Summary

  • Disney’s new strategy for the MCU focuses on sequels and franchises, which mirrors the shared universe’s earlier years.
  • The current post-Endgame MCU lacks character development and deep storylines due to the absence of sequels and franchises.
  • Trimming the release schedule doesn’t mean unresolved plotlines and characters will be abandoned, as Marvel Studios has a successful history of showcasing characters in other heroes’ movies.


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Recent comments about Disney’s release strategy for future MCU projects tease a big shake-up for the cinematic universe that makes the next several years even more exciting for the brand. During Disney’s latest earnings call on February 7, company CEO Bob Iger revealed a new philosophy to correct course with the MCU’s decreasingly lucrative releases. According to Iger, Disney overall, but particularly Marvel Studios, will be “leaning a little bit more into sequels and franchises” and looking to reduce overall output.


At first glance, this may seem confirmed. There’s little doubt that the post-Endgame MCU has largely failed to capture the magic of its earlier years, and cut MCU releases may seem like a lack of confidence in the brand. However, it’s hard not to see the move as an overall net positive for Marvel. While the change in attitude may mean some niche and less obviously relevant projects will see the light of day, the strategy overall returns back to what made the early MCU so good.


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Disney’s Marvel Release Plan Change Repeats What Made The MCU Phases 1-3 So Great

The Early MCU Focused On Sequels And Developing A Core Group Of Characters

Okoye, Black Panther, Captain America, Black Widow and the Winter Soldier in Wakanda in Avengers Infinity War


The early years of the MCU slowly introduced new heroes to the franchise, and while Hulk, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther only got one movie in the Infinity Saga, every other hero headlining a film got at least one sequel. Furthermore, the central trio of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor each got a full trilogy before Avengers: Endgame. This allowed audiences to get to know each character better and meant that cliffhangers generally didn’t go unaddressed for long. After Endgame, that all changed.


Related

Surprising MCU Sequel Statistic Supports A Big Post-Endgame Problem

A surprising MCU sequel statistic from the Infinity Saga proves the universe is having problems keeping its story contained post-Endgame.


Shockingly, the Multiverse Saga currently has zero released or announced internal sequels, with every titular hero only appearing in one film. While that may change for one or two characters, given the MCU’s two reserved but unannounced release dates, it’s clear that Marvel Studios simply isn’t giving anyone enough screen time to develop, and several years have gone by since several promising new heroes and stories have been introduced. By returning to a focus on sequels and franchises, the MCU Phases 5 and 6 can once again build deep instead of while, which is exactly what the brand needs.


MCU Phase 1-3 Franchises

Number Of Movies In The Infinity Saga

MCU Phase 4-6 Franchises

Number Of Announced Movies In The Multiverse Saga

Iron Man

3

Shang-Chi

1

Thor

3

Black Widow

1

Captain America

3

Eternals

1

Guardians of the Galaxy

2

Captain America

1

Spider-Man

3

Spider-Man

1

Ant-Man

2

Thor

1

Hulk

1

Black Panther

1

Black Panther

1

Ant-Man

1

Doctor Strange

1

Captain Marvel

1

Captain Marvel

1

Deadpool

1

Thunderbolts

1

Fantastic Four

1

Blade

1

Guardians Of The Galaxy

1

Fewer Releases Don’t Mean The MCU Has To Abandon Characters And Plotlines

Not Every Character Needs A Solo Movie Or TV Show To Work


The most immediate concern about trimming the MCU release schedule is that several of the currently unaddressed plot cliffhangers and character introductions will remain unresolved. While it’s true that the MCU has more threads than ever to follow up on – including a giant Celestial sticking out of the ocean, a new ruler of the Ten Rings organization, and Hulk’s son – they don’t need their own projects to stay in the MCU. As movies like Thor: Rangarok or Captain America: Civil War show, Marvel Studios has a great track record showcasing characters in other heroes’ movies.


One example that jumps to mind is White Vision, whose whereabouts have been unknown since 2021’s WandaVision. A solo project for the synthezoid avenger, Vision Quest, has reportedly been in the works, but there’s no reason his story can’t be revisited in something like Armor Wars. While it’s true that a few characters may get the short end of the stick, refocusing and unifying the MCU back into a more tangible story and stable of characters seems like the best thing for a franchise struggling to find its footing.

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