DC’s Watchmen Producer Shares His ‘Cynical’ View on Marvel Movies

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Damon Lindelof, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel

The world has always been critical of Marvel Studios and the superhero genre as a whole. Many started declaring that it would die out not too long after the first Iron Man landed. Then came Avengers, where the same thing was said—jump ten years later, and the MCU has expanded to an insane degree.

Not only is Marvel Studios putting out theatrical releases, but the studio is also pumping out streaming series, both live-action and animated. By the end of 2022 alone, there will have been at least nine new MCU projects put out into the world.

Looking at Marvel Studios’ many announcements at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, the train’s not slowing down at all. Projects are always planned through Phase 6 and beyond.

Many notable names have commented on Marvel Studios’ place in the industry for years. But now, a highly talented producer, known for his work on the recent Watchmen HBO series, has added his own thoughts to the mix.

DC Watchmen Producer Thinks Less is More

Damon Lindelof
Damon Lindelof

In an interview with Variety, Watchmen producer Damon Lindelof, also known for his work on ABC’s LOST and HBO’s The Leftovers, shared what he thinks about the current landscape of superhero projects.

Lindelof said that, from a "more cynical [business] standpoint," it's natural for Marvel's quantity of releases to continue increasing. The producer also noted how if Marvel Studios made less, “It would make each one that came out a little bit more special,” while admitting that he does prefer for things to have an ending:

“From a slightly sort of more cynical standpoint, this is a business… It’s an industry. And if you make a couple of great Marvel movies, the instinct is, ‘We need to make more Marvel movies, and we need to expand this.’ And I have this sort of interior feeling of like, ’Wow, I wish they made less because it would make each one that came out a little bit more special. But I watch all of them…People don’t want things to end. I do.”

When it comes to endings, the producer elaborated that it’s a difficult concept to purposefully let go of the audience’s attention in order to wrap something up:

“It’s always going to be hard because once you’ve got someone’s attention, you want to keep it. And so the idea of letting it go and not knowing if you’re ever going to get it back again is sort of like it’s antithetical to the way that we’re wired…”

He was honest in making it clear that he “[doesn’t] begrudge them the right to keep [their franchises] going,” as that would make him a hypocrite:

“I don’t begrudge them the right to keep it going… I’ve made prequels and sequels and reboots, so I can’t be a hypocrite and say, ‘God, come up with an original idea.’ Meanwhile, I’m making two ‘Star Trek’ movies and ’Prometheus.’”

In a separate Instagram post, Lindelof made sure to reiterate that despite his comments, he still does “watch ALL OF THEM,” and he’s eagerly awaiting She-Hulk to drop:

“… And in the next breath I said I watch ALL OF THEM. Marvel, keep doing what you’re doing… I’m drinking coffee so I can stay up for the SHE-HULK drop. Also, it’s not fair to put my photo next to Hemsworth. By Odin’s Beard, he is MAGNIFICENT.”

In another Instagram post, the producer gave some incredibly high praise to Iman Vellani’s Ms. Marvel, sharing how it was “one of the best things [he] saw on any network, streamer or movie screen in the past year:”

“… and speaking of Marvel, this is one of the best things I saw on any network, streamer or movie screen in the past year. Originality masked in I.P… and a cultural authenticity that dares the entire industry to rise to it. As the imam of Kamala’s mosque eloquently puts it — “Good is not a thing you are. It is a thing you do.”

A Useful and Mindful Point of View

What makes Lindelof’s opinions so great and a useful addition to the general conversation is how they don't put down those who enjoy Marvel Studios’ content. At no point does he even allude to those audiences as watching something lesser—like previous critics have, such as Martin Scorsese.

The Watchmen producer isn’t the first to voice concerns over the MCU’s quantity. Many have felt like quality may be slipping, given how much content they are pumping out.

It’s a tricky situation, however. All of these projects have allowed the MCU and its creatives to explore characters, settings, and themes that would never be able to see the spotlight otherwise. The way the universe has been able to expand is breathtaking.

If there were fewer stories being told, so many characters would never see the light of day. Hopefully, Marvel Studios is able to prove themselves and keep its quality consistent—if not raise it higher than it’s ever been before.

Marvel Studios is preparing to launch its next project on Disney+ with She-Hulk, which lands on the service on Thursday, August 18.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.