Phase 4 of the MCU is about to make the jump from Disney+ to network television.
To date, no film from Marvel Studios' last phase has been available outside of Disney+ or home release.
But in May, one Phase 4 film will break the mold as it airs on multiple channels between Phase 5's Guardians of the Galaxy's Vol. 3 theatrical release and the Disney+ debut of Secret Invasion.
Phase 4 MCU Movie To Make TV Debut
Disney announced that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to air on broadcast TV, making it the first Phase 4 film to do so.
For reference, Marvel Studios released seven theatrical films throughout its Phase 4 slate which began in July 2021 with Black Widow and ended in November 2022 with Black Panther 2.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will make its network debut on ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney on Thursday, May 25, at 8:00 pm ET, just as many Infinity Saga films have done in years prior.
Following its ABC premiere, Shang-Chi will go on to make its channel premieres on FX (Sunday, May 28, at 7:00 pm) and Freeform (Saturday, June 10, at 8:10 pm).
The Simu Liu-led movie will also air on FX on the following dates:
- Saturday, May 28 - 10:00 pm ET
- Saturday, June 17 - 7:00 pm ET
- Wednesday, June 21, at 7:00 pm ET
- Thursday, June 22, at 5:00 pm ET
Shang-Chi will also broadcast on Freeform on Sunday, June 11, at 5:00 pm ET.
Why Shang-Chi Is Coming to TV
This isn't the first time in recent months that Disney chose to air a franchise project on television.
"Chapter 1: The Mandalorian" aired on Disney's ABC, Freeform, and FX back in February and out ahead of The Mandalorian's Season 3 debut.
A few months prior, Disney aired the first two episodes of Andor on the same channels but with the addition of Hulu, coinciding with the premiere of the show's season finale on Disney+.
While MCU movies have been airing on television before this new trend, Disney+ changed Disney's own strategy and the reasoning behind which MCU film airs and when is worth paying attention to.
Speaking of which, Shang-Chi wasn't Marvel Studios' first Phase 4 film, nor was it the most profitable.
It was, however, one of the phase's most well-received films, which could be why it was chosen.
Still, it's also worth noting that it airs after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's May 5 release and leading up to - as well as during - Secret Invasion's premiere. Whether that timing is intentional or part of a wider strategy remains to be seen.
But for now, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will continue to break ground when it becomes the Phase 4 movie to receive a television premiere on May 25 on ABC.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is available to stream now on Disney+.