Marvel Studios Short Films to Introduce Secondary Characters?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 10:40 am,

marvel movies ant man black panther dr strange Marvel Studios Short Films to Introduce Secondary Characters?

Like Disney/Pixar does with their animated shorts placed before feature films, Marvel Studios may be using their future tentpole movies to introduce some of their secondary characters.

According to a Latino Review scoop, Marvel is contemplating the idea of introducing the likes of lesser-known characters Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, etc. – who are coming sooner or later one way or another – by giving them their own short films and running them before the theatrical releases of their full-length feature films.

This may be the best strategy going forward for Marvel to test characters with little financial risk. If the characters work for the large fanbase already dedicated to seeing Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 3 and The Avengers, then they’re set to greenlight production of solo character movies based on the short and even include them in other character movies of their shared universe.

We’ve known for a while now that Marvel Studios is very interested in utilizing more of their vast roster of characters, the only questions were how and when they were going to go about it. It wouldn’t be surprising to see some characters introduced or cameo in The Avengers or its sequel(s), but speculation has pointed at Marvel bringing out small-budget films based on their more obscure characters. By giving them shorts first, they’ll have a better way of picking who gets the solo-film treatment.

I would be psyched that come time for The Avengers, there was a 10-minute short based on Heroes for Hire, featuring Luke Cage and Iron Fist, or an action-packed Black Panther short set in the jungles of Wakanda. I’m already sold on this idea.

It was just last month we heard that Marvel was in talks with a “notable Hollywood star” about the Luke Cage property so perhaps this plan has already been put into motion. Until we find out more, this is just a rumor.

What characters do you want to see get their own short films first?

Follow us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant and let us know your thoughts.

Iron Man 2 is currently in theaters everywhere; Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012. We’ll find out what comes next at San Diego Comic-Con next month!

Source: Latino Review

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TAGS: black panther, doctor strange, heroes for hire, iron fist, luke cage, the avengers

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  1. I’d also love to see someone who knows what they’re doing give the Man-Thing a decent vehicle. Done right, and with today’s CGI, it could be a hit with the prime male demographic who enjoy looking at slimey and oozing things!

  2. She-Hulk would be a lot of fun if it can keep the level of sarcasm and self-aware humor that the last few runs of the comic contained.

    • Rich Rider, AKA NOVA!!!!!

  3. Time to invest in Marvel and being a DC fan even i know this is gold. Smart move on Marvel if they decide to go all the way with this. Imagine a 10 – 20 or maybe even a half hour short on Namor the Sub-Mariner or Mephisto or Satannish.

    • Unfortunately Mephisto is tied in with the Ghost Rider rights, which are currently held by Sony. Marvel will have to get Ghost Rider back, or they can’t even touch Mephisto.

  4. Not sure why anyone would be behind this idea.

    1. They won’t tell a full/good story it will be an annoying short.

    2. Casting will be an issue signing people on to do a short with the option to do a real movie? Will they keep the same person from the short or re cast?

    3. What If people don’t like it do they drop the film? Or make it anyway? What does that mean for everyone Involved?

    4. Are they waiting for a reaction before they make a film? Does that mean we decide it seems cool based on the short and two maybe even three years later we get the movie? Or will they just make it anyway even if we hate it?

    5. The most important negative. This will hurt the quality of marvel films. It’s certain that we will get shorter films to make room for this.

    6. Can’t fast forward in the theater. Really excited for the Avengers don’t give a crap about MoonKnight to bad watch ten mins of a crappy character you hate anyway.

    • 1. Pixar shorts aren’t annoying at all. Short films can be amazing.

      2. Marvel would sign actors to multi-picture options they do with ALL of their contracts.

      3. If people don’t like it, they don’t need to make a feature film out of it. That’s the point. It’s like making any other test project. The people involved make it. Then they’re done. If they make a movie, they make a movie… that’s the way the industry works, lol.

      4. The buzz surrounding the short would help the studio decide how to proceed. If “we” hate it, I don’t think it would be included if it was that bad.

      5. How will this affect the quality of the feature film? It’s entirely separate.

      • @Rob you never cease to amaze my friend,good explanation.

      • i believe the idea is to introduce different characters to the general public, create buzz and such, depending on how the short is received, interest and demand for more of the chosen character, then Marvel can gauge if it is worth spending the money on a full budget film. and as for hurting the quality of the full movies, i am sure the budget for the shorts will not have any effect on the main film, separate entities and such. btw, Moon Knight was and is an Avenger, and an deep and interesting character.

  5. Did you only read half my comments? I said it would hurt the quality because they would make the regular film shorter for the short I can promise you that. I actually find pixar shorts to be slightly annoying and pointless and this wouldn’t be pixar animated shorts it would be live action super hero shorts which sounds much more annoying.

    Also I have no interest in Iron Fist, Luke Cage or moonknight but I’ll have to suffer through those crappy things to see avengers or IM3.

    If they show one of some one I like yay I can get amped for a film I won’t see for three years. Just keep doing it the wY they do it now release an animated DVD and maybe give them a small cameo in a big film like Cap or IM 3

  6. Sorry ulij but Will can easily pull both off. If you don’t think he looks right fine but he can easily pull off either role acting wise.

    • Acting wise? Ok maybe he could pull it off. However to be able to “see” him as either one is stretching it. BP maybe. There is a difference of acting and portraying a role. Us superhero fans that are looking for a person to reprise the role do not want them “acting” the part. We want them to be the part. I can act like an elephant you will know im acting like an elephant and I may even sound like an elephant…. but I could never pull it off standing in a pen at the local zoo.

      As for your other issues.

      1. How do you know? You dont. You are only basing it off your opinion which is based off nothing as it hasnt even been done yet.

      2. Think of it like a pilot TV series. If it goes well they stay on board. If not Actors/Directors/Writers have been replaced or whole progects have been dropped.

      3. See 2 above.

      4. To early to tell. Im of a mind it ha already been green lit and they are showing a full blown production piece (separate from the movie or a slight tie in/hint) to garner MORE interest from others that may not be as familiar with the characters.

      5. How so? Are you saying an Avengers movie (for example) is 2hours long and without the short the Avengers movie would have been 2 hours and 10 mins long?

      6. I don’t give a crap about a lot of previews and or commercials I see and I cant fast forward through those either…. whats your point?

  7. I like the idea but I think it does have legitimate problems. What if people like the story but hate the actor playing the main character? Yeah you can recast for a movie then a bunch of the audience that didn’t mind the actor are wondering where is so and so? I can imagine just about the time the short gets good, a bunch of late arrivals are going to be asking why they’re watching Dr. Strange too. Then what’s the ideal length for a short of this caliber or is there one? You might say 10 minutes but I’m thinking 30 minutes because I think it would be good to lead or tie some other story up. Maybe even key off the main attraction in some instances. Could an Iron Man short make a Luke Cage movie more popular than it would be otherwise? Wait to the boys and girls in metrics get ahold of that one! Then what happens if the short is used in that scenario and tests bad because it wasn’t portrayed right, shot right or some other reason that equals re-shoot? Does that hold up the main movie release because it’s relying on the short? Just some thoughts…

    • I made a comment earlier. They have “Disney” backing them. Why not create a “Super Hero Power Hour” (yeah I stole that) on the Disney Cable channel?

      That gives an hour (no commercials) dedicated to the “pitch”. Hell they could make it so it interconnects the characters in their stable.

      Case in point:

      After Ironmans battle with Stane, have Luke Cage “stuck” in traffic. Have him rescue someone from a falling bridge/explosion showcasing his strength and impenetrable skin.

      Bringing that person to the Hospital the person comments on him being a hero. He sits by their side and says it wasnt always that way…. fade to Lucas on the streets…..

      Do that for an hour. It covers his origin, gives a taste of his powers (not to much though) and as he leaves the hospital he can be picked up by someone in a car with the tags of HRO4HRE1 or RAND or KNIGHT.

      Im no writer but for crying out loud you don’t need to be a nuclear Physicist to MAKE this stuff work.

    • honestly i think the shorts should be similar to a long trailer, or those advance sneak peaks you find on the web, enough to garner interest and start people talking about the character, possibly pulling in readers to check out the character’s title. I think that may be what Marvel intends, and a way for them to track interest in the shorts, if book sales from the particular character jump after a short is aired, it would prove that it’s worth pushing for a full length movie

  8. Man-Thing reboot?

    • Darn skippy.

      I been saying- begging- for the last few years. It could even be argued that Man-Thing is already set up.

      In The Incredible Hulk, a “sighting” could be mistaken for The Hulk; in addition, there is a military base near the Florida Everglades (where Man-Thing tends to hang around) and there’s the whole concept of the recreation of the Super Soldier serum- it would not be a stretch to suggest the Army had Ted Sallis do some testing, improving it.

      They never heard from the bio-chemist again after he disappeared somewhere near Citrusville, Florida.

      And the Nexus was a gateway to the events of the 2005 lobotomy that aired on SyFy

      I’m all for it, though.

  9. The biggest problem is still legal issues like some suggested. How can you make a cheap high quality film that the “mainstream” viewers will want to come back and watch the featured version?

    They are not gonna sign a bunch of unknown lead actors and then sack them for the featured films are they? Lead actors need to be big names to draw the crowd and if they do commit how’s the company gonna piss them off by telling, say, just an example, Sam Worthington, “sorry Sam, ppl hate ur film, it’s not happening” Then Disney has to pay the compensation for cancelling a multi-picture deal.

    Then again if it’s just a trial and one picture at a time deal, which agents will let their big name actors will turn up and say “yup, I’m all in” even if it’s a total risk with no gurantee?

    I think they might just end up doing short version films to see which character are worthy of appearing as a supporting character in like one of the Cap America films, then if ppl respond well then they mite get a solo spin off.

    Otherwise they’ll just make the featured films and play the prologue like The Dark Knight.

    But if they have like a 30min short film without extra charge it mite draw my attention but are they seriously gonna shoot extra 30min and sell it for free? If they shoot 4 short films they mite as well do a proper film. And if it’s 30min they mite end up cutting down the length of the main movie, afterall even Iron Man 2 can be constructed towards Avengers, there’s no reason to stop them from cutting down the main film.

    • Why does it have to be cheap/inexpensive? “Marvel” so far has been spot on with their properties when they handle them (recently). While filming Thor/Avengers/Capt what is wrong with borrowing resources at the same time?

      Actors? Give them clauses. Make them WANT to make it work. Actors/Directors etc.. know from past experience Super Hero movies are the Golden Goose right now.

      You don’t need “lead actors” carrying the lead role.

      30 min short film can be placed on the Disney channel….. ;)

      Short of it is (see what I did thar) Marvel/Disney will protect themselves and their property by contract clauses. If this happens this will happen. If this does not happen this will happen. If this happens you are obligated to do this, if you do this this will happen etc. Even for a 10 min film.

      Think of it like incentives that sports players get.

  10. I do have a wish list myself, but I understand the comments thus far with concerns. There are ways around this. I touched upon them in the Doctor Strange post, but I’ll summarize here.

    - A short film could be in relation to a secondary or supporting character. Someone brought up She-Hulk up there. That’s the way of thinking. Another realm of possibility is Doc Samson (getting Ty Burr to reprise, show his transformation); or a Beta Ray Bill short in front of Thor. It doesn’t even have to be a hero. It could be Christine Everhart (Leslie Bibb) doing a story on some bizarre event that foreshadows an upcoming for one or more heroes. Maybe a young reporter named Jack McGee tags along. (ha ha ha), or a SHIELD training/recruitment video.

    - A CGI animated film. Anyone you want. Get away with anything you want.

    - An origin story where a character can be recast due to character’s powers/skills becoming active in younger years, like Namor.

    Things like the above would support the existing storyline without having to recast again. It could still be a progression. In fact, I’ll even throw this out. Let’s take…oh, I’ll say Howard The Duck. I’m on the Gerber- kick God rest his soul. Howard The Duck does not need a remake film, he’s not good enough for a DTV sequel to appeal to five people, okay. But let’s say, a ten minute short film here, a ten minute short film there like a serial and/or a comic bit once every Marvel Movie. A character you would not mind seeing, but if you were running late (shame on you!) or had to make a quick popcorn run (you’re excused) you would not miss the main feature.

    It does not have to be Howard The Duck. It could be Black Knight. It could be The Human Fly. Okay, maybe not that last one; but you get the groove. In fact, more I think about it…

    I’ll spurt of my list of six. Yes, six.

    Black Knight (that includes the King Arthur spin)

    Hercules (ahh..we have Thor… why not!)

    Beta Ray Bill (a CG feature)

    Man-Thing

    Namor (origin story)

    Doctor Strange Druid

  11. Will is a great actor and could easily pull off Cage or Panther. He has done far more challenging roles than either of those and pulled them off perfectly.

    • What challenging roles of a known character has he pulled off?

      1. Capt James West – Flop

      2. Agent J – Not a challenge

      3. Bagger Vance – Money wise flop cant comment didnt see it dont even know who it is

      4. Cassius Clay – Flop Wanted to see it til I read some of the reviews.

      5. Del Spooner – I enjoyed this movie but ole Del doesnt rate up there (IMO) with Super Heroes. And it wasnt really a challenge.

      The Pursuit of Happyness was his best challenging role and I thought he nailed it.

      All my opinion. Like yours stating he is a great actor.

  12. Trailers and commerciAls are maybe 5 or 6 mins total this is a full blown ten minute story minimum. So now instead of 5-7 mins of boring crap before my movie starts now I gotta sit there waiting 20 minutes annoyed out of my mind so I can see trailers I’ll see 50 times over the next few months and a crappy moonknight short.

    • You dont have to. Really you dont. You can close your eyes, listen to an iPod (be aware of the volume) walk out get your snacks and come back etc.

      Nothing forces you to watch them.

  13. Bagged Vance wasn’t a great movie, but his performance was excellant same goes for I Am Legend I hated the movie but Will was great especially the scene where his dog is infected and he dealt with the pain of that. He was great in Persuit of the bathroom scene still makes me tear up. He was great in 7 pounds also alot of people thought the movie was to dark but I really liked it and no one can deny Smiths great performance. All those roles required more talent than Cage or Panther. I hated six degrees of seperation because it was simply disturbing but it was his most differant role and he pulled it off playing a gay mentally unstable con man.

    • Cage and Panther are much deeper then you think especially with what is going on now.

      Can you “whittle” them down to just superheroes? Off course. However they are much more. IMO.

  14. Ok I would like to see Dr Strange directed By Andrew Stanton. His ablility in creating a fantastical world full of action,heart and drama is seen well in his Pixar films and his relationship with disney through pixar could make such a thing plausible. Also Casting the sorcerer supreme I would pick Josh Holloway(from Lost)

    Heroes for hire I would like to have a gritty realistic feel and I think Michael Rymer(BSG) would bring a good directing Style and could do it on a budget .The Main Actors should be Michael Jai White(Black Dynamite)for Luke Cage and Charlie Hunnam(Sons Of Anarchy) for Iron Fist.

    Black Panther should be written and directed by Andrew Niccol. His work on Lord of War and Gattaca, both seriously underated films, show he can write a compelling One character on a mission tale extremely well.Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje(Oz,Lost) was born to play this role

  15. I wonder if it would work better giving them fake trailers as they did in the beginning of Tropic Thunder. I think even a short film is too much focus on secondary characters…that’s why they’re secondary characters.

    I don’t know, call me crazy but 1 or two fake trailers in front of Iron Man 3, Thor and Captain America and you can move right into the action of the Avengers without a moment’s hesitation for “how we got here exposition”.

    Or maybe if they were limited on funds, do something animated like the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars animated episodes that led up to Episode III. To me that’s the only good thing to come out of the mess they call the prequels.

  16. If Will Smith does either the Black Panther or Luke Cage the movie goes from 30-50 million budget to 100+million not counting P+A..I think he could nail Cage with the swagger and confidence he has but I like and will always be behind Djimon Hounsou as THE GUY for Black Panther..either DH or Blair Underwood.. :)

  17. Awesome Idea

  18. Eh…I dunno. In terms of characters like Dr. Strange and Black Panther, I was kinda looking forward to seeing a whole movie, because I think in some cases, it could be pulled off, but, if a Luke Cage movie just HAS to be made at all, than a short movie is definantly the way to go…

  19. Having a short film of Black Panther, doest exclude the possibilty of a Feature Length version,in my mind it INCREASES the odds of this hapenning.
    I think another great candidate for a short would be Killraven .
    NOBODY knows this character.
    I hope we see a Killraven short.

  20. Umm concerning the length of the commercial/teaser… has anyone seen the Mortal Kombat Reborn trailer… I mention it because A) Its great. It gives you enough story and explanation to make you want more. And is prompting the studios to pick up a full lenth film for it. and B)Its only 7 min long maybe 8…. If Marvel (and we all know Marvel) can put something together that does the same, we would all appreciate and watch the shorts. Problems aside Im pretty sure anyone can see the pros outweight the cons. If they dont make a film still some fan somewhere is going to be like hey they made my fav Character come to life… Im riding with Marvel now all the way… whether it be to see more cameos or out of respect for the company doing it so innovative. Marvels on the up and up. Get on board or get left behind.

    Icon Out

    • These are the characters that deserve short flims and great actors.

      Falcon = Blair Underwood

      Luke Cage = Michael Jai White

      Iron Fist = Ray Park

      Black Panther = Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

      Dr Strange = Liam Neeson

      Namor The Sub Mariner = Wentworth Miller

      Ant Man = Nathan Fillon

      Wasp = Eva Longoria

  21. sounds ace

  22. Am I the only one who finds Eva Longoria about as interesting an actress as your average used dryer sheet after it’s run a load of clothes?

    Seriously, she’s got the sex appeal of Mickey Mouse, IMHO.

  23. I love this idea! I’ve thought they should have had an opening segment in some of the marvel movies already out ala James Bond… an action packed big opening introducing a villain committing a crime and being foiled by Spiderman(or whatever main character) ; a villain that doesn’t have to be in the plotline of the rest of the movie.
    My vote for shortfilm characters:
    *Wonderman/Beast team up
    *Falcon
    *Thing
    *Vision/Scarlet Witch
    *Machine Man

  24. I think this is a great idea…I’ve always thought with the technology we have now…we have the means to bring all our favorite and secondary characters to life. I would love to even see more live action TV series done…apparently DC has done it…i.e. Smallville, Birds of Prey, Batman, etc… The closest thing Marvel had…if I remember right…back in the 70′s and early 80′s was The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man…and, of course, the many different animated series throughout the years…like X-Men (my favorite by the way), Iron Man, Fantastic Four, etc… I’m all for the shorts…I think it will bring more interest to the Marvel Universe…the greatest comic universe, of course…and hopefully more live action movies. Just…PLEASE, PLEASE…stay within the comic book interpretations of the characters…and not the interpretation of the screenwriter, director or whatever idiot that has never even read a comic book. That’s what really screws up some of these movies…like one of the great Marvel franchises…The X-Men, The Fantastic Four, The first Hulk movie, etc… Spider-Man 1 & 2, Iron Man and the second Hulk movie were done really good. So…I think…if they stay as close to the comic book…they will do great. I think…that will definitely keep us Marvel fans and avid comic book readers happy…and in the long run….get new readers and fans.

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