Not even Marvel’s superhero spy can escape the coronavirus.
The release of Black Widow has been postponed indefinitely by Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Variety reported on Tuesday. Originally scheduled to hit theaters May 1, the film’s new release date is unknown at this point.
The film, which was expected to kick off the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after 2019’s Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, is the latest in a long list of high-profile movies delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Disney previously delayed the release of its live-action movie Mulan and its X-Men spinoff film The New Mutants due to the threat of the coronavirus, and with the two largest movie theater chains in the U.S. recently announcing they’ll close indefinitely, studios don’t have many options when it comes to upcoming film premieres.
Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow has Scarlett Johansson reprise her Marvel Cinematic Universe role as secret agent Natasha Romanoff for an adventure set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The film has its eponymous hero return to the secret school that taught her to be one of the world’s greatest spies and reunite with some of her former allies while dealing with a threat from her past.
Along with Johansson, the film’s cast includes Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz.
Marvel will likely need to pick a new release date soon if it wants to preserve the planned release order for the next stage of its cinematic universe. Following Black Widow, the next MCU movie on the calendar is the highly anticipated ensemble feature The Eternals, which is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on November 6, 2020. After that, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is scheduled to premiere February 12, 2021, but production on that film was also put on hold due to the coronavirus.
Given the long list of movies that have now had their release dates postponed or production halted, the calendar for the remainder of 2020 and 2021 could fill up quickly once the threat of coronavirus becomes more manageable.
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