Disney Abandons MCU, Massive Exodus Reported

in Entertainment, Marvel

Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man with the Infinity Gauntlet

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has fallen on hard times, according to recent reports.

It all began with the release of Iron Man in 2008, directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist turned armored superhero. This film marked the inception of the MCU and laid the foundation for an interconnected universe that would span multiple movies and TV shows.

The Avengers original lineup which Marvel may be about to reboot
Credit: Marvel Studios

The success of Iron Man was followed by a series of interconnected films, all building towards a larger narrative. The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) introduced more key characters and expanded the universe, culminating in the ensemble spectacle of The Avengers (2012), directed by Joss Whedon. This film brought together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), forming the iconic superhero team.

As the MCU progressed, it delved deeper into its characters’ backstories and introduced new heroes, each with their own solo films and interwoven storylines. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), directed by James Gunn, introduced a cosmic element to the universe, while Ant-Man (2015) offered a smaller-scale adventure with a comedic twist.

The phases of the MCU continued to unfold, with each phase comprising a series of interconnected films that built towards a climactic event. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018) pushed the overarching narrative forward, leading to the monumental Avengers: Endgame (2019). Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Endgame provided a satisfying conclusion to several character arcs while also setting the stage for a new era of storytelling in the MCU.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) dying looking at Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in 'Avengers: Endgame'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Beyond the main Avengers storyline, the MCU expanded further with a diverse array of characters and genres. Films like Black Panther (2018) celebrated African culture and became a cultural phenomenon, while Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) reintroduced the beloved web-slinger into the MCU. The mystical and magical side of the universe was explored in Doctor Strange (2016), and a comedic heist vibe characterized Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018).

However, as Disney moved away from the original Avengers story and into Phase 5, things began to change in a massive way. Many fans began to express “superhero fatigue,” and, for the first time since the MCU was created, we began to see a few different movies and Disney+ shows be met with criticism and lackluster box office numbers.

Recently, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 (2023) showed that there is still an appetite to see some superhero movies in the movie theaters, but others like Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), show that fans aren’t near as excited about the prospects for Phase 6 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as President Kevin Feige might hope.

Chris Pratt in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Credit: Marvel Studios

The case has been made that Disney has abandoned what worked for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that many fans simply don’t care about the myriad of characters that the company is trying to introduce to the MCU moving forward. Fans have called for a major reboot or to bring back beloved stars for another run, even if that meant somehow devising a storyline to do so in an alternate universe.

While there are some exciting projects on the horizon– including another Spider-Man project– many fans have shared lackluster opinions about Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and several others, including the latest Captain America project.

A report from The Direct indicates that cutbacks from Disney could affect the MCU in a big way, including potential cancellations. Comments from CEO Bob Iger also point in that direction.

“We’re focused on improving the quality of our films and on better economics, not just reducing the number of titles we release but also the cost per title,” Iger said. “And we’re maximizing the full impact of our titles by embracing the multiple distribution windows at our disposal, enabling consumers to access their content in multiple ways.”

Bob Iger poses in front of a sign reading "The Walt Disney Company."
Credit: ABC

With Disney attempting to get “better economics” on projects and the company already seeing how badly-received some of its Marvel projects have been, paired with the fact that they cost a fortune to make, it does stand to reason that we could see some major cuts to MCU Phase 6.

Disney could attempt to move in a completely different direction following the ongoing Hollywood strike, but only time will tell what direction the company chooses to go.

Right now, the only three films confirmed for Phase 6 of the MCU are Fantastic Four, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and Avengers: Secret Wars.

What do you think Disney should do with the MCU? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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