Marvel vs. Star Wars: Who Has the Brighter Future?
Marvel and Star Wars have both found success based on quality storytelling. But which mega-franchise has more arrows left in the quiver?
There are numerous giants in the world of television and film that show no signs of slowing down. At the top of the list are industry goliaths Marvel and Star Wars. For the purpose of this article, we will be referring to Marvel as a whole rather than limiting the scope to the MCU. While both franchises have exhibited a drop in quality over the years, there is no indication that either is facing any shortage of new material. With Phase 5 officially underway, Marvel has a bevy of projects that will be flooding theaters and the Disney+ platform over the next several years. Star Wars executives have announced a host of series and movies on the horizon as well. Let’s take a look at which of the two titans has a brighter future.
The Case for Marvel
Marvel has plenty in the hopper, but the rising point of contention pertains to quality, not quantity. Box office numbers aside, the once reliable comic book adaptations have wavered over the last two years. Multiple misfires in both TV and big screen format have plagued the MCU, along with universe adjacent films like Morbius. Offenders in the cinematic universe include Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Ms. Marvel, and Eternals. While they are not bad, they are inferior when stacked up against the likes of Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Iron Man. Outside of a few bright spots (looking at you, Shang-Chi and Spidey), Phase 4 experienced a steady decline. Thankfully, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is a return to form and proves the studio still has gas in the tank. But will future entries be enough to restore the waning champion to its former glory?
To partially answer that question, let’s dive into its upcoming slate. There is much to be excited about on this list, but three highlights should have fans gushing. The fast-approaching Disney+ endeavor, Secret Invasion has kept the masses on fire for quite a while, and its most recent trailer only fanned the flames. The miniseries premieres in June and appears to be adopting a darker tone, which offers the potential for a vital shake-up within the MCU confines.
Daredevil: Born Again
Fast forward to the spring of next year and you will arrive at the targeted release date for the highly anticipated TV show, Daredevil: Born Again. Running for three fantastic seasons on Netflix, Daredevil was a resounding success in every sense. Following a pair of MCU cameos, Charlie Cox is set to fully reprise his role as Matt Murdock. He will be joined by fan-favorite Vincent D’Onofrio, coming back as the villainous Kingpin. Throw in a confirmed whopping 18-episode season coupled with a rumored edgier tone that should closely resemble that of the original series, and Disney+ has the makings of a certified banger on deck.
Finally, Deadpool 3 is the movie most likely to give Marvel the lift it requires to get back on top. The Merc with a Mouth’s irreverent humor, graphic action sequences, audacious narrative beats, and wacky characters are the perfect ingredients for an entity in dire need of a hard reset. Oh yeah...and the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine does not hurt either. The third installment will mark the titular vigilante’s induction into the MCU. Furthermore, it will deliver the behemoth its first R-rated offspring. The Reynolds/Jackman chemistry is already in full swing, as evidenced in the announcement video. November 8, 2024 should be a date that has every Marvel maniac jumping for joy.
The remainder of the answer to the question of whether Marvel’s planned lineup can rekindle its prior magic is largely speculative as of now. Hope continues to course through the veins of the comic book king, but its fate rests on its ability to break away from the formulaic blueprint it has employed as of late. There was a time when everything released from the brand was a winner, and that was primarily due to bold maneuvers that ventured outside the box. That level of dependability is rare in the cinema realm and has since been reduced to Thanos-snapped dust. The path back to the summit still exists, but it will crumble without a string of victories for the good guys.
The Case for Star Wars
Elsewhere in the universe lives Star Wars, which has consistently pushed out shows on Disney+ and a few spin-off movies to accompany the main saga. The rebooted trilogy, while visually incredible, was a bit lacking in plot…and occasionally sense. The stand-alone films have been solid, especially Rogue One. Ongoing series like The Mandalorian and Andor have elevated the franchise to new heights while reaching a larger audience. Star Wars faces stiff competition as well as a massive fanbase in Marvel, but its track record and upcoming projects suggest it is prepared for the challenge.
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi
James Mangold (Logan) is directing this tale of Jedi genesis. When done correctly, origin stories can be amazing, particularly with an IP containing such a vast amount of lore that spans thousands of years. Dawn of the Jedi is described as a biblical epic that takes place 25,000 years prior to the current Star Wars storyline. The prequel is in great hands with Mangold, and it will be eye-opening to see ground zero of the Force.
Untitled Taika Waititi Film
The latest update on Taika Waititi’s long-awaited Star Wars film will begin shooting in 2024 and release in 2025. Naturally, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and company are giving him his sweet time to get everything together. This should be music to fans’ ears. There is no sense in rushing an unfinished product out the door just to elicit a short-lived period of instant gratification. The measured plan of attack to create something that everyone will truly love is a wise one. Waititi is a talented filmmaker, but sometimes relies too heavily on forced humor (look no further than Thor: Love and Thunder). There is a place for comedy in Star Wars, but he would benefit from dialing it back a bit. Hopefully, we get more progress updates soon.
Ahsoka and The Acolyte
Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of Ahsoka Tano was well received in The Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian. As a result, the mighty warrior is getting her own limited series in which she investigates an emerging threat to the galaxy after the fall of the Empire. And yes, she will be crossing paths with fan-favorite big bad, Grand Admiral Thrawn. Dawson’s proven gravitas in the role and the live-action introduction of a high-profile villain should make for dynamite television when Ahsoka premieres in August.
Releasing in 2024, The Acolyte is set at the end of the High Republic era and centers on a former Padawan who reunites with her Jedi master to unravel a mystery that pits them against deeply sinister forces. The major selling point is the story will be told from the villains’ perspective, offering a unique lens into the world of Star Wars.
Star Wars boasts seemingly endless mythology, featuring timelines still begging to be tapped into. The ceiling for the coming productions extends well beyond a galaxy far, far away. George Lucas has unlocked a limitless treasure trove that could be (and should be) visited forever. The foundation is there, it just needs the right builders in place.
By now, we have established that fans of both Marvel and Star Wars have ample cause for hope. However, there is one franchise that rises to the top when looking ahead. While Marvel does have some exciting items on the agenda, Star Wars has a galaxy’s worth of material yet to be mined. There is simply much more real estate for the space-based, sci-fi juggernaut to conquer. Marvel supporters have many reasons to be amped about what is waiting for them around the corner. But the boundless storytelling potential that is ripe for exploration points to a brighter future for Star Wars.
This piece was written by Josh Aboody and Matthew Novak. Both collaborated on its direction, content, etc.