SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 20: (L-R) David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson of Marvel Studios' 'Black Widow' at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2019 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

News broke this week that Disney and Marvel would once again be delaying Black Widow, this time until July. In addition, the movie will be debuting in movie theaters and on Disney+. But did you see the last part of the announcement? That little ‘additional fees required’ on the end?

Yea, so did I. And it makes me feel all kinds of queasy. Never mind that this movie has already been delayed a number of times. The idea that they’re going to charge an additional fee for it and release it on Disney+ has me wondering a couple of major questions.

Are they self-sabotaging?

This might be the most pessimistic thing I’ve ever written on here. And maybe this is just a sign of the times. But I can’t help but wonder if to an extent, Disney is purposely sabotaging this movie? Multiple delays, shifting the release platform, charging extra fees. They seem to be doing everything in their power to make you not want to see this movie.

And the question is, why? The cynic in me wonders if its not to try and create a situation where their female led superhero movies don’t do as well as their male led counterparts. And to be clear, I’m not accusing someone at The Walt Disney Company of actively trying to kill this movie. What I am suggesting is that if this movie was Spider-Man 3, it wouldn’t be going through this.

Are they trying to leverage the MCU to force the genie out of the bottle?

There can be little doubt that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a major powerhouse. Every movie that comes out is a hit. Every series on Disney+ is all over social media. Just about everyone Kevin Feige has touched has turned to gold. Which may be why Disney is looking to leverage that into pulling off one of their most nefarious schemes in a long time.

At the end of the day, Disney is trying to answer one big question. How do we justify charging extra money for movies on a platform we originally sold on the premise of being able to watch all of our movies? They tried to answer that question with Mulan last year. Remember the uproar about having to pay 30 dollars to watch the movie when it came out? They’re seeing the same thing over Raya and the Last Dragon.

Like many people, I chose to wait until that additional cost went away. And why was I able to do that? Because, at the end of the day, it was Mulan. It’s not a property that carries enough leverage for me to break down, call them evil, but do their bidding anyway. The MCU has no such reservations to worry about.

In all likelihood, this will eventually be what happens. It will become the new norm, the way DLC did in the gaming community. As much as I’d love to tell you there’s hope, I sadly doubt there is. That said, I’d love to be proven wrong!

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Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney