Marvel Bosses Admit 2023 Was Not Their Favorite Year

For Marvel Studios, a company used to dominating the box office and igniting pop culture, 2023 was kind of a bummer. Amid mutters about “superhero fatigue,” Marvel’s releases (especially Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; The Marvels; and Disney+ series Secret Invasion) made less of an impact than the company, and fans, were used to, while behind-the-scenes drama required the rethinking of certain future plans.

While hopes are high for Deadpool & Wolverine to help get things back on track this summer, and upcoming projects like yet another Fantastic Four have sparked cautious optimism, Marvel is now owning up to its shortcomings. Earlier this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed a new Marvel strategy moving forward: “two TV series a year instead of what had become four and reduce our film output from maybe four a year to two, or a maximum of three.” This is particularly interesting since Marvel has four films slated for 2025: Captain America: Brave New World, Blade, Thunderbolts, and Fantastic Four.

So there potentially could be some adjustments to that “maximum of three” movie decree, but with a new degree of caution attached. In a new interview with Empire Magazine, Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito (who serves alongside Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige) admitted “It’s been a rough time,” but also has hopes for what’s to come, adding, “If we just stayed on top, that would have been the worst thing that could have happened to us. We took a little hit, we’re coming back strong.”

Clearly, he and Iger have been getting their stories straight, because then he added, “Maybe when you do too much, you dilute yourself a little bit … We learned our lesson. Maybe two to three films a year and one or two shows, as opposed to doing four films and four shows.”

Feige puts the same spin on the situation, telling the magazine, “It’s nice to be able to rally behind one feature project this year. I’m much more comfortable being the underdog … So it does seem like the last year, which has not been ideal, has set us up well for that.”

Deadpool & Wolverine—the only Marvel movie slated for 2024, though that’s more due to Hollywood strike delays, and less by design—releases in theaters July 26. So far, Echo is the only new live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series to hit Disney+ in 2024, though the WandaVision spin-off centered around breakout character Agatha Harkness is also due later this year.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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