The 2020 Marvel content drought changed the fanbase forever.
The MCU faithful are now at a point where any schedule change induces panic, and patience between projects is at an all-time low.
When Deadline reported that Disney was shifting the 2022 movie release schedule, and pushing back virtually every MCU movie one slot, this new evolution of the fandom was on full display. The news came as a shock to everyone, including the source of the information.
As the internet scrambled to justify moving so many projects on a schedule that seemed to be locked in after the return to theaters in the MCU, the big question on everyone's mind was "why?".
It did not help that this came on the same day as the World premiere of Eternals, which already had the MCU social media communities buzzing. But that did allow for some relief that the biggest names in the building at Marvel Studios would be stepping in front of microphones tonight and would surely be asked about these delays.
Well, the man himself, Marvel Studios Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige, was asked about just that topic. And he had a classic Feige answer that should calm the fans, but probably won't.
Kevin Feige Says Relax
In an interview at the World Premiere of Eternals, Variety asked Marvel Studios CCO Kevin Feige about the sudden schedule shift of the MCU slate. Feige responded with an answer that made the shift seem less dramatic than it may have originally seemed.
"It's production shifts and changes, and because we have so many slots, we can just shift slots. So all of the Marvel movie slots are the same, we are just shifting which movies are coming out."
If this had happened in the year 2018, it would have been much less exaggerated by fans and journalists alike. But that was before fans experienced countless release date delays, and the longest gap they had ever seen. It also came before the year 2021 when, between theaters and Disney+, Marvel content was coming at a pace that had never been seen.
Kevin Feige also managed to address that when talking about the six-week delay for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.
"Strange has moved six weeks, so instead of being three months between Marvel movies, there will be five months. And I think we can all handle that."
Pretty bold words coming from the guy who already knows what is going to happen in all of these movies. But fans should take this quote with confidence that this was a business decision and not another spark to a delay-fueled fire.
It's Our Marvel Content And We Want It Now
There is an understanding behind fans being sensitive to schedule changes. The gap between 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home and 2021's Black Widow was not only the biggest content gap in MCU history, but it also was full of heartbreaking delay announcements and release date changes.
This fear of delays is just one side of the coin. While 2020 was full of wishing, wanting, and looking out the window, 2021 has been that scene of Kevin McAllister with a pizza in the limo from Home Alone 2. MCU fans are eating well in 2021.
The addition of Disney+ content in the MCU is enough to spoil everyone, but it is twice as impactful when this content has been as successful as it has been. WandaVision brought fans back to the franchise with raging success, only to be followed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier just one week following the initial series' conclusion. Since then, there have been four more movie or TV additions to the MCU this year with three scheduled for release in the final three months of 2021.
To put this into perspective, The Infinity Saga averaged roughly six months between each of the 24 movies. This pace of release for these movies has increased over time, but it has never gotten close to the less than two-month average between MCU movies in 2021.
This aspect of fandom is an interesting one because it shows just how spoiled MCU fans have been this year, after sticking it out through the drought of 2020. Two MCU movies being three months apart from each other is an amazing gift that everyone in the red brand camp was excited about. But when that number went from three months to five, people seemed to forget just how normal that spacing really is.
Kevin Feige has ensured the MCU community that these delays are production-related and are not something they should worry about. It is nice to know he has his finger on the pulse enough to poke fun at just how fancy everyone is for the next chapter in the biggest cinematic story ever told.