Marvel Studios isn’t releasing any movies in 2020, but delaying Phase 4 to 2021 might just be the best thing that’s ever happened to the MCU.
With WandaVision and Black Widow not premiering until 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has officially skipped 2020 – but pausing the onslaught of superhero content might be the best thing that’s happened to the MCU this year. Marvel Studios has released at least one film a year (except in 2009) since the MCU began with Iron Man, and ended the Infinity Saga with three film premieres in 2019: Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far From Home. WandaVision, which was expected to premiere in December 2020, has now been delayed until January – which means that fans are getting a chance to breathe after Avengers: Endgame and reset for the beginning of Phase 4.
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Phase 4 of the MCU, which begins with the premieres of Black Widow and WandaVision are ushering in a new era for Marvel. Avengers: Endgame officially ended the Infinity Saga and concluded the arcs for most of the original Avengers, including Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Natasha Romanoff. Avengers: Endgame felt like a true finale and the end of an era for the MCU, and continuing on so closely afterwards risks undoing the weight of its ending; Marvel already risked that by releasing Spider-Man: Far From Home so soon afterward, but that at least tied into Iron Man’s legacy tightly. Although Black Widow and WandaVision were scheduled to premiere in 2020, skipping 2020 and pushing the beginning of Phase 4 to 2021 drives up the hype significantly, and gives fans a chance to breathe.
Marvel remains incredibly popular, and their movies dominate at the box office every year – so why would skipping 2020 be a good thing? Fans are already incredibly excited for Marvel’s future plans, and the lack of content in 2020 has been frustrating for audiences that were expecting WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Black Widow to premiere this year. However, releasing Black Widow so quickly after Avengers: Endgame, which killed the character off, always risked taking away from the impact of her death.
With the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier already delayed due to the pandemic, and Black Widow officially moving to 2021, WandaVision was the MCU’s last chance for a 2020 premiere. Instead, in addition to no MCU projects premiering in 2020, Marvel content, in general, is uncharacteristically thin on the ground; casting news has been few and far between, and fans are clamoring for any information about not only Black Widow, but other Phase 4 movies including Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Trailers for Marvel’s Phase 4 films haven’t arrived as expected, and anticipation for the films has arguably grown even higher as a result of the lack of new Marvel content in 2020.
Although Marvel only skipped 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, it might inadvertently be one of the best things to happen to the MCU. That marketing vacuum has previously already worked well for Avengers: Endgame – albeit for a different reason – as the absence of information pushed fans to speculate and whip up their own hype. Thus, taking a year off drives up anticipation for any new information about Marvel’s future projects allows the heavy finality of Avengers: Endgame and the conclusion of the Infinity Saga to fully sink in, and gives the audience a chance to mentally reset for a brand new era. The MCU might be skipping 2020, but a brand new era is finally going to start soon with WandaVision scheduled to premiere in 2021.
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Key Release Dates
- Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
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