If you haven’t noticed, the team morale over at Marvel Studios isn’t exactly rosy lately. Whether that’s VFX artists going on strike, creative plans going on hold or getting canceled outright, or just the unshakeable confidence from the Avengers: Endgame period evaporating a bit. A new expose from Variety gave us plenty of details about the future of the MCU.

First off, the most prominent piece of news from the piece is that Marvel is actively looking at off-ramps in regards to the Jonathan Majors situation. They’ve built their current phase plans around the villain Kang The Conqueror. That would normally be fine, but Jonathan Majors is in deep legal trouble with allegations of abuse and violence by a former girlfriend. His case is ongoing. That means, with Avengers: Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars being based around his character, they might need to audible to either Doctor Doom, or flat out recast the character.

Seeing as how this is the multiverse era of Marvel, recasting shouldn’t be too difficult. Majors’ performance as Kang in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania was a highlight of that film, but they have outs with variants or other multiversal shenanigans to replace him. It’s not like Marvel hasn’t recast roles before. They famously recast Terrence Howard after Iron Man with Don Cheadle.

The issues go further than just Jonathan Majors, though. Box office totals are down for the company (although they’re down across the board for most non-horror, non-Barbenheimer films). After 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Disney to make many announcements that they couldn’t really back up at the 2020 Investor’s Day call. That led to projects being announced far before they were even ready to go into pre-production. That anticipation was good for the stock price, but bad for building unsustainable hype from people online.

After a string of MCU Disney+ shows that were rushed and had shoddy VFX work because Marvel works them around the clock, the choice was made to change the TV formula. Out was a group of producers who couldn’t agree on anything; in was the TV model with showrunners. We’ve already seen the fruit of that labor with Daredevil: Born Again getting a showrunner.

The most significant piece of news/non-news from the Variety piece was mention that Marvel is planning on bringing back Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johannson, and other original Avengers characters for an upcoming Avengers movie. Well, if you know the story of Secret Wars, that comic event brought versions of famous characters from across the multiverse to fight. So, take that with what you will. Those actors won’t come cheap at a time when they’re trying to pare down budgets, not bring them up.

As for other rapid-fire developments, Blade is keeping Mahershala Ali on that film, but they’re trying to make it for $100 million. That is a far cry from their normal budgets that go above $200+ million.

These don’t mean that the MCU is shutting down for good or going away. It’s the opposite. Change is necessary for things to keep evolving and thriving. After some high-profile misses, the people at Marvel Studios are already in the process of reloading, and bettering the product. We’ll just have to see how long it takes for these changes to go into effect.

Source: Variety

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