The Marvel Studios schedule was shaken up in a major way when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, forcing theatrical releases like Black Widow into the next year, and reshuffling the release dates of highly anticipated Disney+ series like WandaVision, Loki, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But as we near the debut of the first Marvel project in a long time – WandaVision on Disney+ – Marvel chief Kevin Feige unveiled the plans for upcoming Marvel movies as theaters and major markets remain closed amid the pandemic.
In an interview with Deadline, Feige spoke about the difference between streaming and theatrical projects, and how he wasn’t concerned with how Disney+ shows like WandaVision, Loki, and others would impact theatrical releases. “Finding something interesting and unique to watch at home, and eventually being back in a movie theater is how we escape, is how we learn and is how we grow,” Feige said.
And when does Feige expect audiences to be back in the movie theater? The next theatrical release is still Black Widow, which was initially set to kick off Marvel’s Phase 4 in May 2020. Black Widow is still on track to release on its new May 7, 2021 date, Feige confirmed.
“Don’t ask me week by week what is going to happen in this world, I have no idea and don’t want to guess. Everything we’ve done at Marvel Studios has been based in ‘Ok, if everything goes perfectly, here’s what we’d like to do.’ And until this past year, things have gone remarkably well. And it’s my hope that the world gets back on track and we all get back into theaters, and that people will see and experience week by week for the low monthly fee of Disney+ of what we’re brining there, and then be excited to get together with people again in real life and sit with strangers and share an experience on the big screen.”
Feige also gave an update on Black Panther 2 after the tragic passing of star Chadwick Boseman. Feige had already dismissed speculation that T’Challa would be recast, and he further stated that the film is not “going to have a CG Chadwick, and we’re not recasting T’Challa.” But the sequel will be “furthering the mythology and inspiration of Wakanda,” Feige said:
“Ryan Coogler is working very hard right now on the script with all the respect and love and genius that he has, which gives us great solace, so it was always about furthering the mythology and the inspiration of Wakanda. There’s also the task of honoring and respecting the ongoing learnings and teachings from Chad as well.”
It’s still unclear how Black Panther will move forward without its star, but it’s encouraging that the film will honor Boseman’s legacy. One not so-encouraging statement from Feige: his constant caginess when it comes to questions about canceled Netflix shows such as Daredevil or Jessica Jones.
“I’ve been at Marvel long enough to never say never about anything,” Feige said, repeating his past vague statements about Marvel TV that — before you get too excited — have never amounted to anything before.
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