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The Marvels release delay signals new MCU strategy from Disney

Published Feb 20th, 2023 8:12PM EST
Captain Marvel in first MCU movie.
Image: Marvel Studios

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Just as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hit theaters, Marvel quietly delayed its third MCU Phase 5 movie of the year. The Marvels had a July 28th release date until Friday, when Marvel put out a new poster for the Captain Marvel sequel. That’s when it announced the new release date for the sequel: November 10th.

The release date change isn’t necessarily surprising, considering some of the rumors we’ve seen recently. Disney and Marvel are regrouping after the not-so-stellar MCU Phase 4, and that might involve canceling some projects. Delays might be in order for others, as Marvel is looking to improve the quality of its shows and movies. Kevin Feige almost confirmed these rumors in a recent interview. Mind you, some MCU spoilers might follow.

Disney and Marvel’s new MCU strategy

Disney brought back Bob Iger late last year, unhappy with how Bob Chapek steered the ship during the pandemic. Soon after, rumors emerged that Marvel is looking to improve the quality of the MCU going forward, having listened to criticism about Phase 4.

Some projects might see delays; others might be canceled, reports said. But we had no specifics in early December 2022 when these rumors surfaced.

MCU's The Marvels movie poster.
MCU’s The Marvels movie poster. Image source: Marvel Studios

Fast-forward to mid-February and Kevin Feige teased changes for the Disney Plus release schedule. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly that preceded the Quantumania premiere, Feige seemed to confirm rumors that said Marvel is rethinking its MCU strategy.

Without providing specifics, the exec said that MCU releases on Disney’s streaming service will be spaced out.

I do think one of the powerful aspects of being at Marvel Studios is having these films and shows hit the zeitgeist. It is harder to hit the zeitgeist when there’s so much product out there — and so much ‘content,’ as they say, which is a word that I hate. [Laughs] But we want Marvel Studios and the MCU projects to really stand out and stand above. So, people will see that as we get further into Phase 5 and 6. The pace at which we’re putting out the Disney+ shows will change so they can each get a chance to shine.

Asked whether the change of pace means spacing the project out or putting out fewer shows a year, Feige said, “both, I think.”

The Marvels release date delay

Feige also mentioned The Marvels in the same interview without indicating a release date change was in order. The interview might have happened well before Disney decided to postpone the sequel.

The Marvels’ release date change might be surprising, but Marvel and Disney have delayed plenty of MCU movies so far. It wasn’t just during the pandemic either. Blade, Fantastic Four, Deadpool 3, and Secret Wars are some of the titles that saw delays recently. The Marvels simply joins that growing list.

Given Feige’s comments, it makes sense to expect changes to the MCU’s theatrical release schedule once the Disney Plus premiere order changes.

Moreover, rumors say that Feige & Co. might split Secret Wars into two parts, which means the Multiverse Saga might take even longer to finish.

As for the Disney Plus release schedule, we’ve seen rumors about delays as well. Shows including Echo and Ironheart might hit the streaming service later than usual. Both shows were supposed to premiere on Disney Plus this year.

Not to mention that we have no release dates announced for any of this year’s other MCU Disney Plus shows. As a reminder, we still expect to see Secret Invasion, Loki season 2, and Agatha: Coven of Chaos on Disney Plus this year.

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.