The Marvels has the opportunity to revive the declining quality of recent MCU films and determine the future of the franchise. With the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes, the film’s director and crew are the only ones allowed to publicly promote the movie, resulting in limited marketing compared to previous Marvel films. Marvel Studios is undergoing significant changes, considering sidelining Kang as the next overarching villain and potential script issues with the upcoming Blade film. The studio is also considering reuniting the original Avengers cast for a new movie.

Since Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios movies haven’t had anywhere near as much hype and anticipation surrounding them, which hasn’t been helped by the severe decline in quality seen in Phases 4 and 5 of the MCU. The studio’s newest film, The Marvels, also commonly known as Captain Marvel 2, will see Brie Larson return as Captain Marvel, alongside Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan – being brought in from the Ms. Marvel Disney+ series – and Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau – last seen in the WandaVision series.

Despite many already passing it off as another forgettable 2020s MCU entry, The Marvels will be a decisive moment in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and could make or break the future of the franchise. With the possible exception of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which wasn’t without its flaws, Phases 4 and 5 of the MCU have easily been the franchise’s weakest. As a result, the once monolithic franchise has been on shaky foundations since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Marvels Could Be a Return to Form for the MCU

Following on from the success of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Marvel Studios needs another hit to ensure the safe future of the franchise. Even the majority of their original Disney+ series, which, despite being immensely popular, haven’t received anywhere near the same critical reception as earlier MCU projects – with Secret Invasion being one of the worst-reviewed Marvel stories in the history of the franchise. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 helped the MCU rebuild its momentum, and the currently ongoing Loki Season 2 seems to be continuing with a similarly high level of quality.

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Ignoring the opinions of overtly sexist fans, The Marvels, like any movie with as much financial backing as a Marvel Studios project, has the potential to be something special. The film is directed by Nia DaCosta, who previously lent her writing and directorial talents to Candyman (co-written with Jordan Peele) and several episodes of the acclaimed series Top Boy. Add to that the combined talents of Oscar winner Brie Larson, Oscar nominee, and MCU fan-favorite Samuel L. Jackson, Iman Vellani, and Teyonah Parris. Despite what you thought of their individual films and shows inside the MCU, it is hard to argue against the talents of the three leading actresses.

However, The Marvels also faces an external, uphill battle in the still ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes. Many studios have altered the release schedules of their upcoming films – like Dune: Part Two being moved back to March 2024 – as actors are prohibited from promoting their movies while the strikes rage on.

Some studios, like A24, have agreed to SAG-AFTRA’s terms and been granted exemptions. However, this is not the case with Marvel Studios, given Disney CEO Bob Iger’s ignorant response to the striking actors. Stubbornly, Marvel Studios have kept The Marvels in their November 10 release date. As a result, only the film’s director, Nia DaCosta, and the supporting crew can publicly promote the film. Sadly, their public presence is nothing compared to the film’s stars, and, as a result, The Marvels is receiving a fraction of the potential marketing that previous Marvel Studios films were granted.

Not only is The Marvels contending with the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strikes, but there is also the current implosion of the MCU’s future plans. According to a recent report from Variety, Marvel Studios is undergoing an internal crisis. One of the biggest takeaways from the report is that studio executives are considering moving narrative attention away from Kang, who has recently been established as the franchise’s next overarching villain.

The decision comes following the controversy surrounding Kang actor Jonathan Majors, with the actor having been arrested back in March 2023 following a fight with his then girlfriend. The report suggests that Marvel Studios may attempt to introduce the iconic Fantastic Four villain, Doctor Doom, as the franchise’s next ‘big bad,’ completely sidelining Kang – with the character’s future entirely dependent on the outcome of Majors’s court case.

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The report also mentioned that future Blade star and two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali nearly quit the upcoming MCU project over the film’s script issues. The production has been fraught with issues since the film’s announcement in 2019, with the project having undergone multiple changes to its creative team, including at least five writers and two directors.

Blade is still currently scheduled to be released in February 2025. However, this is likely to change, considering the script is still being written. Variety’s report also included one incredibly surprising announcement, being that Marvel Studios have considered re-uniting the original Avengers cast for a new movie. As much as this idea has excited many fans, it is hard to ignore the fact that two of the original characters are dead within the current MCU timeline. The announcement also feels suspiciously well-timed, considering the current state of Marvel Studios, and, to some, feels like a desperate attempt to return the company to its former glory.

The Marvels premieres in theaters on November 10, and its box office success is crucial to the future of the MCU.

 With Marvel Studios currently in crisis, The Marvels needs to succeed at the box office and restore the franchise to its former glory.  Read More