The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 Schedule Has Changed, So Mark Your Calendars

by Ani Bundel
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Post-Avengers: Endgame, 2020 was going to be a delicate year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Infinity Saga, as the first three phases of 22 films are called, was a success beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Starting a new chapter with Phase 4 was always going to be a challenge, especially with critics watching closely for any sign of weakness or failure. So when the current circumstances knocked the release of Black Widow for a loop, it was just another hurdle for the company to manage. Thankfully, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 schedule has found a way to make it work.

Unlike the rest of the production studios, including other brands under Disney, the Marvel Cinematic Universe can't just move one film. This interconnected shared universe is what makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe so unique. But it means that the movies have to stay in the order of planned release. Black Widow rescheduling from May to November isn't just one film moving. It means every MCU film in the current line up needs to bump down a spot.

Black Widow will start a domino effect in moving to November. It also will make this is the largest gap between MCU films since Phase 1. Disney buying the Marvel independent studio in 2009, caused a 23-month gap between the release of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2. The space between Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow will now be second-longest at 18 months.

The original schedule was:

  • Black Widow (May 1, 2020)
  • The Eternals (Nov. 6, 2020)
  • Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings (Feb. 12, 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 7, 2021)
  • Spider-Man 3 (July 16, 2021)
  • Thor: Love & Thunder (Nov. 5, 2021)
  • Black Panther (May 6, 2022)

The new schedule sees almost everything bump down one.

  • Black Widow (Nov. 6, 2020)
  • The Eternals (Feb. 12, 2021)
  • Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings (May 7, 2021)
  • Spider-Man 3 (July 16, 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Nov. 5, 2021)
  • Thor: Love & Thunder (Feb. 18, 2022)
  • Black Panther (May 6, 2022)
  • Captain Marvel 2 (July 8, 2022)

Spider-Man 3 will not move, due to it being a Sony production. The MCU may be involved, but it cannot dictate the release date. Black Panther also stays right where it is since the February 2022 slot was not filled yet. And finally, as if to soothe fans upset by this delay, Captain Marvel 2 is now officially on the schedule with a release date.

Fans should note this schedule does not include the Phase 4 titles coming out on Disney+. The Falcon & The Winter Soldier was supposed to arrive in August of 2020 and WandaVision in December. But with the former under a filming delay, and the latter expected to tie into Dr. Strange, it is not clear yet how these big-screen moves will affect the streaming service series.