The SAG-AFTRA strike has ended after 118 days, allowing the MCU and DCU to resume filming and casting for upcoming projects. Actors in the MCU and DCU will now be legally protected from the unauthorized use of their digital likenesses in films and shows. Base wages for actors in the MCU and DCU are expected to increase, benefiting both big-name stars and working actors.

The SAG-AFTRA Strike has finally ended, opening up possibilities for the MCU and DCU to finally resume their activities, although not without some consequential changes. This historic Screen Actor’s Guild Strike lasted 118 days, marking a new record for the longest actor’s strike in Hollywood to ever take place. The work stoppage brought cinematic titans like Warner Brothers and Disney to their knees, grinding productions to a halt and delaying the timeline of projects in both Marvel and DC’s Cinematic Universes.

Though the tentative agreement has yet to be finalized, it seems as though the over seven-month long exercise in union solidarity has forever changed the face of production in Hollywood, especially as far as franchises like the MCU and DCU are concerned. Personally agreed to by industry giants like Disney’s Bob Iger and Warner Brothers Discovery’s David Zaslav, the new contract is a major win for screen performers, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos stating that they “came all the way” towards meeting the guild’s demands (via Deadline). Moving forward, the deal will have drastic implications on the future of both the MCU and DCU.

10 MCU’s Postponed Releases Can Resume Or Begin Filming

At Long Last, The Work Stoppage Has Lifted

Between the two superhero franchises, the MCU may have been hit harder by the strike. With rumors of problems behind-the-scenes plaguing Marvel Studios and an ongoing struggling to maintain viewership, the delays in filming have hamstrung an already floundering MCU. At long last, Marvel movies will be able to resume filming or begin production in the first place.

Looking at the MCU’s recently-released slate of upcoming films for 2024, the effects of the delays are easily apparent. Marvel will only release a single film in 2024 with Deadpool 3, being the first year since the MCU’s inception that this will be the case since 2012. Deadpool 3‘s break in filming will finally end, ushering in the next generation of Marvel offerings to finally begin shooting, or at least enter pre-production.

9 MCU & DCU Can Resume Casting & Make Announcements

Should They Have Anything To Announce At All

Within both the MCU and DCU, there are many exciting projects with unfulfilled casts. On Marvel’s side, important entries that introduce major characters from the comics into the fold, such as Marvel’s Fantastic Four, have yet to be attached to well-known names. Meanwhile, as DC prepares to transition from the DCEU to a new universe led by James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy, details regarding casting have been sparse. With the resolution of the labor talks, the two franchises can now finally resume the process of casting, the strike prohibiting actors from auditioning.

8 MCU & DCU Actors Will Have Protections From AI

The Digital Age Warrants New Conversations

As technology marches ever forwards in developing AI, the controversial techniques have made their mark on the blockbuster film industry. During the strike, many actors expressed concerns over the technology’s usage, with no previous agreement between the unions and big studios explicitly prohibiting incorporating an actor’s digital likeness without their permission. This year’s The Flash film dipped the DCU’s toes into using fully CGI cameos of actors, albeit with their permission, and Secret Invasion featured AI-generated art.

A pointed talking point of the labor unrest, MCU and DCU stars can now rest easy knowing their likenesses will be legally protected. This means that neither franchise will be able to wantonly add in digital representations of characters without their original actor’s approval, securing the screen workers’ presence as talent that can’t be replaced. No matter how fast the technology continues to advance, massive media conglomerates won’t be able to use an artificial aggregate of their stars’ faces and voices whenever they want.

7 MCU & DCU Actors Will Get Some Big Increases To Wages

Performers Big And Small Will Feel The Effects

The stars of the MCU and DCU are already some of the highest-paid actors around, leading roles raking in millions and millions of dollars with each subsequent appearance. However, these lucky few represent the exception rather than the rule, with many working actors finally gaining a much-needed increase in base pay. That being said, there’s nothing to suggest that this increase won’t be reflected higher up on call sheets, either. With base wages being historically increased across the board, there’s no telling how much the MCU and DCU might have to pay to retain their familiar faces in the future.

The Lack Of Press Has Been Reflected In Poor Box Office Showings

One of the most important aspects of film promotion is the press circuit, as recognizable names behind some of Marvel and DC’s biggest hits go on the road, promoting their films with interviews, talk show appearances, and the like. Part of the work stoppage called for by the strike was these promotional events, still technically acting work despite not being a performance. This lack of advertising has had a very real effect on recent releases, with films like The Marvels lagging behind in the box office.

With the embargo on promotional work lifted, the MCU and DCU can once again utilize the public’s desire to see their favorite stars as prime advertisements. Between podcasts, tours, convention appearances, and TV appearances, the stars of cinematic superheroics are once again on the hook to help promote their most recent films. At this time, it doesn’t appear that the agreement itself has made any changes to these obligations, beyond allowing them to resume.

Including Movies And Shows Released During The Strike

Talking up upcoming releases to eager fans is one thing, but the SAG-AFTRA strike actually banned actors from publicly promoting, or even speaking on, past roles as well. This means that any MCU or DCU film released during the strike has yet to receive any sort of public comment from those that starred in it. Though Marvel was just barely not able to avoid doing so, with The Marvels premiering moments before an agreement was reached, DC’s Blue Beetle premiered well-within the confines of the strike. Now, fans can finally hear actors speak on these movies for the first time since July of 2023.

4 Below-The-Line Workers Will No Longer Be Financially Crippled

The Actor’s Actions Effected More Than Themselves

Coordinating the nationwide work stoppage across Hollywood was no easy task for actors, many of whom having to endure economic hardships for months. But as the talent, their actions also effected production professionals across the MCU, DCU, and the industry as a whole, put out of work due to circumstances beyond their control. “Below-the-line” refers to technical crew roles without creative input, such as production assistants, camera operators, and gaffers, all of whom are now finally able to resume work after several lean months.

3 The MCU & DCU Can Solidify Their Future Plans

The Strike Hit Both Studios At Critical Times

Once it became clear to studios that the Screen Actor’s Guild wasn’t going to relent without a fight, both the MCU and DCU had no choice but to put their plans on hold. While the MCU struggles to revitalize interest in Phase 5, DC was in the midst of a transition period, bringing to a close the DCEU that had spawned with Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel. With key actors no longer indisposed and production ready to resume, both cinematic universes can once again begin planning long-term, hoping to control the damage that the strike wrought on their carefully laid-out plans.

2 The MCU & DCU Will Have To Pay Actors Real Residuals For Streaming TV

Marvel And DC’s Streaming Libraries May Change As A Result

Fair payment being the crux of the strike, the disparity between how much profit studios make from actor’s performances versus how much of that profit they receive was a major talking point. This was the same topic at the heart of the Writer’s Guild of America Strikes that developed alongside the SAG-AFTRA mobilization, with creatives seeing only pitiable percentages of the massive profit their works generated. It would seem that with both strikes resolved, the corporate greed that had long withheld fair residuals from performers, especially in regards to streaming, won’t have a legal leg to stand on.

It’s possible this could have unintended side effects on the world of streaming. With the MCU and DCU now being on the hook for returning their investments to creatives on a successful streaming run of a given film, it’s possible that more films and TV shows may be pulled early to circumvent this. After all, HBO Max has unceremoniously deleted even beloved series from their platform without even notifying their creators, setting the precedent. Whether SAG-AFTRA took this tactic into account in the negotiations remains to be seen.

1 VFX Artists Unionizing Might Affect Upcoming Movies And Shows

The Successful Strike Just Might Inspire New Guild Members

The SAG-AFTRA strike came hot off the heels of the WGA strike, writers across Hollywood refusing to continue creating for ungrateful franchises like the MCU and DCU without a fair share of the profits their works generated. Between the beginning and ultimate resolution of both strikes, an all-new guild was formed for the long under-represented digital effects artists the cinematic universes have grown so reliant on. Having endured disrespectful working conditions, Disney’s VFX Artists have formed a new union branch specific to their work.

Joining the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, or IATSE, the MCU may not be out of the woods quite yet. The new VFX branch of the union finally offers the same protections to long-overlooked and overworked CGI creators that Marvel and DC have both heavily leaned on, including a right to strike. After witnessing the victory of SAG-AFTRA, it’s very likely that this new addition to Hollywood’s organized labor unions could go on strike themselves. Just when the MCU and DCU may have finally settled things with their actors, they may have to contend with the demands of the IATSE.

Key Release Dates

Deadpool 3

Captain America: Brave New World

Marvel’s Thunderbolts

Blade (2025)

Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty

Avengers: Secret Wars

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Joker: Folie a Deux

Superman: Legacy

The Batman – Part II

 SAG-AFTRA’s strike has forever changed the MCU and DCU.  Read More