Disney delays Avatar, Marvel and Star Wars movies as it shuffles releases

Key Points
  • Disney announced a major shake-up for its movie release calendar, resulting in delays for multiple films within the Avatar, Avengers and Star Wars franchises.
  • There hasn't been a Star Wars entry since "The Rise of Skywalker" in 2019.
  • The fifth "Avatar" is now slated for 2031.

In this article

Avatar: The Way of Water
Courtesy: Disney Co.

Disney on Tuesday revealed a shake-up of its movie release calendar, delaying several entries in the Avatar, Marvel and Star Wars franchises.

The company hasn't elaborated on the decisions behind the release date rearrangements, although studios often adjust their schedules for a variety of reasons. The moves come as a writers strike cripples the film and television industry, which is causing production shutdowns that could affect release timelines. 

Various prominent films and shows have either halted or concluded production prematurely since the beginning of the strike. These include Netflix's "Stranger Things,"  "AppleTV+'s "Severance" and Paramount's "Evil," CNBC reported in May

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

James Cameron's third "Avatar" movie was moved from 2024 to December 2025, with the fourth film following in 2029. The release calendar of the company indicates the fifth installment in the franchise is now slated for 2031. "Avatar," released in 2009, and "Avatar: The Way of Water," released late last year, are two of the three highest-grossing films worldwide.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the recently renamed "Captain America: Brave New World" will be delayed from May to July next year, with "Thunderbolts" shifting to December 2024, "Blade" moving to February 2025 and "Fantastic Four" now slated for May 2025.

The changes also affect the two upcoming Avengers movies in the MCU. "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty" has been pushed back a year to May 2026. "Avengers: Secret Wars" will not be released until May 2027. 

Actor Jonathan Majors, who played Kang in Marvel's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," was arrested for assault earlier this year and reportedly faces more accusations of abuse. He has denied the allegations through his attorneys, but was dropped by his longtime management company, previous reports said. Marvel has remained silent on Majors' case.

After the box office disappointment of the actor's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," Disney CEO Bob Iger pondered whether Marvel should prioritize fresher characters rather than continuing to create third and fourth films for established legacy characters.

Disney also delayed a planned "Star Wars" movie from December 2025 to May 2026. It added another Star Wars movie to the schedule too — it's set for December 2026. Disney has not released a Star Wars film since "The Rise of Skywalker" in 2019.