The Marvel Cinematic Universe now has two main avenues of storytelling: major blockbuster films like Black Widow (now in theaters) and the new Marvel Disney+ series like WandaVision and Loki that have launched in 2021 and quickly taken hold of the entertainment zeitgeist. However, how does Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige determine which MCU characters get films, and which are ripe for their own series on Disney+? In a new interview, Feige addresses that very question, giving Marvel fans a bit (just a bit!) more insight into which characters end up on the big screen or small screen, and why:
Speaking with Rotten Tomatoes, Kevin Feige states that when it comes to Marvel characters getting movies of TV series:
"A lot of choosing what characters - what stories - become a feature film first [or] what becomes a Disney+ series... It's still frankly early days for that. So we're still having those discussions. What you see now in Phase 4 is still the culmination of work of five or six years - or in the chase of Shang-Chi ten or fifteen years in the past. So we have been working towards a Shang-Chi movie for many, many years; towards a Black Widow movie (as everybody knows) for many, many, years. So those were always set on as films of what we wanted them to be."
Of course, the rollout of Disney+ changed the playing field for Marvel Studios, as big-budget TV programs could run on the streaming service, without the traditional hangups of trying to run on broadcast television. As Feige explains:
"When Bob Iger told us about Disney+ and about his desire for us to produce shows for Disney+, it gave us a new avenue, frankly, to do something we hadn't been considering before, which was: doing a deep-dive on characters who deserve a deep dive but hadn't had the chance yet."
The prime example Feige sights is Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen):
"You know it took us four or five films to tell even a tiny story of Wanda Maximoff and The Vision - same thing with Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. It's a testament to those characters - and particularly to those actors - that the audience fell in love with them, in what really amounted to a relatively short amount of screen time in a handful of films. But we knew they were being underutilized - both the characters and the actors - and we really wanted to have a showcase to show off how amazing those characters are, and how amazing those actors are. And certainly Tom Hiddleston as Loki, as well. And also to do it in a new way, in a new medium, and do it in a way that couldn't be done in a feature film."
So far, it seems that Kevin Feige's eye has been spot-on when it comes to picking the right characters and actors for the Disney+ series. Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, and Tom Hiddleston have all seen their fame and acclaim soar as a result of these Disney+ series. That doesn't even include the new faces that these series have turned into MCU fan-favorites, such as Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness, Wyatt Russell's John Walker/US Agent, and now Sophia Di Martino's Sylvie. In other words: so far, so good.
Marvel's Disney+'s are all streaming right now. Black Widow is open in theaters and is now streaming on Disney+ Premium Access.