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Sony delayed ‘Spider-Man 3,’ forcing more MCU Phase 4 moves

Published Apr 27th, 2020 10:11PM EDT
MCU Phase 4
Image: Sony Pictures

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  • Sony pushed back the launch of Spider-Man 3 by a few months, forcing Disney to make a few changes to other Phase 4 premiere dates.
  • As a result of the coronavirus-related reshuffle, Thor 4 will launch a week earlier, and Doctor Strange 2 will premiere in late March 2022.
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now the last film in Marvel’s Phase 4, a spot that was once reserved to Thor: Love and Thunder.
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It seemed unfathomable a few months ago when the first reports from China detailed pneumonia of unknown origin, but the novel coronavirus turned into a full-blown pandemic that shut down life as we knew it. The entire world went into hiding, trying to stay away from an invisible, highly infectious microorganism. And every activity that involved gatherings of people came to a halt. Schools closed. Sporting events were delayed around the world, and theaters and cinemas shut their doors. Millions of people lost their jobs, while others were instructed to work from home.

Of course, this also affected the entertainment industry, as studios were forced to close up shop on various productions. Studios postponed the releases of their most significant blockbusters of the year, movies that are expected to make hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. Black Widow, which was initially due on May 1st, was delayed by six months, and this forced Disney to push back every other MCU Phase 4 film, except for one: Spider-Man 3.

Here’s how Disney’s new MCU Phase 4 launch plan looks, according to the most recent data:

  • Black Widow: November 6th, 2020
  • The Eternals: February 12th, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: May 7th, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: November 5th, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder: February 18th, 2022

On top of that, Disney announced the launch dates of two Phase 5 films. Well, we always knew that Black Panther 2 was coming on May 8th, 2022 and that date hasn’t changed. But Disney revealed that Captain Marvel 2 will premiere on July 8th, 2022. Disney, however, did not reveal any changes for Spider-Man 3, which was set to launch on July 16th, 2021, initially. That would have put the Sony film between Strange 2 and Thor 4, according to the original schedule.

Sony has now disclosed launch date changes for its upcoming Spider-Man movies. Spider-Man 3 was pushed back to November 5th, 2021, taking the place of Doctor Strange 2. As a result, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was delayed again and now has a March 25th, 2022 launch date. That’s not the only Phase 4 change Disney had to make. Per Variety, Thor 4 is now arriving a week earlier than expected, on February 11th.

It’s very messy, and things might still change, assuming we can’t get the COVID-19 pandemic under control soon. Here’s how the MCU Phase 4 roster looks like right now, at least concerning the movies:

  • Black Widow: November 6th, 2020
  • The Eternals: February 12th, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: May 7th, 2021
  • Spider-Man 3: November 5th, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder: February 11th, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: March 25th, 2022

We’ll also remind you that the six Phase 4 movies are intertwined with the eight Disney+ TV shows. It’s unclear how the Strange 2 changes will impact Loki and WandaVision, which are both supposed to tie into the film. Also, it’s unclear when these TV series will be available on Disney+. They were both expected to launch in late 2020, but neither of them is finished, so we’re expecting delays on the Disney+ side of things as well.

I’ll also note that what’s really interesting about all these changes is the fact that Marvel has made a massive change to the Phase 4 roster. Rather than just pushing films back according to the original plan, where Doctor Strange 2 was going to be the fourth film in the Phase, it moved the movie all the way to the back of the line.

I’ve often said that Doctor Strange 2 will be the most important film of Phase 4, given what the various leaks had revealed about the film, and its new place in the Phase 4 lineup might reflect that.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.