For over a decade, I avoided Marvel leaks and spoilers like the plague. I wanted to be shocked and awed by what the MCU had to show me, and more often than not, Marvel Studios delivered. At least, that was the case throughout the Infinity Saga, which wrapped up with Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. Four years later, I find myself not only less concerned about being spoiled but actually having more fun following the leaks than the MCU itself.
Needless to say, this article will feature some MCU spoilers.
It’s hard to remember now, but there was once a time when the MCU was shrouded in secrecy. None of us knew what the future held for the Avengers, Thanos, or the other heroes and villains in their orbit. Slowly but surely, the iron grip of Marvel Studios and Disney began to loosen, and before long, entire movie plots were leaking online.
I was as invested as anyone in the MCU, so I wanted to save the surprises for the theater. As such, I’d do whatever I could to avoid spoilers on the internet, including forcing my boss to edit most of our coverage of the most exciting leaks. But over the last year or two, during Marvel’s extended cold streak, my feelings about leaks changed dramatically.
Save for a few, Marvel’s recent shows and movies have been underwhelming. As we’ve noted numerous times, all four of Marvel’s lowest-rated projects — Eternals, Thor: Love and Thunder, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and Secret Invasion — premiered in the last three years. In turn, my investment in the overarching story began to wane.
Simultaneously, leaks about upcoming Marvel projects grew in frequency and accuracy. There’s a cast of scoopers nearly as large as the Avengers now, and they share tidbits about unreleased shows and movies on a weekly or even daily basis.
(This is your last chance to avoid spoilers.)
These two specifically are right far more often than they’re wrong. Others with solid track records include Grace Randolph, Daniel Richtman, Jeff Sneider, and Alex Perez. In fact, Perez published an article on Monday for The Cosmic Circus in which he claims that Marvel is planning to adapt the Time Runs Out comic book storyline for Doctor Strange 3.
It’s clear that far too many leaks have sprung for Disney to stand any chance of plugging them all. Much like the smartphone launches that we cover every year, it is more surprising when the companies are able to surprise us with anything by the time they actually announce the devices. The future of the MCU is as mysterious as the iPhone 15.
But as disappointed as I’ve been with Marvel’s output lately, the leaks remind me that all of these projects have potential. Time Runs Out is a really thrilling event series that leads right into Secret Wars, and given Doctor Strange’s connection to the Illuminati (who play a key role in the Secret Wars comics), a Doctor Strange sequel could be the perfect vessel for this story.
See! So much potential! Whether or not Marvel Studios actually capitalizes on that potential is a concern for a future version of me. In the meantime, the leaks have reminded me why I was so excited about the MCU for over a decade, even when the studio misfired.
Maybe after this strike-induced pause, Marvel Studios can find a way to fix whatever broke in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. Because after a while, even the leaks will begin to lose their luster if the resulting movies and shows never live up to their potential.