When Marvel Studios extends the Marvel Cinematic Universe onto television with original series like WandaVision, Marvel chief Kevin Feige wants to bring at-home audiences an experience they "can't get in a movie." For the first time, the film and television sides of the MCU will intersect in a way that makes the expanding universe more immersive than ever before. Fan-favorites who appeared in Marvel's 23 blockbuster feature films will continue their stories in cinematic-quality episodic TV on Disney+, where all-new characters will join the universe before making the jump from the small screen to the big screen.
"Streaming is 100 percent the future and where consumers want to watch things," Feige told this month's Emmy Magazine covered by WandaVision. "And hopefully they'll want to watch our longform narrative series. An experience like WandaVision is something you can't get in a movie. You go to movies for things you can't get on streaming, and you go to streaming for things you can't get in a theater. And of course, everything in a theater goes to streaming eventually."
In early 2018, before Feige concluded the 11-year first chapter of the MCU with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, he was approached by then-Disney CEO Bob Iger about extending the MCU onto the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.
"My team and I were wondering internally about where to go from here, and what would be the next step that was equally challenging and unexpected," he said, calling the television idea an "adrenaline boost."
Feige quickly imagined ways to showcase characters who had lesser screen time in the films, including Infinity Stone-powered couple Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany).
"Elizabeth and Paul were these amazing actors — who had done amazing things in four movies — but never had a chance to dominate the narrative because there was so much else going on," he said. "It felt fun to finally give them a platform to showcase their astounding talent."
Like Wanda and Vision, backseat characters like Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) would step into the spotlight in the upcoming The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Others, including Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), would also receive starring roles in new series that could have anywhere between six to ten episodes — part of what Feige has in the past called a "totally new form of storytelling."
WandaVision begins streaming only on Disney+ on January 15, 2021.
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