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