December 2, 2023

Shortly after the 2023 actors’ strike got here to an finish, as SAG-AFTRA and the studios reached a brand new three-year deal, Disney shared new launch dates for 4 upcoming Marvel motion pictures. These delays are certain to frustrate followers of the franchise, however given the unhappy state of the MCU, this may be the break that each the viewers and Marvel want.

As for the brand new launch dates, Deadpool 3 is now set for July 26, 2024; Captain America: Courageous New World hits theaters on February 14, 2025; Thunderbolts lands on July 25, 2025; and Blade strikes to November 7, 2025. That’s proper — we’re solely getting one Marvel film in 2024, and it received’t arrive till the second half of the yr.

I believe this needs to be a internet constructive for everybody concerned. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a bloated mess, and as I’ve identified on half a dozen events, the 4 lowest-rated MCU initiatives up to now have all been launched within the final three years (and The Marvels at the moment has a worse ranking than Thor: Love and Thunder on Rotten Tomatoes).

As a self-proclaimed fan of the MCU, I’ve felt obligated to maintain up with each new present and film. Most of the time, I’ve been let down by Marvel’s newest releases, from Physician Unusual within the Multiverse of Insanity to Secret Invasion. I don’t have comedian e-book fatigue — I’m enjoying and loving Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PS5 proper now! — however I’m struggling to get excited in regards to the MCU. I do know I’m not alone in that, and I’ve a sense that the subsequent 12 months are going to form the way forward for Marvel Studios and the MCU.

On Friday, The Marvels started enjoying in theaters. The preliminary response has been comparatively tepid, each from critics and field workplace projections. Nonetheless it finally ends up faring, there’s an honest likelihood that it is going to be the least financially profitable Marvel film in years.

After that, Marvel has three Disney+ exhibits on the docket: What If…? season 2 in December 2023, Echo on January 10, 2024, and X-Males ’97 in early 2024. These exhibits won’t seem to have a lot in frequent at first look, however they do have a key similarity: They aren’t beholden to the continued story of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga.

Actually, Echo would be the first mission underneath Marvel’s Highlight banner, which the studio describes as “a platform to convey extra grounded, character-driven tales to the display screen, and within the case of Echo, specializing in street-level stakes over bigger MCU continuity.” In different phrases, you don’t have to observe 30+ motion pictures to know what’s happening in Echo.

In the meantime, What If…? does discover alternate realities which are a part of the MCU multiverse, however these are principally standalone tales. And X-Males ’97 is a direct sequel to X-Males: The Animated Sequence from the ’90s. That’s three consecutive Marvel releases which have little or nothing to do with the multiverse, incursions, or the top of actuality.

After that comes Deadpool 3, which, as famous above, would be the solely Marvel Studios theatrical launch of 2024. The final time Marvel launched one film in a complete calendar yr was 2012. You in all probability bear in mind it, as a result of that was The Avengers.

Placing that a lot stress on Deadpool 3 isn’t honest to director Shawn Levy or producer and star Ryan Reynolds, however the film must be a smash hit. Marvel has one likelihood to get us again on board as we around the again half of the Multiverse Saga. If they’ll’t do it with a sequel to 2 of essentially the most profitable R-rated motion pictures of all time, it’d by no means occur.