Rumor: Marvel To Introduce Characters Via Short Films

Latino Review has posted what they are calling an exclusive scoop that Marvel Studios and Disney are looking to create 10 minute short films that would play in front of upcoming movies, introducing audiences to some of the publisher’s lesser known characters.

While no further details were offered, the rumor does lend itself to some pretty fun speculating.

1. When would these films begin playing? Theoretically, something could be whipped up in time for next summer’s Thor and Captain America.

2. Would the shorts be live-action or animated (such as the recent batch of shorts DC Entertainment has been attaching to their direct-to-DVD animated movies)?

The logistics behind trying to put together a live-action short seems a bit much — especially if Marvel and Disney hope to spring these characters off into full-length solo films. If they wanted to attach a big name actor or director to the project, would they need to sign contracts obliging them to appear in any and all full-length versions of the short. Think of the costume design/production that would be needed to develop the character for the big screen.

In theory, I could see these shorts almost playing out like the fake trailers attached to the theatrical prints of Grindhouse or Tropic Thunder — with the hope that, if audience reaction to the previews are strong enough, a full-length version will be made.

An animated short, on the other hand, could have the potential to backfire on a studio that seems to be going out of its way to market its characters and films to an adult audience just as much as to the children who still wear Iron Man underoos.

For many people, superheroes are still seen as children’s interests – as are cartoons. By presenting an animated version of characters such as Dr. Strange or the Black Panther in front of a live-action super hero movie, many are sure to walk away seeing the short film as little more than the Roger Rabbit shorts that used to play in front of Disney movies in the early ’90s or the new batch of Loony Toons shorts that will soon begin playing in front of Warner Brothers movies.

I would much rather see the short films deal with Marvel Universe characters that have little to no chance of ever getting a full-length movie. Characters like Luke Cage, Dr. Strange or the Black Panther will eventually get a movie deal — as long as the superhero film genre doesn’t eventually implode from oversaturation.

I’d rather see short films with characters such as the Inhumans, Darkhawk, Machine Man or Man-Thing (and yes, I know there was a Man-Thing movie in the early ’00s but boy god was it terrible).

It’s going to be interesting to see if this rumor pans out and what, exactly, Marvel’s plans are. Marvel Studios very much seem to have a larger goal in mind for their film slate — a plan for where they want to be in the future.

If this plan includes short films, I’m sure they have a tactic for how they are going to approach the films for maximum effect — and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the ride.

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