Note: This article was originally published by Charles Murphy at That Hashtag Show on October 26, 2018.
Kevin Feige has kept his word: while the wheels at Marvel Studios are still spinning, the fans are left to speculate on what films will come when. Black Widow, The Eternals, Black Panther 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 headline a list of projects we know are upcoming, but since it was announced that Vol. 3 would be delayed while the search for a director continued, it’s been unclear and a source of debate among fans which film would take it place. The recent announcement that the studio was dropping one of its 3 scheduled films from its 2020 release slate seemingly confirmed that Vol. 3 would NOT be happening anytime soon and fanned the flames of conjecture even further. So which movies will we actually end up seeing in 2020?
We are told that in addition to dropping the July 31, 2020 film from their slate, Marvel Studios also settled on the 2 films they’ll be releasing in 2020. As many fans have speculated, we are told the studio plans to release Black Widow on May 1, 2020 and The Eternals on November 6, 2020.
We are told that Black Widow is looking to take advantage of the attractive production incentives available by filming in Croatia. Walt Disney Studios used the beautiful coastal nation to film portions of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, allowing for Black Widow to film their as well in keeping with one of many requirements for the handsome rebate. We were the first to bring you a limited synopsis for the film, one that is in line with a longer synopsis also recently revealed:
At birth, the Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanova) is given to the KGB, which grooms her to become its ultimate operative. When the U.S.S.R. breaks up, the government tries to kill her as the action movies to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative. The standalone film will find Romanoff living in the United States 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.
With production set to begin early in 2019, it’s very possible Black Widow is already in pre-production and we expect casting news to begin to leak before the end of the year!
Marvel Studios is also rolling the dice on The Eternals in 2020.
The story of ‘THE ETERNALS’ is set millions of years ago when the cosmic beings known as the Celestials genetically experimented on humans, creating the super-powered individuals as well as more villainous off-shoots known as Deviants. The two groups went on to battle each other throughout history to see which would eventually become the ultimate race. The story involves the love story between Ikaris, a man fueled by cosmic energy, and Sersi, who relishes moving amongst humans.
Chloe Zhao, director of The Eternals, is the big winner in the shuffling of Marvel Studios post-Infinity plans. The studio has a script that they like and when they moved on Zhao, they had hoped things would come together quickly enough to begin production Q4 of next year, which we are told is tentatively planned to take place primarily in the UK, though that’s certainly not been cemented at this point.
Fans of the comics know that The Eternals have two rather diverse interpretations in the comics: the Jack Kirby iteration and the Neil Gaiman iteration. While Gaiman’s turn with the characters held on to some of the key points of the original Kirby work, it was certainly a more modern take. We are told that the script by Matthew and Ryan Firpo was more heavily influenced by Kirby’s 1976 work and will not only introduce the worlds of the Eternals and Deviants, but also connect to several existing characters, leave doors open for the introductions of any number of new ones and establish a deep history of the MCU.
While no further details about who those characters may be were revealed to us, we can certainly speculate. Dating back to the earliest recorded history, the Eternals have direct connections to Thanos, through his father, A’Lars (mentioned in Avengers: Infinity War) and his mother Sui-San; the Greek Pantheon, known as the Olympians, through Zuras, son of Kronos and uncle to Thanos; the Kree and also the malevolent entity known as the Dragon of the Moon. Additionally, the timeless foes of the Eternals, the Deviants, have several interesting connections themselves. Their longtime, underwater capital city of Lemuria could certainly portend some interesting possibilities as could the fact that Skrulls, set to debut in Captain Marvel, are also Deviant offshoots in the comics. Once thought to be a film that could tangentially connect to Thanos and maybe be backdoored via Vol. 3, it’s possible that The Eternals could become a central hub from which many other future story lines emerge.
If we’ve learned anything in the past week, it is that films which seem to have the firmest of release dates (Wonder Woman 1984, for instance) can be shuffled around in an instant so I’m not here to tell you to go get in line for tickets just yet. In a business that’s always in motion, this represents a snapshot of Marvel Studios plans today as I write this, which isn’t even the same day you’ll read it, at which point plans could already have changed.