Like just about everything else that Marvel Studios has been doing for the last six years, from features to television, the series of short films known as Marvel One Shots have really been growing. The first one, titled The Consultant and released with Kenneth Branagh’s Thor on Blu-ray, was simply a conversation between S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) cut together with footage from Louis Leterrier’s The Incredible Hulk, but now the studio is making nearly 15-minute pieces complete with action sequences and known actors. And the latest, All Hail The King, is the biggest Marvel One Shot yet.
Both written and directed by Drew Pearce, who co-wrote Iron Man 3 with Shane Black, the new short film catches up with Trevor Slattery (Sir Ben Kingsley), the drug addicted British actor who pretended to be the terrorist leader known as The Mandarin. While he has found himself in prison due to his criminal dealings, he is living life as a celebrity inmate and has even attracted the attention of a young documentarian (Scoot McNairy) who wants to make a film about Trevor and get to know the man behind the mask. Just like the events in the last Iron Man sequel, however, things are not always as they seem.
I recently had the chance to talk with Pearce over the phone about all the work he has been doing for Marvel over the last few years, and with All Hail The King arriving with Thor: The Dark World on Blu-ray today, there’s no better time than the present. What other One Shots were being considered before Trevor’s story got the green light? How does the short change the Marvel Cinematic Universe? What’s the story behind the surprise end credits sequence? Read on to find out!
WARNING: While the first three entries in this list are spoiler free, the last two have some details you may not want to know before seeing All Hail The King for yourself. There will be another warning on the page before the spoilers start.
There were ideas for Crossbones and Jessica Jones One Shots before All Hail The King came togetherOne of the reasons why it’s so hard to predict the next move by Marvel Studios is because the studio has so many heroes, villains story options to choose from – and that goes for Marvel One Shots in addition to the feature films. In the past few years we’ve seen shorts based around Agent Coulson, a pair of small-time criminals taking advantage of Chitauri technology, Agent Carter and now Sir Ben Kingsley’s Trevor Slattery, but at one point Marvel was also considering stories about two major characters from the comics.
While figuring out what he wanted to do for his entry in the Marvel One Shot series and sending pitches to producers Louis D’Esposito and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, Pearce tried to get projects rolling on multiple characters, including Captain America villain Crossbones and superhero-turned-private eye Jessica Jones. Unfortunately, none of these ideas really managed to stick. "It’s often easier with the One Shots to, just on a practical level, take a character who’s already appeared in the universe and visualize what the short is going to be with them," the writer/director explained in our interview. "I guess I would agree, it’s a slightly less risky proposition too."
Marvel not moving forward with those pitches has delayed Crossbones and Jessica Jones’ opportunities in live-action, but the studio does have some very big upcoming plans for them. The former will be played by Frank Grillo in Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which will be out on April 4th, and the latter will be getting her own series on Netflix that will eventually see her teaming with Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist as part of The Defenders.