Avengers 5 director exits sequel amid Marvel Studios’ poor performance

Studio entered ‘phase five’ this year with the release of critical and commercial flops ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ and its latest ‘The Marvels’

Inga Parkel
Friday 17 November 2023 05:58 GMT
Ant-Man - Trailer 2

Filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton has reportedly stepped away from directing the fifth movie in the Avengers franchise to focus on other Marvel projects.

The Shang-Chi director, 44, had been attached to Avengers: Kang the Dynasty since last year.

However, it was confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday (15 November) that Cretton has exited the Marvel sequel. It is currently unknown who will take over as director.

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will centre on supervillain Kang the Conquerer, originated by embattled actor Jonathan Majors in 2023’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

The film is part of Marvel Studios’ “phase six”, which includes all the projects set to be released from mid-2025 to mid-2027.

It was originally supposed to be released in May 2025, but its opening has since been pushed back to May 2026 as a result of the recently resolved actors’ strike.

Its delayed release is supposedly one of the contributing factors for why Cretton will no longer helm the movie, according to THR. He will instead focus on directing the sequel for his 2021 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Destin Daniel Cretton and Jonathan Majors in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’

Cretton also remains onboard as the director and producer for the studio’s upcoming miniseries Wonder Man.

Word of the director’s exit comes days after the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) saw its latest entry, The Marvels, bomb at the box office. The Brie Larson film has claimed the unfortunate title of worst opening weekend in the franchise’s 32-film history.

Before it was released, The Marvels was already predicted to perform badly as fans complained of “Marvel fatigue”.

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The once-unstoppable MCU reached dizzying heights in 2019 when Avengers: Endgame became the highest-grossing film of all time (it was overtaken by previous title holder Avatar when the film was re-released in China in 2021).

Since then, while there have been several attempts to revive its content with new characters and fresh franchises, “the MCU has struggled to curry consistent interest in its ever-ballooning catalogue of films and TV series,” declared The Independent’s Louis Chilton.

The Marvels isn’t the studio’s only underperformer this year. Paul Rudd’s sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania became the lowest-scoring MCU film on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.

Meanwhile, Majors’s Marvel future hangs in the balance as he awaits trial on domestic abuse charges. Court proceedings are scheduled to begin on 29 November after a New York judge rejected the defence’s motion to dismiss the case in October.

Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is scheduled to open in cinemas on 1 May 2026.

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