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Black Widow pushed to May 2021, other Phase 4 MCU and Disney films shift to late next year

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Disney announced major changes to its film release calendar today, again delaying bigger titles amid the pandemic. Although some Disney/Pixar films will keep their 2020 openings (for now), Black Widow will shift from its prior release date of November 6, 2020 to May 7, 2021, and subsequent Marvel films will also move later into the year. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, originally scheduled to open Disney's summer season on May 7, will now come out on July 9, 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter

Meanwhile, The Eternals has yielded its February 12, 2021 premiere to the Kingsman prequel (titled The King's Man), and will move all the way to November 5, 2021. 

Disney hasn't entirely given up on traditional film releases for 2020. Pixar's Soul hasn't budged from its November 20, 2020 date, and Ryan Reynolds' video game parody film Free Guy is still pencilled in for December 11.

The largest delay belongs to Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake, originally targeted for December 18 but now shoved almost a year forward to the next winter / Oscar-bait season: December 10, 2021.

So far, no more of Disney's films have been shifted to Disney Plus Premium like Mulan.

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Constant MCU reshuffling

With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings leapfrogging in front of The Eternals, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delayed past WandaVision into 2021, Disney and Marvel Studios are showing they aren't afraid to toy with the MCU's order of film releases.

The fact that Marvel is comfortable putting Shang-Chi in front of Eternals shows that the two Phase 4 origin stories don't necessarily tie into one another. It's possible the two films could have a character in common — like Phil Coulson showing up in all the Phase 1 films — but done in a way that the timeline of appearances is ambiguous, or at least interchangeable.

We'll also point out that Eternals' new November 2021 date puts it very close to the December 2021 launch of Spider-Man 3, and Black Widow's new release date makes 2021 a crowded superhero year in general. Could this mean Sony will delay the film (again) into 2022, or will it sling sticky webs onto its 2021 date? We'll probably find out soon.