As Bob Iger continues to reign in the free-spending gunslingers behind Disney’s big brands, fans of those brands continue to wonder what the future will hold. During an appearance Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Iger gave some indication of what the future of Marvel Studios may hold.
On the heels of a pair of sequels that weren’t the critical darlings that Disney had hoped they’d be, Iger indicated that Marvel Studios may reevaluate their approach to sequels.
There are 7,000 characters, there are a lot more stories to tell. What we have to look at at Marvel is not necessarily the volume of Marvel stories we’re telling but how many times we go back to the well on certain characters. Sequels typically work well for us. Do you need a third and a fourth, for instance, or is it time to turn to other characters?Robert Iger
It’s hard not to read between the lines of Iger’s comments and think about Thor: Love and Thunder and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. The former has been widely criticized for taking the wrong lessons from its much more successful predecessor, Thor: Ragnarok while the latter has been under fire for its drop-off at the box office.
It’s not all bad news for Marvel Studios, though. Iger is confident that the future, which he loosely defined as the “next five years”, holds a lot of promise.
There’s nothing in any way inherently off in terms of the Marvel brand. I think we just have to look at what characters and stories we’re mining. If you look at the trajectory of Marvel in the next five years, there will be a lot of newness. We’re going to turn back to the Avengers franchise with a whole new set of Avengers, for example.Robert Iger
Interestingly enough, that newness includes the scheduled MCU debuts of the Punisher, Blade, Deadpool, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, none of whom are new to the superhero landscape, only the MCU; so roughly in the sense that a used car is new to you, though not truly new. Beyond that, characters such as Sentry, Wonder Man and Nova are known to be making true debuts, so it will be worth tracking which of Marvel’s 7,000 other characters get the opportunity to make the jump to the MCU.
Iger’s comments on a “new set of Avengers” is also worth some thought. After having four Avengers films weaved throughout the Infinity Saga, each serving as “Phase enders”, the studio chose to reserve the Multiverse Saga’s Avengers films for Phase 6. With Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars set to end the Multiverse Saga, the expectations placed on those films is already staggeringly high.