By Andrew Martinez
It's no surprise that after the thrilling conclusion to the Infinity Saga that was “Avengers Endgame,” Marvel has taken a decline in interest and viewership from fans. However, this is now arguably worse than ever.
Phase Four was a mixed bag of success, with projects like “Spider-Man No Way Home” being a success earning nearly $2 billion dollars and “Wakanda Forever” earning $859 million at the box office, but many other projects struggled — specifically the Disney Plus shows.
For example, Disney Plus shows, “Hawkeye” and “Ms. Marvel," had about 1.5 million and 780,000 views, respectively, during their premieres. “Loki” and “Wanda Vision,” had a significantly higher number with almost 2 million viewers. “She Hulk: Attorney At Law", became one of the more expensive of the disney plus series costing $225 million, however has received very low ratings from fans with a 32% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
However, with the trailer release of the new upcoming “Echo” show, this could all change. Directed by Sydney Freeland, the series is set to focus on Echo or Maya Lopez, played by Alaqua Cox, after the events of “Hawkeye.” Vincent D'Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk is set to return along with beloved Charlie Cox as Daredevil.
What's really interesting about this show is the fact that it's receiving a mature audience rating. All of the released Marvel shows on Disney Plus have been rated TV-14 and while that is very understandable, considering their audience is catering towards young kids, it can really hold them back when it comes to their storytelling.
Characters such as Daredevil, Moonknight and Punisher really deserve that mature rating and when you're adopting certain stories from them it's absolutely necessary for it to have that violent gritty aspect. The fact that Marvel has included a mature rating in this show is a good sign and from the looks of the trailer it really feels so much different tone wise than anything we’ve gotten so far.
Another change that Marvel seems to be making is their release schedule. Normally, these shows would come out week to week like regular television. “Echo,” however, will have all five episodes premiere on the same day. This is something that I think will certainly drive the viewership up and give it a lot more attention from fans.
The most notable change Marvel seems to be making is the creative team in charge of this project. Dario Scardapane who worked on Netflix’s “Punisher” will be the showrunner along with “Loki” directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.
Possibly the biggest gripe many folks have recently had with Marvel is the fact that it is so formulaic, and has become almost this machine that just pumps out content just for the sake of it. People want real stories and new ideas instead of just mindless third act computer-generated imagery fests or shows that exist solely for the purpose of setting up another series. The Marvel magic that used to be present is starting to slowly fade.
People might just blame it on “Marvel fatigue” or “Marvel burnout” but there really is no such thing, as long as you give your audience fresh ideas and good quality content. Just look at James Gunn with his projects like the “Guardians of the Galaxy” triology and “Peacemaker” or Max’s “My adventures With Superman.”
It's not superhero content that’s the problem. It's lazy and incompetent writers that don’t know how to handle the characters they’re given that just try to do the same six episode format with every show they make.
So with the new direction Marvel is taking with their shows and the changes they’ve made, head producer Kevin Feige and company will hope to see better results revenue wise, and hopefully will implement those changes for the rest of their small screen projects going forward.
The first season of “Echo” will premiere Jan. 10, 2024, only on Disney Plus.