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Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Marvel Cinematic Universe
Marvel Cinematic Universe logo.png
Marvel Cinematic Universe intertitle from Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe (2014).
Creator Marvel Studios
Original work Iron Man (2008)
Print publications
Comics Marvel Cinematic Universe
tie-in comics
Films and television
Films Marvel Cinematic Universe films
Short films Marvel One-Shots
Television series Marvel Cinematic Universe television series

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared fictional universe that is centered on a series of superhero films, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. The franchise has expanded to include comic books, short films, and television series. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters. Clark Gregg has appeared the most in the franchise, portraying Phil Coulson, a character original to the MCU.

The first film released in the MCU was Iron Man (2008), which began the first phase of films, culminating in the Marvel's The Avengers (2012) crossover film. "Phase Two" began with Iron Man 3 (2013), and concluded with Ant-Man (2015). Marvel is also preparing "Phase Three", beginning with the release of Captain America: Civil War (2016). Marvel Television expanded the universe further, first to network television with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC in the 2013–14 television season, and then to online streaming with Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix in 2015. The MCU also includes tie-in comics and the Marvel One-Shots direct-to-video short films.

The franchise has been seen as an impressive and groundbreaking success in terms of a multimedia shared universe, though critics have found that some of its films and television series have suffered in service of the wider universe. It has inspired other film and television studios with comic book character adaptation rights to attempt to create similar shared universes.

Development

Films

"It's never been done before and that's kind of the spirit everybody's taking it in. The other filmmakers aren't used to getting actors from other movies that other filmmakers have cast, certain plot lines that are connected or certain locations that are connected, but I think...everyone was on board for it and thinks that it's fun. Primarily because we've always remained consistent saying that the movie that we are making comes first. All of the connective tissue, all of that stuff is fun and is going to be very important if you want it to be. If the fans want to look further and find connections, then they're there. There are a few big ones obviously, that hopefully the mainstream audience will able to follow as well. But...the reason that all the filmmakers are on board is that their movies need to stand on their own. They need to have a fresh vision, a unique tone, and the fact that they can interconnect if you want to follow those breadcrumbs is a bonus."

Kevin Feige, President of Production for Marvel Studios, on constructing a shared film universe.[1]

By 2005, Marvel Entertainment began planning to independently produce its own films and distribute them through Paramount Pictures.[2] Previously, Marvel had co-produced several superhero films with Columbia Pictures, New Line Cinema and others, including a seven-year development deal with 20th Century Fox.[3] Marvel made relatively little profit from its licensing deals with other studios and wanted to get more money out of its films while maintaining artistic control of the projects and distribution.[4] Avi Arad, head of Marvel's film division, was pleased with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films at Columbia, but was less pleased about others. As a result, they decided to form Marvel Studios, Hollywood's first major independent movie studio since DreamWorks.[5]

Arad's second-in-command,[5] Kevin Feige, realized that unlike Spider-Man and the X-Men, whose film rights were licensed to Columbia and Fox respectively, Marvel still owned the rights to the core members of The Avengers. Feige, a self-professed fanboy, envisioned creating a shared universe just as creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had done with their comic books in the early 1960s.[6] To raise capital, the studio secured funding from a seven-year, $525 million revolving credit facility with Merrill Lynch.[4] Marvel's plan was to release individual films for their main characters and then merge them together in a crossover film.[7] Arad, who doubted the strategy yet insisted that it was his reputation that helped secure the initial financing, resigned the following year.[5][8]

Kevin Feige was an early visionary for the franchise, realizing a shared media universe could be created with properties Marvel owned.

In 2007, at 33 years old, Feige was named studio chief. In order to preserve its artistic integrity, Marvel Studios formed a six-person creative committee with people familiar with its comic book lore that included Feige, Marvel Studios co-president Louis D'Esposito, Marvel Comics' president of publishing Dan Buckley, Marvel's chief creative officer Joe Quesada, writer Brian Michael Bendis, and Marvel Entertainment president Alan Fine, who oversaw the committee.[5] Feige initially referred to the shared narrative continuity of these films as the "Marvel Cinema Universe",[9] but later used the term "Marvel Cinematic Universe".[10] Marvel has designated the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Earth-199999 within the continuity of the company's multiverse, a collection of fictional alternate universes.[11]

In November 2013, Feige said that "in an ideal world" releases each year would include one film based on an existing character and one featuring a new character, saying it's "a nice rhythm" in that format. While not always the case, as evident by the 2013 releases of Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, he said it is "certainly something to aim for."[12] Feige expanded on this in July 2014, saying, "I don't know that we'll keep to [that model] every year," but we're doing that in 2014 and 2015, "so I think it would be fun to continue that sort of thing."[13] In February 2014, Feige stated that Marvel Studios wants to mimic the "rhythm" that the comic books have developed, by having the characters appear in their own films, and then come together, much like "a big event or crossover series,"[14] with Avengers films acting as "big, giant linchpins."[15] After the reveal of multiple release dates for films through 2019 in July 2014,[16] Feige stated, "I think if you look at some of those dates that we've announced, we're going to three in a few of those years. Again, not because there's a number cruncher telling us to go to three, do more than two pictures a year, but because of the very reason just laid out: It is about managing [existing] franchises, film to film, and when we have a team ready to go, why tell them to go away for four years just because we don't have a slot? We'd rather find a way to keep that going."[17] After the titles were revealed in October 2014,[18] Feige said, "the studio’s firing on all cylinders right now...which made us comfortable for the first time...to increase to three films a year [in 2017 and 2018] instead of just two, without changing our methods."[19]

On expanding the characters in the universe and letting individual films breathe and work on their own, as opposed to having Avenger team-ups outside of Avengers films, Feige stated, it’s about "teaching the general movie going audience about the notion of the characters existing separately, coming together for specific events and going away and existing separately in their own worlds again. Just like comic readers have been doing for decades and decades...People sort of are accepting that there's just a time when they should be together and there’s a time when they’re not."[20] In April 2014, Feige revealed that Edgar Wright's pitch for Ant-Man in 2006 helped shape the early films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, saying, "We changed, frankly, some of the MCU to accommodate this version of Ant-Man. Knowing what we wanted to do with Edgar and with Ant-Man, going years and years back, helped to dictate what we did with the roster for Avengers the first time. It was a bit of both in terms of his idea for the Ant-Man story influencing the birth of the MCU in the early films leading up to Avengers."[21]

In October 2014, Marvel held a press event to announce the titles of their Phase Three films.[18] The event, which drew comparisons to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference,[22] was done because all the information was ready. As Feige explained, "We wanted to do this at [San Diego] Comic-Con this year. Things were not set... So the plan has been, since a few weeks before Comic-Con when we realized we weren’t going to be able to do everything we wanted to do, is to decide 'let's do either something we haven’t done in a long time, or something we've never done.' Which is a singular event, just to announce what we have when it's ready. I thought that might be early August, or mid-September, it ended up being [at the end of October]."[19]

In September 2015, after Marvel Studios was integrated into Walt Disney Studios with Feige reporting to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn instead of Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter,[23] it was reported that the studios' creative committee would have "nominal" input on the films moving forward, though continuing to consult on Marvel Television productions, which remained under Perlmutter's control.[24][25] All key film decisions going forward will be made by Feige, D'Esposito and Victoria Alonso.[24] At the end of the month, on how much story is developed for future films of the universe, Feige said there are "broad stroke" though sometime "super-specific things. But for the most part, in broad strokes that are broad enough and loose enough that, if through the development of four of five movies before we get to the culmination... we still have room to sway and to move and to go and to surprise ourselves in places that we end up. So that all the movies, hopefully when they're finished, will feel like they're all interconnected and meant to be and planned far ahead, but really can live and breathe enough as individual movies to be satisfying each and of themselves." The studio also has various contingency plans for the direction of all of their films, in the event they are unable to secure a certain actor to reprise a role, or require the film rights to a character, such as was done in February 2015 with Spider-Man.[26]

Distributors

Over time, the distribution rights to Marvel Studios' films changed hands on multiple occasions. In November 2006, Universal Pictures announced that it would distribute The Incredible Hulk,[27] in an arrangement separate from Marvel's 2005 deal with Paramount, which was distributing Marvel's other films.[2] In September 2008, after the international success of Iron Man, Paramount signed a deal to have worldwide distribution rights for Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers.[28]

In late December 2009, The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion. In October 2010, Walt Disney Studios bought the distribution rights for Marvel's The Avengers and Iron Man 3 from Paramount Pictures,[29] with Paramount's logo remaining on the films, as well as for promotional material and merchandise,[30][31] although Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures is the only studio credited at the end of these films.[32] Disney has since then distributed all subsequent Marvel Studios films.[33] In July 2013, Disney purchased the distribution rights to Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger from Paramount.[34] The Incredible Hulk was not part of the deal, due to an agreement between Marvel and Universal, where Marvel owns the film rights and Universal owns the distribution rights, for this film as well as the right of first refusal to distribute future Hulk films.[35] According to The Hollywood Reporter, a potential reason why Marvel has not bought the film distribution rights to the Hulk as they did with Paramount for the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America films is because Universal holds the theme park rights to several Marvel characters that Disney wants for its own theme parks.[36]

In February 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced a licensing deal that would allow Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the character first appearing in Captain America: Civil War.[37][38] Marvel Studios will also explore opportunities to integrate other characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into future Spider-Man films financed, distributed and controlled by Sony Pictures.[37] In June 2015, Feige clarified that the initial Sony deal does not allow Spider-Man to appear in any of the MCU television series, as it was "very specific... with a certain amount of back and forth allowed."[39]

Television

In June 2010, Marvel Television was launched with Jeph Loeb as head.[40] By July 2012, the division had entered into discussions with ABC to create a show set in the MCU,[41] and in August, ABC ordered a pilot for a show called S.H.I.E.L.D., with The Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon involved.[42] Later renamed Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,[43] the series was soon joined by several others at ABC.[44][45]

After [running something by Jeph] Loeb we’ll run it through New York, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley and those guys. [Then we] pitch our stuff to Kevin Feige and his movie group to see if there’s something we can tie into, to see if they’re okay about us using a character, or a weapon or some other cool thing. Everything is interconnected.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeffrey Bell in September 2014, explaining the process of working in with the MCU[46]

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeffrey Bell stated at the show's 2014 PaleyFest panel that the producers and the writers are able to read the screenplays for upcoming MCU films to know where the universe is heading, which allowed them to form a general plan for the show through the end of a third season.[47] He noted that since the films have to be "big" and move "quickly through a lot of huge pieces", unlike television which has time to deal with more nuances, it is beneficial for the films to have the television series fill in any "gaps" for them.[48]

His fellow executive producer Jed Whedon explained that each Marvel project is intended to standalone first before there is any interweaving, and noted that the series has to work with the film division and be aware of their plans so as not to interfere when introducing someone or something to the universe.[49] Bell elaborated that this was preferable so that people who do not watch the films can still follow the series, and vice versa.[48] Joss Whedon noted that this process "unfortunately just means the TV show gets, you know, leftovers." He stated that, for example, the series' creative team initially wanted to use Loki's scepter from The Avengers but were unable to due to Whedon's plans for it in Avengers: Age of Ultron.[50]

Jeph Loeb sitting.
Head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb serves as executive producer on every television series set in the universe.

By October 2013, Marvel was preparing four drama series and a miniseries, totaling 60 episodes, to present to video on demand services and cable providers, with Netflix, Amazon, and WGN America expressing interest.[51] In November 2013, it was announced that Disney would provide Netflix with live-action series based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, leading up to a miniseries based on the Defenders.[52] Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that Netflix was chosen to air the shows, "when Disney realized it could use the streaming service as a way to grow the popularity of the characters". He added that, if the characters prove popular, they could become feature films.[53] Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief Joe Quesada confirmed that the series are set within the MCU, and that, beyond connecting to themselves, would connect with the films and other television series.[54]

In December 2014, Loeb explained that "Within the Marvel universe there are thousands of heroes of all shapes and sizes, but the Avengers are here to save the universe and Daredevil is here to save the neighborhood ... It does take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s all connected. But that doesn't necessarily mean that we would look up in the sky and see [Iron Man]. It’s just a different part of New York that we have not yet seen in the Marvel movies."[55] In April 2015, Loeb explained that "In the world of Marvel Comics, Jessica Jones, and Matt Murdock, and Danny Rand, and Luke Cage all had a previous existing relationship and all grew up on the same kind of stoop in New York. So it lent itself to a world. Does that mean these shows are going to be the same? No. They can't be. The characters have different issues, different problems, different feelings about them. While I don't think they'll be as varied, the example that I continually give is that I cannot think of two films that are more different in tone than The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. And yet, if you watch them back to back, they feel very Marvel. They feel very much like, 'Oh, it is still the same universe that I'm in.'"[56]

In October 2014, Feige said the opportunity "certainly" exists for characters in the Netflix series to appear in Avengers: Infinity War.[19] In March 2015, Loeb spoke on the ability for the Netflix series to crossover with the films and the ABC series, saying, "As it is now, in the same way that our films started out as self-contained and then by the time we got to The Avengers, it became more practical for Captain America to do a little crossover into Thor 2 and for Bruce Banner to appear at the end of Iron Man 3. We have to earn that. The audience needs to understand who all of these characters are and what the world is before you then start co-mingling in terms of where it's going."[57] In September 2015, Feige elaborated on the films referencing the television series, saying "I think that's inevitable at some point...The schedules do not always quite match up to make that possible. It's easier for [the shows]. They're more nimble and faster and produce things quicker than we do, which is one of the main reasons you see the repercussions of Winter Soldier or [Avengers: Age of Ultron] in the show....by the time we start doing a movie, they'd be mid-way through a season. By the time our movie comes out, they'd be [starting the next season]. So finding the timing on that is not always easy.[26]

While talking about Marvel potentially making comedy series, Loeb said in January 2016 that Marvel always feels humor should be a part of anything they produce, despite possibly fitting more within a darker genre, as Daredevil and Jessica Jones do, while also staying "grounded and real". He added, "There are moments of levity that are in life that you need to bring to the table, or else it just becomes overwhelmingly oppressive... If you're going to [explore comic book elements], it's always a good idea to make sure that the audience is aware that, yeah, it's funny [too]."[58] Also in January, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos talked about the release schedule of the Marvel Netflix series, saying that they "are produced at the scale of a major film, so there are long production times and long post times. In some case, when we have character crossover, it makes it more difficult to manage production. It’s not the goal to put out more than one or two [each] year....The complex one is really The Defenders. The Defenders' production schedule will determine a lot of the season 2 and 3 output of those shows." He also noted on potential spin-offs that "all the characters in the universe could also spin out" into their own series at some point.[59]

Other media

In 2008, the first official tie-in comic was released.[60] Marvel Entertainment CCO Joe Quesada outlined his plan to expand the MCU into comic books, saying, "The MCU [comics] are going to be stories set within movie continuity. [They are] not necessarily direct adaptations of the movies, but maybe something that happened off screen and was mentioned in the movie...Kevin Feige is involved with these and in some cases maybe the writers of the movies would be involved [as well.]"[61] Marvel Comics worked with Brad Winderbaum, Jeremy Latcham, and Will Corona Pilgrim at Marvel Studios to decide which concepts should be carried over from the Marvel Comics Universe to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, what to show in the tie-in comics, and what to leave for the films.[62] Marvel has clarified which of the tie-in comics are considered official canonical MCU stories, with the rest merely inspired by the MCU, "where we get to show off all the characters from the film in costume and in comic form."[63]

In August 2011, Marvel announced a series of direct-to-video short films called Marvel One-Shots,[64] the name derived from the label used by Marvel Comics for their one-shot comics.[65] Co-producer Brad Winderbaum said "It's a fun way to experiment with new characters and ideas, but more importantly it's a way for us to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe and tell stories that live outside the plot of our features."[64] Each short film is designed to be a self-contained story that provides more backstory for characters or events introduced in the films.[66] In July 2012, D'Esposito stated that Marvel was considering the idea of introducing established characters who may not yet be ready to carry their own feature films in future One-Shots, stating, "There’s always a potential to introduce a character. We have 8,000 of them, and they can’t all be at the same level. So maybe there are some that are not so popular, and we introduce them [with a short] – and they take off. I could see that happening."[67]

In March 2015, Marvel's Vice President of Animation Development and Production, Cort Lane, stated that animated tie-ins to the MCU were "in the works".[68]

Business practices

Marvel Studios developed specific business practices to create its shared universe, including choosing filmmakers that were considered "out-of-left-field", given their previous work. Feige remarked, "You don't have to have directed a big, giant visual-effects movie to do a big, giant visual-effects movie for us. You just have to have done something singularly sort of awesome,"[69] adding "It's worked out well for us when we've taken people [such as Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, Branagh and the Russo brothers,] that have done very, very good things. Very rarely are one of those good things a big giant blockbuster superhero movie."[70] When hiring directors, the studio usually has "a kernel of an idea of what we want," which is presented to potential directors over the course of several meetings to discuss and further expand. "And if over the course of three or four or five meetings they make it way better than what we initially were spewing to them, they usually get the job," according to Feige.[26]

When the studio hired Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston to direct Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, respectively, it made sure both directors were open to the idea of a shared universe, and that they would have to include Avengers set-up scenes in their films.[6] Joe Russo, one of the directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier added, "That's the exciting component of [incorporating references to the larger universe]. 'What can we set up for the future?' You're constantly pitching out ideas that not only affect your movie, but may have a ripple effect that affects other films... It's a weird sort of tapestry of writers and directors working together to create this universe that's sort of organic."[20] Joe's brother and co-director, Anthony, added, "The great thing about the Marvel [Cinematic Universe], just like the publishing [arm], it’s a very vast, inter-connected universe, where characters will have their rise and fall, so to speak, and hand off to other characters. As the cinematic universe moves forward, you may start to see the cinematic universe adopt that same pattern, as the publishing has, where there’s closure with some characters and new beginnings with other characters. How those hand-offs are made is always part of the fun.”[71] Anthony also said, that in order for directors to "fit" in at Marvel, they must "understand how [to] take a larger story and wrangle in [sic] into a moment, yet keep [it] connected."[20] On allowing directors and writers to work within Marvel's shared universe concept, Joe Russo said, "I think the way Kevin [Feige] does it is there are big pieces that he knows he wants to build towards, but the way that you get there is open to interpretation and improv a little bit. That’s defined by who gets involved with the project, the writers and directors involved in the project." For the Russos in The Winter Soldier, they had to deal with the idea of S.H.I.E.L.D. being infiltrated by Hydra and thus subsequently falling, with Joe saying, "how we get there is all up to us. And I think why Marvel has been so successful is because it’s been such a clear plan, that everything is interconnected and they’re building emotional capital with each movie that you can then trade off of in the next film."[72]

Joss Whedon was a large contributor to Phase Two, offering creative insight to all the films leading up to Avengers: Age of Ultron, as well as launching the first MCU television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Marvel Studios also began contracting their actors for multiple films, including signing actor Samuel L. Jackson to a then "unprecedented" nine-movie contract.[73] In July 2014, Feige said that the studio has all actors sign contracts for multiples films, with the norm being for 3 or more, and the 9 or 12 film deals "more rare".[74] Actor's contracts also feature clauses that allows Marvel to use up to three minutes of an actor's performance from one film for another, which Marvel describes as "bridging material".[25] At Marvel Television, actors such as Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock / Daredevil in Daredevil) and Adrianne Palicki (Bobbi Morse / Mockingbird in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) are contractually obliged to appear in a Marvel film if asked.[75][76] In August 2014, Vincent D'Onofrio (Wilson Fisk in Daredevil) said, "The thing about Marvel is...they’re looking for artists that are willing to take chances and are willing to create characters, even if that character has been around for years and years in comic books, they still are depending on us to create something and take it somewhere else."[77]

In August 2012, Marvel signed Joss Whedon to an exclusive contract through June 2015 for film and television. With the deal, Whedon would "contribute creatively" on Phase Two of the MCU and develop the first television series set in the universe.[78] In March 2013, Whedon expanded on his consulting responsibilities, saying, "I understand what Kevin [Feige] is going for and where he’s heading, and I read the scripts and watch cuts and talk to the directors and writers and give my opinion. Occasionally there could be some writing. But I’m not trying to get in anybody’s soup, I’m just trying to be helpful. Every time you work on a project it’s a little vacation from the project you’re working on the other 23 hours. That’s the thing – it replenishes you to do something else. And they’re very aware that if I’m too tired or busy to help with anything, that’s fine. But if I can help and not get in the way of the actual filmmakers, that’s what I’m going to do."[79] Whedon later elaborated that "Since the story has already been approved and everybody knows what we're doing with Avengers 2, we can really lay it out. It's not like anyone's saying "well I don't know, what if I need that?" It's like "doing this is troublesome for us, whereas doing this will actually help us." It's a dance, but I had to do it on [The Avengers] too. You want to honor the events of the last movie but you don't want to be beholden to them, because some people will see Avengers[: Age of Ultron] who did not see any of the movies inbetween or even Avengers 1." He also found working in television and script doctoring to be "great training ground[s] for dealing with this...because you're given a bunch of pieces and told to make them fit – even if they don't."[80]

Feature films

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Producer(s) Status
Phase One: Avengers Assembled[81]
Iron Man May 2, 2008 (2008-05-02) Jon Favreau[82] Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway[82][83] Avi Arad and Kevin Feige Released
The Incredible Hulk June 13, 2008 (2008-06-13) Louis Leterrier[84] Zak Penn[85] Avi Arad, Gale Anne Hurd and Kevin Feige
Iron Man 2 May 7, 2010 (2010-05-07) Jon Favreau[86] Justin Theroux[87] Kevin Feige
Thor May 6, 2011 (2011-05-06) Kenneth Branagh[88] Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Don Payne[89]
Captain America: The First Avenger July 22, 2011 (2011-07-22) Joe Johnston[90] Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely[91]
Marvel's The Avengers May 4, 2012 (2012-05-04) Joss Whedon[92]
Phase Two[19][93]
Iron Man 3 May 3, 2013 (2013-05-03) Shane Black[94] Drew Pearce and Shane Black[94][95] Kevin Feige Released
Thor: The Dark World November 8, 2013 (2013-11-08) Alan Taylor[96] Christopher Yost and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely[97]
Captain America: The Winter Soldier April 4, 2014 (2014-04-04) Anthony and Joe Russo[98] Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely[99]
Guardians of the Galaxy August 1, 2014 (2014-08-01) James Gunn[100] James Gunn and Nicole Perlman[101]
Avengers: Age of Ultron May 1, 2015 (2015-05-01) Joss Whedon[102]
Ant-Man July 17, 2015 Peyton Reed[103] Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish and Adam McKay & Paul Rudd[104]
Phase Three[19][105]
Captain America: Civil War May 6, 2016[18] Anthony and Joe Russo[106] Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely[106] Kevin Feige Post-production
Doctor Strange November 4, 2016[18] Scott Derrickson[107] Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill[108][109] Filming
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 May 5, 2017[18] James Gunn[101] Pre-production[110][111]
Untitled Spider-Man film July 7, 2017[112] Jon Watts[113] John Francis Daley & Jonathan M. Goldstein[114] Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal
Thor: Ragnarok November 3, 2017[115] Taika Waititi[116] Stephany Folsom[117] Kevin Feige
Black Panther February 16, 2018[118] Ryan Coogler[119] TBA
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 May 4, 2018[18] Anthony and Joe Russo[120] Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely[121]
Ant-Man and the Wasp July 6, 2018[118] Peyton Reed[122] Andrew Barrer & Gabriel Ferrari and Paul Rudd[123] In development
Captain Marvel March 8, 2019[118] TBA Nicole Perlman & Meg LeFauve[124]
Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 May 3, 2019[18] Anthony and Joe Russo[120] Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely[121] Pre-production[111]
Inhumans July 12, 2019[115] TBA TBA In development

Television series

Series Season Episodes Originally aired / released Showrunner(s) Status
First aired Last aired
ABC series
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1 22 September 24, 2013 (2013-09-24) May 13, 2014 (2014-05-13) Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jeffrey Bell[125] Released
2 22 September 23, 2014 (2014-09-23) May 12, 2015 (2015-05-12)
3 22[126] September 29, 2015 (2015-09-29) TBA Airing
Marvel's Agent Carter 1 8 January 6, 2015 (2015-01-06) February 24, 2015 (2015-02-24) Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, and Chris Dingess[127] Released
2 10[128] January 19, 2016 (2016-01-19) March 1, 2016 (2016-03-01)[129] Airing
Marvel's Damage Control 1 1[45] TBA TBA Ben Karlin[45] In development
Netflix series
Marvel's Daredevil 1 13 April 10, 2015 (2015-04-10) Steven S. DeKnight[130] Released
2 13 March 18, 2016 (2016-03-18)[131] Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez[132] Preparing for release
Marvel's Jessica Jones 1 13 November 20, 2015 (2015-11-20) Melissa Rosenberg[133] Released
2 13[134] TBA In development
Marvel's Luke Cage 1 13[135] 2016[136] Cheo Hodari Coker[136] Filming
Marvel's Iron Fist 1 13[135] TBA Scott Buck[137] In development
Marvel's The Defenders 1 4–8[135] TBA TBD

Short films

Main article: Marvel One-Shots
Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter Producer Home media release
The Consultant September 13, 2011 (2011-09-13) Leythum[64] Eric Pearson[67][138] Kevin Feige Thor
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer October 25, 2011 (2011-10-25) Captain America: The First Avenger
Item 47 September 25, 2012 (2012-09-25) Louis D’Esposito[67][138] Marvel's The Avengers
Agent Carter September 3, 2013 (2013-09-03) (Digital)
September 24, 2013 (2013-09-24) (Physical)
Iron Man 3
All Hail the King February 4, 2014 (2014-02-04) (Digital)
February 25, 2014 (2014-02-25) (Physical)
Drew Pearce[139] Thor: The Dark World

Comic books

Title Issue(s) Publication date(s) Writer(s) Artist(s)
First published Last published
Iron Man: I Am Iron Man 2 January 27, 2010 (2010-01-27) February 24, 2010 (2010-02-24) Peter David[140] Sean Chen[140]
Iron Man 2: Public Identity 3 April 28, 2010 (2010-04-28) May 12, 2010 (2010-05-12) Joe Casey and Justin Theroux[141] Barry Kitson[141]
Iron Man 2: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1 September 1, 2010 (2010-09-01) Joe Casey[141] Tim Green, Felix Ruiz, and Matt Camp[141]
Captain America: First Vengeance 4 May 4, 2011 (2011-05-04) June 29, 2011 (2011-06-29) Fred Van Lente[142] Neil Edwards[143] and Luke Ross[144]
Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week 4 March 7, 2012 (2012-03-07) April 18, 2012 (2012-04-18) Chris Yost and Eric Pearson[145] Luke Ross[146]
Marvel's The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes 3 May 2, 2012 (2012-05-02) June 6, 2012 (2012-06-06) Fred Van Lente[147] Neil Edwards[148]
Marvel's Iron Man 2 2 November 7, 2012 (2012-11-07) December 5, 2012 (2012-12-05) Christos N. Gage[149][150][151] Ramon Rosanas[149]
Marvel's Iron Man 3 Prelude 2 January 2, 2013 (2013-01-02) February 6, 2013 (2013-02-06) Steve Kurth[151]
Marvel's Thor 2 January 16, 2013 (2013-01-16) February 20, 2013 (2013-02-20) Don Ho, Lan Medina, and Overdrive[150]
Marvel's Thor: The Dark World Prelude 2 June 5, 2013 (2013-06-05) July 10, 2013 (2013-07-10) Craig Kyle and Chris Yost[152] Scot Eaton[152] and Ron Lim[153]
Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger 2 November 6, 2013 (2013-11-06) December 11, 2013 (2013-12-11) Peter David[154][155] Wellinton Alves[154]
Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier Infinite Comic 1 January 28, 2014 (2014-01-28) Rock He-Kim[155]
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Infinite Comic – Dangerous Prey 1 April 1, 2014 (2014-04-01) Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning[156] Andrea Di Vito[156]
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude 2 April 2, 2014 (2014-04-02) May 28, 2014 (2014-05-28) Wellinton Alves[157]
Marvel's The Avengers 2 December 24, 2014 (2014-12-24) January 7, 2015 (2015-01-07) Will Corona Pilgrim[158][159][160][161] Joe Bennett[158]
Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron Prelude – This Scepter'd Isle 1 February 4, 2015 (2015-02-04) Wellinton Alves[160]
Marvel's Ant-Man Prelude 2 February 4, 2015 (2015-02-04) March 4, 2015 (2015-03-04) Miguel Sepulveda[159]
Marvel's Ant-Man – Scott Lang: Small Time 1 March 3, 2015 (2015-03-03) Wellinton Alves and Daniel Govar[161]
Marvel's Jessica Jones 1 October 7, 2015 (2015-10-07) Brian Michael Bendis[162] Michael Gaydos[162]
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Prelude 4 December 16, 2015 (2015-12-16) January 27, 2016 (2016-01-27) Will Corona Pilgrim[163][164] Szymon Kudranski[163] and Lee Ferguson[165]
Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Prelude Infinite Comic 1 February 3, 2016 (2016-02-03)[166] Szymon Kudranski[164]

Recurring cast and characters

List indicator(s)

  • This table includes cast members and / or characters who have appeared in multiple MCU media.
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character has not appeared in that medium.
  • A P indicates a new appearance in onscreen photographs only.
Character Feature films Television series Short films
Felix Blake   Titus Welliver[67][167]
Peggy Carter Hayley Atwell[168][169][170]
Phil Coulson Clark Gregg[171]
Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan Neal McDonough[169][172][173]
Matthew Ellis William Sadler[174][175]  
Nick Fury Samuel L. Jackson[176][177]  
Justin Hammer Sam Rockwell[178]   Sam Rockwell[179]
Maria Hill Cobie Smulders[180]  
List Henry Goodman[181]  
Gideon Malick Powers Boothe[182]  
Jim Morita Kenneth Choi[172][173]  
Sif Jaimie Alexander[183][184]  
Jasper Sitwell Maximiliano Hernández[185][186][187]
Trevor Slattery Ben Kingsley[188]   Ben Kingsley[139]
Howard Stark Gerard SandersP [189]
John Slattery[190]
Dominic Cooper[191]
Dominic Cooper[169][192]
Anton Vanko Yevgeni Lazarev[193] Costa Ronin[194]  
Arnim Zola Toby Jones[195][196]  

Additionally, Paul Bettany was the first actor to portray multiple characters in the universe, voicing Tony Stark's artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man and Avengers films, and portraying Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.[197][198] Stan Lee, creator or co-creator of many of the characters seen in the MCU, has cameo appearances in all of the feature films and television series.

Reception

Jim Vorel of Herald & Review called the Marvel Cinematic Universe "complicated" and "impressive" but said, "As more and more heroes get their own film adaptations, the overall universe becomes increasingly confusing."[199] Kofi Outlaw of Screen Rant, stated that while The Avengers was a success, "Marvel Studios still has room to improve their approach to building a shared movie universe".[200] Some reviewers criticized the fact that the desire to create a shared universe led to films that did not hold as well on their own. In his review of Thor: The Dark World, Forbes critic Scott Mendelson likened the MCU to "a glorified television series", with The Dark World being a "‘stand-alone’ episode that contains little long-range mythology."[201] Collider's Matt Goldberg considered that while Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger were quality productions, "they have never really been their own movies", feeling that the plot detours to S.H.I.E.L.D. or lead-ups to The Avengers dragged down the films' narratives.[202]

Following the conclusion of season one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mary McNamara at the Los Angeles Times praised the connections between that series and the films, stating that "never before has television been literally married to film, charged with filling in the back story and creating the connective tissue of an ongoing film franchise ... [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.] is now not only a very good show in its own right, it's part of Marvel's multiplatform city-state. It faces a future of perpetual re-invention, and that puts it in the exhilarating first car of television's roller-coaster ride toward possible world domination."[203] Terri Schwartz of Zap2it agreed with this sentiment, stating that "the fact that [Captain America: The Winter Soldier] so influenced the show is game-changing in terms of how the mediums of film and television can be interwoven", though it was noted that "the fault there seems to be that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had to bide time until The Winter Soldier's release", which led to much criticism.[204]

In response to the first Ant-Man trailer, Michael Doran of Newsarama and Graeme McMillian of The Hollywood Reporter had a "point-counterpoint" debate regarding how the trailer should be viewed in the context of the already established universe by Marvel. Doran stated, "Marvel has raised the bar sooo high that as opposed to just allowing another film to finish under the Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy bar, we're all overly and perhaps even eager to overreact to the first thing that doesn't clear it, and in the case, the first trailer that doesn't". McMillian responded, "at this point, Marvel's brand is such that I'm not sure it can offer up something like [the trailer] without it seeming like a crushing disappointment. Without buying into the hype, I think part of Marvel's brand is that it doesn't offer the kind of run-of-the-mill superhero movie that you're talking about, that it's, if not better, then at least different enough to tweak and play with the genre somehow: doing it bigger, doing it funnier, doing it... different... It really all comes down to expectations. The fact that there's such upset about this trailer being... well, okay - it's not that it's bad, certainly, it's just not very good, either - suggests to me that the audience is expecting something to knock their socks off." Doran concluded, "That does seem to be the point here – the expectations fans now have for everything "Marvel Studios." It’s the same reason Thor: The Dark World is now looked upon in hindsight in some circles as some sort of major misfire when the film was perfectly well-received during its release... Marvel is going to eventually falter. It's not a matter of if, but when."[205]

After seeing the portrayal of Yellowjacket in Ant-Man, the antagonist of the film, McMillian noted,

It's hardly a secret that Marvel Studios has a bit of a problem when it comes to offering up exciting characters for their heroes to fight against... Marvel Studios villains generally fall into one of two camps. There's the Unstoppable Monster... or there's the Professional White Guy In A Suit With An Ego... No matter which of the groups the above villains fall into, they share one common purpose: evil. The motivations for evil likely differ — although, invariably, they fall under the umbrella of 'misguided belief in a greater good that doesn't exist' — but that really doesn't matter, because without fail, there will be so little time in the movie to actually properly explore those motivations, meaning that to all intents and purposes, the villain is being evil for reasons of plot necessity and little else... The strange thing about this is that Marvel's comic books offer a number of wonderful, colorful bad guys who could step outside the above parameters and offer an alternative to the formulaic villains audiences have gotten used to (and arguably bored with)... In future movies, we can only hope — and treated in such a way that their freak flags are allowed to fly free.[206]

Following the release of Jessica Jones, David Priest at c|net wrote about how the series rescues "Marvel from itself...Jessica Jones takes big steps forward in terms of theme, craft and diversity. It's a good story first, and a superhero show second. And for the first time, the MCU seems like it matters. Our culture needs stories like this. Here's hoping Marvel keeps them coming."[207] For Paul Tassi and Erik Kain of Forbes, watching the series made then question the MCU, with Kain feeling that the "morally complex, violent, dark world of Jessica Jones has no place in the MCU. It doesn’t fit....I can understand Disney and Marvel wanting all of these stories to be united under a common umbrella. But...right now, the MCU is holding back shows like Jessica Jones and Daredevil, while those shows are contributing absolutely nothing to the MCU."[208] Tassi went so far as to wonder what "the point of the Marvel Cinematic Universe" is, feeling negatively about the lack of major crossovers in the franchise since the Winter Soldier reveal on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and saying that Jessica Jones is "so far removed from the world of The Avengers, it might as well not be in the same universe at all....Outside of The Avengers, there’s just so, so little interconnection between elements of the MCU, and in TV especially it’s particularly noticeable. I really like these new Netflix shows, and I don’t have a problem with the MCU generally, but I also really don’t understand the point of it if they’re going to keep everything within it separated off in these little boxes...If it’s going to be a living, breathing, connected universe, they have to make it feel that way."[209] Conversely, Eric Francisco of Inverse called Jessica Jones' lack of overt connections to the MCU "the show’s chief advantage. Besides demonstrating how physically wide open the MCU’s scope really is, Jessica Jones also proves the MCU’s thematic durability. Here, in this universe of superheroes, is someone who isn’t like that at all and her refusal to become like them is reflected in her challenges."[210]

Cultural impact

In September 2014, the University of Baltimore announced a course beginning in the 2015 spring semester revolving around the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to be taught by Arnold T. Blumberg. "Media Genres: Media Marvels" examines "how Marvel's series of interconnected films and television shows, plus related media and comic book sources and Joseph Campbell's monomyth of the 'hero's journey', offer important insights into modern culture" as well as Marvel's efforts "to establish a viable universe of plotlines, characters, and backstories."[211]

Other studios

After the release of The Avengers in May 2012, Tom Russo of Boston.com noted that aside from the occasional "novelty" such as Aliens vs. Predator (2004), the idea of a shared universe was virtually unheard of in Hollywood.[6] Since that time, the shared universe model created by Marvel Studios has begun to be replicated by other film studios that held rights to other comic book characters. In April 2014, Tuna Amobi, a media analyst for Standard & Poor’s Equity Research Services, stated that in the last three to five years, Hollywood studios began planning "megafranchises" for years to come, opposed to working one blockbuster at a time. Amobi added, "A lot of these superhero characters were just being left there to gather dust. Disney has proved that this [approach and genre] can be a gold mine."[212] However, with additional studios now "playing the megafranchise game", Doug Creutz, media analyst for Cowen and Company, feels the allure will eventually die for audiences. "If Marvel's going to make two or three films a year," he says, "and Warner Brothers is going to do at least a film every year, and Sony's going to do a film every year, and Fox [is] going to do a film every year, can everyone do well in that scenario? I'm not sure they can."[212]

DC Entertainment and Warner Bros.

Main articles: DC Extended Universe and Arrowverse

In October 2012, following its legal victory over Joe Shuster's estate for the rights to Superman, Warner Bros. announced that it planned to move ahead with its long-awaited Justice League film, uniting such DC Comics superheroes as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Warner Bros. was expected to take the opposite approach of Marvel Studios by releasing individual films for the characters after they have appeared in the team-up film.[213] The release of Man of Steel in 2013 was intended to be the start of a new cinematic universe for DC, with that film "laying the groundwork for the future slate of films based on DC Comics."[214] In July 2014, DC CCO Geoff Johns confirmed that the universe present in the publisher's television series Arrow and The Flash is separate from the one being built in their films with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.[215] In August 2014, Warner Bros. and DC announced a slate of nine dates for untitled films, similar to Disney and Marvel claiming dates for films years in advance,[216] with the titles revealed in October 2014.[217] In October 2014, Johns explained DC's difference in approach to Marvel, saying, "We look at it as the multiverse. We have our TV universe and our film universe, but they all co-exist. For us, creatively, it's about allowing everyone to make the best possible product, to tell the best story, to do the best world. Everyone has a vision and you really want to let the visions shine through... It's just a different approach."[218]

20th Century Fox

In November 2012, 20th Century Fox announced plans to create their own shared universe, consisting of Marvel properties that it holds the rights to including the Fantastic Four and X-Men, with the hiring of Mark Millar as supervising producer. Millar said, "Fox are thinking, 'We're sitting on some really awesome things here. There is another side of the Marvel Universe. Let's try and get some cohesiveness going.' So they brought me in to oversee that really. To meet with the writers and directors to suggest new ways we could take this stuff and new properties that could spin out of it."[219] X-Men: Days of Future Past, released in 2014, may be Fox's first step towards expanding their stable of Marvel mutant properties.[220] However, in May 2014, Simon Kinberg, screenwriter for Fantastic Four, stated that the film would not take place in the same universe as the X-Men films. "None of the X-Men movies have acknowledged the notion of a sort of superhero team--the Fantastic Four--and the Fantastic Four acquire powers, so for them to live in a world where mutants are prevalent is kind of complicated, because you're like, 'Oh, you're just a mutant. What's so fantastic about you?' No, they live in discrete universes," said Kinberg.[221] In July 2015, Bryan Singer said there was potential for a crossover between the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises if reaction to X-Men: Apocalypse and Fantastic Four warranted.[222]

Sony Pictures

In November 2013, Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal announced that the studio intends to expand their universe created within the Marc Webb Amazing Spider-Man series, with spin-off adventures for supporting characters in the Spider-Man franchise, in an attempt to replicate Marvel and Disney's model. She stated, "We are going to access Marvel's full world of Spider-Man characters."[220] Sony Pictures Entertainment chief Michael Lynton added, "We do very much have the ambition about creating a bigger universe around Spider-Man."[223] Director Marc Webb has stated that the announced fourth film "may not just be a Spider-Man movie," and "there are so many ancillary characters, that have enormous, cinematic potential," echoing Pascal and Lynton's statements for expanding the Spider-Man universe.[224] In December 2013, Sony announced Venom and Sinister Six films, both set in the Amazing Spider-Man universe. With the announcement, IGN stated that the spin-offs are "the latest example of what we can refer to as "the Avengers effect" in Hollywood, as studios work to build interlocking movie universes."[225] Sony chose not to replicate the Marvel Studios model of introducing individual characters first before bringing them together in a team–up film, instead making the Spider-Man adversaries the stars of future films.[212]

In February 2015, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios announced that the Spider-Man franchise would be retooled once again, with a new film co-produced by Feige and Pascal being released on July 28, 2017. The film comes after the character will be integrated into the MCU. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.[37] With this announcement, sequels to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 were cancelled, and spin-off films based on the Sinister Six, Venom and female characters in the Spider-Man universe were "still moving forward", though without Feige's involvement.[226] By November 2015, Sony was no longer moving forward with the spin-off films.[227]

Outside media

Books

In September 2015, Marvel announced the Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Named as a nod to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, each guidebook features facts about each film, film-to-comic comparisons, and production stills, and are compiled by Mike O'Sullivan and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe team, with cover art from Mike Del Mundo and Pascal Campion. The first guidebook, Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel's Iron Man released in October 2015, followed by Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel's Incredible Hulk / Marvel's Iron Man 2 in November 2015.[228] Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel's Thor released in December 2015,[229] with Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger releasing in January 2016.[230]

Lego Marvel's Avengers

The video game Lego Marvel's Avengers is centered on events from The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, with the game's developer, TT Games, reordering scenes from both films to make a cohesive story. The game also features content from Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as additional references to other MCU properties, locations and characters. TT Games uses lines of dialogue directly from the films in the game (thus having many actors reprise their roles), with Hayley Atwell, Clark Gregg, Colbie Smulders and Ashley Johnson recording new material specifically for the game as their characters Peggy Carter, Phil Coulson, Maria Hill and Beth, the waitress in The Avengers, respectively.[231][232][233] Downloadable content (DLC) for the game, exclusive initially for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, adds content and characters from Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War. Additional DLC features content for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.[234] Lego Marvel's Avengers released on a variety of video game platforms on January 26, 2016.[232]

Live attractions

After the acquisition by Disney in 2009, Marvel films began to be marketed at the Innoventions attraction in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. For Iron Man 3, the exhibit, entitled Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries, features the same armor display that was shown at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, with the Marks I-VII and the new Mark XLII. In addition, there is a simulator game, titled "Become Iron Man," that uses Kinect-like technology to allow the viewer to be encased in an animated Mark XLII armor and take part in a series of "tests,” in which you fire repulsor rays and fly through Tony Stark's workshop. The game is guided by J.A.R.V.I.S., who is voiced again by Paul Bettany. The exhibit also has smaller displays that include helmets and chest pieces from the earlier films and the gauntlet and boot from an action sequence in Iron Man 3.[235] The exhibit for Thor: The Dark World is called Thor: Treasures of Asgard, and features displays of Asgardian relics and transports guests to Odin's throne room, where they are greeted by Thor.[236] Captain America: The Winter Soldier's exhibit, Captain America: The Living Legend and Symbol of Courage, features a meet and greet experience.[237]

In May 2014, the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) exhibit opened at the Discovery Times Square center. The exhibit features replica set pieces, as well as actual props from the films, mixed with interactive technology and information, crafted through a partnership with NASA and other scientists. Titus Welliver also provides a "debrief" to visitors, reprising his role as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Felix Blake. Created by Victory Hill Exhibits, Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. cost $7.5 million to create,[238][239] and ran through early September 2015.[240]

Television specials

Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe (2014)

On March 18, 2014, ABC aired a one-hour television special titled Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, which documented the history of Marvel Studios and the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and included exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from all of the films, One-Shots and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and sneak peeks of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, unaired episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,[241] and Ant-Man.[242] Brian Lowry of Variety felt the special, "contains a pretty interesting business and creative story. While it might all make sense in hindsight, there was appreciable audacity in Marvel’s plan to release five loosely connected movies from the same hero-filled world, beginning with the cinematically unproven Iron Man and culminating with superhero team The Avengers. As such, this fast-moving hour qualifies as more than just a cut-and-paste job from electronic press kits, although there’s an element of that, certainly."[243] The special was released on September 9, 2014 on the home media for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1.[244]

Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop! (2014)

In September 2014, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. executive producer Jeffrey Bell stated that in order to meet production demands and avoid having to air repeat episodes, ABC would likely air a Marvel special in place of a regular installment at some point during the first ten episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s second season.[46] In October, the special was revealed to be Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!, which was hosted by Emily VanCamp, who portrays Agent 13 in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and aired on November 4, 2014.[245] The special features behind the scenes footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, as well as footage from the Agent Carter television series previously screened at New York Comic-Con.[246] Brian Lowry of Variety felt an hour for the special did not "do the topic justice" adding, "For anyone who has seen more than one Marvel movie but would shrug perplexedly at the mention of Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko, Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp To Pop! should probably be required viewing. Fun, fast-paced and encompassing many of the company’s highlights along with a few lowlights, it’s a solid primer on Marvel’s history, while weaving in inevitable self-promotion and synergistic plugs."[247] Eric Goldman of IGN also wished the special had been longer, adding, "Understandably, the more you already know about Marvel, the less you'll be surprised by Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop!, but it's important to remember who this special is really made for – a mainstream audience who have embraced the Marvel characters, via the hugely successful movies, in a way no one could have imagined."[246]

See also

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