Marvel Studios released a video that had half the internet dabbing their eyes at the idea of getting back into a theater and watching their favorite heroes continue the epic saga that has been going on since Iron Man hit the big screen all the way back in 2008. In honor of that, we felt a handy "how to watch" was well overdue.
With that in mind, here's how to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe film that's headed our way through the rest of 2021. (If you don't see your fave, don't stress! Phase 4 goes through 2023.)
How to Watch Black Widow
Release Date: July 9, 2021
Of all the 2021 MCU films, Black Widow will be by far the most accessible (at least in markets where Disney+ is available). Since the film's release date hits earlier in the year, Disney made the ultimate decision to release the movie with a hybrid release strategy. This means that Black Widow will be hitting theaters and Disney+ Premier Access at the the same time.
Theatrical runs are pretty impossible to gauge, as they last pretty much as long as the film is still making money at the box office. However, Disney+ Premiere Access films are typically available for purchase for a limited time. (If you buy Black Widow in that time frame, it's yours for as long as you own the service. It's just the purchase window that ends, not the rental itself.)
Once its theatrical run ends and the exclusivity window closes, Black Widow will be available to stream on Disney+ with your regular subscription.
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
How to Watch Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Release Date: September 3, 2021
Currently, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be an exclusively theatrical release. Disney and Marvel are currently banking on enough theaters being opened back up by September that they won't need to rely on a hybrid release strategy this late in the year. We'll keep this post updated should that information change.
If you don't think you'll be ready to head back to a theater any time soon, Shang-Chi will hit Disney+ at some point after its theatrical window ends. However, be prepared for Disney to stretch that run as long as they can! With this being their first full release, they're going to do their best to milk the box office after (presumably) taking a loss on Black Widow's theatrical run.
Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi's friend Katy and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng.
How to Watch Eternals
Release Date: November 5, 2021
Eternals will also be exclusively available in theaters for its initial release. Right now, said release holds steady at November 5th, as it seems the release date musical chairs has come to an end. Like Shang-Chi — and any other Marvel film — Eternals will head to Disney+ at some point after its theatrical run is complete.
Marvel Studios' Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, the Deviants.
How to Watch Spider-Man: No Way Home
Release Date: December 17, 2021
The Spider-Man films remain a little bit wonky when it comes to Disney/Marvel distribution, but rest assured Peter Parker will be swinging back into your life theatrically first. The film will premiere in December in theaters across North America, and won't be available in any kind of hybrid form unless the world manages to break again.
Though the Disney+ strategy isn't as cut and dry — Sony still owns Spidey and all the characters within — Sony and Disney did just strike a major deal that means previous Spider-Man films will be headed to Disney+, as well as anything Sony releases between 2022 and 2026. Now, you may notice that Spider-Man: No Way Home releases before that deal technically kicks off. But don't stress too much. Given how much (and how long) this partnership took, you can likely expect Spider-Man: No Way Home to hit the streaming service eventually. With that said, the Sony deal does state that all Sony releases will still have a VOD window so the studio can get as much cash out of it as they can. We'll update this post with any news as it comes in.
There is currently no official synopsis for Spider-Man: No Way Home on Marvel's website.
Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.
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