The last 24 hours have been pretty crazy with Marvel-related news. Just hot off the press is the announcement that Mickey Rourke has signed up to play Whiplash and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Iron Man 2. Both deals became official this ,but that isn’t all… You know what they say, when it rains it pours.

Marvel Studios has also been shifting the release dates of their three biggest upcoming and soon to be franchise properties. Here’s a look at how Marvel Studio’s upcoming movie lineup is getting shaken up:

First up, Iron Man 2 will stay with its original May 7, 2010, release date. (With a possible Iron Man 3 to follow close behind)

Kenneth Branagh’s Thor which was originally scheduled to come out on July 16, 2010 has now been pushed back to June 17, 2011.

Joe Johnston’s The First Avenger: Captain America, will now come out on July 22, 2011 instead of May 6, 2011. The back-to-back release of Thor and Captain America is no coincidence, however, the move was made retroactive by Marvel to allow momentum to build between the two properties.

Marvel’s epic, Avengers which will team up Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Nick Fury, Hulk and perhaps Black Widow will now come out on May 4, 2012, as oppose to July 15, 2011, a good ten months from the original date.

So, what can fans make of all this? If you ask me, it’s just Marvel’s way of guaranteeing success as this is perhaps one of the most ambitious projects ever announced, if not the most challenging.