Multiple Marvel movies delayed as Blade causes schedule rejig

Marvel Studios has been forced to delay a number of its announced movies – and it’s all down to its Blade film reboot.

Revealed as part of a Walt Disney Studios press release, Marvel has pushed some of its superhero films back from their previously announced launch dates. Among that number is Blade, which has been hit by numerous development problems in recent weeks. That includes the departure of director Bassam Tariq, the hiring of Beau DeMayo (The Witcher, Moon Knight) to rewrite the entire script, and lead actor Mahershala Ali’s frustration over the movie’s production delays.

As a result, Blade will no longer release in November 2023, with Marvel confirming it’ll arrive on September 6, 2024 instead. Per The Hollywood Reporter, that release date rejig, plus the Marvel Phase 5 movie’s issues, means it won’t start filming until early 2023. The move will, according to Marvel, allow it to retune the vampiric anti-hero’s movie’s script and conduct an in-depth search for Tariq’s replacement. Slash Film also reports that Ali is still “fully on board” with the project despite its problems.

Blade’s delayed launch has subsequently impacted another Marvel Phase 5 release. Deadpool 3, which was only announced in late September, has been bumped back to November 2024. The Merc with a Mouth’s MCU debut was originally set for September 2024 – the date Blade now occupies.

Deadpool’s third movie isn’t the only flick to be affected by Blade’s delay. The whole of Marvel’s Phase 6 film slate has also been delayed, with Fantastic Four and Avengers 6, moved back until 2025 and 2026. Avengers 5 retains its May 2, 2025 slot.

Here’s a quick rundown of when those movies will now arrive in theaters:

Blade – moved from November 3, 2023 to September 6, 2024Deadpool 3 – moved from September 6, 2024 to November 8, 2024Fantastic Four – moved from November 8, 2024 to February 14, 2025Avengers: Secret Wars – moved from November 7, 2025 to May 1, 2026

Marvel also revealed a number of release date slots for currently untitled MCU movies. As well as Fantastic Four and Avengers 5, two other Marvel films will seemingly debut in 2025, while three others will land in cinemas in 2026 alongside Avengers 6.

There’s no word on which films will take those slots. However, it’s likely that Armor Wars – the Don Cheadle-starring project that was originally a Disney Plus show but will has been turned into a film – will fill one of those positions. Other candidates include Shang-Chi 2, a sequel to Eternals, Doctor Strange 3, and a fifth solo outing for Thor.

Thankfully, every Marvel movie preceding Blade in Phase 5 will still be released in their original theatrical slots. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantuamania, Guardians 3, The Marvels, Captain America 4, and Thunderbolts will all launch between November 2022 and July 2024.

Analysis: a welcome universal shift

Blade’s release date was always in danger of being pushed back. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

While it’s a tad disappointing that some of these highly anticipated movies have been delayed, it’s actually the right move to make.

Marvel Studios’ release slate has looked unrealistically stacked for months now, particularly in the wake of the Phase 5 and 6 movie and TV show announcements made at Comic-Con 2022 and D23 Expo 2022. Even with Blade and Deadpool 3’s launches being shunted, there are almost 20 projects coming in Phase 5 alone, including 10 live-action and animated series on Disney Plus. That’s a lot of content to pack into the next two years – and for audiences to consume in the same time.

From a movie perspective, bringing 11 MCU films out between February 2023 and November 2025 was always going to be a tough task, too. In delaying Blade, Marvel has been forced to push back some of its other theatrical releases, which is the right call. It seemed too good to be true that we would get two Avengers movies in 2025 after six years – by that point in time – without one. These are huge tentpole movies, so stretching out the space between their launch dates will allow them (and other forthcoming MCU movies) some much need breathing room.

Additionally, retooling its release schedule will hopefully give Marvel the chance to produce some, if not all, of these films and shows without lengthy crunch periods. As the fallout from She-Hulk’s post-production phase showed, the Disney subsidiary needs to do more when it comes to first and third-part employees’ wellbeing. That means less stressful crunch and more time to craft these projects with the due care and attention they deserve. Fingers crossed Marvel uses the extra time afforded to it to ensure this is the case.

For more MCU-based content, check out how to watch the Marvel movies in order. Alternatively, read up on the final two Marvel Phase 4 projects set for release before 2022 ends, or find out everything to do with Werewolf by Night’s Man-Thing.

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