The on screen world of Marvel continues to expand through their massive slate of blockbuster films, shows on network TV, and the growing presence of classic characters on Netflix. They have a lot going on, and an interconnected universe like this is something of a juggling act. One part of this equation remains up in the air, however, the future of the Marvel One Shots.
Screen Rant heard Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige talk at a recent event, and he broached the subject of these short, supplementary projects. While he didn’t give a definite answer regarding whether or not more are on the way, he did indicate that there could be more in the future. He said:
We talk about that a lot actually, because when you have tables like that (lots of potential storylines, most unexplored in the finished film), and we go, What are we going to do with Howard [the Duck]? What are we going to do with Cosmo? We should do a one shot with Michael Pena. I mean, the universe is big.
These smaller projects, which arrived attached to home video releases, were used to shed light on heretofore hidden corners of the MCU. They provided additional information about characters and events not covered in the main films or shows, and while none of them have a huge impact on the larger picture, they’re fun and often feature familiar faces. For example, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) shows up and foils a gas station robbery in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.
Moving into the future, into Phase 3, Marvel could presumably once again use these to similar effect. Maybe they don’t want to make a full Howard the Duck movie, but as his cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy illustrated, there is some public interest, and a short might be perfectly suited to the material. The same goes for Feige’s other example. If you didn’t get enough of Michael Pena’s Luis in Ant-Man, a quick hitter could be a fun way to explore a character who people are interested in, who won’t get his own movie, and likely won’t show up again.
I would also watch the hell out of a Cosmo short. What’s not to love about a psychic Russian space dog?
The MCU is a massive, sprawling affair, and it sounds like that is a big part of why we haven’t seen any more One Shots. While the first appeared with Thor in 2011, the last one we saw showed up with Thor: The Dark World in 2013. Feige continued:
We’re moving up to three movies a year and I’m not sure how much beyond that we can go so the one shots are great for: ‘oh we have this great idea, wouldn’t it be fun to see…’ We talk about it a lot. We’re a relatively small team. We’re comfortable doing three movies a year so it’s just about finding the time and the place. But we have a backlog of ideas.
With the movie slate ramping up as it is, two series—Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter—currently on ABC, and four "Defenders" shows in the works on Netflix, that’s a lot of resources being used up. Perhaps they’re simply spreading themselves too thin, but it sounds like there are just focusing on other things.
The One Shots are nice and all, but they don’t have the reach or impact that any of the other three avenues have, and it’s easy to see why they might be placed on the back burner. But Feige also doesn’t rule it out, so if you’re interested in such things, there is reason to be optimistic.