As the future of the Marvel Studios release schedule remains up in the air as part of Disney's efforts to scale back on franchise content, Disney CEO Bob Iger might have just hinted at a wave of upcoming delays for several big Marvel projects.
During an earnings call on Feb. 7, Iger promoted Disney's upcoming film slate as he plugged several major theatrical releases set to drop in 2024, 2025, and 2026. In doing so, Iger notably left a few Marvel Studios projects off his list which has left us to wonder whether more delays are coming our way.
When discussing Disney's 2025 slate, Iger touted that next year will bring Captain America: Brave New World, Fantastic Four, Elio, Avatar 3, and Zootopia 2. Notice anything missing from the list? That's right, there was absolutely no mention at all of Thunderbolts or Blade which are currently slated to release on July 25, 2025 and November 7, 2025, respectively.
Considering Disney used the call to promote its biggest titles coming next year including two Marvel movies, it seems incredibly odd that there would be no mention of Thunderbolts or Blade. This seems to suggest that the two films might have been pushed back to 2026, which could be a result of the production delays both films have faced. Speaking of potential delays...
Avengers 5 might not be coming in 2026 after all...
Not only did Bob Iger cast doubts on the release plans for Thunderbolts and Blade, but he also seemed to suggest that Avengers 5 will no longer be coming in 2026. When promoting the films coming in 2026, Iger eagerly celebrated new additions to beloved franchises as he announced Frozen 3, Toy Story 5, and The Mandalorian movie would all be coming in 2026. He did not, however, mention Avengers 5 which seems like a major red flag.
The fact that Iger promoted franchise projects for 2026 and did not mentioned Avengers 5 absolutely seems like cause for concern as we can't imagine a world in which you wouldn't want to promote the release of an Avengers movie on an earnings call unless the movie was not coming out in the window of time you were discussing.
Originally, Avengers 5 was slated to release on May 1, 2026; however, the future of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty has been up in the air since Marvel parted ways with Jonathan Majors following his arrest. Marvel Studios has yet to confirm how it will be pivoting its creative plans now that Majors has been let go meaning there is no actor connected to Kang.
Many have speculated that Marvel will be dropping Kang and introducing another villain for the Avengers to face off against, but no plans have been announced. With the fate of the movie left up in the air, it's not actually surprising to think that Avengers 5 has been pushed back and will no longer be able to be released in theaters in May 2026 as Marvel originally intended.
Disney might be planning something big for SDCC 2024
With so many unknowns surrounding the Marvel Studios slate and Bob Iger hinting that delays could be coming for many Marvel movies, there is a really strong chance Marvel could be planning something big for San Diego Comic-Con 2024.
During the Disney earning call on Feb. 7, Iger hinted that Marvel Studios is currently ironing out its plans for the future telling those in attendance that "Marvel is starting to focus on some of its strongest franchises going forward, I’ll leave it at that." This seems to hint that the Marvel brass have been looking to figure out what the future will look like for the MCU and are shifting priorities.
Knowing that there is a strong chance Thunderbolts, Blade, and Avengers 5 have all been delayed, one would assume that Marvel Studios might look to return to Hall H at SDCC to unveil its updated plans. There was no Hall H presentation from the studio in 2023 meaning it's been two years since the last Hall H pannel from the studio.
With so many changes since the last presentation at SDCC, we imagine Marvel might look to use the event to make a splash and finally provide MCU fans with updates on the timeline for upcoming titles both on the movie and original series slate.
A SDCC panel could allow Marvel to reveal an updated cinematic release schedule, while also shining a light on some of the Disney+ shows in the mix as well. It also seems like a perfect time to announce the cast of Fantastic Four which is still coming in 2025!
We'll have to wait to see what Marvel might be planning, but it seems there are some changes going on behind closed doors. What will the future hold? We'll have to wait to see, but let's not be surprised if 2025 doesn't bring as many Marvel Studios theatrical released as we originally thought.