Bob Iger Makes Announcement as Multiple Marvel Stars Confirm Indefinite Hiatus From MCU

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Chris Pratt crying as he decides whether or not to shoot Gamora.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Something is happening with Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Change is afoot in a way that is both promising and concerning as the franchise tries to regain its sure-footing and return to the box office with a bang.

Kevin Feige at D23 Expo
Credit: D23

In two months, Marvel Studios will reveal the latest entry in the MCU and its current Phase Five sequence. Deadpool & Wolverine (2024) succeeds Nia DaCosta’s The Marvels (2023) and will see Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman debut as the eponymous duo in the MCU.

There is a lot riding on the success of Shawn Levy’s upcoming movie–the first major foray into the 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios) catalog of characters. Disney famously acquired 21st Century Fox and its assets in 2019, wherein rights to characters from the X-Men and Deadpool franchises became owned by Marvel Studios.

Wolverine and Deadpool stand in the middle of a deserted street, dressed in their superhero costumes, with a damaged pharmacy and debris in the background.
Credit: Marvel Studios

When the first Deadpool & Wolverine trailer dropped during Superbowl LVIII, it confirmed that Disney was holding up its wish to keep the Reynolds-led movie series R-rated. From “pegging” to f-bombs, the Merc with a Mouth is well and truly back, except this time, he goes by “Marvel Jesus” and is on hand to change the cinematic universe forever–his words, not ours.

Numerous rumors and reports support the notion of a rebooted MCU, positioning Deadpool & Wolverine as some sort of Marvel fulcrum.

Deadpool in red and black suit converses with Logan/Wolverine in a dimly lit room, adorned with lights, suggesting a casual, slightly tense atmosphere.
Credit: Marvel Studios

With flops like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) and The Marvels in the past and a new wave of movies, including Captain America: Brave New World (2025) and The Fantastic Four (2025), in the future, this third Deadpool outing–which is not Deadpool 3, says director Shawn Levy–is set to change everything.

It’s not just inside the live-action Marvel Universe that is seeing change; no, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger just announced a major alteration that sees restrictions placed on its blockbuster franchise.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige presenting at Comic-Con with various cast members of the MCU
Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

There’s a reason it seems so long ago that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige revealed the Phase Five and Phase Six slates to ecstatic crowds.

Among the announcements were an 18-episode Daredevil series called Daredevil: Born Again, a Thunderbolts movie, and two new Avengers films, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Yet over time, many of these initial plans have collapsed in some way or another.

Thunderbolts cast
Credit: Marvel Studios

Daredevil: Born Again‘s production overhaul ushered in a new way of making television at the studio, while Jonathan Majors’ (He Who Remains/Kang the Conqueror/Victor Timely) arrest and guilty verdict sparked The Kang Dynasty to become simply Avengers 5.

Many things have changed over the last two years, but those all came to a head recently as Bob Iger revealed on the latest Q2 Disney earnings call that Marvel Studios will release at least two but no more than three MCU movies per year. Similarly, Disney+ would stream a maximum of two new shows annually.

Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Credit: Marvel Studios

Oversaturation has been the crux of many of the MCU’s problems, and with Iger’s vested interest in the franchise, the ship seems to be steadying. The CEO has criticized Marvel’s film and TV strategy in the past, commenting on how the studio was not industry-leading in the TV space, how they reuse the same characters, and how audience, or superhero, fatigue is not an issue—the quality of the movies is.

Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) dancing on Morag
Credit: Marvel Studios

Amid these changes, both inside and outside of the MCU, are the threads left behind in other Multiverse Saga films. Can fans rely on Marvel Studios to circle back to things like Hercules (Brett Goldstein) in the post-credits scene of Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)? Will Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) actually return as promised in the final moments of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)?

Nothing seems concrete as Iger and Feige orchestrate the revival of the franchise, and to add to this uncertainty, multiple Marvel stars have spoken out about their unknown status within the MCU.

Doctor Strange screaming with his third eye
Credit: Marvel Studios

When asked by The Playlist about whether fans may see the Sorcerer Supreme in a potential Doctor Strange 3, Benedict Cumberbatch said, “Who knows!”

“We will see. We will find out,” he told the outlet. “I’m not sure where he’s been, what he’s been up to, or who he’s been with, but yeah, I know as little as you.”

Clea (Charlize Theron) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' (2022)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Audiences were introduced to Charlize Theron’s Clea in the mid-credits scene of Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but where she will reappear is anyone’s guess.

One may presume, though, that the pair of magic-wielders could likely return in the upcoming Avengers movies, considering that Michael Waldron penned the Doctor Strange sequel and is now scribing Avengers 5 and Secret Wars.

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord in the MCU
Credit: Marvel Studios

Additionally, as Comic Book Movie points out, Chris Pratt has also spoken out regarding his apparent return to the MCU following the disbanding of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

“It’s hard to imagine what that would look like, so I guess I’d just have to take it on a case-by-case basis,” he responded in an IGN interview asking about his reprise of Star-Lord. “Of course, I’d be open to it. I love the character. It changed my life. If it came along and it made sense and I felt like it was a story worth telling, then I’d certainly, certainly be open to it. I love playing Star-Lord.”

Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, and Zoe Saldana as Gamora with Blurp in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3' (2023)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: With Sebastian Stan Out as Bucky, Marvel Officially Reveals Avengers Plan for 2025

Pratt, who is currently promoting his new movie Garfield (2024), added that while he would be up for coming back, it would be hard to do it without Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy director James Gunn. Gunn famously wrapped up work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023) before heading to Warner Bros. Discovery to become the co-CEO of DC Studios alongside Peter Safran.

Guardians of the Galaxy cast
Credit: Marvel Studios

With two prominent figures, both of whom have open-ended storylines in the MCU, being uncertain of their future suggests that Marvel Studios may not have a concrete direction in which it may go.

Now, with just three years to the projected release of Avengers: Secret Wars, everything fans have grown accustomed to in the ongoing Multiverse Saga, from Phase Four to now, could all be tossed into the air.

The Avengers (Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Black Widow)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Following Deadpool Ban, Disney Already Has Its Captain Marvel Replacement for the MCU

Hopefully not, though. Deadpool & Wolverine‘s reported “mind-blowing” post-credits scene may give the MCU its much-needed boost and set the franchise on a new trajectory. And, with more new characters coming next year in the form of Marvel’s First Family, the Fantastic Four, there is a chance the comic book movie behemoth can reach the heights it found in Phase Three.

How do you think Disney and Marvel will alter the MCU? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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