It’s been a wild and successful 365 days for Marvel Studios.
In the last year they released Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man & The Wasp. All who have been varying sized hits for the studio totalling an Earth-shattering at the global box office of $4.8 billion.
While audiences reacted to these releases on a sliding-scale, the general consensuses is that the studio is still on top and their game plans are working for the most part.
Yesterday, an unconfirmed rumor of a delay of two years for Guardians of The Galaxy 3 has sparked some doomsday predictions for the fate of Phase 4.
Some online believe that the studio should pause the entire Phase 4 plans altogether over the perceived chaos and James Gunn fans/loyalists want the film scrapped completely, which seems a little naive on their part.
There is already word the studio has been meeting with directors to replace James Gunn since the summer and a list of potential names (mostly female directors) has been making the rounds. This news combined with the working title Hot Christmas would seemingly signal that a massive two year production delay on Guardians 3 is more than likely bogus.
For example, THR recently announced that writer-director Ryan Coogler would be returning for Black Panther 2, which will likely land a 2021 release date. Black Panther 2 is without a script that reportedly that could begin filming by the end of 2019 or early 2020. Guardians has a script and there have been reports that Marvel isn’t going to touch that script too much, outside of a “polish” from an incoming director and this process wouldn’t take two years.
Pundit quarterbacking aside, Marvel is not pausing Phase 4.
Cate Shortland’s Black Widow is about to enter the pre-production and casting leg of it’s prep along with The Eternals recently hiring director Chloe Zhao.
Both projects are expected to begin filming sometime next year and release in 2020.
Disney’s Jungle Cruise was just given the release date of July 24th, 2020 which is a week before an untitled Marvel Studios movie was planned to be released. This has also fans speculating that movie is being thrown out of the 2020 release plans entirely. The more simplistic answer to that is because of the Fox merger a lot of movies in 2020 are going to be getting delayed or new dates. Nothing says that Disney won’t give that third Marvel movie a new date in 2020, that is yet again pure speculation based on it’s abrupt removal as it conflicted with Jungle Cruise opening a week before.
Disney just happened to not reveal their 2020 slate at CinemaCon this year (which was odd at the time) and it’s likely because they knew things would be hectic due to the merger and projects would be moved around too much to be throwing out concrete dates to exhibitors in early 2018.
It should also be noted that Marvel’s Kevin Feige already confirmed last year to Fandango that Spider-Man: Far From Home would be the first film in Phase 4. Considering the film recently wrapped and will begin the post-production process very soon, the ship has sailed to pause Phase 4 and Marvel is likely as they always do ignoring the noise while sticking to their game plan.
Phase 4 according to Feige will begin on July 5th, 2019.
Speaking of Spidey, fans have been pushing some conspiracy theory that Sony Pictures is looking to sever their deal with Marvel Studios (or won’t re-up when the current one expires) concerning solo Spider-Man movies. Although, there is zero evidence to support this and it remains fan speculation. From what we’ve heard Venom’s success hasn’t gone to the studio’s head and they are still are very much aware of the benefits of having Spider-Man directly connected to the MCU, now and in the future.
There seems to be more speculation turning out more than normal and it’s mainly because Kevin Feige has stated they won’t be revealing Phase 4 plans until after the release of Avengers 4, even though a lot of those plans are making their way out of the Marvel offices and online.
We kind of owe Kevin and Marvel Studios the benefit of the doubt after ten years of knowing of they’re doing. I don’t really see how they crumble over one director and nothing has really pointed to there being any real issues behind the scenes outside of Dave Bautista threatening to leave the Drax role (the MCU has lost and recast actors before, nothing new).
I think people need to relax and stop panicking based on fan speculation.