During Phase I of their ambitious shared movie universe, Marvel Studios got a bad reputation for their working relationship with the filmmakers directing the various projects. As we've already detailed, pesky creative differences caused directors from Jon Favreau to Patty Jenkins to step away from the world of Marvel and pursue other films. Things only got worse a couple of months ago when Edgar Wright stepped away from Ant-Man, a movie he had been developing with the studio for a better part of a decade.
Joss Whedon may have returned for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he's notably the only Phase I filmmaker to remain with the franchise for Phase II. Nonetheless, there have been recent signs that suggest the studio may have started to crack this tricky dynamic at long last (see also: James Gunn's recent comments about how if Guardians of the Galaxy 2 happens, he'll be back as writer/director).
As the brand continues to expand with the Agent Carter TV series this fall, it has been announced at the Marvel TV Comic-Con 2014 panel that multiple Marvel film directors will be calling the shots on episodes during the first season. Anthony and Joe Russo, who directed this spring's acclaimed Captain America: The Winter Soldier, will helm the second and third episodes of the series (before returning to work on Captain America 3). Duties will then fall to The First Avenger filmmaker Joe Johnston, who will deliver the fourth episode for Marvel.
This news should please a majority of fans, as the Captain America sequel is viewed by many critics and moviegoers as one of the studio's finest offerings (read our review). The Russo brothers displayed their ability to handle impressive action sequences mixed with political intrigue that made the final product click. With their love of 1970s conspiracy thrillers guiding them through the process, they proved to be perfect for this particular corner of the Marvel universe. Since Agent Carter will rely heavily on espionage to provide the thrills, the Russos are an excellent choice to help break the new show in.
Likewise, it is a very pleasant surprise to see Johnston return to the world he helped launch. Our own Kofi Outlaw has said numerous times on the Screen Rant Underground podcast that The First Avenger remains his favorite Phase I film, and many viewers hold it in equally high-regard. Part of what made that film work so well was Johnston's vision of the 1940s time period, capturing what it was like to be alive in that decade. Agent Carter will obviously take place in the past, so it will be fun to see what the Rocketeer director can do in a niche he knows so well.
All in all, it seems as if Agent Carter is off to a very promising start. With fan-favorite Hayley Atwell looking forward to reprising her role as the eponymous character and the directors of some of the best Marvel films behind the camera, maybe the new show can avoid the troubles that plagued the beginning of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and hit the ground running with some great primetime entertainment.
Agent Carter will premiere on ABC in January 2015 during the mid-season break of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.