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Will Disney's cost-cutting plans mean the end of Marvel as a standalone company?

Marvel Entertainment, which handles everything non-Marvel Studios-related, has been considered "redundant" according to reports

Illustrated New Avengers cover featuirng Mickey and friends as the New Avengers
Image credit: Marvel

Popverse has been able to confirm news initially buried in the initial report of Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter’s dismissal from Disney: namely, that the Marvel Entertainment division within Disney has been declared “redundant and would be folded into larger Disney business units.” In the long run, this might be a far bigger story than Perlmutter’s leaving the company.

What is Marvel Entertainment?

To put it simply, the idea that Marvel Entertainment is now considered “redundant” by Disney (a term specifically used by the New York Times) and will be folded into separate Disney business units is a very, very big deal.

Marvel Entertainment is, simply, everything Marvel that isn’t movies or television: it’s the comics, the podcasts, the video games, the everything that isn’t directly under the purview of Marvel Studios (film and television). Popverse has confirmed with Disney that the Times’ reporting is accurate, meaning that this is, for all intents and purposes, the end of Marvel as a standalone company inside the larger Disney structure.

What was Marvel Entertainment?

Marvel Entertainment LLC was the latest incarnation of the publishing company that initially launched as Timely Publications, back in 1939. Officially, Marvel Entertainment — formerly Marvel Enterprises — was founded in 1998 as the result of a merger between Toy Biz and the then-bankrupt Marvel Entertainment Group. This deal is particularly notable in light of news of the removal of Ike Perlmutter as Marvel chairman, in that it was the merger of Toy Biz — which Perlmutter co-owned — and Marvel that placed Perlmutter in charge of the company until recently.

Marvel Entertainment currently has multiple units as part of its organization: Marvel Worldwide, Inc. which handles comic book publishing; Marvel Custom Solutions, which creates customized comic books for paying clients; Marvel Brands, LLC, which includes the Marvel Games division; Marvel New Media, which is responsible for podcasts and audio dramas featuring Marvel characters; and Cover Concepts, which is a company specializing in distributing sponsored material to public schools in the U.S.. (No, really.) Previously, Marvel Studios had been a unit of Marvel Entertainment, but that changed as the result of a 2015 re-organization that famously resulted from tension between Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and Perlmutter.

(Marvel Television, which was responsible for Netflix shows such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, as well as ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., was part of Marvel Entertainment before its closure in 2019.)

Prior to today's news, Marvel Entertainment was an independent entity inside the larger Disney structure, overseen by Ike Perlmutter.

Who remains at Marvel management now?

Following the layoffs at Marvel Entertainment today, Popverse has confirmed that Dan Buckley remains as president of Marvel Entertainment, reporting directly to Kevin Feige, who remains as chief creative officer for the company, a position he was awarded in 2019. At the time, it was reported that Feige would be solely responsible for Buckley, but the reality was that Buckley reported to both Feige and Perlmutter - something that is obviously no longer possible.

At this point, without any official statement from Marvel or Disney, it’s unclear what this means for Marvel’s publishing plans, video game releases, or anything in the longterm. Disney already has pre-existing publishing and gaming divisions, which are likely to take control of these projects, but it would not be unrealistic to expect layoffs and announcements in the coming months. Sources have indicated to Popverse that final decisions have yet to been made at time of writing, and that Marvel Entertainment staffers are as in the dark as the rest of us.


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