Two years after they completed an incredible 6-year run in the MCU, Joe and Anthony Russo have entered into negotiations to return to Marvel Studios. The Russos struck gold for Marvel Studios with 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and completed the Captain America trilogy with 2016’s Captain America: Civil War before moving on to helm the 2-part conclusion to the Infinity Saga in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. The tandem made it clear that they had planned to take a break from the MCU but now, according to The Wall Street Journal, they’ve begun planning their return.
As exciting as that sounds, however, it is worth noting that negotiations with the directing duo recently reached an impasse in the wake of Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney following the hybrid release of Black Widow. WSJ reports that the uncertainty about how films will be distributed and how the talent will be paid in the new landscape carved out by COVID has become a speed bump in the Russos’ return.
In 2019, the brothers made no bones about the project that would be most apt to entice them to return: Secret Wars. With Loki openly teasing a multiversal war and the multiverse breaking open in Spider-Man: No Way Home, a Secret Wars film seems like more and more of a sure thing. Indeed, I’ve heard on several occasions-ranging from 2018 to just a few months ago-that an adaptation of Secret Wars is on the big board at Marvel Studios.
As both studios and creatives navigate these uncharted waters, it’s no surprise that one side or the other (or both) would have concerns about how to share the financial pie. There’s still not enough of a sample size to prove whether or not Disney’s Premier Access strategy, which they employed with Black Widow, can work; on the other hand, it’s hard to imagine large studios continuing to sit on films for years while waiting for the COVID pandemic to “end.” Given the Russos passion for Marvel Comics and their past successes with adapting comic book story lines, let’s all hope Disney can find a way to bring them back into the fold.