'Black Widow': Here's how the delayed release date could affect Marvel's Phase 4 slate

'Black Widow': Here's how the delayed release date could affect Marvel's Phase 4 slate
Official posters for 'Black Widow' and 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings' (Marvel Studios)

Marvel fans, Rejoice!! The release of ‘Black Widow’ is just around the corner and the badass character will be once again enthralling viewers with her unique style. The movie will follow the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016). It will see Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), being forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Romanoff must deal with her story as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. 

Apart from Johansson, the movie will also star Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova), David Harbour (Red Guardian) and Rachel Weisz (Melina Vostokoff) in pivotal roles. It is a sigh of relief for the makers as well as the fans that the movie will be shown in theaters after such a long wait.


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But why was the release date constantly changed? And how does it affect the current slate of the MCU? Let’s dig a little deeper about the matter.

A still from 'Black Widow' (Marvel)

Why was ‘Black Widow’ constantly delayed?

The biggest reason for the postponement of ‘Black Widow’ was the Covid-19 pandemic. Originally, the movie was scheduled to hit theaters in May 2020. However, the world was hit by the novel coronavirus in March 2020. There was a time when the US was seeing more than 50,000 cases in a single day.

As a result, most of the states in the US ordered lockdowns and people were told to sit inside their houses to save themselves. The lockdown also forced the government to lock various public spaces like shopping centers, restaurants, bars and movie theaters. As soon as the movie theaters closed their door for people, the production companies began to make plans on how to move forward with their big releases.

For example, the movie to face the heat of the pandemic was ‘No Time To Die’ and when MGM decided to postpone the release of the movie, it gave other production giants an idea to do the same. The biggest reason for doing so was related to finances. A movie worth $200 million in production cost can’t be released in a time when people are getting infected and killed at an alarming rate.


Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'No Time To Die' (Nicola Dove/MGM)

So, Marvel also took the decision of pushing the release date for ‘Black Widow’. After a lot of considerations, the movie was given a new release date and it was November 6, 2020. But, the Covid-19 pandemic just took everyone by storm and the US started to witness more than 100,000 cases in a single day. Marvel pushed the movie once again and revealed that the movie will now be coming out in May 2021, a year after its original release date.

However, the release date was once again changed to July 9 and this time, it was announced that the movie will be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+. The decision came after various reports claimed that Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, did not want a hybrid release.


Producer Kevin Feige attends the Los Angeles Global Premiere for Marvel Studios' "Ant-Man And The Wasp" at the El Capitan Theatre on June 25, 2018, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

With the movie just around the corner, it seems to be perfect timing for it to come out. The cases are going down. But, the release date of ‘Black Widow’ has really impacted the production company’s current slate of movies. There were many movies that had to be pushed back because of the Scarlett Johansson-starrer.


The upcoming phase is packed with stellar movies and with the addition of Disney+ shows, it has taken Marvel to a whole new level. It is an ambitious attempt to connect its universe. It has already been teased that the events of the upcoming movies, including ‘Black Widow’, will lead into the storylines for the shows airing on Disney+.

Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova in 'Black Widow' (Marvel)

We all know that all the release dates by Marvel are well-calculated. So, all the delays were carefully planned and they gave all the other movies a gentle push so that they can get their own hype. The push obviously puts the filmmakers in a dilemma, but with Marvel taking care of everything, we believe that it is good that these movies were delayed. Fans have been waiting for these movies for a long, long time and they can’t wait to sit inside a theater and see them on the biggest screen possible.

The entire 2021 slate has been changed and many movies that were originally scheduled to come out in the second half of the year have already been pushed to 2022. However, the postponement has also given filmmakers some time to fully render their post-production work. Movies like ‘The Eternals’ or ‘Doctor Stranger: Multiverse of the Madness’ received some additional time to finish off work with no loose ends.


Angelina Jolie as Athena in 'Eternals' (Marvel Studios)

Yes, it’s obviously a headache for the Marvel executives to just talk about how they can postpone a release date, but it’s not in their hands. The pandemic has forced businesses to take drastic decisions and the entertainment industry is one of them.

Yes, it affects Marvel. But the 2021 slate has officially been revealed and going by the trends all the movies will be releasing on time. We are also keeping our fingers crossed for the same.


Movies coming out in Phase 4 of Marvel:

‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings’ (September 3, 2021)
‘The Eternals’ (November 5, 2021)
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ (Dec. 17, 2021)
‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ (March 25, 2022)
‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ (May 6, 2022)
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ (July 8, 2022)
‘The Marvels’ (November 11, 2022)
‘Ant-Man and the Quantumania’ (February 17, 2023)
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ (May 5, 2023)
‘Fantastic Four’ (TBA)


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