Marvel Studios Undergoes Another Creative Retooling To Revive MCU

Marvel Studios finds itself at a pivotal juncture, grappling with the task of revitalising its expansive cinematic universe in the face of recent box office challenges and changing audience expectations. Despite these setbacks, February has been a surprisingly strong month for Disney’s superhero franchise, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the recent skepticism surrounding superhero films.

The highlight was the Super Bowl trailer premiere for Deadpool & Wolverine, which shattered records with 365 million views in just a day – a significant win for Disney, especially considering the modest performance of their last release, The Marvels

Adding to the excitement, Valentine’s Day brought forth the long-rumoured and accurate casting information of the new Fantastic Four film, featuring Pedro Pascal and Vanessa Kirby leading Marvel’s First Family, set against a backdrop of the 1960s. This nod to the team’s origins in 1961 not only pays homage to their foundational role in Marvel’s history but also signals a fresh direction for their cinematic journey. This announcement preceded the launch of the X-Men ’97 trailer, a nostalgic revival of the beloved ’90s animated series, setting a new record for Disney+ animated series launches with 8 million views on YouTube.

Amidst these developments, THR reports that Marvel is contemplating a ‘creative retooling’ of the MCU. This strategy, detailed by Disney CEO Bob Iger on an earnings call, involves scaling back the volume of releases to ensure quality and innovation remain at the forefront of Marvel’s future endeavours, marking a pivotal moment for the studio that used to release billion-dollar grossing movies every year, as it aims to rejuvenate its lineup and rekindle the magic that used to captivate audiences worldwide.

“Some of our studios lost a little focus,” Iger said. “So the first step that we’ve taken is that we’ve reduced volume. We’ve reduced output, particularly at Marvel [to ensure] the films you’re making can be even better.”

Deadpool & Wolverine Marvel

With only the Deadpool & Wolverine film for 2024, along with just two Disney+ series, the already-released Echo and upcoming Agatha: Darkhold Diaries releasing in 2024, the studio is signaling a strategic pivot, possibly aimed at rekindling the fervour that has surrounded its projects in the past decade. All one needs to do is look back at 2021, when the studio debuted nine releases – 4 new movies and 5 Disney+ shows, making it the highest number in any year of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you need a reminder, it was the year of the amazing Shang Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, along with forgettable The Eternals and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.

Looking ahead to 2025, Marvel has announced a slate of four films, including Captain America: Brave New World, Thunderbolts, and Fantastic Four, but with speculation that Blade, starring Mahershala Ali, may be pushed back to 2026.

Marvel Thunderbolts

In pursuit of this renewed emphasis on quality, Marvel has welcomed new creative forces to shepherd its upcoming projects. The studio enlisted Eric Pearson, a Marvel veteran who has worked on Thor: Ragnarok and Black Widow, to polish the Fantastic Four script, and Joanna Calo, a celebrated showrunner of FX’s The Bear fame, to refine the screenplay for Thunderbolts. These collaborations aim to elevate the storytelling caliber of Marvel’s future offerings, ensuring that each project resonates deeply with audiences and contributes meaningfully to the overarching narrative of the MCU.

Yet, as Marvel Studios endeavours to navigate this transformative period, it also confronts significant challenges, most notably the fallout from Jonathan Majors’ legal troubles. Last year, after facing domestic abuse allegations, Marvel severed ties with Majors, who was initially poised to play a pivotal role as the villain Kang in the MCU’s future narratives. Kang’s importance was highlighted by his inclusion in the title of the forthcoming Avengers movie, originally subtitled The Kang Dynasty. However, reports from THR indicate that not only has Kang’s name been removed from Avengers 5‘s title, but his presence in the storyline may be significantly reduced or even removed completely. This adjustment was reportedly under consideration even before Majors’ firing, fueled by the tepid response from fans to his character’s debut in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.

Agatha: Darkhold Diaries

As for the television production side, Marvel Studios is planning to grant showrunners more autonomy. Unlike most series, where a showrunner leads the creative direction and journey of the show, Marvel Studios takes a more collaborative approach where it’s possible that too many cooks can spoil the broth. This shift comes in the wake of the underwhelming reception to the Samuel L. Jackson-led Secret Invasion. Despite high expectations as the series was based on a highly popular comics event of the same name, the series struggled, ranking in the lower tier of Marvel’s Disney+ lineup with approximately 2.5 billion viewing minutes over six weeks, according to Nielsen metrics. 

Insiders indicate a concerted effort to refine operations internally following the mixed outcomes of previous projects. Marvel’s initial foray into television, WandaVision, set a high standard, captivating audiences and sparking widespread discussion – an achievement Marvel sought to replicate by integrating Wanda more significantly into its cinematic universe with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and approving a spinoff for Kathryn Hahn’s character, Agatha Harkness, titled Agatha: Darkhold Diaries.


The unexpected pause provided by the dual strikes in Hollywood has allowed Marvel to streamline its release schedule. With many projects such as the Disney+ Ironheart series still in development or awaiting release dates, this strategy aims to enhance creative quality and rekindle audience anticipation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As Marvel Studios embarks on this journey of ‘creative retooling’, its strategic recalibrations, infusion of fresh creative talent, and meticulous attention to storytelling quality illustrate a steadfast commitment to not only preserving the legacy of the MCU but also ensuring its continued evolution.