This year’s San Diego Comic-Con teased a lot of exciting news for Marvel fans, including the first appearance of Tenoch Huerta’s Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a new trailer for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and a whole slew of confirmed names and release dates. However, there were conspicuously no updates on the upcoming film The Marvels, which will unite Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan, and Teyonah Parris’s Monica Rambeau. According to our trusted and proven sources, there may be a reason for that: Marvel Studios getting nervous after poor test screenings of The Marvels.
The Marvels is set to be the 33rd MCU film, and a direct sequel to 2019’s Captain Marvel, 2021’s Disney+ series WandaVision, and the more recent show Ms. Marvel. That is a whole lot of plotting for a single movie to start off with, which might contribute to some poor test screenings. It is also notable that Captain Marvel, which introduced Brie Larson as the titular character and which was initially intended to position her as a centerpiece of the MCU, was review bombed with negative scores upon its first release. It does not bode well for the film that the first movie in its sequence of cosmically powered female superheroes was sandbagged with negative Rotten Tomatoes audience scores within hours of its premiere.
It also seems that MCU movies are sliding down the ranks of audience appreciation in general. Three of the most recent Marvel releases have scored in the bottom percentile of the entire film franchise. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ranks at #25 with 74% at Rotten Tomatoes, Thor: Love and Thunder at #26 with 66%, and Eternals at dead last with 47%. This is not a good trend for upcoming films, at least when it comes to audience reviews and poor test screenings.
In general, poorly reviewed test screenings are considered an opportunity for film studios to re-edit films and commit to reshoots before a wide release. Marvel Studios is nothing if not very cognizant of the expectations of its fan base, which means that a negative score before release will likely mean some pretty big changes for The Marvels. A recent report by an anonymous VFX worker alleged that Marvel is extremely demanding of last-minute changes and reliant on hastily-designed CGI scenes to try to fix poorly performing movies. It was specifically claimed that the notoriously shoddy-looking final fight between Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa and Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger in Black Panther was the result of hasty VFX, which is a chilling fate that might be in store for the movie.
However, Marvel Studios almost certainly has too much invested in the success of the Brie Larson movie and its connections to Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, WandaVision, and the upcoming Disney+ series Secret Invasion to completely shut it down. The Marvels is currently scheduled to be released on July 28, 2023, which hopefully will give the studio and whatever VFX house they have enlisted to make some course corrections.