To say that Marvel Studios have been struggling lately would be an understatement for the MCU. If it’s not one thing, like movies looking unfinished or hurried, it’s another thing like Jonathan Majors being investigated on multiple ends for multiple different predatory behaviors. All of these things combined and eventually led Marvel to the decision that delaying their projects would be the best path forward, and I agree with them. So, let’s take a look at where things went wrong, why they went wrong, and if there’s a path back to the same glory this franchise once enjoyed.
Immediately after the Infinity Saga ended, fans and pundits alike were wondering if Marvel would be able to keep the same momentum after it ended. So far, the answer has been a resounding “no.” Marvel has had few if any, films that have enjoyed the same critical success, and now, there are stories and allegations involving Tenoch Huerta that could derail their plans for Namor going forward. It’s a messy situation on top of a messy situation, and it just boggles the mind how they managed to get here under former CEO Bob Chapek.
This entire column could be about Chapek and his woefully inadequate responses to various different citations and his selection and pushing of Marvel films to the forefront, thus compromising the vision Kevin Feige and current CEO Bob Iger had created prior to Chapek taking over. Chapek wanted bigger, more, and more often. The result was unfinished CGI, poor reviews, and fans checking out. Oh, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis made Disney his primary villain in his Presidential campaign, along with ending their special tax district. Those are just some of the highlights of Chapek’s tenure.
But everything cannot fall at the feet of Chapek. Chapek wasn’t the one who cast Jonathan Majors or Tenoch Huerta. While you can’t expect Disney to know everything about everyone, it’s become increasingly clear since the Majors story broke that he has a large reputation for shady behavior and the stories that have come out since remind me of the Rock after Black Adam failed. We began to find out who these people truly are and it makes you wonder how Disney missed all these red flags. The company has more money than some oil barons, one would think they could perform extensive background checks.
Once again, however, it’s important to state that everything cannot be thrown at the feet of Disney and Marvel. There’s little to no doubt that the writer’s strike has drastically impacted Disney’s release schedule for these Marvel films. We’ve seen this first-hand with the recent story that came out regarding Deadpool 3, which was another film that saw its release date changed, but this film got the benefit of being moved up. The news that Ryan Reynolds is legally not allowed to improv on set due to union rules with contracts has people worried about the overall product. This is especially the case for a film franchise like Deadpool, which has relied on the humor of everyone involved to make it better through improv.
That’s three major problems in three separate paragraphs that could easily be their own column. That Disney has allowed their biggest cash cow to get to this point whether through their errors or circumstance has made Marvel fans fear that the best days of comic movies might be behind us. When six projects get moved around, there’s a big red flag that things are not going according to plan. The bigger problem for Marvel here is that many of these six projects were supposed to be the thing that fixed these issues. Oops. Here are the films that were moved, along with their old and new MCU release dates, respectively.
Captain America: Brave New World — Moved from May 3, 2024, to July 26, 2024 Thunderbolts — Moved from July 26, 2024, to December 20, 2024 Blade — Moved from September 6, 2024, to February 12, 2025 Fantastic Four — Moved from February 12, 2025, to May 2, 2025 Avengers: The Kang Dynasty — Moved from May 2, 2025, to May 1, 2026 Avengers: Secret Wars — Moved from May 1, 2026, to May 7, 2027
If you remove Blade, every one of these films was expected to be one of the newest drivers for the MCU. Fantastic Four has been in demand for years. It is probably the second-most popular Marvel character group behind Spider-Man and his amazing friends. The two Avengers films were also meant to make people care again, and now those won’t be seen for three years, at the minimum. It’s extremely possible that some of these films never get released if the numbers keep dying off and the dates keep getting pushed back.
And that sorta seems to be where we are with Disney and Marvel Studios. There’s not really much they can do about any of this because they left themselves with so little wiggle room. This is what happens when you release minor characters as major characters, and you don’t have the supporting cast to actually make it so; the overall product suffers, and now Disney really has to rely on the shows being churned out for Disney+, which haven’t always been the best. It’s a very unenviable position in which one might find themselves if they hadn’t been doing their due diligence.
It’s probably fair to say that Disney didn’t do their due diligence for these projects, and they’re paying for that now. All I can really hope is that the damage done by Chapek, Majors, and the WGA strike isn’t so profound that it ends the MCU franchise. These movies mean a lot to a variety of people and their absence was definitely noticed in 2020, during the pandemic. If anyone can fix this situation, it’s Kevin Feige. Hopefully, he manages to accomplish that before another MCU shoe drops.