Just recently the expectation had been that three Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) would be coming out in 2024 — Deadpool 3, Captain America 4 and The Thunderbolts, with at least one of them snagging that first weekend in May that for decades has been monopolized by the MCU. (Originally it was supposed to be Captain America 4, but then they said it would be Deadpool 3, and then because the movie was not actually finished some said Captain America 4 again.)
According to Variety there will only be one — coming out in the next fourteen months — Deadpool 3, hitting theaters on that last July weekend before the traditional dump month of August (the same weekend Captain Marvel 2 was originally supposed to release on this year). Meanwhile Captain America 4 has been bumped to February 2025 and The Thunderbolts to that last weekend of July 2025.
Some of this is an unavoidable function of the delays imposed on these productions by the recent strikes. Still, one may wonder if, given the way the MCU has been doing lately — and the way that Captain Marvel 2 seems set to become a flop of historic, The Flash-like proportions, Disney-Marvel is not finding it in its interest to give the brand a breather and try to rebuild some good will with audiences. One can see the decision not to push back Captain America 4 to May 2024 but instead still have a belatedly released Deadpool 3 be the next movie as consistent with that logic. As Deadpool was originally not part the MCU franchise (it was spun off from FOX’s X-Men films), and looks and feels different from the other films (in its R-rated “edginess,” its having what Peter Biskind called the “first alt-right superhero”), many who are less than happy with the recent MCU films may still be enthusiastic about a new Deadpool movie, while the MCU’s runners may hope that any good will that movie earns the franchise will carry over to the next MCU films — all as any disappointment with which Captain Marvel 2 becomes associated fades in the public’s memory in at least some degree. Assuming I am right about this I think this is a very limited strategy — but admittedly the runners of the MCU, just like the rest of Hollywood, do not exactly have a lot of great options at this stage of the game.