Marvel movies were taking control of the world. Well, not really but it sure was (and is) starting to feel that way. With Phase Four kicking off over the last month and a whole host of new movies and projects planned for what seems like years on end, it sure has the feel of a studio that was only getting started. Though now it appears that Marvel is setting forth a plan which could change the movie and content landscape maybe permanently. According to insider Daniel Richtman, the plan Kevin Feige and company are laying out will make streaming the priority with money shifting starkly away from films.
While this latest piece of news is closer to a rumor, it does make all the sense in the world for how the studio is developing its stories and the universe as a whole. It feels like a lifetime ago but the Marvel Cinematic Universe has *only* been around for about 12 years with Iron Man kicking things off in 2008. And over that time Marvel movies have been, of course, front and center in telling massive, interconnected stories that culminated in a truly once-in-a-lifetime event with Avengers: Endgame. But this is a new world order when it comes to content and there are a number of competing factors that would make Feige’s focus move toward streaming the future.
Consider what Marvel movies and the rest of the industry have gone through (relatively speaking) over the last year. Theater closures and greatly reduced box office receipts were catalysts for ticket sales dropping off the proverbial cliff. How could it be easy to place big dollars into massive movies with any certainty these days? There are no guarantee fans begin flocking back into the theaters in droves. And the studio can’t even get Black Widow out in front of fans, delaying the release once again.
While Marvel movies might not be the long-term plan there are plenty of movies in the pipeline for the short term. Considering the size and scope of Marvel’s upcoming Phase Four there is still plenty of capital going into big-budget productions. Over the next few years, there are eleven films planned which include (but aren’t limited to) Eternals, Thor: Love & Thunder, Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, a Spider-Man sequel, Black Panther II , Captain Marvel II, and more.
The big shift though might have already begun, getting away from Marvel movies. Shows, which are new for the studio include the currently running WandaVision and will be followed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Armor Wars, and Secret Invasion which could be a crazy ensemble cast. In all, there are 13 television series planned for this Phase. So it would appear that trying to decide where to place monetary resources would just be something of a split right? This thing is printing money no matter what.
Where the studio might be wanting to divert dollars away from Marvel movies would be around the introduction of new characters. For the most part, the movies in Phase Four are around already established entities while the shows appear more geared towards new folks. Well, considering the X-Men are joining into the game and other characters as well, they may think the best course is to give new characters more in-depth stories.
Whatever the reason, Feige shifting his focus away from big Marvel movies and into series storytelling is probably the way of the future and how the studio will operate moving forward. I never thought we’d see the day, but in this new world, it makes a lot of sense.