How Marvel Decides Which Characters Are Right for Disney+ Shows vs. Movies


With shows like ‘Ms. Marvel’ and ‘She-Hulk’ on the horizon, how does Marvel decide who’s worthy of their own TV spinoff?

Iman Vellani in Ms. Marvel

The expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe onto the small screen by way of Disney+ is an exciting storytelling opportunity. With Marvel Studios running point on these TV shows, there’s a chance to expand the overall MCU story with longform tangents that can spend six episodes really digging into one or two characters, versus the limited screentime one might get in an Avengers movie. Case in point, WandaVision seems poised to give us our deepest dive yet into the character of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), which will only increase the depth of her character when she returns to the big screen in the feature film sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.


Marvel is developing at least 10 brand new TV shows to debut on Disney+, and they’re a mix of spinoffs featuring characters we already know and love (e.g. Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier) and launching pads for characters we’ve never met before (e.g. Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk). Instead of squeezing in an awkward cameo in Iron Man 2 or an Avengers movie, Marvel can now take an entire season to introduce audiences to a new MCU character, with the opportunity then for that character to segue into the big screen MCU.

That’s the plan for Ms. Marvel, who will first be introduced via a Ms. Marvel Disney+ series before co-starring with Brie Larson in the big-screen sequel Captain Marvel 2. So with so many different Marvel shows in development, how does Marvel decide which characters get a Disney+ show and which ones debut on the big screen?


Image via Disney+

Collider’s own Steve Weintraub asked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige exactly this during the press day for the new Marvel series WandaVision, and he unsurprisingly noted that it all comes down to the individual stories:

“It really is about the individual stories you want to tell and a bit informed by the bigger picture. We knew that we wanted to introduce Ms. Marvel first and her family and all of her great supporting characters and her origin in a Disney+ long-form series, and then bring her into Captain Marvel 2. There will be some times where the opposite happens. The character is introduced in a movie and brought onto a Disney+ series. So, it really just varies based on the story or the genre that we want to explore.”

Genre is a big factor as well, and I’m excited to see how Marvel uses the television space to really dig into specific storytelling devices. They’re certainly not lacking for material as they’ve already announced a flurry of upcoming shows, with more on the way.

Look for more from our WandaVision interviews on Collider ahead of the show’s debut on Friday, January 15th. And be sure to check out what Feige told us about Deadpool 3 and their plans for the Secret Invasion Disney+ series starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn.

Samuel L. Jackson as Nicky Fury in Secret Invasion

Image via Disney+

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