Future Marvel Movie Directors

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic effectively shutting down nearly all film and television production, Hollywood studios and networks are losing millions of dollars, and they’re continuing to tighten their belts. Many employees have been furloughed while others still employed are taking paycuts. Now, two showrunners at Marvel Studios are having their overall deals terminated in an effort to cut costs.

Steve Lightfoot, the showrunner on The Punisher from Netflix, and Paul Zbyszewski, who has been working on Marvel’s upcoming Hulu series Helstrom, have both had their overall deals terminated at Marvel Studios. It’s the first of what will likely and unfortunately be many deals “force majeured” in Hollywood over the coming weeks.

The Hollywood Reporter has news on Marvel ending TV deals with Steve Lightfoot and Paul Zbyszewski, which shows that even one of the most successful studios in Hollywood is being hit hard. After all, Marvel Studios shifted a bunch of their release dates thanks to the delay of Black Widow, originally slated for release this summer but now set for a theatrical debut in November this year. That means The Eternals is no longer coming out in 2020, and that’s a big chunk of money to lose for the fiscal year.

The Punisher, which lasted for two seasons, was canceled at Netflix along with the rest of the Marvel shows that were situated at the streaming service, and Lightfoot didn’t seem to have a new show lined up at the studio yet. That’s probably why Marvel chose to end his overall television deal, especially since there won’t be any new shows going into production anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Helstrom is set up at Hulu and appears to still be in the works despite other Marvel shows being canceled at the streamer. However, I can’t imagine Marvel has plans to make it a big part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That would explain why Zbyszewski’s deal is being axed too. The showrunner’s history with Marvel goes all the way back to the start of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, which will also be ending its tenure at Marvel Studios with the upcoming seventh and final season premiering in May.

Even though this situation is undoubtedly unfortunate for Lightfoot and Zbyszewski, they just so happen to be among the most expendable creatives at Marvel Studios at this time. We’ll likely hear about even more deals like this being “force majeured” due to the extenuating circumstances regarding Hollywood’s shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic. This was something that was already anticipated thanks to the negotiations that still need to take place between studios and the Writers Guild of America, now slated to begin on May 11, but coronavirus has certainly made that situation worse.

We’ll keep you posted on the continued struggles Hollywood is having during the coronavirus pandemic, so stay tuned.

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