by Ray Keating
September 27, 2020
When The Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel for $4 billion in 2009, then-Disney CEO Bob Iger said, “This is perfect from a strategic perspective. This treasure trove of over 5,000 characters offers Disney the ability to do what we do best.” But I doubt that Iger at the time fully grasped the vast opportunities that would open up.
Looking at what’s happened at the box office for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with 23 movies raking in almost $23 billion, the success of this deal should be obvious to all. Toss in all of the related revenues, and simply based on the movies so far, Disney’s purchase of Marvel turns out to be one of the greatest deals in Hollywood history. Ah, but there is and will be so much more.
Indeed, as time passes, the Disney-Marvel deal should prove to be far more lucrative and impressive, as long as storytellers continue telling quality stories, of course. The gains promise not only to come via movie theaters (post-COVID-19), but thanks to the Disney+ streaming service.
Consider a couple of recent news items regarding Marvel and Disney+.
Variety reported that, according to sources, Samuel L. Jackson will be back as Nick Fury in a Disney+ series. It was noted, “The exact plot details of the show are being kept under wraps, but multiple sources say Jackson is attached to star with Kyle Bradstreet attached to write and executive produce.” Jackson’s Fury has played a key role in the MCU on the big screen.
And then there’s the release of an extensive trailer for the forthcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. the Scarlett Witch, and Paul Bettany as Vision. WandaVision looks fascinating and reportedly will arrive on Disney+ in December.
Also coming to Disney+ is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki – some time in 2021. What If…? will be an animated series also coming in 2021. What else? Reports point to Disney+ Marvel shows titled Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.
What makes the Disney-Marvel deal increasingly fascinating, even though it was signed and sealed eleven years ago, is that with 5,000+ characters, Disney now has multiple times 5,000 stories to tap. For one of the great storytelling companies in history, this equates to a near-infinite amount of resources. Tales from the pages of decades of Marvel comic books have been waiting to come alive via the silver screen and now via online streaming. That time is now.
It’s already is well under way, of course, with some classic comic stories feeding into the movies, and now, apparently, into WandaVision. Yes, the stories of the Scarlett Witch and Vision, together and apart, offer a wealth of potential material, from the madness of Wanda to Vision trying to synthesize a normal life – with dire consequences in each case. (What? Hey, read the comics, man!) Consider these backgrounds, and check out how Disney describes WandaVision: “The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.”
And Nick Fury? Well, in the comics, his stories range from the battlefields of World War II to espionage and running SHIELD to saving the world from afar.
So, consider everything you’ve already seen at the movies with the MCU – along with what Fox and Sony have offered, such as the X-Men and Spider-Man – the ABC television shows Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Marvel shows that appeared on Netflix (i.e., Daredevil, The Punisher, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders). Add in what we know is coming from Marvel for Disney+.
Oh, yeah, and note the forthcoming Marvel movies – Black Widow on May 7, 2021, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on July 9, 2021, Eternals on November 5, 2021, Thor: Love and Thunder on February 11, 2022; Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on March 25, 2022; Black Panther 2 still scheduled for May 6, 2022, and Captain Marvel 2 on July 8, 2022.
“Wow” would not be an unreasonable reaction to all of this. And yet, it barely scratches the surface of what’s available for Disney thanks to Marvel. Sure, Disney’s deal to get Star Wars was impressive, but it likely will pale in comparison to the ongoing results from buying Marvel.
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