Marvel is officially going to release four MCU movies in a single year for the first time in 2021. When they announced the Phase 4 slate at San Diego Comic-Con this summer, a new Spider-Man movie was a glaring omission. We soon found out why when it was reported that Spider-Man was leaving the MCU, but that decision has been reversed. Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 has officially been announced as a new addition to the Phase 4 slate.
As previously confirmed, Phase 4 of the MCU will kick off next year with just two films, Black Widow and Eternals, as well as Marvel Studios' first show on Disney+. The following year, Marvel announced that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder hit theaters in February, May, and November respectively. Now, Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 has been set for a July 2021 date, solidifying a new milestone for the MCU that year.
This will happen as Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 will be the fourth MCU movie releases in a single year, which is something Marvel Studios has never done before. Their eleven-year history primarily consists of two films released annually, but they increased their workload to three starting in 2017. While 2020 will be an oddity in Marvel's ever-increasing output with just two movies again, they will make up for this now by having four movies in 2021.
Even though this is currently happening as a result of the new Disney-Sony deal, it does show that Marvel Studios feels comfortable with this workload. If they can manage four movies in 2021, then the question becomes whether or not this will be the new norm. That may seem unlikely at this moment, but with a plethora of sequels in development and the influx of Fantastic Four and X-Men, 2021 could be the first of many four-film years from Marvel Studios.
The difficulty with this output is that Marvel Studios is also expanding its productions to the small screen on Disney+. Not only will the studio now pump out four movies in 2021, but they will match this workload for Disney's streaming service. They've announced WandaVision, Loki, What If...?, and Hawkeye for 2021. While What If is slightly different since it is animated, the other three shows will have massive budgets and the screentime of their own movie trilogies. This will easily make 2021 the busiest year for the MCU, and it isn't even close.
That said, there is also the possibility that the Phase 4 slate could change now that Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 is part of the lineup. Marvel shifted around Phase 3 to include Spidey's first solo film, so they could do the same now if they were worried about the abundance of Marvel content. However, this would likely mean having to push Thor 4 back about a year, as Black Panther 2 already occupies the May 2022 slot. At this point, it would be fairly surprising if Marvel Studios shifted Phase 4 again as a result of the third Spidey movie, but we've seen before that Marvel's slate is never completely set in stone. But for now, the most recent change means 2021 will be a year unlike any other.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022