While some in the industry have regularly warned about "superhero fatigue," Marvel Studios has spent the last few years proving that it's basically just a myth. After all, since 2017 they have been releasing three movies per year, and in that time they have produced four billion dollar hits. It's basically become the standard release plan for the company, but according to a new release schedule from Walt Disney Studios that will be changing a bit in 2020.
Per an official release from Disney, next year will mark the first time since 2016 that Marvel Studios will only be releasing two movies instead of the standard three. While it was initially said that we would get new blockbusters in May, July, and November, the middle title in that schedule has now been erased. We're still not actually entirely sure what either title is going to be, but it's an interesting shake-up nonetheless.
Furthermore, it would appear that it's not exactly the permanent plan going forward. In addition to revealing their plans for 2020, Disney has also laid out their slates for 2021 and 2022, and both still include three different Marvel Studios releases (which we previously knew about). So rather than being the new normal, next year will be a bit of an anomaly for what is arguably the most powerful subsidiary currently operating in Hollywood.
So why the change? Disney hasn't officially given a reason, but it's pretty easy to deduce what has caused this shift. There were plans for months to have Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 come out at some point in 2020, but then things got a bit messed up last summer when writer/director James Gunn was fired by the studio. Production, which was supposed to start earlier this year, was put on hold, and while the gears are now turning again thanks to Gunn's reinstatement, the larger plans for the release schedule surely had to change as a result. Hence we are getting two features next year instead of the standard three.
Unfortunately we still don't know exactly what the two titles are going to be, as Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said that Phase Four projects for the Marvel Cinematic Universe won't be announced until after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home later this year. At the same time, there are definitely films that are clearly further along in the development process than others - including Cate Shortland's Black Widow, and Chloe Zhao's The Eternals. Neither project has announced a start of production just yet, but as of right now those two features are the safest bets for release in 2020.