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Kevin Feige Hints At A Slower Pace And More Breathing Room For The Future Slate Of MCU Releases

The MCU is a beast. With over 30 films and counting (if you include the release of "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania") and another eight Disney Plus series tossed onto the heap, the sprawling cinematic universe is replete with superhero content of every kind imaginable. From the self-contained escapades of an "Ant-Man" or "Ms. Marvel" narrative to the massive, universe-hopping events of stories like "Avengers: Endgame" and "Loki," the MCU has no shortage of entertainment for every palette.

Part of the reason there is so much MCU content out there is because, in the nearly two decades since "Iron Man" came out, the studio has been pumping out marvelous footage at an increasingly rapacious rate. The pandemic put a damper on this, but the slowdown was only temporary. As soon as restrictions started to ease, there was a flood of content, both streaming and theatrical, for the next couple of years. In fact, for a while there, the backlog of shows and movies was nearly too much to handle.

This deluge of MCU fun has kept superfans engrossed nearly every month (and often every week, thanks to the episodic approach of Disney Plus shows) for years now. At the same time, it's been a lot for mainstream audiences to keep up with. It's a fact that the Marvel executive elite are not unaware of, either. In fact, in an interview with EW, the one and only Kevin Feige addressed the issue of too much content head-on.

Kevin Feige preps audiences for a slower pace of MCU releases

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in the lead-up to the "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantamania" release, the Marvel boss talked about some of the takeaways that he's learned from the lengthy run of content leading up to the cinematic universe's thirty-first film. As Phase 5 kicks off, the MCU seems poised to explode into a larger-than-ever interdimensional web of stories — and Feige knows it. In fact, he opened up the discussion of the subject by referencing a recent SNL skit in which Hollywood analyst contestants on a fake game show are repeatedly stumped by questions about very recent movies and streaming content.

The takeaway? There's too much coming at audiences too fast right now, and even the experts are struggling to keep up. To put it in Feige's own words, "I do think one of the powerful aspects of being at Marvel Studios is having these films and shows hit the zeitgeist. It is harder to hit the zeitgeist when there's so much product out there — and so much 'content,' as they say, which is a word that I hate. [Laughs] But we want Marvel Studios and the MCU projects to really stand out and stand above."

For Feige and company, the solution appears to be pumping the brakes a bit. "So, people will see that as we get further into Phase 5 and 6," the exec elaborated, "the pace at which we're putting out the Disney+ shows will change so they can each get a chance to shine." The immediate follow-up question from the interviewer was whether that meant fewer shows or simply spacing out content better, to which Feige responded, "Both, I think."

Feige wants to return to more self-contained content

As the MCU has grown over the years, it has become more complex. Independent heroes have formed teams like the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Films like "Infinity War" and "Endgame" saw multiple teams resist universe-threatening evils. This unwieldy upping of the ante at every outing may be approaching critical mass in Phase 5. Later in the EW interview, when talking about maintaining balance in telling so many stories, Feige reiterated his desire to slow things down and even reign some of the storytelling back into more reasonable boundaries. "I think when we are doing about eight projects a year — and again, I said this is going to shift a little bit — they all have to be different," Feige shared. "They all have to stand apart and stand alone and be different from one another."

The Marvel head honcho added that stand-alone, episodic content is going to become more of a goal. "So now — and I think you're seeing this not just with our shows, but with many other shows — you're starting to see the fun of a self-contained, episodic story week to week. We're going to experiment with that in some of our upcoming things." Feige even compared this desire for episodic individuality directly to "Star Trek: Next Generation's" well-documented ability to create self-contained plots that rarely needed to interconnect.

Hardcore fans may find the potential slowing of the MCU release schedule an unwelcome thought. But it's likely a smart move. Giving the studio a little more breathing room will allow its creative teams to properly invest in each project and keep everything at the same cinematic standard that was set all the way back when "Iron Man" first stole our entertainment hearts so many years ago.