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How Shifting MCU Release Dates Could Impact Spider-Man 3

Spidey is still part of the MCU for now, but his movies come out through Sony.

Photo: Sony/Marvel

As reported earlier today, Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney unveiled a slew of new release dates for upcoming films, primarily the next seven theatrical entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not surprisingly, the interconnected nature of the MCU means that one release date change has a domino effect on the rest of the slate.

So as Black Widow moves from May 2020 to November, then Eternals moves from November to February 2021 and so on (all the details are at the link above). But there is one outlier in all this: the third Spider-Man adventure starring Tom Holland as the young webslinger.

Spider-Man 3 (as it’s being called for now) was scheduled to begin filming this July in Atlanta to meet a July 16, 2021 opening — right between the original release dates for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (May 2021) and Thor: Love and Thunder (November 2021).

But now that all the MCU movies have been pushed one slot forward on Disney’s release schedule — and given that Spidey is still, for now, part of the MCU and ostensibly involved in the overall Phase 4 and 5 story arc — where does that leave the release of Tom Holland’s third solo outing?

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Remember, even though Spidey is currently part of the MCU, his solo movies are owned and distributed by Sony — Marvel produces them through a special arrangement that nearly fell apart after the release of Spider-Man: Far from Home. Sony, in theory, is under no obligation to change the release date of Spider-Man 3 just to fit the film into the overall MCU plan.

The truth of the matter, however, is that Spider-Man 3 is likely to be delayed as well due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Holland is set to film Sony’s long-developing Uncharted film first, and Holland himself recently said that cameras were rolling on that for one day before the pandemic shut the Berlin production down. Sony has also moved the Uncharted release date all the way to October 21, 2021.

Even if production on that film remains on hold, it’s hard to imagine right now that Spider-Man 3 will start shooting in July. All film production is shut down right now, and that pipeline will experience the same domino effect even if production ramps up again in June, as some are optimistically hoping.

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As we see it, there are two possibilities: Sony will end up delaying Spider-Man 3 anyway and will eventually set a new release date that aligns with the shifted MCU schedule, or, if Sony wants to plow ahead with both filming and the July 2021 release date, Marvel could alter the story of the film so that whatever connection it has to the MCU works smoothly within that franchise’s new timeline.

Personally, we’d like to see Spidey continue to work hand-in-hand with the larger MCU, but that’s just us. For now, Spider-Man 3 is still set to come out next July.