When playing the long game leaves you short

With more and more studios planning films many years in advance, Errol Kerr weighs in on whether it is genius, excessive, or just a plain waste of time

9th May 2016

Marvel’s Inhumans was initially set for a November 2018 release, and was pushed back to July 2019. Recently, however, it appears to have been abandoned, being quietly removed from the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s schedule. With the recent release of the fantastic Captain America: Civil War, this cancellation shakes up the entire future of the film franchise. Perhaps this band of superheroes will never see the big screen, having been pushed out of the plot. Perhaps this may only be a reshuffle, as since the agreement made between Sony and Marvel, they have to now fit in the planning and release a new Spiderman film (YES, again), and therefore it’s possible that Inhumans has just been pushed back to an undisclosed date because of it.

Since we’ve seen some of these characters on the TV series Agents of Shield, it’s shocking to see the planned film cancelled. It indicates the shift in priority away from smaller creations and toward their main “phases” of their Cinematic Universe. This extensive planning and over-planning could be a massive flaw, as these films have been pushed around and back more and more as time has moved on. This excessive planning may excite fans in the long run, but can Marvel – and other film companies – really keep their promises on such extensive schedules?

Marvel isn’t messing around with its schedule. After Civil War, they’ve got Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spiderman: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, two films for the Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp and a Captain Marvel film, as well as three untitled films - all in the next four years. Alongside this, they’ve got all of their TV series projects, and after having announced a new Punisher TV series, it’s evident that they’re really not giving themselves an easy time with this. It just goes to show the extent of their project when they’ve had to push one of these films out entirely (at least for now.) Are studios setting unattainable goals, aiming to appease the fanbases with teasers of films they’ll, in reality, never be able to make?

"can Marvel – and other film companies – really keep their promises on such extensive schedules?"

With several directors dropping out of DC’s film franchises (with The Flash’s Seth-Graeme Smith being the latest to fall), this could see a turn for the worse for them as well, as they may not be able to maintain the hopes fan have built up. After the critical panning of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s possible that the schedule planned for this entire franchise may fall apart. It might only take one really poor film for the entire tapestry of any well-planned franchise to collapse on the heads of these groups.

This doesn’t just apply to Marvel and DC’s film franchises – Disney’s other major film franchise group have taken this extensive planning across the board. If you’re to look at Lucasfilm, The Force Awakens’ success has exploded into yet another film schedule. So far, they’ve got two more Star Wars episodes, a reported minimum of three extra films (with Rogue One set for a December release) and who knows what else to come. Can they hold up to this? Has Disney overshot its mark with Star Wars as well as their slice of the Marvel universe? Time will tell.

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