When “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” closed out Marvel’s Phase 4, there was a sigh of relief from fans. The worst of the MCU was over, and fans could look forward to a new beginning with Phase 5. The biggest complaint about the previous phase was the sheer number of projects that were released. Within a span of only two years, the MCU had released a total of 18 projects. That’s an average of nine projects every year!
In 2021, it put out five TV series and four films, while in 2022, it put out three TV shows, films, and specials, respectively. But thankfully, that has all come to an end since the MCU will now reportedly release only two Disney+ MCU shows in 2023. So let’s find out what they are.
The Two MCU Disney+ Projects Getting Released in 2023
When Phase 4 was announced, fans were initially excited at the prospect of having so many shows and movies to enjoy. But they quickly realized that MCU was failing to maintain the same level of quality across all of their projects. Even keeping VFX issues aside, the plotting and characterization on multiple shows and even films were abysmal at worst and mediocre at best. To make matters worse, multiple projects getting released at the same time meant there wasn’t any time to discuss and dissect the previous project adequately before moving on to consume the next one.
But that’s all about to change in Phase 5. As per The Hollywood Reporter (THR), only the Tom Hiddleston-led “Loki” season 2 and Samuel L. Jackson starrer “Secret Invasion” will be released in 2023. Anything else is unlikely to arrive this year. So these two shows combined with the three films releasing this year, namely “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumia,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and “The Marvels,” mean that only five projects are premiering in 2023.
This is a far cry from the bevy of shows that were announced by Kevin Feige at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Back in 2022, the Marvel Studios boss announced five MCU shows for Disney+ in 2023. This included “What If…?” season 2, “Loki” season 2, “Echo,” “Agatha: Coven of Chaos,” and “Ironheart.” While “Agatha: Coven of Chaos” is still being filmed, “Echo” and “Ironheart” have reportedly wrapped the production. So why isn’t Marvel Studios releasing the completed projects already?
Why Is Marvel Studios Suddenly Spreading Out Content?
When Kevin Feige told Entertainment Weekly that the pace at which Marvel Studios is putting out shows would change, fans were delighted. After all, just like Feige, fans want every MCU show to stand out and gain appreciation from critics. However, this sudden change isn’t thanks to the fans endlessly criticizing the studio for its decisions. As per The Hollywood Reporter, the main reason is that Disney is tightening its belt.
Bob Iger, the Disney CEO, recently talked about curating franchise content since it’s insanely expensive to produce. He explained that Disney wants to put out quality on screen, but they also have to control the costs for it. After all, any Marvel Studios project, whether it’s a film or show, is rumored to cost upwards of $100 million each. This directive from Iger is a stark departure from a couple of years ago when the main directive across all streaming giants was to produce as many shows and movies as possible. This was to give audiences virtually unlimited content to choose from. All of it was done in a bid to ensure that subscribers remained subscribed to the streaming service after seeing the sheer volume of content on offer.
But the strategy has changed now. As THR’s expert said, these streamers can put out ten mediocre shows or instead have five truly great ones. Even at the end of the latter, people will continue to stay subscribed. Thus, cost-cutting makes sense. It’s important to note that Marvel Studios is Disney’s premiere supplier of content, and as a result, it is feeling these financial cuts sooner.
As per a THR source, Marvel’s budgets will be thinned, and costs will be enforced. So instead of Marvel Studios rushing out upwards of seven projects every year, they will have to carefully space out the shows and movies. After all, Disney won’t be giving them free rein over money anymore. As a result of this, projects that have already wrapped, like “Echo” and “Ironheart,” will spend more time in post-production. However, these budget cuts are likely a blessing for Marvel in disguise.
Fans and casual viewers alike were getting burned out over the MCU’s rushed output of shows, films, and specials. VFX professionals were also complaining over long work hours and Marvel’s rumored blacklisting policy. So Marvel Studios’ spacing out its content will ensure that there’s still fan enthusiasm for its films and shows. Additionally, the projects will also spend more time in post-production, which will hopefully fix their CGI issues. However, it remains to be seen if this report by THR is right or if Marvel Studios indeed releases all of its five announced shows for 2023.