Disney CEO Bob Iger Discusses Marvel Fatigue And Quietly Cancelling Several Projects

Recently, Disney CEO Bog Iger was a keynote speaker at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

The event took place yesterday and Iger made several interesting comments regarding the company’s film output and how Disney will right the ship after a somewhat down 2023 that saw the company miss its usual box office benchmarks.

Fans of the MCU and Star Wars took particular notice of Iger’s statement that the company had decided to shelve projects that they believed weren’t going to work out, even if pre-production expenses had already been incurred.

You have to kill things you no longer believe in, and that’s not easy in this business, because either you’ve gotten started, you have some sunk costs, or it’s a relationship with either your employees or with the creative community,” said Iger.

He continued, “It’s not an easy thing, but you got to make those tough calls. We’ve actually made those tough calls. We’ve not been that public about it, but we’ve killed a few projects already that we just didn’t feel were strong enough.”

In the Marvel and Star Wars fandoms, this comment is receiving a lot of interest because several previously revealed projects have remained inactive for an extended amount of time and currently lack a release date. Have these projects been “quietly killed” or simply pushed further down the slate, into Phase 6 or beyond?

On the Disney+ side of Marvel, Ironheart, Wonder Man, Eyes of Wakanda, Marvel Zombies and Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man all lack release dates, and there’s been virtually no update on Vision Quest for quite some time. Likewise, a Nova project for Disney+ was announced back in 2022 and has puzzlingly received no updates.

Regarding the MCU’s film slate, production has not yet begun on Shang-Chi 2 or Armor Wars, and neither project has a set release date.

On the Star Wars side, Taika Waititi’s Untitled Star Wars Movie and Shawn Levy’s Untitled Star Wars Movie both lack clear direction and release dates. Star Wars projects from Patty Jenkins and Kevin Feige certainly fall into the “quietly canceled” department as well.

Iger went on to add that he’s been giving extra attention to the company’s film division as he’s been personally, “spending a lot of time with the creators, watching these films, giving detailed notes in these films, engaging in a respectful process that results in improvement.” Iger’s remark has some fans believing he is stepping on the toes of Kevin Feige and Dave Filoni in an attempt to return to the days of Disney having billion-dollar box office hit after box office hit.

As Iger moved along in his speech, he railed against the notion that superhero fatigue may be the cause of Marvel’s dismal output, post-Avengers: Endgame.

A lot of people think it’s audience fatigue, it’s not audience fatigue. They want great films. And if you build it great, they will come and there are countless examples of that. Some are ours and some are others’. Oppenheimer is a perfect example of that. Just a fantastic film,” Iger said. 

He continued, “Focus is really important. We reduced the output of Marvel, both number of films they make and the number of TV shows, and that really becomes critical, but I feel good about the team. I feel good about the IP we’re making. I talked about a lot of the projects. We look years ahead, really. And it’s iterative.”

Not only do you look at the films you’re making, you look at every part of that process, who the directors are, who’s being cast, reading scripts, I personally watch films three to five times with the team and just create a culture of excellence and respect, which is really important with the creative community. And again, the track record speaks for itself.

Iger went on to specifically point to Deadpool & Wolverine as a sign that things are turning a corner for Marvel, adding that the film “will be one of the more successful Marvel movies we’ve had in a long time.”