Yesterday, Disney made it official that Black Widow would be moving from May 1st to November due to the increased concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Placing the solo film in the spot of Eternals has only slightly shuffled the release slate for Phase Four.
The bigger issue seems to be that their 2020 productions might have a slow return to filming or might not even start this year depending on what happens between now and December.
Shang-Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings had started production in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia but production has paused and while seemingly it would be the priority when film productions are allowed in that country to resume this could push Thor: Love & Thunder’s start into 2021.
The same could be said for summer shoots like Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness (Longcross Studios confirmed) and Jon Watt’s Spider-Man 3, the latter bankrolled by Sony Pictures but the production would be handled by Marvel Studios. Both had been planning to film in the United Kingdom.
Spider-Man 3’s production seemed to be reliant on Tom Holland completing Uncharted first, which has been given a release date of October 8th, 2021. The assumption is that Sony hopes to get cameras rolling by the end of the summer or fall, not leaving much room in 2020 for Holland to make Spider-Man 3. Possibly bumping that release date from July 16th, 2021 to sometime in 2022.
It doesn’t end with film delays sadly, as the new Disney+ series such as Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight didn’t even get a chance to begin shooting and it remains to be seen if they’ll even be able to resume this year while The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, Loki, and WandaVision weren’t able to complete their filming in Atlanta, Georgia.
Some of the pre-production for those shows/movies like concept art, scriptwriting and storyboards could be done at home remotely but there are still things the prep team can’t do themselves like the mass production of costumes and props along with the huge set construction in the stage facilities, stuff that requires production stage and offices.
While Disney+ hasn’t announced release delays for the MCU stuff, that could be the next thing they announce. Doesn’t hurt to be prepared for it.
Even with the visual effects teams, they’re also having to double as childcare providers as many schools and daycares have closed across the country, productivity would be obviously not as great as it was a couple of months ago slowly down that post-production stage as well. This is why the delays aren’t a huge deal as it gives them more time to complete the projects and to tweak them to make them even better.
While the production woes might sound bad there might be a shining light here as this gives Marvel Studios plenty of time to develop more projects in the meantime alongside a bunch of pitch meetings with writers/director over Skype or Zoom. Writing and development might be the best tool Marvel has at their disposal at the moment. I can see them pushing forward with more development now that there is a window to focus on that during the production hiatus.
These are the screenwriters currently writing for MCU films that have yet to go into production.
- Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness – Jade Halley Bartlett & Michael Waldron
- Spider-Man 3 – Chris Mckenna & Erik Sommers
- Thor: Love & Thunder – Taika Waititi & Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
- Black Panther 2 – Ryan Coolger
- Captain Marvel 2 – Megan McDonnell
- Guardians of The Galaxy 3 – James Gunn
- Ant-Man 3 – Jeff Loveness
- Deadpool 3 – Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick (assumed)
Here are projects that don’t currently have screenwriters officially but are most likely coming in the very near future.
BLADE: It was announced last July that two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali would be playing the daywalker, but that was all the announcement was, his casting. Later on, it was revealed that Ali met with Marvel and he specifically mentioned that he wanted to play the character. That doesn’t likely mean they were ready to announce a project despite an in-house draft for a script has been lying around for ages in those offices, just as long as Captain Marvel (formerly Ms. Marvel). I do think Blade has the best shot at being the next big solo franchise given they have an actor in place, the bigger question is will they return to the R-rated glory or downgrade him to PG-13.
SILVER SURFER: It is no secret that Vice writer/director Adam McKay has shown public interest in tackling a Silver Surfer movie for the studio and it has been somewhat reciprocated by Kevin Feige. I wouldn’t be shocked given McKay’s previous work on Ant-Man that he ultimately lands the gig. But only time will tell if they can agree on a direction for a solo project, it’s not a complete lock.
FANTASTIC FOUR: We don’t really have an idea when this one will happen despite some interest from Peyton Reed in the past to make a film set in the 1960s, but he’s currently busy with Ant-Man 3 for the foreseeable future. It would likely take priority over X-Men, mainly, because there doesn’t seem to be much attachment to the previous films. Fargo’s Noah Hawley had been developing a Doctor Doom script for 20th Century before the merger and has sounded optimistic that he might be able to continue that work, I wouldn’t be shocked if the project eventually evolved into a series or becomes a piece to the puzzle of their Fantastic Four reboot.
X-MEN: This one Kevin Feige revealed last year wasn’t part of their five-year plan but I’m sure folks like MCU screenwriters such as Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus are itching to get their hands on the IP. Given the pair’s track record with Captain America and The Avengers franchises, I don’t think it would be the worst idea to allow them to give a draft a shot since they’re capable of writing for large ensembles.
NOVA: A solo film has been acknowledged by Kevin Feige after MCUComic pointed out the potential project being developed behind the scenes, however, a screenwriter was never named or announced. It would be nice if we got another cosmic franchise but it would also be dependant on how that would fit into the other stuff they’re working on such as Guardians of The Galaxy 3, Captain Marvel 2, and Eternals sequels.
THUNDERBOLTS: This one seems to be a no-brainer given all the teases and rumblings for months now. At one point, James Gunn had mentioned an interest in tackling the group as a feature film and we’re likely to see them introduced in Black Widow and The Falcon & The Winter Soldier. Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier, Thunderbolt Ross aka Red Hulk, and Wade Wilson aka Deadpool have been part of newer incarnations of the team in the comic books which could lend itself to a roster beyond just supervillains.
We also know that Kevin has mentioned that the Disney+ heroes will eventually crossover to the big screen and that could mean their own solo feature films.
These next projects certainly could become either film or television projects but have yet to be exactly talked-up by the studio in any official capacity.
AGENTS OF S.W.O.R.D.: We know that S.W.O.R.D. will be introduced in WandaVision and Monica Rambeau will be connected, it would be interesting to see how cosmic they’ll be going with the organization in that series and if they ultimately plan to give it a spin-off.
AGENTS OF ATLAS: As we’ve pointed out last year could have direct ties to The Mandarin/Ten Rings in the upcoming Shang-Chi movie. This could also certainly be an entry point for Namor and Atlantis, given that his cousin Namora was part of the original team. Their leader Jimmy Woo (played by Randall Park) first joined the MCU in Ant-Man & The Wasp and has been confirmed to return for WandaVision in a supporting role.
SUPREME SQUADRON: Another team we’ve been keen on to see Marvel Studios adapt either as a series or feature film as they’re essentially an alternative dimension take on The Justice Leauge. There have been unconfirmed rumors that they’ll have some sort of introduction in the Loki series on Disney+, but that remains to be seen. However, it would make sense given their origins.
KA-ZAR/SAVAGE LAND: Just like Shang-Chi, a Ka-Zar movie has been sitting on the shelves at Marvel collecting dust and there could be a point when they want to revive it. A mash-up of Tarzan, Conan The Barbarian, the Time Machine, Jurassic Park, and all sorts of other adventure projects it feels ripe for some sort of adaptation. Given they now have the X-Men rights could lend itself to some interesting crossovers. The bombing of Disney’s John Carter at the box office likely had a lot to do with Ka-Zar being thrown into limbo.
What projects do you think deserve to move forward at Marvel as a movie or Disney+ limited series?