2020 could be the first year in a decade without an MCU film

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has released a movie every year for 10 straight years, but is the MCU’s streak now in jeopardy?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, upcoming movie release dates have become more doubtful, and Black Widow’s November release is not a guarantee at this point.

Many pending feature films have had multiple schedule changes this year and several have modified their viewing platforms, substituting the big screen for at home On Demand or streaming services, so that audiences can safely enjoy the finished product without leaving their house.

Black Widow was originally planned for May 1, 2020 until Disney reshuffled all of the MCU movies. Their primary tactic for pushing back releases was for each film to take the date occupied by the subsequent movie in the ever-growing franchise. That means that Black Widow could neatly slip into The Eternals’ November 6, 2020 spot, with The Eternals taking Shang-Chi’s February 12, 2021 place, and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, the pandemic may be sticking around longer than initially expected. It would be disappointing for Disney, Marvel, and audiences everywhere if Black Widow could not sensibly come out in November and consequently got knocked back to next year. While everyone hopes for the best, it is very much within the realm of possibility that Scarlet Johannsson’s solo spy story may fail to hit theaters in 2020. And in that case, this would be the first year without an MCU release since 2009.

The first year without an MCU movie in a decade

For the last three years (2017-2019), fans have enjoyed three MCU movies annually. 2020 was already going to be a rebuilding period for the studio, heading into a new phase by slowing down to two cinematic features. Since its inception in 2008, the MCU has had six prolific years releasing two movies a year, so it is not as if anyone was considering 2020 to be an uncommon set back when plans were first announced. But no one could have ever imagined that a worldwide pandemic would shutdown almost everything, including movie theaters.

Disney’s reworked schedule currently aims for Black Widow to be the only MCU release this year. 2020 would be the first year with a single MCU movie to hit theaters since 2012, when The Avengers proved to be a massively successful tentpole for the studio. These are drastically different circumstances compared to eight years ago – in 2012, Marvel arranged for The Avengers to be their main focus and tested out reaction for their first massive team-up film, while in 2020 the studio is being forced to run last-minute audibles in order to circumnavigate a global crisis.

Disney claims that they presently do not intend to release Black Widow on Disney Plus, like they plan to do with Mulan in September. So unless things take a turn for the better with the pandemic, the Marvel Cinematic Universe just might have to break their streak of putting out at least one movie every year since 2010. At the moment, big movie theater chains have strategies in place to re-open soon, and if everyone follows safety protocols, there is still a chance that we can all be watching Black Widow in cinemas this Fall.

If Black Widow hits theaters on November 6, will you be at your local theater on opening weekend? Or are you hoping Disney decides to drop the movie on their Disney Plus streaming service? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.