What Happened to The Missing Marvel Studios Movie?

One of the things that nobody seems to have touched on in the days since Marvel Studios announced their upcoming slate of films is that their planned July 8, 2016, "Untitled Marvel Movie" is no more.

What happened?

Well, it's impossible to say, of course; this isn't the kind of thing studios are generally keen to talk about, and Marvel is more secretive than most. That said, it's probably something simple, since there's nothing to suggest any problems with any existing projects.

That said, our readers seem to love it when we try to explain inexplicable stuff like this...and there are a few seemingly-obvious answers for what happened. So...why did they move the date?

The first idea that springs to mind -- and the only one that feels even a little bit like "bad news" -- is that the original plan had been to release Doctor Strange on that date, and instead they needed extra time to get the film ready, given there's no actor officially signed for the title role. It seems likely that rumors about Benedict Cumberbatch being "in final talks" could be true, as no further casting rumors have emerged since then, after weeks of "everyone in Holywood" being rumored for the role. That means, if it's true that casting (or general lack of progress on this film) caused a delay, it's a decision that was likely made a while ago.

It could also be simply that Marvel has decided that early November date is a good one for them. after Thor: The Dark World performed strongly in that slot, the new slate has a movie in roughly that spot for I think three out of the five years. And, like Thor, all of them are somewhat less "sexy" franchises.

Another consideration: while the relationship between Marvel and Fox has been reported to be somewhat frosty, they've seemed to be on pretty good terms with Sony, who owns the Spider-Man rights. Two twin rumors going right now are that they're talking to Sony about potentially allowing Spider-Man to appear in an Avengers film and that the ol' Webhead's franchise is in a bit of disarray, with films being delayed and rescheduled, Venom apparently dead on arrival and the writing team at the heart of the Amazing Spider-Man films' recent breakup apparently impacting that series.

The one thing all the reports seem to suggest is still happening, and relatively on schedule, is the villain team-up film Sinister Six. Could that movie shift up into this spot? It would make sense; Doctor Strange is now a week before when Sony originally announced it, which seems a less-than-ideal situation for either Strange or Sinister Six if marvel hopes for both of them to be hits.

And, of course, there's always drifting into the land of totally unsubstantiated fantasy/speculation, and saying that maybe Marvel, in spite of having laid out a detailed timeline, has a secret in their back pocket for that date, to be announced elsewhere soon. Could we see a Hulk movie there, for instance, spinning out of the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Seems unlikely, but never say never.