Between sudden but inevitable postponements and the farewell of one of the company’s historic producers, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe between cinema and TV series is undergoing restructuring. We talk about it in our in-depth analysis
The smallest hero in the world has led to one of the biggest changes in the current course of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Problems started piling up in the house Marvel Studios already at the end of last summer, with a model both productive and distributive that began to prefer quantity to quality, but it is with the release of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (here the film review) that the case exploded, consequently exposing the crisis. Yes, because it is a crisis, albeit a physiological one and certainly a passing one.
This is confirmed by the receipts of the opening film of Phase 5 of the MCU (463 million dollars, the lowest of the Ant-Man) in a moment of essential transition of the entire Marvel franchise, but also the latest rumors that quickly turned into official news. Out of all, three in particular demonstrate the attempt to Kevin Feige and associates to put the project back on the right productive and conceptual track after a Phase 4 considered “experimental” which, rather than convincing, has generated many perplexities among critics and the public. Let’s try to examine them together to understand what is really happening at Marvel Studios.
The post(ipic)-production question
The first node is tied to Disney+ and Marvel television series. After a year with four fluctuating streaming releases, the release calendar of the already announced serial products for 2023 had remained smoky, so to speak. No specific dates but only generic launch windows between spring and summer, in particular for two of the most anticipated titles such as Secret Invasion and the second season of Loki. Then arrived in March without an official release yet, the dots began to connect and give a clearer idea of the general picture, highlighting important structural correlations. Shortly after the release of Quantumania and the flood of criticisms that overwhelmed it – even too cruel – the criticality of the studio regarding post-productions and the special effects sector appeared to be full-blown. A problem that previously emerged from some statements by professionals in the sector who spoke of crunching and ridiculous and impossible to meet rendering and refinement deadlines to cure a product to the highest possible quality.
The third Ant-Man it only directly revealed these difficulties between editing and VFX, definitively exposing the most delicate weak point of post-Endgame Marvel Studios. The first decision came shortly after the film’s release: to postpone The Marvels by four months, from July to November, so as to allow the VFX and editing departments to work in adequate times on the post-production of the second chapter of Captain Marvel. The second was then consequential but translated to the serial side, with a “soon” related to the Disney+ releases of Phase 5. We are therefore talking about Secret Invasion e you Loki 2 (the latter strongly linked to Kang), although it is probable that the second one will arrive in the late summer anyway and will be the first to suffer a more substantial delay, again caused by a revision of the production model from quantity to quality. As often happens when a stretched timeline equates to huge economic losses and budget increases (and negative media publicity), some heads were bound to fall.
In the end, the merciless executioner dropped his ax on Victoria Alonso, the historic executive in charge of the Marvel Studios VFX and post-production sectors, who officially chose to leave her post in the company. On Vulture, however, the journalist Chris Lee even declared that Alonso was the one responsible for an environment described as “toxic“, an adjective relating to the management itself of the executive producer, where “whoever she liked worked well but if you pissed her off even a little you were finished, completely cut offThe game of passing the buck is well known in the entertainment market, especially when the contractual and supervisory responsibilities are assigned to a specific name, but Alonso’s farewell is indicative of a necessary change of pace that Marvel Studios are implementing in their most sensitive compartments.
Bob the builder
As we explained above, everything is related. Alonso’s farewell to a mismanagement of a sensitive department and the confirmation of this last element with disappointing and not exceptional post-production visual results as in the past. Likewise, the return of Bob Iger as CEO Walt Disney Company is – at least in part – related to an increasingly evident audience dissent about the course of Phase 4 of the MCU. In reality, the Iger question touches the sore point of animation at Disney under the administrative aegis of Bob Chapeck, who according to insiders and professionals would have almost destroyed the company’s reputation in its historic cinematic core, now in need of more attention and guidance lit up again. The fact is that Iger is once again in command of the company and is in dialogue with Feige and his associates, making important decisions. In fact, speaking recently at the media and technology conference of Morgan Stanley Technology, Iger essentially confirmed a change of course for Marvel Studios and the moment of delicate transition, while explaining that it does not exist “a real Marvel problem“.
The CEO thus revealed that “the next five years of the MCU will introduce big news” is that “the development of the sequels will be evaluated much more carefully“, referring above all to third or fourth chapters and therefore implicitly speaking of Thor: Love and Thunder but above all of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. And as you can see, the circle comes full circle.
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