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

By Klein Felt Posted:
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After Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a major cutback of movies, some are wondering if it could mean the studio will cancel some Phase 6 MCU films. 

Much has been made about Disney's recent cost-cutting efforts as the studio looks to reconcile some financial missteps over the past couple of years. 

This has caused the House of Mouse to reevaluate its content strategy across the board, removing titles from Disney+ after rampant over-spending on streaming, trimming down its theatrical lineup, and tightening budgets on its TV and film ventures

The studio - as well as the rest of Hollywood - continues to reel, calling into question what the future of its content lineup will look like

Disney Cutbacks Could Impact MCU Phase 6

Captain Marvel, Falcon, Kang, Star-Lord, Shang-Chi

Comments from Disney CEO Bob Iger have made fans worried about the future of the MCU and what it could mean for Phase 6 of the super-powered franchise. 

While speaking on the Q3 FY23 earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a major cutback of the studio's theatrical releases. "We’re focused on improving the quality of our films and on better economics," Iger told shareholders, 

He added the Hollywood giant would face "not just [a reduction of] the number of titles [released]," but "also the cost per title:"

“We’re focused on improving the quality of our films and on better economics, not just reducing the number of titles we release but also the cost per title. And we’re maximizing the full impact of our titles by embracing the multiple distribution windows at our disposal, enabling consumers to access their content in multiple ways.”

While not explicitly said to affect the MCU's upcoming slate (specifically Phase 6), some have speculated that this move from the Disney CEO could mean several projects on Marvel Studios' Phase 6 slate getting cancelled. 

Much of the Phase 6 schedule has not yet been officially announced, but given Iger's new quality-over-quantity motive for the studio, it would not be all that surprising if some titles leading into Avengers: Secret Wars were victim to the cutbacks. 

Either sacrifices will need to be made in the form of some Marvel Phase 6 projects hitting the cutting room floor or Disney and Marvel Studios will have to greatly stretch out the MCU calendar past where it is currently set (with Secret Wars releasing on May 7, 2027) just to fit everything in under these tighter theatrical restrictions. 

And for those thinking Disney would never meddle and outright cut a Marvel Studios project, think again. Recent actions from the studio have shown it is not afraid to make cuts within its prized Marvel universe. 

Reporting from last fall (just before Iger was reinstated as CEO) suggested the franchise was facing some major setbacks, especially on the animation side of things

Marvel Studios Animation was reportedly being dubbed a "failed experiment" as Disney made sweeping cuts across the division, deciding the fate of both announced projects like Spider-Man: Freshman Year and those that had never officially been unveiled to the public. 

What Phase 6 Movies Could Be Cancelled?

As of right now, much of Phase 6 of the MCU remains a mystery, so it is a little hard to know what exactly could be getting the boot and what is safe on the Marvel Studios slate. 

At the time of writing the only three films known to appear in Phase 6 are Fantastic Four, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, and Avengers: Secret Wars.

Now, nothing in Hollywood is ever truly safe from cancellation, but these three movies feel like about as sure bets to remain on the slate as one can get. 

Fantastic Four is (at least reportedly) in the midst of casting, as Marvel sees the introduction of its first superhero family into the MCU as a major milestone for the franchise. And the pair of Avengers films are the sort of major events that Disney seems to be hoping to focus more on going forward. 

Looking at some of the reported Phase 6 Marvel films, however, one can see where some cuts might be made. 

On the less likely side of getting cut - simply because of their prior film's success and/or legacy at Disney - are the likes of Shang-Chi 2, Spider-Man 4, and Black Panther 3

Names that could get the bump though include Eternals 2 or Thor 5. Both of these movies had prior films that disappointed, during Phase 4 of the franchise. 

In Thor's case, it has long also been rumored that Chris Hemsworth may be done with his time as the God of Thunder, so - while fans would be disappointed for his fifth film to never happen - there is a scenario in which Disney cuts and runs on Thor 5, leaving a send-off for the longtime MCU hero in one of the two upcoming Avengers movies. 

Phase 6 of the MCU is set to start with the release of Fantastic Four on May 2, 2025.

- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.