Disney plans to continue filming its current slate of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies safely at some point in the future. They just don't know when that is going to be, which leaves the Phase 4 slate somewhat in flux. This, according to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who discussed the prospect of resuming production during a recent quarterly call to investors.
Bob Chapek took over as Disney CEO when Bob Iger stepped down earlier this year. That was just before the current situation began to unfold, which ultimately left Chapek in something of an unenviable position, having to navigate one of the biggest companies in the world through very uncertain waters. During the call, someone asked about when Marvel movies will go back into production. Chapek had this to say.
"In terms of large scale production, we're gonna go through the same process as we do our theme parks...we're going to be responsible in terms of how we put our own employees and other filmmakers that are partners with us. We've got no projections on exactly when we can do that."
Black Widow is set to kick off Phase 4 of the MCU and was finished ahead of the shutdown. Originally, it was supposed to arrive on May 1, but with theaters still closed, it was pushed back to November 6. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was filming, with Eternals in post-production. Other movies such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as Spider-Man 3, which is a co-production with Sony, were gearing up for production. Given Bob Chapek's comments, it's difficult to say when these projects will get back on track again.
While the question on the call was specifically about Marvel movies, this relates to all big Disney productions. The situation at hand has proved to be tough to predict and is constantly evolving. The MCU has become one of the crown jewels on the Disney empire, with the franchise generating more than $22 billion at the box office since it launched in 2008. With that, getting these movies back on track is a top priority. Unlike other Disney movies though, the MCU is interconnected and each movie, even if only slightly, connects to what came before. That makes it important for the Phase 4 slate and beyond to come out in a certain order.
That could complicate things as Disney and other studios wrestle with how best to resume productions, whenever that may be. All of the Phase 4 MCU movies were already pushed back by several months. If the shutdown goes on even longer, it's not impossible to imagine that these movies, as well as shows being produced for Disney+, such as Loki and WandaVision, could be delayed as well. We'll be sure to keep you posted as the situation develops. This news was previously reported by Comicbook.com.