to know that I was going to be involved in the project.”
Loki new release date: "Early 2021"
Loki original release date: "Early 2021" (unchanged)
Delayed time: None
Plot summary — With the possession of the Tesseract, Loki will hop through time and space like an outlaw, disrupting events in the way only Loki could. Tom Hiddleston returns to reprise his popular Marvel villain/anti-hero. The six-episode series will also star Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Sophia Di Martino as members of the Time Variance Authority, a group of time cops who Loki seems to be working for in recent set photos.
Along with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision, Loki also paused production on March 14. With a tentative and very broad release date of simply "2021" on Disney+, it is to be seen if Loki will actually stream to screens that year.
What Tom Hiddleston says — Tom Hiddleston nor anyone involved with Loki has publicly commented on the impact of Covid-19 and the series.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Venom: Let There Be Carnage new release date: June 25, 2021
Venom: Let There Be Carnage original release date: October 2, 2020
Delayed time: Eight months, 23 days.
Plot summary — Picking up from the mid-credits scene of 2018's Venom, ace reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) interviews the famed serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who in the comics contracts the symbiote and becomes the villain Carnage. The film will also introduce Shriek (Naomie Harris), Cletus' love interest who also has similar powers.
Little else is known about the movie and its actual connections to the MCU. The film is said to share continuity with Morbius, which in turn shares continuity with the MCU based on its inclusion of Spider-Man elements. It remains to be seen if Tom Hardy's Venom ever meets, fights, or teams up with Tom Holland's Spider-Man.
What director Andy Serkis says — Venom: Let There Be Carnage is directed by actor and visual effects pioneer Andy Serkis, who famously starred as Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and Ulysses Klawe in the Marvel movies Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) and Black Panther (2018). Serkis has not publicly commented on the impact of Covid-19 on Venom: Let There Be Carnage, but he did participate in a short film The Making of Us, about UK families wrestling with the pandemic.
Spider-Man 3 new release date: November 5, 2021
Spider-Man 3 original release date: July 16, 2021
Delayed time: Three months, 20 days.
Plot summary — There is no available plot synopsis for Spider-Man 3, a movie that does not even have a title. Fans can guess that the movie will pick up from the events of Spider-Man: Far From Home (and potentially Morbius) as Spider-Man (Tom Holland) has been publicly unmasked as Queens teenager Peter Parker. With his villains now out to get him, Spider-Man will somehow have to overcome the odds without his mentor, Tony Stark, to help him.
Rumors surrounding the movie include the potential inclusion of Kraven the Hunter and the superhero Daredevil, played by Charlie Cox who starred as the character in the Marvel/Netflix shows Daredevil and The Defenders.
What Tom Holland says — Tom Holland nor anyone involved with the Marvel/Sony Spider-Man movies have publicly commented on the impact of Covid-19 and the movie.
Thor: Love and Thunder new release date: February 11, 2022
Thor: Love and Thunder original release date: Initially announced for November 5, 2021, the film was pushed to February 18, 2022, and then moved to February 11, 2022.
Delayed time: Three months, six days (counting from November 5, 2021).
Plot summary — Little is known about Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth film in the Thor sub-franchise and the second to have Taika Waititi as director. The movie will involve Chris Hemsworth in what may be his final performance as the God of Thunder as he passes down the mighty hammer, Mjolnir, to the love of his life: Jane Foster, a returning Natalie Portman. Tessa Thompson will reprise her role of Valkyrie as she brings New Asgard to some level of economic prosperity.
What director Taika Waititi says — In an interview with Total Film (via GamesRadar), Waititi said the pandemic forcing release dates to change is affording him additional time to fine-tune the script. "There are a few positive things I can take away [from the Covid-19 pandemic]. One of them is that a lot of these films, and films in general, are rushed, or you don’t have as much time as you’d want to have on the script and things like that."
He added, "We’re still writing Love And Thunder, and I think it’s good to just keep writing, and then you know, we’ll have a really, really good script. And with writing, especially, you should use as much of that time as possible to get your story right, because you never really get it later on. Film is an industry where you’re always complaining about not having enough time. I think, right now, we’ve given ourselves a huge amount of time to work on all sorts of things, so we may as well use it."
Black Widow, the first movie in Marvel's "Phase Four" will be released in theaters on November 6, 2020.