Disney+ launches in a matter of days and eventually, the direct-to-consumer service will be the home to original limited series from Marvel Studios. Featuring the likes of Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and more, these shows will be just as integral to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the films fans have consumed over the past 11 years. In fact, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has said the shows will directly impact the story arcs and plot points of the films as they push into Phase Four and beyond. In his exact words, Feige said should fans "want to understand everything in future Marvel movies, they "probably need a Disney+ subscription because events from the new shows will factor into forthcoming films such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."
So begins a paradigm shift that could deeply affect the future of the MCU, for both better and worse. When you introduce this massive slate of limited series — or television shows, in layman's terms — there's a whole new level of depth and complexity added to an already intricate world. As it stands now, new fans would still have to get through 23 separate movies before they get a thorough understanding of where this cinematic universe stands now, and that's prior to adding at least eight new shows to the mix. To date, the movie studio has kept everything tied together pretty tight, even making a massive team-up like Avengers: Infinity War understandable to new viewers.
With the introduction of nearly a dozen shows in the next two years, it's hard to believe even the most organized of studios will have an easy time of keeping its ducks in a row, especially when actively switching characters between film and television. And that's not even mentioning the time commitment required to view the shows in a streaming world that's about to get a whole lot busier.
Then there's a serious question about accessibility. Not only will families have to add at least $70 to their streaming budgets, should they choose to subscribe to the platform's annual plan, the service itself won't immediately be available to much of the world. Despite launching in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands on November 12th, some markets won't get it for upwards of two years meaning it's very likely some of the world could miss out on the entirety of WandaVision before Doctor Strange 2 hits theaters. Those in Eastern Europe and Latin America aren't expected to get the service until October 2020, each locale with a months-long rollout. Those countries located in the Asia Pacific might have to wait up to a full two years from launch to see an inkling of the service.
Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has built a massive universe that millions can enjoy and escape to. As much as Marvel fans — this writer included — want to see those on streaming crossover with film, at what expense do we risk it? Would it be worth it to turn off new fans with an overwhelming new commitment?
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021 and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Marvel Studios projects without release dates include Ant-Man 3, Blade, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic and Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
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