Disney is continuing to focus heavily on developing original content for their Disney Plus platform at is begins to hit a metaphorical ceiling on how many people are willing to subscribe to their service. One of the largest complaints for the service is the lack of original shows, and that is something that can be rather difficult for Disney to manage since they have their hands in multiple different businesses.
With the company ramping up production of Disney Plus Original Series it can be easy to see what properties they may go after in order to try and attract a large crowd. Besides the Star Wars franchise with Mandalorian, Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka and Kenobi the only other major franchise is Marvel, and they haven’t wasted any time trying to milk it.
Originally Marvel TV shows weren’t necessarily required to watch for the story with shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter as fun little side stories to add to the lore (The Netflix shows weren’t connected). But with the rise of Disney Plus these shows are now seemingly required in order to get the full story.
As Phase 4 of the MCU was unveiled, multiple shows were announced with WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki added to the phase along with theatrical releases like Black Widow, Shang-Chi and The Eternals. But unlike the other shows you are required to know what went on in WandaVision to understand what Wanda is doing in the Doctor Strange sequel, or see what happened in Falcon and the Winter Soldier to find out why Falcon is now Captain America in the currently unnamed Captain America 4, or be introduced to Kamala Khan in Ms. Marvel before seeing The Marvels.
Currently other upcoming shows/specials such as Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Secret Invasion, Secret Invasion, Armor Wars, Iron Heart and the unnamed Wakanda series are all planned to be 6 – 8 episode series like the previously released shows while Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Werewolf by Night are planned as singular outings. Each episode runs at around 30 – 35 minutes each, meaning a 6 episode show can equal a 3 hour film.
When you compare the list of films in Phase 4 to the amount of shows you have 11 planned films versus an estimated 14 shows/specials. With the lower cost to produce a show and the likelihood of having people stay subscribed to watch it the weekly release may be what Disney might plan to do going forward Post-Phase 4. Take what would usually be a 2 hour film, add filler, expand the length to over 3 hours then split into six pieces and sell it as a show. You know Disney will do what they can to sell something to their investors to keep them happy.
Hopefully this trend of tv series doesn’t go to that extreme as Spider-Man: No Way Home has shown that people are still willing to go to theaters if the movie is good, unlike some of Marvel’s other outings in 2021. Let’s pray they don’t rename the MCU to the MSU (Marvel Streaming Universe).
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