Marvel Studios hasn't had an easy time getting through its Phase 4 slate, with the effects of the pandemic still being felt across Hollywood. Theaters are open for business and the box office is back to previous standards, but that hasn't stopped the delays coming due to backlogs at VFX houses amid increasing demand.
But the difficulties haven't stopped there, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fantastic Four, and Blade all having suffered from departing directors. Losing key talent will always be troublesome in Hollywood, and it can come for any number of reasons, from creative differences to behind the scenes fallouts.
Marvel Studios is still reeling from the loss of director Bassam Tariq on Blade, as production was meant to be just weeks away from starting. With a production delay expected, a pushed release date seems inevitable, the effects of which may be felt across other projects in the upcoming Phase 5 slate.
The MCU Will Likely Delay 2 Major Movies
Mahershala Ali's Blade recently lost director Bassam Tariq just one month ahead of the October start of production. With script rewrites underway and the search on for a new director, significant delays to production are expected, which ought to lead to a shift from the current November 2023 release.
The Cosmic Circus' Lizzie Hill since reported that January 2023 was being eyed for the rescheduled production start. With the original plan to shoot in October 2022 and release in November 2023, Marvel Studios clearly forecasts around 13 months needed to complete Blade, which may push release until February 2024.
If Blade were to shift until the early months of 2024, that would leave a significant seven-month gap between July 2023's The Marvels and the vampire flick. So, one solution to this issue would be to shift the Captain Marvel sequel several months until fall 2023 to more evenly distribute the Phase 5 releases.
Marvel Studios previously had an untitled flick scheduled for February 2024, although that ultimately shifted to September of the same year and was revealed to be Deadpool 3. In shifting Blade just a few months until early 2024, the MCU could preserve its Phase 5 theatrical release order while only moving two movies.
One has to consider the release order and chronology of events in the entangled world of the MCU. Looking at the Disney+ projects coming around the same time, only Ironheart and Agatha: Coven of Chaos fall in that time, and neither ought to connect to The Marvels or Blade, so these delays should have no story impact.
Will Any Other MCU Movies Get Delayed?
After Blade, Marvel Studios has Captain America: New World Order scheduled for May 2024 as its big summer blockbuster. The MCU famously uses that slot for its biggest movies of the year to garner the largest audiences, which likely makes New World Order safe as it has been teased have a massive MCU impact.
Everything appears to be on track for Thunderbolts with the director in place, writing underway, the cast signed on, and production expected to begin next year. Looking at both Deadpool 3 and Fantastic Four, both have plenty of time to make their late 2024 releases, and preparation looks to be moving smoothly for them.
Beyond that, the only confirmed release dates are Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, neither of which will release until 2025. With a director already signed on to the former, Marvel Studios is clearly to prepare for the event blockbusters will ahead of time, which will certainly help ensure they make 2025.
Unless any further shifts to the production of other projects are required, Blade and The Marvels appear to be the only blockbusters likely to move, at least for now. The former will need the shift to allow adequate production time and to polish the script, while the latter would move to reduce the gap between movies.
But granted, given the ever changing nature of Hollywood and the Marvel Studios machine, anything can happen. Up until just days ago, at the time of writing, there were no signs of troubles on Blade and production was meant to start in just weeks time, so one can never be sure what delays and changes are around the corner.
Reports also circulated in recent days that Blade star Mahershala Ali, who was announced for the role alongside the project, is growing "very frustrated by the process." One can only hope these production delays don't risk Ali departing the project, as that would be the ultimate blow for Blade.
For now, Blade remains set to hit theaters on November 3, 2023.