Marvel reportedly "cancels" two more movies; heroes may still return

After rumors of Eternals 2 getting quietly cancelled, reports suggest that two more MCU sequels could have been scrapped. And yet one might live on in a new form.
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..L to R: Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Giant Man (Paul Rudd), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and War Machine (Don Cheadle)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME..L to R: Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Giant Man (Paul Rudd), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and War Machine (Don Cheadle)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019 /

Marvel Studios is the biggest titan in the land of Hollywood, producing ambitious, larger-than-life superhero movies more regularly than it should be able to produce ambitious, larger-than-life superhero movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe experienced success right out of the gate with 2008's Iron Man but by the time it reached The Avengers in 2012, there was no going back.

But after the iconic Infinity Saga came to a close, the franchise has struggled to launch its Multiverse Saga with the same oomph. The arrival of the Disney Plus streaming service meant more titles to keep up with (on the small screen, too) and the more wasn't always a good thing for fans, with the lacklustre responses to various titles resulting in Marvel pressing the pause button on their current release strategy, rethinking some things and perhaps even cancelling some titles.

After years of rumors, it seems that Eternals 2 was quietly cancelled, and now reports have suggested that another two franchises won't be returning (even if some more recent reports are a bit more hopeful). Let's break it all down.

Captain Marvel 3 and Ant-Man 4's rumored cancellations explained

Marvel insider Daniel Richtman recently reported that Marvel has decided not to proceed with a third Captain Marvel movie and a fourth Ant-Man movie. It's not surprising news after both franchises suffered unfortunate blows in 2023, but it is disappointing for fans hoping to see the solo stories of both characters continue.

As for why this decision has reportedly been made, it is of course down to the underperformances of both Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels at the box office in 2023. The former was the third movie in the Ant-Man trilogy and even though it got off to a better start at the box office than its predecessors, it stalled very quickly, ultimately bringing in less than either one of them, grossing $476.1 million against a budget of $326.6 million, meaning that it didn't break even and actually lost the studio money. Audiences didn't enjoy Ant-Man 3, feeling that it lost all of the heart and humor that made the first two Ant-Man movies such a delight and the consensus is that the lukewarm response hindered its performance.

(L-R): Kathryn Newton as Cassandra "Cassie" Lang and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL. /

The Marvels fared better critically but had a much worse performance, grossing $206 million against a budget of $274.8 million, making it the only MCU movie to outright bomb at the box office. And that was under much more scrutiny due to the fact that the first Captain Marvel movie grossed over $1 billion.

Given the significant underperformances of both of those movies, it isn't too surprising that Marvel has questioned the value of another installment in each franchise. It's a shame because both, particularly the Captain Marvel franchise, have much more to give. So the idea of us not seeing more solo adventures for these heroes is a bummer, to say the least.

The most important thing to note here is that we haven't seen the last of either hero. There are two Avengers movies coming up, so there is a pretty high chance that both Paul Rudd and Brie Larson will reprise their roles as Ant-Man and Captain Marvel in at least one of them. The better news is that more recent reports suggest there are more stories to tell for at least one of these heroes, too.

Captain Marvel 3 may only be off the table for now

Marvel has reportedly pressed pause on the development of future Eternals, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel sequels due to their new strategy that will see the studio pivot to more sure-fire successful franchises going forward. That makes sense from a business standpoint even if it does limit creativity, but it doesn't rule out the possibility of them returning to these characters' stories in the future.

That's something that a new report from Rejected Scooper seems to support, as the scooper has revealed that Marvel is still planning on making a third Captain Marvel movie but that it would now likely come out after Avengers: Secret Wars instead, meaning that it would take place after the Multiverse Saga comes to an end. Given how important Carol Danvers (and both Ms. Marvel and Photon) was expected to be to the Multiverse Saga, that will likely disappoint fans hoping for a more imminent sequel, but it's good news simply because it means a third movie is still a possibility.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers in Marvel Studios' THE MARVELS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2023 MARVEL. /

An extended wait would allow Marvel to figure out what went wrong with the MCU leading up to the release of The Marvels and why it failed the way it. Remember, the first Captain Marvel movie was one of the MCU's multiple billion-grossers, so a sequel made complete sense. And yet that sequel is now the lowest-grossing movie out of all 33 films. If they can figure out how that happened, and how to recreate the success of Captain Marvel, it would make sense to go ahead with a third movie. But they likely need time to do that.

The character is still expected to play a significant role in the Multiverse Saga, though, as a recent report from Marvel insider AlexFromCC has suggested that the character's role in the immediate future has not been diminished or changed after the underperformance of The Marvels and that she will continue to use the Quantum Bangles to figure out a way to bring Monica Rambeau back to their universe.

Taking all of that into account, it's likely that we will see the Eternals, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel again in future projects. Of the three, however, it sounds like it's Captain Marvel who stands the best chance of getting another sequel at some point down the line. Granted, a lower-budget Ant-Man movie in the vein of the first two could probably resurrect that franchise, but with Carol Danvers' importance to the MCU going forward, it wouldn't be too shocking if Marvel rethinks its strategy and finds a way to bring her back for a third movie at some point down the line.

As with all rumors, it's important to take this one with a grain of salt, but the possibility of Marvel cancelling (or even shelving) ideas does indicate the era that they are in. And any project that comes out in the future will likely have a lot more thought put into it in order to avoid anymore potential underperformances.

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