While most of us tend to roll our eyes with the announcement of each new streaming service, you can’t say that Disney isn’t doing its level best to get us excited for theirs. And let’s be honest, it’s not as if they have to try that hard. After all, the studio has a veritable treasure trove of content already at its fingertips, ranging from landmark films like ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’ to cult classics like ‘The Black Hole‘. But not content to rest on their laurels, they will, of course, be debuting an array of new content on the platform. And make no mistake, Disney plans to bring their biggest guns to the fight, including – of course – Marvel.
The potential in tying shows exclusively to your streaming platform into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is obvious. After all, this is the media enterprise that has not only reshaped but defined the film business over the last ten years. If anything will make it easier for people to open their wallets, it’s this. But it’s not just fans who are excited at the possibilities that come with the planned streaming series. Speaking at a recent producers’ roundtable, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige shared his excitement for the upcoming projects:
“But Paul [Greengrass] mentioned the streaming service, and I think that is something that we’re going to be adding content to, which is exciting. I love your analogy with the campfire, right? As many people as you can get around the campfire and tell stories. Campfires can be different. We are going to tell stories for the streaming service that we wouldn’t be able to tell in a theatrical experience – a longer-form narrative, that’s what comics are, it’s about as longform a narrative as exists. But also maintaining that theatrical experience, which is our bread and butter, and the lines around the block, if you’re lucky.”
Of course, there’s an extent to which this has been done. After all, the MCU has played host to nearly a dozen separate TV shows over the last six years, from ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘ to ‘Cloak & Dagger‘. The big difference here, though, would be Feige’s involvement. While the various Marvel shows have acknowledged the wider universe in some form or another (the most notable being ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, which had its entire premise upended midway through the first season by the events of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’), true crossovers have been few and far between. In fact, they’ve been nearly nonexistent. There’s no single reason for that. Some of it is corporate politics and the schism, for want of a better word, between Marvel’s film and television divisions. Some of it just comes down to the differing timelines and demands of film and television production. But with Feige directly involved, the likelihood of a direct cross-pollination of characters and storylines becomes much higher.
It’s not a coincidence, after all, that the list of shows known to be in development at this time includes series focusing on Loki, Scarlet Witch and Vision, and a Falcon/Winter Soldier team up. The most persistent complaint fans have had about Marvel’s various television offerings has always been the lack of regular crossovers with the films. That sort of cross-pollination was what set Marvel Studios’ films apart in the first place, and after a while, it gets frustrating that Daredevil hasn’t met Spider-Man. By focusing on second-tier characters from the films, the proposed shows essentially sidestep that issue, especially since Feige’s oversight makes it easier to coordinate crossovers.
For more on Disney’s streaming service and its slate of Marvel shows, be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com as it becomes available!