Marvel Ditches Disney+ Format Amid Studio Overhaul

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Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in 'Loki' 2.01

Credit: Marvel Studios

2023 has been a difficult year for Marvel. While it could be argued that Marvel has been struggling for a while, it’s become the most obvious with its disappointing performances throughout the past year.

Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) was the worst-performing Marvel film in its decade and a half of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film releases, and Secret Invasion was the biggest disappointment released on Disney+.

When Disney+ debuted in 2019, nobody could’ve imagined just how big the streaming platform would become or how much the company would come to rely on it for releasing original content. Unfortunately, that success didn’t last very long as it was revealed earlier this year that Disney+ has not only not been profitable for the company, but that Disney+ has also lost millions of subscribers in the last year.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in 'Secret Invasion'
Credit: Marvel Studios

In an effort to help combat the loss of subscribers and the cost of the platform, Disney+ removed dozens of original content from the streaming platform earlier this year, much to the outrage of fans. Not only did it raise concerns about how much Disney was spending on its projects, but it also raised concerns about the ethics and loss of media in the streaming era, where none of the content is physical, which makes it much easier to be lost forever.

While there’s been an increase in the amount of streaming platforms available to viewers in the last few years, there’s also been much outrage about the rising costs of streamers, the revert back to commercials and ad-based subscription tiers, and an overall curiosity and concern about the future of streaming. Now, it seems as though Marvel has been caught in the crossfires of the rise of streaming, even as it faces rising discontent among its fanbase.

Marvel has been facing claims of superhero fatigue and a declining fan interest since 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Recently, there have been calls for the MCU to launch a soft reboot, to leave the Avengers behind and focus on new characters, and to slow down their overall quantity of projects. Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke out against the studio over the summer, essentially stating that they had no business in television and had sabotaged themselves with the amount of projects they’ve released in the last few years.

charlie cox (left) and vincent d'onofrio (right) in daredevil prison scene
Credit: Netflix/Marvel Studios

Now, it seems as though Marvel has finally learned from its recent disappointing Disney+ failures and has announced they’re completely changing their entire process moving forward. In a recent report by The Hollywood Reporter (THR), it’s been revealed that in the wake of the success of Loki Season 2 so far, the delays caused by the ongoing Hollywood strike, and the troubled Daredevil reboot, the studio is overhauling its process.

Daredevil: Born Again has officially been delayed to 2025 as the production has scrapped its head writers, Chris Ord and Matt Corman, as well as its directors. Marvel’s previous way of creating its series was to produce an entire $150 million season of a limited series without first pitching a pilot or using showrunners to help form a cohesive story.

Instead, the studio relied on film executives from its other projects and used post-production efforts to fix anything that wasn’t working. On top of that, but most of the MCU projects on Disney+ since the release of WandaVision back in 2021 have served as tie-ins to other, bigger projects.

wanda-and-doctor-strange
Credit: Marvel Studios

In hindsight, WandaVision served as a prequel to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier sets up Captain America: Brave New World and  Thunderbolts, Loki set up Quantumania and the upcoming Avengers movies by introducing Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror/He Who Remains. Essentially, most of Marvel’s 32 (and counting) movies and nine streaming series have become required viewing to watch any of the studio’s future projects.

It’s a daunting task to take on for new fans and has only gotten more convoluted with the current Multiverse Saga. This is one of the reasons the studio has been accused of suffering from “superhero fatigue,” as there’s so much background audiences have to keep up with.

According to THR, Marvel has decided to switch its focus, promising to hire dedicated showrunners and television executives to help steer the ship of Marvel TV going forward. In addition, showrunners will also pitch pilots and create show bibles instead of an entire series being crafted from the start only to be met with issues and leadership changes along the way.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) in 'Loki' S2
Credit: Marvel Studios

With the release of Loki Season 2 (currently the only MCU series to have a second season), Marvel is also exploring the concept of longer-form serialized shows, focusing on several seasons and character development rather than the one-off, limited series fans have seen so far.

“Marvel wants to create shows that run several seasons, where characters can take time to develop relationships with the audience rather than feeling as if they are there as a setup for a big crossover event,” the article states. This is an exciting breath of fresh air for fans who are ready to see more of the characters they love develop and grow within their own stories rather than being shoehorned into a quick project in order to introduce the next one.

This could mean a return to the format of hit shows like Netflix’s Daredevil series or even Marvel’s own Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the near future. We, for one, applaud Marvel for this major attempt to overhaul a sinking studio and can’t wait to see what the studio creates as a result of this decision.

What do you think of Marvel returning to multi-season, character-focused shows? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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