Canceled Marvel Series Moves to Rival Streaming App Amidst Disney+ Upheaval

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The image displays the word "Marvel," with each letter filled with colorful images of various Marvel superheroes and scenes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The background is a dark gradient.

Credit: Marvel Studios

The Walt Disney Company is losing its stranglehold over Marvel.

MCU characters with the Disney+ logo
Credit: Disney+

Disney bought Marvel Studios for a cool $4 billion in 200, right around the same time CEO Bob Iger was on a purchasing spree that included Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Fox. Until recently, this was paying off for the Mouse in a big way. The Marvel Cinematic Universe racked up higher and higher box office numbers until, somewhat abruptly, it didn’t.

The last several years have seen MCU movies begin to falter and bomb at the box office, with the most recent, The Marvels (2023), performing the worst of any theatrically released movie in the franchise. At the same time, Disney+ MCU series like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Secret Invasion ballooned in cost while attracting smaller audiences.

Related: Marvel Boss Is Happy That the MCU Is Failing, Apparently “Much More Comfortable”

A smiling Bob Iger is superimposed in front of a colorful montage featuring the characters from the Avengers film series.
Credit: Inside the Magic

In response, Disney CEO and Marvel chief Kevin Feige have been cutting costs in every conceivable way. Entire departments of Marvel Studios have been jettisoned, numerous (but not all) film and TV projects have been canceled, and the entire upcoming MCU theatrical release schedule has been overhauled.

The Marvel Television brand has also been revived to handle new shows like Agatha All Along and Ironheart after a number of years of dormancy. It seems that part of the strategy for revitalizing the MCU is to restructure; unexpectedly, that means more and more MCU content is becoming available on rival streaming platforms.

When it launched in 2019, Disney+ promised to offer not just (mostly) every piece of content the Mouse had ever produced but would also be the exclusive home of the MCU. Five years and four billion dollars of streaming losses later, Disney is allowing more MCU content for other platforms.

Promotional image for marvel studios' series "what if...?" featuring various animated marvel characters positioned around a central thanos, each holding a different colored infinity stone.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Most notably, Marvel Studios has teamed up with tech giant Apple to produce What If…? – An Immersive Story, a new MCU story that can only be accessed via the usage of Apple Vision Pro, a $3,499 piece of technology. Marvel describes it:

Marvel Studios and ILM Immersive announce “What If…? – An Immersive Story”, the first-ever interactive Disney+ Original story coming exclusively to Apple Vision Pro. Fans will be invited to step inside the Multiverse like never before and have the chance to dive into an immersive, narrative-driven and innovative story in mixed reality. Connected to the critically acclaimed Disney+ Original animated series What If…?, was given a first look at the hour-long experience, diving into what fans can expect when it is released soon as a new app for Apple Vision Pro.

Now, a series previously produced under the Marvel Television banner for Hulu has popped up on The CW streaming service, a platform owned by Disney rival Warner Bros. Discovery. Almost exactly a year after Marvel’s Runaways was deleted from Disney+ as part of the company’s frequent culling of unprofitable content, it has now emerged on a competitor’s service.

Promotional poster for Marvel's "Runaways" featuring six teenagers standing side by side with a backdrop of palm trees and a sunset sky. The title "RUNAWAYS" is prominently displayed in bold, futuristic text above them.
Credit: Marvel Television

Related: Marvel Confirms Radical MCU Reboot, ‘Deadpool 3’ Release Canceled

Marvel’s Runaways was created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage and adapted from the Marvel Comics series of the same name by Brian Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. It followed a group of teenagers who discover their parents are part of a supervillain organization and starred Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta.

It lasted for three seasons on Hulu and occupied the same semi-canonical MCU status as shows like Cloak & Dagger and the Netflix Daredevil series.

A group of six young people with serious expressions stands against a colorful, misty background. Each person has a distinct style, from casual to goth. An ominous ring and a dinosaur are also visible in the background, adding a mysterious atmosphere.
Credit: Marvel Television

Disney used to keep an iron grip on all MCU content. But now, the company’s increasingly dire financial straits and superhero fatigue seem to be forcing it to try to market the MCU elsewhere. And now, you can’t watch Runaways on Disney+, but you can on The CW. That’s not a great sign for the future.

Do you think Marvel can recover from its downward slide? Tell us in the comments below!

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