Marvel Studios has found itself in a unique position within the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With the conclusion of its groundbreaking Infinity Saga and the departure of some key characters, the studio is facing the challenge of maintaining the same level of success and critical acclaim. Recent outings have received mixed reviews, raising concerns among both critics and fans.
To address these concerns, Marvel boss Kevin Feige and Disney CEO Bob Iger have made it clear that they are taking measures to restore Marvel’s quality to its former glory days. One of the strategies they are implementing is a more deliberate approach to project releases, allowing ample time for each production to develop and deliver a standout experience.
Marvel’s Delays and Changes in Release Schedule
As part of this course correction, Disney+ has acknowledged the need for adjustments in the release schedule of upcoming Marvel shows. One highly anticipated series affected by these changes is Loki. After the announcement at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Loki season 2 was initially listed for a “Summer 2023” release on Disney+. However, the listing has now been updated to “Coming Soon,” suggesting a potential delay. Rumors circulating among fans indicate that Loki season 2 might now arrive in August 2023, allowing for a gap after the conclusion of Secret Invasion.
But Loki isn’t the only show facing rescheduling. What If…? season 2, the animated anthology series exploring alternate realities in the Marvel universe, has also experienced a shift in its release listing. Previously marked for an “Early 2023” premiere, the show’s status has been changed to “Coming Soon.” While no official confirmation has been provided, rumors suggest that What If…? season 2 might not see a release in 2023 at all.
Marvel’s shifting Dates for Phase 5 Shows
The delays and rescheduling extend beyond Loki and What If…? season 2, affecting other Phase 5 shows as well. One of the most anticipated upcoming series, Secret Invasion, was initially set for a Spring 2023 release. However, with The Mandalorian season 3 taking that slot, rumors now suggest that Secret Invasion might be released after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, either on May 10, 2023, or May 17, 2023.
Echo, another highly anticipated series, has also faced delays. Originally slated for a summer release, the show’s showrunner, Marion Dayre, has indicated that it will now arrive in the second half of 2023. Actress Alaqua Cox, who portrays Echo, has teased its potential arrival in October, adding more speculation to the revised schedule.
Other shows, such as Ironheart and Agatha: Coven of Chaos, have been pushed back to 2024. Ironheart, featuring Riri Williams taking on the mantle of Iron Man, is rumored to kick off MCU’s Phase 5 in 2024, while Agatha: Coven of Chaos, focusing on the enigmatic Agatha Harkness, is said to close out the year, leading fans into 2025.
A Shift Towards Quality Over Quantity in Marvel shows
The decision to delay and restructure the release schedule of Marvel shows is rooted in the desire to prioritize quality over quantity. Kevin Feige acknowledges the challenge of hitting the zeitgeist with numerous shows and films saturating the market.
In an interview with Comicbook, Feige stated,
“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.”
He emphasizes the need for Marvel Studios and MCU projects to stand out and above the competition.
Bob Iger echoed Feige’s sentiments during a speech at a Morgan Stanley conference, drawing a parallel with HBO’s success in delivering high-quality programming. Iger questioned the wisdom of focusing solely on volume in the age of streaming platforms. He emphasized the importance of being more curated, judicious, and picky about the content produced, with a focus on quality rather than sheer quantity.
What’s Next for Marvel fandom?
Despite the unavoidable delays, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to forge ahead, promising an exciting lineup of projects for fans to look forward to. The first series to arrive in 2023 will be Secret Invasion, providing audiences with another thrilling and interconnected story. Following its release, fans can anticipate the return of Loki for its highly anticipated second season in July or August, offering more mischievous adventures and surprises.
As the MCU ventures into Phase 5 and beyond, the focus on quality storytelling and strategic release schedules will ensure that each show and film stands out in its own right.