Why the downscaling of the MCU is a good thing

Marvel Studios is adopting a less-is-more approach and that's exactly what the MCU needs right now.

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool/Wade Wilson in Marvel Studios' DEADPOOL & WOLVERINE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios / © and ™ 2024 MARVEL.
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool/Wade Wilson in Marvel Studios' DEADPOOL & WOLVERINE. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios / © and ™ 2024 MARVEL. /

Rumors have circulated for over a year now about the Marvel Cinematic Universe downscaling and cutting back on new releases. It's all had to do with a number of recent titles that either underperformed or received negative reviews (or, in some cases, both). And it has reportedly led to a reshuffling of sorts behind the scenes at Marvel Studios.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has already mentioned a slowdown in MCU content, stating that Disney will be cutting back on some projects, commenting:

"In our zeal to greatly increase volume partially tied to this wanting to chase more global subs for our streaming platform, some of our studios lost a little focus. So the first step that we’ve taken is that we’ve reduced volume, we reduced output, particularly in Marvel."

Bob Iger

With Iger's comments come the rumors that the MCU has cancelled a number of projects, including Captain Marvel 3, Ant-Man 4 and Eternals 2. While the studio itself has not yet confirmed if this is the case, there are likely to be other projects silently cancelled or reworked, perhaps even some of the rumored Disney Plus shows that have not received release dates or updates in some time.

While this may at first seem like Disney is losing a bit of faith in the MCU juggernaut, it is actually a positive thing for both the franchise and fans. With the arrival of the Disney Plus streaming service in 2019, fans were consuming more new MCU content than ever. With the studio pumping out 3-4 movies per year added with some series, there was a lot of content to engage with, which made it harder for the more casual fans of the franchise to keep up with.

The number of different MCU projects getting released is now a lot smaller than some of the more recent years. Marvel is only releasing one film this year in the highly-anticipated Deadpool and Wolverine. This film could be set to break a number of records, with the return of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and his long-awaited team-up with Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool set to be a major draw for fans of the MCU and Fox's X-Men franchise.

The fact that this is the only MCU movie coming out in 2024 will undoubtedly make fans even more excited for it. With the market not being as oversaturated with superhero films this year - something which has been a common complaint of some moviegoers - the ones that are released may get more love from mainstream fans, especially in this case as it has been a long time since we have seen Deadpool and Logan on the big screen.

While Marvel have a number of films set for release in 2025, the slower pacing will allow fans to have a bit of a "breather" from constant releases and to build anticipation for future releases. It also allows Marvel time to figure out a plan for the upcoming Avengers releases and what they would like to do in regard to the Kang the Conqueror plot line.

Marvel will still continue to release MCU projects and Disney will want the MCU juggernaut to continue at full strength, however slowing down releases and taking the time to plan out the future is the right move. While Phases 1-3 felt very connected and were building towards a bigger story that concluded with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Phases 4 and 5 have not felt as connected in their progression of an overall story or like they are building towards the next major crossover.

Limited releases allows for more planning time to be put into the upcoming projects and that could see Marvel start to finally connect the pieces towards the next big "engame" and tie up the first major arc since the Avengers fought Thanos. The Multiverse Saga has only really begun to take center stage in titles like Loki season 2 and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and it looks likely to continue with Deadpool and Wolverine. This slow down in content could allow Marvel to continue this as they work towards concluding the saga on a high. Here's hoping they can indeed make that happen.

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