- Disney delayed several movie premieres because of the coronavirus, including Black Widow, the introduction to Phase 4 of the MCU.
- Unlike standalone movies, Black Widow is tied to a much bigger universe of intertwined adventures, and its delay might affect the MCU timeline.
- An insider now says that postponing Black Widow won’t ruin the MCU timeline, though.
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Disney confirmed that Black Widow will be delayed due to the coronavirus a few days ago, which wasn’t necessarily a surprise, considering that other studios had been doing the same. Sony’s No Time to Die and Universal’s Fast and Furious 9 are two such examples. And Black Widow wasn’t even Disney’s first cancelation, as the premieres of both Mulan and The New Mutants were pushed back days earlier.
But Black Widow, unlike many of those other movies, is part of a much bigger universe, being the first movie of Marvel’s MCU Phase 4. A Black Widow delay might ruin Marvel and Disney’s schedule, which we explained a few weeks ago. Now an insider says that’s not going to be the case.
Coronavirus developments advanced at a rapid pace in the past few weeks, prompting everyone to reconsider everyday life. Many businesses closed down, including several theater chains. Moreover, the production of other Phase 4 titles has been delayed because of coronavirus concerns. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the first MCU Disney+ TV series is among the shows who had to alter production plans. Shang-Chi is another.
When I first told you that Disney can’t delay Black Widow, I wrongly assumed that the shows that would follow it would not be postponed themselves. But the movie and TV business doesn’t exactly let you act or direct from home. So it’s not just Black Widow that’s being delayed — it’s the entire MCU.
Depending on how long this pandemic lasts, Marvel will have to reconsider release dates for several of the six movies in Phase 4, as well as plenty of the eight original Disney+ TV series.
Speaking with Variety, an insider said that the Black Widow delay will “affect nothing” in the MCU timeline:
Pushing Black Widow affects nothing on the MCU timeline, said one individual close to Marvel Studios. It was not clear if the implication was that Widow will see the light of day before August, or that the film is inconsequential to Phase Four, or if the source has a tesseract.
Given the lack of context, I have no idea how to interpret that. Yes, Marvel could release Black Widow before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s August premiere if COVID-19 goes away. Or the TV series could be pushed back a few weeks so that fans can see Black Widow before the series debut. Or they could launch simultaneously.
But there’s no way that Black Widow isn’t connected to the MCU, Falcon included. Leaks have already spoiled the plot of Black Widow, and we have reason to believe there’s an important link between the first MCU Phase 4 film and the first MCU TV series coming to Disney+.
I will concede that Black Widow is special when it comes to the MCU timeline. It’s a prequel that takes place between the events of Civil War and Endgame — in fact, when you rewatch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order, you’ll probably have to watch Black Widow before Infinity War. That said, the events in Black Widow will certainly have reverberations on the post-Endgame future of the MCU.
Marvel can afford to launch the movie whenever it wants, as long as the MCU story that follows it isn’t as big as Endgame. What I’m getting at is that Captain Marvel could have been placed anywhere in the previous phases, as long as the audience got to see it before Endgame. There’s no such pressure on Black Widow, given that Falcon will only be a building block towards the next Endgame, and The Eternals, which is currently scheduled to launch in November, is a prequel story of its own.