Disney is doing the release date shuffle once again, though this time it appears to be more strategic than COVID-19 related. The studio has announced that a slew of films are shifting dates as it firms up its release plans for 2022. These films include Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Thor: Love and Thunder, and the eternally delayed Indiana Jones 5.
The delays are pretty much a domino effect with the first one causing most of the others. For the MCU films, it’s because the movies are so tightly connected story-wise that you can’t switch around release dates without delaying all the rest. That, of course, means any other release dates Disney has get impacted as well as MCU films move around and Disney doesn’t want movies competing against each other. As such, you get the following cascade of date changes and delays, starting with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness moving from March 25, 2022 to May 6, 2022.
That change moves Thor: Love and Thunder from May 6, 2022 to July 8, 2022, pushing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever from that date to November 11, 2022. In turn, The Marvels falls to February 17, 2023, bumping Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania to July 28, 2023. From there Disney has decided to remove three untitled Marvel films — releasing July 28, October 6, and October 20, 2023 — from the schedule. Just which ones come from the upcoming slate is unclear. Basically, after Spider-Man: No Way Home releases at the end of this year, we’re going to have a longer wait for more Marvel movies. There’s no word on if these release changes will affect upcoming Disney+ show release dates like Hawkeye or Ms. Marvel.
On the non-Marvel front, Indiana Jones 5 was scheduled to land on July 29, 2022 but has been delayed almost a year to June 30, 2023, though it isn’t being replaced by a Marvel film. That delay means the film, which has been in the works since Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull came out, is yet again pushed back drastically despite Disney seeming to have actually gotten the ball rolling on it. The jokes about Harrison Ford not being alive anymore to film are getting a bit too real at this point. The studio also removed an untitled Disney film from the schedule on June 14, 2023 and an untitled 20th Century Fox film on October 20, 2023.
According to Disney, the slew of delays is related to production and not any changes because of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘s massive box office, which came as Disney tested the waters of releasing films in the theater only. Time will tell if all these new release dates for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Indiana Jones 5 stick or if they will be delayed further.