Marvel Under Fire for “Mistreatment,” Suffers Major Blow

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Tom Hiddleston as Loki and Owen Wilson as Mobius in Disney+ Marvel series Loki

Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

The news of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in a monumental industry-wide strike has brought hundreds of discussions up about what exactly they’re negotiating for.

Back in May, the writers failed to come to an agreement with the studios in regard to their major concerns involving pay, streaming residuals, and AI in film and writing. When it became clear that SAG was fighting for the same reasons, most people assumed that their negotiations would have similar results, failing to reach an agreement that both SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) could accept.

SAG-AFTRA joins the WGA in a momentous double strike
Credit: USA Today

It’s given a major spotlight to the issue of streaming services, especially as streaming has risen in popularity in the last few years thanks to platforms like Netflix and Hulu that led the way for Disney+, AppleTV, Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Max, and more. One of Netflix’s biggest shows, which arguably cemented the platform as an industry juggernaut, was their original series, Orange is the New Black, which first premiered in 2013.

Netflix's popular Orange is the New Black
Credit: Netflix

Earlier this week, Netflix celebrated the show’s tenth anniversary, even as SAG announced their decision to strike. In response, several actors who worked on the show took to social media to disclose that many of them were barely paid, and have received only a handful of dollars in residual pay four years after the show ended.

stranger-things-cast
Photo Credit: Netflix

Matt McGorry, who played Officer John Bennett for three seasons, revealed that he “kept my day job the entire time I was on the show because it paid better than the mega-hit TV show we were on.” Others explained that being in the show cost them money due to covering their own travel and lodgings, while others have received $20 residual checks years later.

Daredevil (L) and Jennifer Walters (R)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Recently, a writer for Marvel shared a similar experience, proving that even a major studio like Marvel or Disney is pulling the same move, years later. Cody Ziglar wrote for Disney+’s She-Hulkwhich was released late last year and became the seventh-watched series on Disney+ for 2022. Ziglar wrote Episode 8, which features the return of the fan-favorite character, Daredevil, officially inducting him into the MCU, and was one of the most popular episodes of the show.

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Credit: Marvel Studios

For his work on the episode and the amount of streams and success the show has had, Ziglar revealed that his residual check has come to a total of $396. “This was one of the most watched episodes of television, of one of the most watched television series on Disney +. Even made multiple “best episodes of 2022″ lists. My residual check was $396. This is why we’re striking,” he shared on Twitter.

Writers (and actors) often don’t make nearly as much as people think, often working a day job or several just to stay afloat while still getting to do something they love. In comparison, studio executives and CEOs make millions each year, not including bonuses, and are fighting hard to keep the money in their pockets rather than giving the credit and the pay where it’s due. For one of the most successful Disney+ and Marvel shows in 2022 to give their writer a check of under $400 proves that the industry needs to change.

Stay tuned for the latest updates from Inside the Magic.

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