Disney CEO Confirms 1 Key Change to MCU Movies In 2025 & Beyond

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Captain Marvel, Nick Fury, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Loki, Disney and Marvel Studios logos

Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed a key change at Marvel Studios for its MCU movies in 2025 and beyond.

The MCU has faced more backlash than ever in recent years, prompting Marvel Studios to make behind-the-scenes changes to restore its once-infamous brand, particularly in redirecting to a quality-over-quantity approach.

More recently, the studio made massive creative overhauls to projects that had already gotten as far along as filming. Daredevil: Born Again saw a major creative shift before restarting production after the Hollywood strikes, and Captain America: Brave New World is set for massive reshoots despite having previously wrapped.

This comes as in-development movies such as The Fantastic Four, Blade, and Thunderbolts have now been through many rewrites under different scribes to perfect the scripts before starting filming this year.

Marvel Studios Is Shifting Its Big-Screen Focus

Drax, Doctor Strange, Okoye, Scarlet Witch
Marvel Studios

During Disney's Q1 2024 earnings call, CEO Bob Iger addressed how the studio is adapting, revealing a major change currently taking place at Marvel Studios to improve the quality of its future movies.

The Disney boss first explained how, as discussed previously, "volume sometimes can be detrimental to quality." He opened up about how the desire to increase output has made some of its studios "[lose] a little focus," which is why it has "reduced output, particularly at Marvel:"

"One of the things that I've been saying before is that volume sometimes can be detrimental to quality. And in our zeal to greatly increase volume, partially tied to wanting to chase more global subs for our streaming platform, some of our studios lost a little focus. So the first step that we've taken is that we've reduced volume. We've reduced output, particularly at Marvel..."

Iger interestingly noted a key change in direction with how Marvel Studios is "starting to focus on some of its stronger franchises" on the theatrical side, but didn't elaborate on what that may mean for its slate:

"We're very bullish about the films coming out.... I'd say we're leaning a little bit more into sequels and franchises, some that we feel great about, like 'Toy Story' is – for instance, obviously, Star Wars. 'Avatar,' we've talked about. Marvel is starting to focus on some of its stronger franchises going forward, but I'll leave it at that."

This change ought to come into force for MCU movies in 2025 and beyond, with this year's Deadpool & Wolverine already nearing completion. Going into next year, Marvel Studios already has some major projects on the cards with Captain America: Brave New World, Thunderbolts, The Fantastic Four, and Blade.

This principle of focusing on "stronger franchises" is a major one as Marvel Studios maps out Phase 6 - which starts in 2025 and recently had its first movie delayed - and beyond.

Iger explained how "leaning on franchises" will be a "smart thing" as it continues to work for audiences leaving their homes to see a movie in theaters as opposed to waiting for streaming and digital releases:

"And I think given the environment and given what it takes to get people out of their homes to see a film, doing that, leaning on franchises that are familiar is actually a smart thing. So we've got work to do still. We're not resting on our laurels or sitting on our hands. We're working hard at it, but I feel quite good about the trajectory."

This comes after Iger spoke to CNBC and noted how the addition of Disney+ content has "diluted focus and attention" at Marvel Studios as Marvel simultaneously worked to "increase their movie output:"

“Marvel’s a great example of that… They had not been in the TV business at any significant level. Not only did they increase their movie output, but they ended up making a number of television series, and frankly, it diluted focus and attention. That is, I think, more the cause than anything else.”

The Disney CEO previously noted last year in the Q1 2023 earnings call how its movie and TV show budgets have gotten "extraordinarily expensive," and it will now be looking to "reduce costs."

[ Disney Announces Major Cutback of Movies: Will Marvel Cancel Phase 6 Film Plans? ]

What Movie Franchises Are Marvel's New Priorities?

With five years passed since Endgame and no sign of Avengers 5 production beginning, Disney and Marvel Studios will undoubtedly be eager to reassemble Earth's Mightiest Heroes sooner rather than later.

In the Infinity Saga, fans were only kept waiting three to four years for a new Avengers sequel, and all four grossed well over $1 billion. That kind of revenue is something the MCU needs after its latest struggles; the buzz that surrounds an imminent Avengers movie should help reignite excitement for the future.

In terms of its solo superhero franchises, Marvel Studios will likely shift more attention to franchises that have proven reliable at the box office. As such, Black Panther 3, Doctor Strange 3, and Thor 5 could be fast-tracked, and sequels to less successful movies such as Eternals 2 could take a back seat.

As the Fantastic Four are one of Marvel's most popular teams, it's unsurprising to see their 2025 movie become such a priority for the MCU. Perhaps the long-awaited X-Men reboot could become a reality sooner than once expected if the studio is looking to capitalize further on its more iconic heroes.

Marvel Studios' current slate of movies for 2024 and beyond aligns well with this focus on its "stronger franchises." Between Deadpool & Wolverine, Captain America: Brave New World, Thunderbolts, The Fantastic Four, Blade, and the next Avengers movies, plenty of famous faces are returning to screens.

A change in direction to prioritize "sequels and franchises" may be exactly what the MCU needs. After all, across the Multiverse Saga, a major complaint has come due to the introduction of many new characters with future storylines teased but no indication of when they will be revisited.

For example, two and a half years have now passed since Simu Liu's Shang-Chi debuted, and his return doesn't appear imminent. Looking at the Infinity Saga, Marvel Studios never had more than a two-year gap between appearances from its biggest characters including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Black Widow.

One has to wonder how the shift of focus to "stronger franchises" on the big screen could translate to Disney+. The studio may find itself green-lighting less risky projects like Agatha: Darkhold Diaries and Echo in favor of its more star-studded shows such as Daredevil: Born Again and Loki.

Marvel Studios will return to movie theaters on July 25 with the long-awaited release of Deadpool & Wolverine.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.