Heavy is the head that wears the crown. When Bob Iger initially bowed out of his role as Disney CEO, many regarded him as one of the most influential men ever to hold the position. With his impressive acquisitions of brands like Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel, as well as laying the groundwork for Disney plus, Iger's proverbial jersey was set to be retired in the company rafters as an all-time great.
Since then, Iger's handpicked successor Bob Chapek divided Disney fans, shareholders, and employees with a short and controversial tenure. Hoping to clean up the mess, Disney's board of directors quickly reinstated Iger. However, Iger's current reign has not been without turmoil. Disney Plus has been revealed to be something of a money pit that has hindered the company's lucrative ability to license its intellectual properties; Star Wars is caught in a constant cycle of upheaval and reconstruction that has severely damaged the brand, and the Marvel cinematic universe is starting to wither on the vine. Consequently, Iger is beginning to rethink everything at Disney, and according to Comic Book Resources, that includes which characters Marvel prioritizes and how many sequels they should get.
With Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania being pummeled by critics, Disney CEO Bob Iger suggests the Marvel Cinematic Universe should focus on introducing more new characters.
"There are 7,000 characters, there are a lot more stories to tell," Iger said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. "What we have to look at at Marvel is not necessarily the volume of Marvel stories we're telling, but how many times we go back to the well on certain characters. Sequels typically work well for us. Do you need a third and a fourth, for instance, or is it time to turn to other characters?"
While Iger didn't mention any properties by name, the poor critical performance of the third Ant-Man film as well as 2022's similarly panned fourth Thor movie, Love and Thunder, are likely what he's referring to. Still, both films performed well at the box office, making them hits with general audiences. As such, Iger isn't worried about the MCU slowing down anytime soon — but it might need to shift focus.
"There's nothing in any way inherently off in terms of the Marvel brand," he said. "I think we just have to look at what characters and stories we're mining. If you look at the trajectory of Marvel in the next five years, there will be a lot of newness. We're going to turn back to the Avengers franchise with a whole new set of Avengers, for example."