Marvel Studios should bring back their popular MCU one-shots - as exclusive content on the Disney streaming service (which is unofficially being referred to as "Disney Play" until Disney comes up with an official name). The Marvel one-shots were short, self-contained adventures that added further depth to the MCU, and sometimes even served as backdoor pilots for Marvel Television shows.
The first Marvel one-shot, "The Consultant," was released in 2011, and was essentially a continuity fix for a minor issue with the post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk. "The Consultant" proved tremendously popular with viewers, and over the next four years Marvel released four more one-shots. The last was released back in 2014, and they've been sorely missed by fans.
Occasionally there have been rumors that the one-shots will return; last year, Tom Holland said he thought they were coming back, then realized he should have kept quiet. "I probably just spoiled a big spoiler," he observed. "Kevin Feige's probably going to be furious." Not long afterwards, Thor: Ragnarok screenwriter Eric Pearson said he'd "heard whispers of [the one-shot program] starting up again." Could Disney Play be the opportunity Marvel has been looking for?
Why Marvel Stopped Making One-Shots
It's generally believed there are two reasons the one-shot program came to an end. The simplest one was expressed by Marvel Studios co-president Louis D'Esposito, who explained that Marvel just don't have the time. "We’re just so busy," he explained. "Disney wants us to do it, we want to do it, and I keep telling them, ‘I’ll do it on the next film,’ but I keep breaking my promise." The problem is that Marvel has accelerated its production schedule in recent years, releasing three movies a year, which is a big challenge for the studio.
Kevin Feige, however, has implied there are other business reasons behind Marvel's decision not to make more one-shots. He also seemed to hint that it's not entirely his call.
"I think it would be great to see more one-shots… You look at me as if I’m the only person who controls that decision; I wish that were the case. But I think when the opportunity arises we would do it, we would jump on it. There is a backlog of ideas for one-shots that we haven’t done yet."
He's probably referring to the drop in Blu-ray sales across the industry. Some of the one-shots could have been pretty expensive - they're high-quality Marvel Studios productions, after all, even if some of them do only use a single set. With sales dropping, it's unwise to spend too much money on extra features for the Blu-Rays.
Why Disney Play Should Bring Back the Marvel One-Shots
Disney Play is a major strategic priority for Disney, and every one of the company's subsidiaries is expected to play its part. Marvel Studios already has a lot of major ideas in the works, most notably a series of movie-budget eight-to-ten-episode TV shows that will be only available on Disney's platform In addition to that, though, Marvel could also choose to bring back the one-shots; after all, the more exclusive content, the better! Marvel could even adjust the format of the one-shot program a little, filming a short ten-to-twenty-minute story alongside the movie, and releasing it on Disney Play as a form of promotion. Imagine if "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer" had dropped just before the release of Thor in 2011, for example; it would have been a great marketing boost to get people hyped for the movie.
While D'Esposito did suggest Marvel is too busy to make the one-shots, it's worth noting that's hardly a killer argument. The Disney/Fox purchase is expected to be "ready to close" on January 1, 2019. That means Disney will have an even bigger slate of films to release, and the House of Mouse is always careful to avoid putting its films up against one another. A Marvel movie has already been removed from the 2020 schedule, and it's possible Marvel will have to go back to two films a year. It's true that the studio will be committing time to these spinoff shows as well, but frankly there's no reason the one-shots couldn't return too.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019