How Marvel Decides Which Character Gets A Movie, And Which Gets A Disney+ Show

Marvel Studios has maintained a mix of character introductions and classic world-building as it tells the next wave of MCU stories. Unfamiliar heroes such as Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and the Eternals got a shot at silver-screen stardom, while time-tested MCU staples such as Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) took their places on Disney+, the popular streaming service. So when we got an opportunity to interview Marvel producer Trinh Tran for her work on the upcoming Hawkeye television series, we questioned how Marvel decides which stories go where, and her answer is in the video above. 

You might assume that getting your Marvel character relegated to a Disney+ series is a step down from being a Marvel movie, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. The budget constraints for Marvel Studios television shows don’t look obvious, with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki going to great lengths to build out their dense worlds. Not to mention, a six-episode Disney+ run essentially means you are getting the equivalent of two and a half movies to tell your story, allowing for more narrative growth and character development. 

That’s why Hawkeye producer Trinh Tran, who also produced Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, basically said that the decision between film and television always boils down to story. She told CinemaBlend:

We had started talking about Hawkeye as a feature. When Kevin (Feige) and I first started talking about what the story can be, we had brought Jeremy in and we said it was going to be a feature. We were figuring out and brainstorming what the storyline of Clint Barton is. And then, as we were doing the research, going through all the comics, we’re introducing a new character in, Clint hasn’t had other films, so this is the first time we’re actually telling his story. So there was so much content that I just felt like two hours isn’t quite enough. And it was just perfect timing that Disney+ was launching that platform and was asking which characters should be brought over to that platform. We moved it over because I wanted that extra time, the six hours, to really develop his character, get (Kate Bishop) into the fold, as well as have enough time to have them bond and get that dynamic going so that there’s a partnership that’s built.

That definitely explains why Hawkeye made the shift from a theatrical feature to a Disney+ show, and the same logic undoubtedly can be applied to the various characters who will receive their introduction in a streaming show over the upcoming years. Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight, Tatiana Maslany’s She-Hulk, and Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, all will get introductory series on Disney+. While the MCU movies of 2022 largely are reserved for sequels. Need to stay up to date on everything happening in the MCU, from Upcoming Movies to Television Show premieres? Click those links for all the latest information. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.