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WandaVision is finally almost here, which still doesn't seem like a reality, even though it feels like we've been waiting for it since the early TV eras that the superhero drama is paying tribute to. The first streaming TV show fully immersed in the theatrical MCU from robotic head to robotic toe, WandaVision will arrive on Disney+ with a double-episode premiere before shifting to a more traditional weekly release model. That's a decision that Marvel boss Kevin Feige was fully behind, in part because of The Mandalorian's massive success.
Having already conquered the feature-oriented side of the MCU, with box office successes to spare, Kevin Feige is entering relatively new territory with a vast slate of upcoming TV shows for Disney+, so it makes sense that he got a boost of influential confidence from the streaming service's first marquee release. During WandaVision's press conference attended by CinemaBlend and others, Feige explained how The Mandalorian further fueled his interest in keeping Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany's mind-bending drama a week-to-week release as opposed to releasing all the episodes at once, Netflix-style. In his words:
It was wonderful to see the amazing job that Disney did, and Disney marketing did, in eventizing that. One of the things I was always concerned about was to say, ‘Anything that we do, we want to eventize it.’ We want to make people understand that these projects on Disney+ are as important as the projects going into theaters. We want to feel that same excitement and the Disney marketing team is best in the world -- the best of all time, frankly, right now, the group running it -- that they can do that. And they certainly showed that they can do that spectacularly on Disney+ with The Mandalorian.
With a promotional campaign that was all but nonexistent, considering all the Star Wars secrets embedded in its episodes, The Mandalorian took hold of the pop culture zeitgeist during each week of its first two seasons. It may not have always amassed the biggest streaming audience on a weekly basis, since its total subscriber numbers are still behind Netflix, but that one show played a big role in turning Disney+ into a relatively instant success. And it's not a shot in the dark to assume that WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and other upcoming Marvel series will match Mandalorian's accomplishments, and could even outshine them.
But that kind of extended grip on audiences isn't always possible for TV shows that unleash entire seasons on viewers in one fell swoop. That strategy hasn't harmed the popularity of shows like Stranger Things and The Witcher, but Kevin Feige wants his MCU shows to feel more like recurring events rather than merely a weekend retreat. He acknowledged that even in this on-demand era, there's an enjoyable kind of power in the discussions that audiences have between episodes, saying:
And also, the fun week-to-week discussion, which I guess happens on all week-to-week television. But sometimes, a series drops all at once on those streaming services, and Disney, I think, was very smart to do the week-by-week because that conversation that happens during the week between episodes, I think, is very important and frankly, just a lot of fun. And so each time I witnessed that, and experienced that, and joined in that with Mandalorian, it got me excited for the way we had already been building WandaVision to be unveiled.
Had The Mandalorian not been as big of a hit as it was, Kevin Feige & Co. likely would have still released the bulk of WandaVision's nine episodes on a weekly basis. But now that the model has been proven a winner, we can expect for Marvel and Disney+ to deliver new episodes of its high-profile shows on a mostly weekly basis from now until they run out of programming.
WandaVision will make its long-awaited takeover of your mind... I mean, it'll make its long-awaited debut on Disney+ on Friday, January 15, with its first two episodes dropping at once ahead of the weekly releases. To see what other new and returning shows are hitting the small screen soon, head to our Winter and Spring TV premiere schedule.