Why Too Much Marvel Became The Company’s Kryptonite

Do you remember what you were doing on December 10, 2020? Because I can assure you that I and every other film and television journalist on the planet remember exactly what we were doing on that date. That was Disney Investor Day 2020, the day when the House of Mouse hosted a webcast announcing an overwhelming plethora of streaming projects for Disney+. Perhaps most notably, that was when Marvel Studios unveiled a massive streaming slate, one that would guarantee (to quote Variety’s article) “there would never be a lapse in [MCU] superhero fare, with either a film in theaters or a new television series streaming at any given moment.”

To say that covering these announcements was exhausting would be putting it mildly, but that was nothing compared to the toll it took on Marvel’s employees. As Variety explains in its writeup, this was all a bid on then-CEO Bob Chapek’s part to boost Disney’s stock prices in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns. But while it may have made the company’s stockholders happy after such a tumultuous year, it quickly proved impossible to sustain from a creative standpoint. As anyone who’s kept up with the MCU since 2020 can attest to, “the need to tease out an interwoven storyline over so many disparate shows, movies and platforms created a muddled narrative that baffled viewers” (as Variety puts it).

In addition to causing a whole lot of behind-the-scenes chaos (much of which has now been thoroughly documented), this left even many staunch MCU defenders feeling burnt out after trying to keep up with everything. Not helping matters, many of these films and TV series were also artistically underwhelming, so much so that staying up to speed with the franchise came to feel more like homework than anything.

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