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Marvel Announces Huge Changes To Avengers 5 & Other Projects That Might Save The MCU

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been in a slump for the last few years. Since the over $2 billion box office success of "Avengers: Endgame," Marvel Studios has been failing to recapture the MCU's early magic as it moved into a lackluster Phase 4. Still, good news is on the horizon! An insider from The Hollywood Reporter has given fans a glimpse at the studio's reported changes. From shifting storylines to giving creative teams more control, MCU creatives are retooling how to sustain its gigantic cinematic universe for years to come.

So, what's changing? First, new creators have signed on to two MCU projects. Screenwriter Eric Pearson ("Thor: Ragnarok") will put the finishing touches on the "Fantastic Four" movie, which will finally bring the First Family into the MCU. Pearson will also work on "Thunderbolts" with "The Bear" showrunner Joanna Calo. After helming FX's Emmy-winning dramedy, Calo has proven herself as a prestigious force and one bound to have an interesting take on a film focused on "villains and antiheroes going on a mission that was supposed to end with their deaths."

Secondly, the MCU will be adjusting its multi-film storylines. Yes, we knew that Jonathan Majors would no longer play Kang the Conqueror. However, we now know that Marvel Studios was already considering alternative villains to usher in a new MCU era following the poor performance of Kang's first major film debut in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." The upcoming and fifth Avengers film has now officially dropped "Kang Dynasty" from its title too.

MCU's TV shows are slowing down their releases

Along with the third "Ant-Man" movie's shrinking box office numbers, "The Marvels" also flopped in theaters. While film adjustments happen, the studio will also significantly change Marvel's Disney+ series rollouts. THR's report identifies an emphasis on putting more control in the hands of showrunners on the television and Disney+ side of things whereas previously its programs operated without them — thanks, in part, to the smooth production process of Jessica Gao's "She-Hulk."

Overall, the MCU is pumping its brakes when releasing new TV projects. In January 2024, "Echo" executive producer Brad Winderbaum stated, "We produced a lot of content very quickly, and we're primarily a filmmaking company." To accomplish this goal, Marvel Studios is pivoting into a plan that withholds MCU content from audiences longer, giving them time to want it.

Amidst a February earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger reportedly explained that the first step for the company will be to reduce the overall quantity of content across the House of Mouse — especially at Marvel. The result is just two MCU Disney+ series coming in 2024 — "Echo," which already aired, and the upcoming "Agatha: Darkhold Diaries." However, insiders also noted that the "WandaVision" spinoff series only needed one day of reshoots to wrap up — as opposed to its usual five days — spelling positive vibes for its release.

As far as its movie front, "Deadpool & Wolverine" is slated as its only 2024 theatrical release.

Marvel isn't rebooting the MCU

Still, the combination of backroom adjustments and scheduled slowdowns appears to be working. In February 2024, the studio started to feel some of its coolness again. The "Deadpool & Wolverine" Super Bowl trailer broke the record for the most watched trailer in 24 hours, its "Fantastic Four" casting announcement was warmly received, and fans praised the first trailer for the animated "X-Men '97" series.

When it comes to the potential of a studio-wide reboot, though, the report is careful to clarify that the MCU isn't restarting. Even the vague term "soft reboot" was rejected here. From what we know so far, the goal here is a continuation not a revamp. The attempt to adapt and recapture past momentum without sacrificing a decade and a half of universe-building makes sense. The targeted retooling seems less likely to create something entirely new. Instead, the pivots here are seemingly meant for the MCU to maintain its prominence on the big and small screen.

Marvel isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Instead, its creative team continues to look for ways to stay exciting — even as the initial aura of the Infinity Saga fades further into memory. The question is, will one of these major adjustments work? The runway of good grace built up during the first three phases of the MCU is tremendous, so we shall see what happens next.