Najor changes are in the works at Marvel Studios that will result in the company’s streaming series operating more and more like television — complete with experienced showrunners and show bibles — and less like feature films, where story problems are often fixed via reshoots and in the editing room.
Marvel’s Disney+ era began much more promisingly two years ago with WandaVision, the Emmy-winning series starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany that captivated viewers with a gripping central mystery, emotional storytelling and an episodic structure that paid homage to such television classics as I Love Lucy and The Brady Bunch. “WandaVision was its own special thing,” the show’s director, Matt Shakman, tells Yahoo Entertainment during a conversation about his upcoming Apple TV+ series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. “It was a combination of Marvel scope, and celebrating the best of television.”
Asked about the reported creative troubles surrounding subsequent Marvel series, Shakman makes it clear he’s not in the loop about the company’s other series. “I’m not sure about Daredevil — I haven’t been involved in that at all. I only know my experience with WandaVision. I made that with [creator] Jac Scaefer and we had a great time. It was a limited series, and we knew it wouldn’t have a second season from the get-go. It was always going to just be the story of Wanda in Westview.”
“Because we were doing something over six hours, and I was the only director, we could really pick and choose where we wanted to make the most of a sequence and where we could save some money to get through things quicker,” Shakman continues. “We did it globally across the whole project, and there are real benefits to that. But I don’t know about [Marvel’s] future, and I don’t know what benefits they’ll gain from changing their structure.”
Shakman also points out that WandaVision’s premise — with a grief-stricken Wanda Maximoff using her Scarlet Witch powers to create a reality that resembles the shows she grew up watching — gave it an inherent advantage in embracing the television production model
Since wrapping WandaVision, Shakman has switched channels from Marvel’s television arm to its feature film division as the director of the long-awaited Fantastic Four film, replacing the original helmer, Spider-Man: No Way Home’s Jon Watts. Scheduled for release on May 2, 2025, the writing and casting process have been on pause in recent months amid Hollywood’s historic double strike by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
But Shakman — whose own union, the DGA, reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — says he has been “working nonstop” on Fantastic Four. And with the WGA strike settled, screenwriter Josh Friedman is back on board as well.
“I’m very happy that Writer’s Guild resolved so positively and I’m back at work with Josh,” Shakman confirms. “We’re working together, and hoping for a wonderful and fair resolution to the SAG strike soon. It’s a big world to build, so we’ve been hard at work with production design and visual effects and figuring out how we’re going to construct it for the last year basically. I’m incredibly excited — I’ve loved those comics since I was a kid.”
For the record, Shakman also loves reading all of the Fantastic Four casting rumors that go viral almost weekly, suggesting such names as Vanessa Kirby, Adam Driver and Ebon Moss-Bachrach for the members of Marvel’s First Family. “It’s great that there’s so much passionate interest,” he says with a laugh.
But obviously he’s not about to confirm or deny any of the online fancasting, especially with the SAG strike far from settled. “When the strike is over, there will be an announcement at some point, and we can end all the speculation,” Shakman says with a smile. “But I do love the passion that’s out there — I support it, and I encourage it.”