After Phase 4 set new records in terms of quantity for Marvel Studios' release output, the team had its fair share of troubles in terms of both production difficulties and the reception of its latest projects from fans and critics alike.
The MCU's officially announced plans run through the end of 2026 before the Multiverse Saga and Phase 6 come to a close with two new Avengers movies in The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, currently set to release on May 1, 2026. That means that Marvel's next movie, releasing July 27, 2026, will be the theatrical kick-off of Phase 7.
There are now two films scheduled to release in this post-Secret Wars era. But will these Phase 7 plans stick? There are a few key reasons to expect a postponement of this next slate.
1.) WGA Strike
Hollywood is currently in a bit of a stalemate due to the Writers Guild of America (WGA) going on strike after failing to negotiate a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP).
In simple terms, this means that no writers belonging to the guild (almost all of Hollywood) are allowed to actually do their jobs for the movies that are currently in production, a few of which are currently in varying stages of production under Marvel Studios' watch.
There are currently a number of MCU projects in the writing stage, including Fantastic Four, a rumored Strange Academy series, and even Avengers 5, all of which may well be delayed should this strike last for an extended period.
A number of projects are expected to suffer from the WGA strike, while some are already seeing the impact after Blade shut down pre-production and the striking group acted to halt filming of Disney+'s Wonder Man.
2.) Jonathan Majors' Legal Controversy
After Jonathan Majors made his big screen MCU debut as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, the actor found himself in serious legal trouble after he was arrested on assault charges stemming back to an incident with his girlfriend in late March.
Although Majors and his legal team steadfastly deny any truth to these accusations, the actor finds himself in hot water, having already been dropped from a number of movies and ad campaigns over the last few weeks.
This could eventually lead to Marvel Studios recasting Majors' role in future Avengers projects, with the option at least on the table as the studio waits to begin production on the next pair of Avengers blockbusters.
3.) Marvel Taking Time To Do Projects Right
Although Marvel Studios released an astounding 17 projects in two years for its Phase 4 slate, this led to widely mixed reviews from fans that believed the studio was looking for quantity over quality.
Taking those reviews into consideration, Marvel made the decision to spend much more time developing its future projects, releasing less in any given year in order to make sure they boast the quality fans expect out of the MCU.
This includes fewer Disney+ shows being released every year, with 2021 bringing four live-action shows and the animated What If...?. Going forward, that number will likely be cut in half annually, tying back to Alex Perez's report about the MCU's releases being much more spread out over the next few years.
Is Phase 7 Destined for Delays?
At this point in time, it feels as though there's no avoiding delays for the MCU's Phase 7 slate, especially with it not even scheduled to begin until late 2026 and early 2027 for the time being.
Some have also suggested that Avengers 5 be delayed to a later date as well to make sure Marvel has enough time ahead of The Kang Dynasty to tell all the smaller stories that need to set it up on the big and small screens.
Should shifts like this become more official, Phase 7 will have to be pushed back to sometime past 2026 and maybe even as far back as 2028 or 2029. Although these projects may well still be telling inter-universe stories after all as there have been rumors of Phase 7 being folded into the Multiverse Saga.
It should also be noted that Perez has previously indicated Secret Wars may become a two-part affair, therefore transforming the Multiverse Saga's conclusion into a three-chapter Avengers epic, with one of them perhaps falling into Phase 7.
But considering the Multiverse Saga was initially trying to bring more content in five years than the Infinity Saga brought in over a decade, this may end up being a good thing for the franchise as a whole as it continues to expand.
The MCU continues with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in theaters now.