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Disney reportedly canceled 3 big MCU franchises, but one should’ve kept going

Published Mar 15th, 2024 2:25PM EDT
Comic-Con 2022: MCU Phase 6 titles and release dates.
Image: YouTube

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The MCU might see big changes when it comes to MCU movie sequels, if one insider is correct. Disney is reportedly canceling three MCU franchises, as it focuses on improving the quality of the MCU and telling stories that feature characters fans want to see the most. 

I’ve been following the MCU closely for the better part of a decade, and I can’t say I’m surprised that things have come to this. Of the three franchises, I will say I’m sad to see one of them go, as it doesn’t deserve the unwarranted criticism it received. As for the other two, I certainly hope we’ll see those characters in future MCU crossovers, but nixing dedicated movies is probably a good idea. 

The franchises in question are Eternals, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel. This isn’t a big spoiler if the scooper’s information is accurate. And of course, even without sequels, the characters in these franchises can appear in other crossovers, especially Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. But some spoilers will follow below.

Bob Iger’s return to Disney was accompanied by a big change to Marvel’s Multiverse Saga plans. Reports at the time said that Iger wanted more focus from Marvel on the stories that do well with fans. Soon after Iger took over, Marvel boss Kevin Feige confirmed that the studio would release fewer movies and Disney Plus projects, looking to improve the quality of the MCU overall and space out the Multiverse Saga adventures. 

Eternals Final Trailer
The Eternals in battle gear in the final Eternals trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

The early days of Phase 4 certainly included more projects than we were accustomed to. It all seemed exciting at first, yes. And it would have been great had Marvel been able to maintain the same quality we got in the Infinity Saga stories.

When the writers and actors went on strike last year, I said it was a blessing in disguise for Marvel. The studio had to pause work on everything, yes. But this gave Kevin Feige & Co. time to plan their next steps better. Even if that meant delaying most of the Multiverse Saga and only launching a single MCU movie this year. That’s Deadpool & Wolverine, which will hit theaters this summer. 

Fast-forward to March 2024, and a report from Daniel Richtman says that Disney decided not to go forward with Eternals 2, Ant-Man 4, and Captain Marvel 3. Iger reportedly wants Marvel to take fewer risks and make projects that are sure to be hits with fans. 

Iman Vellani, Brie Larson, and Teyonah Parris in The Marvels.
Iman Vellani, Brie Larson, and Teyonah Parris in The Marvels. Image source: Marvel Studios

It’s unclear whether Marvel considered making Ant-Man 4 or Captain Marvel 3, but an Eternals 2 project was reportedly in the works. I’ll also remind you that not all Marvel characters need three movies or three seasons of a TV show. 

Of all three franchises the insider mentioned, I think Captain Marvel deserved another sequel. The Marvels did not tank at the box office because the movie was bad. Compared to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Eternals, The Marvels is a much better story.

However, The Marvels premiered during the strikes, so it couldn’t be promoted by the movie’s stars. The actors were not able to do the usual press tours that precede a big MCU movie release.

Add to that the unwarranted online campaigns against the movie and the previous MCU misfires, and you have all the stars aligning for a bad box office performance. And that is what ended up killing the Captain Marvel franchise, even though the first movie topped $1 billion at the box office. 

Still, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) will probably be part of the Avengers team fighting Kang in the coming Avengers movies. The same goes for Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who should appear in other MCU movies and TV shows.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Cassie (Kathryn Newton), and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Cassie (Kathryn Newton), and Hope (Evangeline Lilly) in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Image source: Marvel Studios

As for Ant-Man 4 and Eternals 2, they deserve to be put on an indefinite pause. Quantumania was a huge disappointment, even though it should have been one of the big pillars of the Multiverse Saga. I had high hopes for Eternals, too, a movie that looks amazing, But, again, the story has big problems, and I can’t blame Iger for not wanting a sequel. 

That said, I hope Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) will reappear in the MCU. Rumors do say that Ant-Man will appear in Spider-Man 4, and I hope they’re accurate. Then there’s Cassie (Kathryn Newton), who should join the Young Avengers at some point in the future.

Then we have the Eternals and Celestials, who should still play a role in the future of the MCU. It would be sad never to see some of those superheroes again, especially since Marvel has to tie a few loose ends from Eternals.

I don’t expect Marvel to confirm the rumor necessarily. But we’ll know it’s true if Marvel doesn’t revive these franchises anytime soon. After all, neither of these three possible sequels was officially announced. Also, Marvel could always put a pin in these MCU movies and reboot them down the road. 

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.