Why Disney+ Marvel Shows May Be the Downfall of the MCU

WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…? Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and the list continues building. With a slew of Marvel shows slated to make their way to the Disney+ streaming platform — some featuring our beloved heroes from the silver screen, others introducing signature saviors we have yet to fall for — MCU fans around the globe are counting the days in anticipation. 

When it comes to Disney — the money-making media conglomerate — the decision to bring Marvel characters and their respective narratives to the small screen was inevitable. With their classic animated tales like The Jungle Book to superhero sagas like The Avengers, Disney will likely become one of the largest competitors in the space and, with all the new content already planned, the streaming service will satisfy fans who pay the subscription for the originals. 

When it comes to the innovative side of Disney — its reputation for morphing the filmic landscape, setting trends, and creating some of the most technologically advanced films — their vision, grand as it may be, may have too far surpassed current entertainment consumption habits this time around. As we know, there will be interdependence between the small screen and the silver one — a cross-talk, that if too elaborate, may catalyze the MCU’s destruction. Let’s break it down.

How Disney+ Marvel shows will be intertwined with the MCU

According to Screen Rant, Marvel President Kevin Feige has discussed Disney+ Marvel shows at length, often making note of the fact that the small screen stories will be integrated with the ones on the big screen. Kevin Feige stated the following: 

…Marvel Studios is producing for Disney Plus. And, without being too specific, we want to do something that’s going to stand right alongside the MCU films and will be completely intertwined, and the story and the characters will go back and forth between Disney Plus programming and the films.

Feige made clear that the stories will go back and forth between the shows and the movies. Based on recent reports, speculation that WandaVision will play directly into Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness has become a widely understood fact, just shy of complete confirmation. 

The question is: how much intermingling will occur? How much TV will Marvel fans have to watch to follow the MCU, and will a web of complexities become too much? Will the narratives stray too far, satisfying only the most devout of the fandom world? Will the MCU leave behind the many who often say, “I just love the movies. They’re fun to watch.” If people need to watch the shows to follow the films, the MCU may be trying to catalyze a shift in entertainment consumption that is just one step too far.

What if…we’re not ready?

The future of the MCU relies on hope, not evidence. Evidence suggests that TV consumption is straying towards anthologies, straying towards shorter content: content where you can start at any point and go back and forth. Though this may be a large generalization, such generalizations cannot be ignored when trying to predict future patterns.

In the franchise world, a decade long saga may still be movie magic, but will it be just as magical when placed on the small screen? When fans have to watch season-long narratives to see the next silver screen smash, will they lose interest? 

The larger unknown here is whether the world is ready for such a strong interdependence between TV and film — a form of entertainment consumption that seamlessly connects the home to the theatre. There will be an invisible thread uniting two worlds that, up until now, have been largely independent. Has Disney bit off more than they could chew, taking a step beyond the realistic, with consumers still a step behind the vision. 

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