Marvel Studios is delaying production on yet another movie this week due to the ongoing writers’ strike. Deadline reports that filming on Thunderbolts, which was scheduled to start in Atlanta next month, will be pushed back. Sources say that Marvel plans to resume production as soon as the writers’ strike ends, but there’s currently no end in sight.
The report notes that Marvel already pushed pause on Blade, which was also expected to film in June. The Wonder Man Disney+ series, which reportedly stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, had been shooting in Los Angeles, but stopped production recently as well.
There’s no telling when the strike will end at the moment. Until the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) is ready to pay members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) their fair share, Hollywood will continue to grind to a halt.
With that said, there could be more than one silver lining amidst the dark cloud of this long labor dispute. Not only could the writers be compensated fairly for their work, but Marvel Studios might have time to slow down and rework its flailing Multiverse Saga.
After a short break during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marvel Studios returned with a flurry of new releases in 2021. Four movies and five shows set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe debuted that year as the studio tried to make up for lost time. 2022 wasn’t as overwhelming, with six movies and TV shows. But the problem wasn’t the speed at which the content was released; it was the quality of the content. Of course, those two might have been related.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige had already stated that the plan was to slow down the pace of releases in the coming months and years, but now the decision has been made for him. If these movies and shows don’t start filming for months, release date delays will be inevitable.
Other than The Marvels, which is set to hit theaters in November, no other movies have finished filming. Captain America: New World Order is the furthest along, but there’s no telling if the cast and crew will be able to wrap up production without the strike having an impact.
Needless to say, Phase 5 is going to last much longer than Marvel had planned, but the studio can use this time wisely. Figure out what to do with Kang in the wake of Jonathan Majors being arrested on assault charges in March. Give creators more agency over their projects so we get fewer Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumanias and more Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3s. And stop shoving characters aside in favor of the overarching plot.
The strike could end up saving the MCU, but only if Marvel is willing to adapt on the fly.
For the time being, Thunderbolts is still scheduled to release on July 26, 2024, and Blade on September 6, 2024. We have a feeling both Thunderbolts and Blade might end up slipping to 2025 if the strike goes on for too much longer.