Disney Starts Massive Layoffs, Are Marvel And Star Wars In Trouble?
Disney announces plans to terminate 7,000 employees, although it's unclear how this will affect Star Wars and Marvel content.
Disney announces massive layoffs starting this week. In a real “hold my beer” move, the company is attempting to cut spending, similar to how rival Warner Bros did after its merger with Discovery. According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, Disney will be cutting people rather than cutting content. 7,000 of them, to be exact.
Newly reinstated Disney CEO Bob Iger sent out a memo recently detailing three rounds of layoffs beginning this month and continuing in April. The April batch of pink slips is expected to be larger than the first, with a third round of cuts taking place before summer. The CEO is most likely spreading out the layoffs to avoid leaving 7,000 people jobless all at once.
Iger announced in February that Disney would be axing 7,000 employees in order to restructure the company around three core divisions. The divisions are Disney Entertainment, ESPN, and Parks, Experiences, and Products. Iger deems the cuts “necessary for creating a more effective, coordinated, and streamlined approach to our business.”
Iger went on to explain to those lucky enough to keep their jobs that they would have to step up and do the extra work previously handled by the 7,000 ex-employees so that “Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests around the world.”
It’s unknown at the moment what effects the layoffs will have on popular Disney brands like Marvel and Star Wars. Iger may have given fans a clue when he admitted back in 2019 that Disney had put out “a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast.” in regard to Star Wars content. As a result, Star Wars movies have been nonexistent since The Rise of Skywalker disappointed audiences in 2019.
In the interim, Disney and Lucasfilm switched their focus to television in regard to their sci-fi cash cow. Shows like The Mandalorian and Andor have proven that Star Wars can work on a small screen. On the other hand, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series and The Book of Boba Fett have proven that maybe it needs to work a little less.
With a trio of new movies expected to be announced at the Star Wars Celebration, it’s unlikely that Iger will be cutting back Star Wars production too much. However, given Disney’s history with Star Wars movie cancellations, an announcement alone may not be proof that the franchise will escape the new cuts unscathed.
Meanwhile, Marvel fatigue continues to be a hotly debated concept among film nerds everywhere. Could the cuts affect Disney’s four-color golden goose? If Bob Iger’s comments earlier this month are any indication, probably?
While Iger didn’t come right out and say that Marvel fatigue was real and a big concern for Disney, the CEO did hint that fewer sequels might be a good idea. “Sequels typically worked well for us,” Iger said before asking, “Do you need a third and a fourth, or is it time to turn to other characters?”
Iger’s comment could have been directed at the less-than-stellar performances of Thor: Love and Thunder and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, the fourth and third entries in their respective franchises. On the other hand, Civil War, the third Captain America film, and Endgame, the fourth Avengers movie, did insanely well at the box office, so who knows if Iger will actually act on his words.
So far, it seems as though Disney is content to displace 7,000 workers to recoup any financial losses rather than cut back on their most popular franchises. Marvel and Star Wars are safe…for now.