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Disney is slowing down Marvel Studios' release schedule: Here's what that could mean

Disney CEO Bob Iger wants to see two Marvel movies a year, with two Marvel shows on Disney+

Captain America Brave New World
Image credit: Marvel Studios

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get smaller.

Talking during a recent Disney fiscal earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger — who has previously been vocal about his feelings surrounding a potential glut of Marvel content — revealed that Marvel will be significantly reducing its movie and television output over the next few years.

“I’ve been working hard with the studio to reduce output and focus more on quality, that’s particularly true with Marvel,” Iger explained. “We’re slowly going to decrease volume and go to probably about two TV series a year instead of what had become four, and reduce our film output from maybe four a year to two or at the maximum three. And we’re working hard on what that path is, we’ve got a couple of good films in ’25 and then we’re heading to more Avengers, which we’re extremely excited about.”

That’s a significant drop down from the three-movies-per-year-with-four-shows-on-Disney+ model Marvel had been operating on prior to 2023’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes — and it also suggests that Marvel and Disney are going to be reworking their release calendar once again in the coming months to meet this new schedule.

As things currently stand, Marvel is set to release four movies in 2025, with another four scheduled for the following year, although three of the 2026 dates for Marvel are for movies that have not been officially announced. Tellingly, Iger said that Marvel has “a couple of good films in ’25,” which would suggest not that he doesn’t like half of Marvel’s output for the year, but that the slowdown may push two of the four currently-dated-for-2025 movies — Captain America: Brave New World, Thunderbolts, Fantastic Four, and Blade — into the following year.

Related: What's wrong at Disney? Too many Disney projects, says its CEO Bob Iger

If we were to place money on what will be announced, we’d guess that 2025 will end up being a year with three Marvel movies, with Blade being the one pushed out to 2026 to accompany the already announced and dated Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and potentially one further movie. (Remember, Iger did say that Disney was going to “slowly decrease” Marvel’s output, so we shouldn’t be expecting a Thanos-style halving of movies instantly.) The as-yet-unannounced projects scheduled for that year will then be either pushed out even further, or even… gasp cancelled outright. (It sounds dramatic, I know, but Marvel has dropped movies in pre-production before; Inhumans was in development as a movie before it became an ABC series, for example.)

What this means for Disney+ projects is both trickier and easier to consider. Right now, although there are a number of Disney+ projects that are known to be in the works — a third What If? season, Marvel Zombies, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, a second X-Men ’97 season, a Wakanda-based animated series, a live-action Wonder Man series, and many more (again, there’s a list right here)— only one of those projects has even a tentative date: Agatha: Darkhold Diaries, which is set for some point in Fall 2024. That makes it easier for Disney and Marvel to push the shows around the schedule as necessary without drawing too much attention — as does the fact that, for the most part, the shows that are known to be in development or production don’t seem to be too tied in with the meta-arc of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga.

On a practical level, however, Iger’s announcement means that Marvel is going to be tightening its belt in such a way that will leave a number of projects (and those working on them) in limbo, if not entirely cancelled. It’s a contraction that makes sense for Disney’s bottom line, and is likely going to address the feeling of burnout some fans have been complaining about — but it’s still a hard pill to swallow for those who have been looking forward to these projects for personal or professional reasons.

Expect more on Marvel’s changing slate across the next few months.

Popverse has assembled everything you need to know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from our MCU watch order to a guide to upcoming Marvel movies and TV shows. Plus, we've taken the time to rank the entire MCU and compile the biggest outstanding questions from Marvel's connected films. Enjoy.