Disney Delays Multiple MCU Phase 4 Films, Including ‘Doctor Strange 2’ and ‘Thor 4’

We have bad news for Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. The Walt Disney Company recently announced the delay of many of their upcoming MCU films that are a part of Phase 4. The company, and the film industry in general, has struggled with releasing films due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Disney and Marvel Studios had to delay all of their movies at the start of the pandemic in 2020, including Black Widow. And now, fans have to wait even longer for some of the most anticipated films of 2022 and beyond.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige stands in front of a screen that reads 'Marvel Studios.' He wears a gray suit over a black shirt and jeans, and a black baseball cap. Disney recently announced the delay of many MCU Phase 4 films.
Kevin Feige | Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Which MCU Phase 4 films are Disney delaying?

Almost all of the upcoming MCU Phase 4 films will be affected by this setback, except for notably Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Per Variety, below are the new dates for the delayed Marvel films.

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, previously scheduled for March 25, 2022, moves to May 6, 2022.
  • Thor: Love and Thunder, previously scheduled for May 6, 2022, moves to July 8, 2022.
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, previously scheduled for July 8, 2022, moves to Nov. 11, 2022.
  • The Marvels, previously scheduled for Nov. 11, 2022, moves to Feb 17, 2023.
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, previously scheduled for Feb. 17, 2023, moves to July 28, 2023.
  • Untitled Marvel film, previously scheduled for July 28, 2023, is removed from the schedule.
  • Untitled Marvel film, previously scheduled for Oct. 6, 2023, is removed from the schedule.
  • Untitled Marvel film, previously scheduled for Nov. 10, 2023, moves to Nov. 3, 2023.

As mentioned previously, the MCU Phase 4 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is still scheduled for release on May 5, 2023.

Why is Disney pushing back the premiere of these MCU Phase 4 films?

Unfortunately, Disney and Marvel Studios have not revealed why their film schedule got shook up. One might believe that the delay of many of the MCU Phase 4 films is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but nothing is certain.

Marvel released two films during the pandemic; Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. But while Disney premiered Black Widow simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access, Shang-Chi had an exclusive theatrical release. These films were successes at the box office, but Shang-Chi proved to Disney that their movies could do well in theaters during the pandemic.

It’s peculiar that Disney would push back the releases of upcoming MCU Phase 4 films if the reason is the pandemic. But many factors come into play when scheduling films, including production delays and strategic thinking.

What does this mean for ‘Eternals’ and ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’?

Thankfully, Disney has not moved the premiere dates of two MCU Phase 4 films scheduled for 2021. Eternals will still be opening in theaters on Nov. 5, and Spider-Man: No Way Home will be in theaters on Dec. 17.

The premise of Eternals reads, “After the return of half the population in Avengers: Endgame ignites ‘the emergence,’ the Eternals — an immortal alien race created by the Celestials who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7,000 years — reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.”

The premise of Spider-Man: No Way Home reads, “After Peter Parker’s identity as Spider-Man was exposed by Mysterio at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Parker’s life and reputation are turned upside down. He asks Dr. Stephen Strange to help restore his secret identity with magic, but this has dangerous repercussions.”

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