Marvel Just Delayed Most Of Their Upcoming Movies, Bad Times Ahead?
Marvel Studios has abruptly delayed a number of their biggest upcoming movies, including Blade, Deadpool 3, Fantastic Four, Avengers: Secret Wars, and several untitled projects. According to a report in Variety, the Disney release schedule of Marvel movies has changed to reflect that, with Blade being delayed by nearly a year until Sept. 6, 2024, Deadpool 3 about two months until Nov. 8, 2024, Fantastic Four about four months until Feb. 14, 2025, and Avengers: Secret Wars about six months until May 1, 2026. Another untitled Marvel project has been removed from the schedule entirely.
This would be a pretty major series of changes for any film studio, but that Marvel has delayed this number of films is both shocking and predictable. Marvel Studios and its mastermind Kevin Feige are known for playing their cards close to the chest, revealing little of the future plans of the MCU until they are ready, so this is certainly a surprise on one level. On another, the future of the MCU is reportedly plotted out in decade-long narrative arcs, so it does actually make sense that pulling the strings on one movie will cause some pretty big changes for others.
At least one of the changes is actually no surprise at all. That Marvel has delayed the release of the upcoming Blade reboot is perfectly in line with recent activity on the movie, which lost director Bassam Tariq amidst rumors of clashes with star Mahershala Ali and has been floundering since. Apparently, not only has Marvel delayed Blade but production is completely shut down at least until a new director can be found (and likely, some heavy script rewrites happen).
All of this can be taken to be a sign of trouble ahead for Marvel Studios, which has been the dominant force in mainstream cinema since the early 2010s. The release of Avengers: Endgame in 2019 satisfied a massive, unprecedented narrative arc that all of the previous movies had built up, but then left Marvel in an uncomfortable place of having to follow it up. The fact that Marvel has now delayed some of the most major installments of that follow-up does not exactly inspire faith.
On the other hand, for all the complaints that Marvel movies are too visually similar, have too similar plots, and often suffer from the demands of their shared universe, Marvel Studios has been taking greater risks than practically any studio before it with its intricate storytelling and enormous, years-long planning. That Marvel has delayed some films is actually far more in line with studio practices in recent years; simply that it is Marvel that has delayed so much at once is a testament to how it is treated as a bellwether of cinematic trends.
The slate of movies that Marvel Studios has just delayed (or removed entirely) includes some of the most anticipated and speculated-upon movies currently in production in the entire world. We shall just have to wait and see what Marvel’s next big move for them is.