When an upcoming MCU film was on the horizon in the past, fans had no doubt that the lead actors for it would either be completely new characters or recognizable faces that had appeared in other films.
However, Phase 4 changed that narrative when those movies began to include characters that had only appeared in the MCU's Disney+ shows.
Up until this point, only a handful of names that were introduced on the streaming platform have been billed as main characters in a feature film.
The Marvels Cast Makes Disney+ History
The Marvels marks the first time in MCU history that two of the top-billed lead actors made their franchise debuts in a Marvel Disney+ series.
The actors in question are Iman Vellani, who portrays Kamala Khan and first appeared in the MCU in 2022's Ms. Marvel Disney+ series, and Teyonah Parris, who portrays Monica Rambeau and debuted in 2021's WandaVision.
Multiple other movies contained characters that were introduced in Disney+ shows, they just didn't feature more than one in a top-billed role.
For example, Black Widow featured Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in the film's post-credits scene. That character was first seen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. She also had a prominent role in Phase 4's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The Disney+ shows will also have a major effect on the future of the MCU.
When Captain America: New World Order hits theaters on May 3, 2024, it will include Danny Ramirez’s Joaquin Torres and Carl Lumbly’s Isaiah Bradley in lead roles. Both of those characters were first seen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Julia Louis-Dreyfus will also appear in the upcoming film.
Thunderbolts will also feature Louis-Dreyfus back as Val, and she will be alongside Wyatt Russell's US Agent. Russell, just like Louis-Dreyfus, was first introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
MCU Films Working Synonymously With Disney+
When Marvel Studios first announced that it would be branching the MCU out to include television shows, many fans wondered how the two would work with one another.
In Phases 1-3, the MCU only included feature films, but Phase 4 quickly changed the formula when it introduced eight Disney+ series.
When looking back at Phase 4, it is almost impossible to imagine what the franchise would be like without the streaming series.
So many elements and plot threads that were started on Disney+ laid the groundwork for most of the Phase 4 movies. For example, without the events of WandaVision, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would have looked a lot different.
Now that The Marvels is making history by including two lead actors that were originally introduced in Disney+ shows, those stories on the streaming platform seem more important than ever.
Perhaps in the coming years, fans could see a feature film in the MCU where all of the lead actors originally started in one of the television shows.
It is clear that Marvel Studios is going to continue the trend of making Disney+ just as crucial as a movie theater.
Up until this point, having two different mediums hasn't hindered the overall story of the MCU in the slightest. In reality, it has actually done the opposite and has helped create stories that weave together in a more intricate way.
The Marvels is set to hit theaters on November 10.