For a franchise that is scaling back, the MCU sure does have a lot on their docket

Disney CEO Bob Iger wants Marvel to cut back on output in order to improve the quality of their content. But that hasn’t stopped the MCU from moving forward with dozens of movies and television shows.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine/Logan in 20th Century Studios/Marvel Studios' DEADPOOL & WOLVERINE. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2024 20th Century Studios / © and ™ 2024 MARVEL.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine/Logan in 20th Century Studios/Marvel Studios' DEADPOOL & WOLVERINE. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2024 20th Century Studios / © and ™ 2024 MARVEL. /

Is Marvel’s current messaging a little inconsistent? Bob Iger is the CEO of Disney, and therefore the boss of everyone at Marvel Studios. He has been critical of recent Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings because viewership has seen a decline in the past few years. Iger has gone on record declaring that they plan to reduce output to no more than three movies and two shows per year.

While his statements have made headlines earlier this month, there have been plenty of other MCU announcements in the weeks that followed. Despite Bob Iger’s cutback tactic, Marvel is building excitement over many upcoming movies and TV series that they are planning on releasing over the next several years.

Let’s look at the movie schedule first. Captain America: Brave New World, Thunderbolts*, The Fantastic Four, and Blade all have 2025 release dates. That already breaks with Bob Iger’s directive. With the first three gaining some production attention, perhaps Blade will get pushed to 2026, pursuing a spot closer to the fifth Avengers movie.

That leaves room for one more 2026 movie. Maybe that could be X-Men, which just secured screenwriter Michael Lesslie, in preparations to concoct all the mutant ingredients that the MCU has gathered and likely tying into Deadpool and Wolverine. But don’t forget that Thor 5 is also coming and will pay off the Hercules set up from Thor: Love and Thunder. Then there is Armor Wars, which has pivoted from a series to a theatrical endeavor, spotlighting Don Cheadle’s War Machine in lieu of a fourth Iron Man movie.

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Captain America in Marvel Studios' CAPTAIN AMERICA: BRAVE NEW WORLD. Photo by Eli Adé. © 2024 MARVEL. /

What about all of the other Marvel Studios movies that there has been plenty of chatter about? Apparently, Ryan Coogler is talking with Marvel about Black Panther 3, while Tom Holland is constantly teasing another Spidey adventure, and Simu Liu promises that Shang-Chi 2 is in motion. It would also seem inevitable for the Eternals to follow-up their 2021 feature, although the characters may appear in other works, so we can exclude that sequel when adding up the films for now.

Therefore, moving Blade to post-2025, and including two Avenger assemblages, currently penciled in for 2026 and 2027, that adds up to nine movies, that are in various stages of development. Bringing three a year to theaters would take us all the way to the end of 2028. It might be manageable to stick with Iger’s output restriction, assuming news doesn’t break about Doctor Strange 3 (Charlize Theron’s Clea was revealed at the end of Multiverse of Madness) or a fourth Guardians of the Galaxy (a new team was formed in the third gathering and, more importantly, the end-credits tag proclaims that the Legendary Star-Lord will return).

Even more restrictive than the three movies guideline is holding Marvel to only two shows per year. They will certainly surpass that this year, with Echo out of the gates in 2024, X-Men ’97 concluding in the Spring, and Agatha All Along dropping on Disney Plus this Fall. Animated series Eyes of Wakanda and Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man are also expected to come out this year. Perhaps Iger is referring only to live-action MCU shows, in which case Marvel might reach their quota for 2024. Either way, it is still surprising how many live-action television seasons they have lined up when their CEO is claiming to scale back.

Marvel Television has confirmed Daredevil: Born Again and Ironheart for 2025. Now it has been revealed that Vision Quest, another WandaVision by-product, will head to Disney Plus in 2026. That leaves one more spot that year. Will it go to the live-action Wakanda show that Ryan Coogler and Danai Gurira have been attached to? Production is also moving forward for Wonder Man, starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen as Simon Williams. There are plans for a Nova series, which would be a Guardians of the Galaxy semi-spin-off, considering the Nova Corps debuted in that trilogy, but the show would certainly feature a new lead as the titular hero.

Details have also emerged about a potential second season of Hawkeye, while Ms. Marvel Season 2 is in discussions. And characters like Moon Knight and Werewolf by Night will likely be continuing in Midnight Suns. Although, if Blade, Doctor Strange, or Clea join the ensemble, the project may advance as a cinematic feature.

Based on the “Iger counter” rule, starting in 2025, these nine or ten seasons at a rate of two per year would take us pretty close to 2030. That is veering into James Cameron Avatar territory, where fans would be waiting many years to watch some of these stories unfold. One has to wonder how strictly Iger's public comments will actually be enforced by Marvel Studios. It sounds like a good business model, to focus on quality over quantity, although a bombardment of MCU movie and show announcements appears to contradict that strategy.

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