The Marvels rumor suggests it'll set a new and surprising MCU movie runtime record

Carol Danvers look at something off-screen with some Skrulls behind her in The Marvels
The Marvels will seemingly have the shortest runtime of any MCU film. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Marvels is reportedly on course to have the shortest runtime of any Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie by some distance.

According to industry insiders, the final Marvel movie of 2023 will usurp 2008's The Incredible Hulk as the most succinct MCU film in the franchise's history. Per leaker Cryptic HD Quality, which has previously revealed the correct runtime figures of numerous Disney-developed movies and shows, The Marvels will clock in at a remarkably tight one hour and 38 minutes. 

In fact, without its credits crawl and potential post-credits scenes, the Nia DaCosta-directed film will seemingly run for a staggeringly brief (where Marvel films are concerned, anyway) 93 minutes. For context, The Incredible Hulk runs for one hour and 52 minutes, including its end credits sequence.

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Cryptic HD Quality's leak was corroborated by MCU insider CanWeGetSomeToast, which has also correctly reported on important details concerning Marvel projects way before they're revealed.

Of course, it should be noted that this isn't the Marvel Phase 5 movie's confirmed final runtime. Its rumored length might be what its current cut clocks in at. With another month to go before its final picture needs to be locked in to make its release date, it's possible that previously cut scenes may be added back to help its narrative flow.

Either way, we won't know for certain until about a month before The Marvels releases in theaters. That time period is usually when cinemas worldwide receive their copy of a forthcoming film, enabling independent theaters and multiplexes to update their websites' release schedules with a movie's official runtime. Until then, we'll have to take the aforementioned leakers' word for the superhero sequel's runtime.

A follow-up to 2019's Captain Marvel, and Disney Plus shows WandaVision, Ms Marvel, and Secret Invasion, The Marvels stars an all-female superhero team, which is a first for the MCU. Caron Danvers/Captain Marvel, Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel and Monica Rambeau/Photon join forces to stop Dar-Benn, a Kree Accuser, from instigating another universe-centric crisis. However, every time the trio use their powers, they find themselves trading places with one another. To succeed in their mission, they'll have to learn to work together to put a stop to Dar-Benn's nefarious plan.

The Marvels, which is one of our most anticipated new movies of 2023, is set to fly into theaters globally on Friday, November 10. It might also be available in IMAX now, too, with Dune Part 2 – which was set to dominate the IMAX space – delayed out of its November 3 date to March 2024.

A Marvel-ously short film – but will it work?

Carol Danvers and Kamala Khan smile at each other on a doorstep in The Marvels

It's unclear if The Marvels' short runtime will make it a better film. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

If – and it's a big IF – The Marvels becomes the shortest MCU movie in history, it's unclear if its 93-minute length will be a good or bad thing.

As CanWeGetSomeToast points out in their tweet, The Marvels could be "all killer, no filler" if it launches with a runtime under one hour and 40 minutes. That would certainly make for a tighter narrative, one that foregoes a problem that previous Marvel movies and Disney Plus shows have had. Namely, that they contain superfluous material that doesn't benefit the plot.

On the other hand, The Marvels' potentially brief runtime could scupper its chances of being a fun-filled watch. If its length ends up being sub-two hours, there's a high chance that important character development and/or relationship-centric material might be cut. Fight scenes may also be assembled in a cookie cutter manner, meaning they could be less enjoyable to see play out on the big screen.

Monica Rambeau touches some cosmic energy in space in The Marvels

Let's hope that Monica, Carol, and Kamala all get their time to shine. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Not every Marvel film needs to be two and a half hours to three hours long. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame did for obvious reasons, but Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Eternals – despite our enjoyment of the pair – didn't. The felt cumbersome and weighed down in places by the unnecessary inclusion of specific story beats. Both serve as proof, then, that two-hour-plus MCU flicks aren't always the best option.

That said, Marvel films under or around the two hour mark haven't always fared well, either. As well as The Incredible Hulk, three of the four Thor movies (including Thor: Love and Thunder), Doctor Strange 2, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) have struggled with plot pacing and undercooked story elements. 

If The Marvels' story dictates that its runtime needs to be on the shorter side, and it winds up being a good movie, you won't hear me complaining about its length. Should the opposite be true, however, I'll be baffled by Marvel's decision to make it the shortest MCU movie ever.

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Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

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