Marvel's Black Widow and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness were at one time both supposed to open in theaters today, Friday, May 7th. It was a big deal when Marvel Studios originally slated Doctor Strange 2 to kick off Marvel's summer 2021 movie season, as Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme originally debuted in a fall release window. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 slate had to be pushed back; when it really became clear that the 2020 year in movies was doomed, Marvel pushed Black Widow back to May 7, 2021.
Lack of confidence in theatrical returns ultimately had Black Widow pushed back to July 9th. Doctor Strange 2 will now arrive on March 25, 2022.
Thanks to Avengers: Endgame, it's comforting to think that there may be a few alternate universes out there where we got to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or Black Widow in theaters today. Instead, we live in this, the darker timeline, where we've had to go two years without a Marvel Studios movie on the big screen.
Both Black Widow and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness were recently featured in Marvel Studios' MCU Phase 4 sizzle reel trailer. However, while Black Widow has shown off a lot of footage (too much?), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has not shown off anything at all. We know that Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) will be a major part of the Doctor Strange sequel - and that Stephen Strange was supposed to be a part of WandaVision at one point. The title clearly implies that reality will be somewhat broken in the film. However, we have no real idea what the storyline will be, or who the antagonist/villain will be.
We do know the MCU will likely get two new character additions: the sorceress Clea, and Young Avenger America Chavez. Doctor Strange 2 just recently finished filming, and set photo reveals are just now starting to leak. We should know more soon enough.
As for Black Widow? We know that this story from Natasha Romanoff's (Scarlet Johansson) time on the run after Captain America: Civil War will bring a new "Black Widow" to the MCU (Florence Pugh). There's also a lot of early evidence that Black Widow's story could set up a new clandestine organization that threatens the MCU - an organization already at work during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
Marvel's Black Widow will be in theaters (and Disney+ Premium Access) on July 9th. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will arrive on March 25, 2022.