The Marvel Cinematic Universe is back in action after 18 months with Phase 4, which will adapt a form of storytelling never before utilized within Marvel Studios. Not only will the MCU continue its ongoing story on the big-screen, but it will also take full advantage of the Disney+ streaming service with over a dozen confirmed individual properties.
Starting with the debut of WandaVision this month, Disney and Marvel are set on having these series directly interwoven with the MCU's history. Many of them will center around first-time heroes like Moon Knight and She-Hulk while others will continue the legacies of established MCU veterans like Loki and Hawkeye.
Although fans were excited for so much expansion to the MCU over the coming years, this same sentiment wasn't shared by everybody involved in making it happen.
In a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz, MCU star Anthony Mackie revealed that he was originally hesitant towards the MCU's progression into the streaming world of Disney+ with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
After explaining that he first heard rumblings for this show immediately following the release for Avengers: Endgame, Mackie spoke on how he didn't think Marvel Studios would be able to put the same quality into their productions by moving to this platform:
HOROWITZ: "We’re getting pretty close to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier at long last. When did you first hear the rumblings about this? When did they tell you that this was in the plans?"
MACKIE: "Right after we wrapped Endgame. After the big premiere party, splish splash, I have a meeting with everybody and they’re like ‘We’re going streaming, and you’re gonna be in a streaming show,’ and I was like… [hesistated pause]"
HOROWITZ: “Not so thrilled at first.”
MACKIE: "‘Really?’ Because you think there’s no way Marvel would be able to keep the level of sophistication, quality. There’s no way you would be able to do the exact same thing on a television. So basically, I though this show was gonna be like the old school Batman, I though it was gonna be some shitty, or some of the other shows where it’s like soap operas. The quality of our show with the acting, with the scripts, with the development of the characters and everything was so high-level, so high-brow. I didn’t think there was any way Marvel would be able to carry that onto television."
WHAT THIS MEANS
Its widely known that TV shows generally aren't given the same level of production value and budget as their big-screen counterparts. This was already proven to be the case within the MCU (sort of) with properties like Agents of SHIELD and the Netflix shows culminating in The Defenders.
As news began releasing for these newly announced Disney+ shows, it became clear that Marvel Studios was going in a new direction after merging with the Marvel Entertainment TV division. The reported budgets for the Disney+ shows in Phase 4 and beyond are comparable to the movies releasing on the big-screen, and Marvel CCO Kevin Feige is adamant that they will interconnect deeply with the larger MCU. The early stages of this new venture are already being laid out in WandaVision.
It's clear that Anthony Mackie wants these Disney+ shows to be released with the same quality and care as the movies, especially with the fact that he is the co-star of one of the early entries in Phase 4. His disbelief has undoubtedly turned around since the show was first pitched to him, particularly after Kevin Feige detailed at Disney Investor Day that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a full-fledged MCU movie-like experience separated into six episodes.
Only one week into the MCU's first Disney+ show, WandaVision, it's evident that the team is doing everything necessary to put forth the highest-quality show possible as the streaming world takes a bigger role in the entertainment industry. This will continue in the MCU with Mackie's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which will debut on Disney+ on March 19, 2021.