Why the MCU and DCU Breaks in 2024 Are Necessary

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As we get further into the 2020s, it has become clear that the immense popularity of comic book and superhero movies in the 2010s hasn’t quite carried over into the new decade. While yes, some of the biggest films of the decade so far, such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, have been superhero movies, the genre is far from the surefire hit-maker that it was just five years ago. For further context, there were four superhero movies released in 2019 that managed to gross more than a billion dollars worldwide – Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Captain Marvel, and Joker. The same is true of 2018 – Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Incredibles 2 and Aquaman. However, throughout the first four years of this decade, there has been only one – Spider-Man: No Way Home.


It’s clear that audiences are not as broadly or consistently interested in comic-book movies as they used to be. Something needs to change if both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DCU want to continue finding immense success at the box office. Both major franchises and studios have their own plans for how they are going to adjust to the changing cinematic landscape. They are both taking much-needed breaks in 2024, as they shift their plans and want to give audiences a breather. Here’s what we know:


Only One New MCU Movie

Since the release of Avengers: Endgame in 2019, the MCU has dramatically ramped up the production of new films and live-action series. In 2023, the studio released three feature films, as well as two live-action shows and a second season of the animated series What If…?. Before that, in 2022, the MCU also produced three features, in addition to three live-action shows, one animated series and two live-action holiday specials, while 2021 brought four films, four live-action shows and one animated series. That is two years of nine new releases per year, followed by a year of six new projects. This is all in comparison to the late 2010s, when the MCU was consistently putting out just two to three movies a year and that was it.

As for 2024, things are going to look a lot different for the franchise. As far as MCU movies go, there is only one set for release, and it’s one that exists largely on the fringe of the cinematic universe to begin with. That movie is Deadpool 3, which will build off the first two Deadpool films (which were not in the MCU) while also bridging the gap between that series and the MCU. While Deadpool 3 will likely feature many connections to the other Marvel Studios projects, it is likely to feel very different from pretty much anything that the MCU has produced.

Because of this, there is not a single MCU film coming out in 2024 that is going to feature the same old “Marvel formula” approach that audiences have gotten tired of. While there are a few shows within the MCU set for release, such as Echo and Agatha: Darkhold Diaries, it’s become apparent that these Disney+ shows have a much smaller audience, and these two in particular will be fairly disconnected from the broader MCU story. If anything is going to hurt Marvel’s film reputation in 2024, it’s not the Marvel Studios productions, but rather what Sony is doing with their Spider-Man properties, as films such as Madame Web, Kraven the Hunter and Venom 3 are all set to release in 2024.

Related: Spider-Man: No Way Home Almost Featured Kraven the Hunter Instead of the Multiverse, Here’s What Happened

DC Prepares for Superman: Legacy

Shifting to look at the other major comic-book movie powerhouse in the film industry, DC is in a very different position than Marvel is right now. That’s because they are actively in the process of rebooting the franchise with the new DCU under the creative guidance of James Gunn. The DCEU that has defined the last decade of DC has officially come to an end with the release of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and most of that universe is being scrapped in favor of new ideas. The first feature film of the new DCU will be Superman: Legacy, which is set to release in the summer of 2025. In the meantime, the actual first story set within the DCU will be the animated series Creature Commandos, which is likely to debut on Max in late 2024. Within the confines of the DC cinematic universe, that one animated series is all we can expect in 2024.

However, DC’s stories do not entirely exist within the confines of its cinematic universe. Because of this, there is one live-action “Elseworlds” DC film that is set for release in 2024, which is the sequel to 2019’s Joker, titled Joker: Folie à Deux. That film is set to release in October, and it will likely drum up a lot of conversation, just as the first Joker did a few years ago. The introduction of a new Harley Quinn, played by Lady Gaga, is also sure to gain the film a lot of attention. Beyond that, there are a handful of animated DC films and shows set for release in 2024, ranging from a new take on Watchmen to new seasons of Harley Quinn and My Adventures with Superman. As for live-action shows, the final season of the CW’s Superman & Lois is set for release, as is the Penguin show on Max, which is a spin-off of Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson’s The Batman, starring Colin Farrell.

Although there are a lot of major DC releases set for 2024, the year is still giving audiences a firm break from the concept of a DC cinematic universe. Everything that is set for release this year is either a complete one-off story or a sequel/spin-off story set in its own space that is firmly separated from anything else. It’s likely that DC will spend much of the year building anticipation for Superman: Legacy and the launch of the new DCU film franchise in 2025. Filming on Superman is set to begin in early 2024, and we expect we’ll get several first-look images sprinkled throughout the year and perhaps even a teaser trailer at San Diego Comic-Con in the summer.

Related: Superman: Legacy Filming Start Confirmed, but New Logline is a Mystery to James Gunn

How This Break Will Help Both Franchises

As we mentioned earlier, it’s no secret that the comic-book movie industry is far from stable at this point. 2023 saw one major superhero movie after another fail, both financially and critically. Marvel had to suffer the disappointing box office returns of films like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels, in addition to the critical panning of those films and shows like Secret Invasion. Meanwhile, the last four films of the DCEU – Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – each crashed and burned in quick succession. For both Marvel and DC, 2023 ended up being one of the worst years in a long while.

By taking a break from their cinematic universes in 2024, Marvel and DC are allowing audiences to catch their breath. Instead of constantly inundating fans with new content, the major comic-book brands are letting the dust settle and actually giving viewers time to miss these kinds of stories. In the meantime, both Marvel Studios and DC Studios are doing a lot of work to ensure that the films and shows that they return with in 2025 will be the best they can be. The lack of quality stories from both studios was a massive reason for the decline in audience interest, and the only way to win back the trust of viewers is to deliver engaging and exciting stories that feel like they matter and are important to see.

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