There’s no denying that the overall excitement for the MCU by the general audience is not where it once was.
Many fans have loudly vocalized their disappointments with the quality of Marvel Studios’ recent outings—with Phase 4 and Phase 5 generating the first three rotten projects of the franchise thanks to Eternals, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and Secret Invasion.
Even many recent projects that aren't rotten are touted as being okay at best. This has led to an increasing wariness of what the MCU has to offer, especially with its endless stream of content.
Iman Vellani on the MCU Regaining Endgame-Level Hype
In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, The Marvels star Iman Vellani explained how the MCU could reach Avengers: Endgame-level hype once again.
When asked directly what she thinks Marvel Studios needs to do to recapture that magic, the actress behind Ms. Marvel claimed that “it’s just about making the audience care about their characters:"
“I don't know. I don't know if it's about just getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Because then, like, what's left? You know, I think it's just about making the audience care about their characters. And I think they've established so many wonderful characters in the last phase of the MCU that it would be nice to see them all again and see them team up.”
Vellani explained how, with all these new characters appearing, fans also just want to see new pair-ups and crossovers happen:
“I think, because there are so many new characters people want to like, start shipping people together and be like, 'Oh, seeing Kamala and like the Red Guardian together.' Like imagining all these pair-ups, and I think that would definitely pay off. It'll be like, you know, the next Avengers.”
“Speaking as a fan,” Vellani shared that the “Thursday night openings of these movies” are “like a source of happiness for [her]:”
“But yeah, I mean, I'm speaking as a fan like I'm still there every Thursday night. Like all the Thursday night openings of these movies—they're just like a source of happiness for me. And the commercial success honestly doesn't determine the enjoyment of a film for me. Like I judge a movie by the feeling it left me with. And yeah, I do want to leave a movie feeling a little lighter and a little happier, and I hope the audience does, too.”
The Direct’s Russ Milheim then joked that the pressure for a team-up is all on Ms. Marvel now due to her recruitment starting up at the end of The Marvels. Vellani made it clear that she completely “trust[s] her:"
“I guess [laughs]. I trust her. I think she knows what she's doing. She's got the little SABER tablet. It probably has a lot of information on it that she can take.”
For someone like Iman Vellani, who was a massive fan before entering the MCU, how has being on the inside changed her?
The star admitted how “[she’s] definitely changed,” and seeing how these movies are made “humanized the films” so much more for her:
“That is—I mean, I'm definitely changed. I can't watch these movies or shows the same way. It's just like, I know when things are green screen now, I know when, like, how they film certain fight scenes and stuff. But I think watching like real people work on these movies and seeing all the effort and manpower that goes into making a movie like this, it just humanized the films for me so much more.”
“Every single person that works at Marvel Studios is genuinely a fan,” gushed Vellani, adding that they love both their craft and jobs so much:
“They have so much to offer beyond the amazing storytelling. Every single person that works at Marvel Studios is genuinely a fan and so in love with their craft and in love with their job. And I think that dedication to their work is what makes a good, if not great, movie. So I've gotten to meet a lot of really cool people. Yes, it's like kind of ruined."
The whole interview can be seen below:
Focusing on the MCU's Characters
Iman Vellani isn’t wrong—caring about the characters is key. A majority of Avengers: Endgame’s three-hour runtime works because of its character work.
With the Multiverse Saga, so many new faces have been introduced, yet fans aren't being given any substantial time with them.
Shang-Chi made his first appearance in 2021, but since then, there’s been no official word on when he’ll pop again. Likewise, fans have no idea when they’ll ever get further glimpses of heroes like the Eternals, America Chavez, Moon Knight, or She-Hulk.
The Infinity Saga worked so well because its roster of characters constantly appeared throughout projects—not going nearly half a decade without an update.
Team-ups and more crossovers are equally important to have more of. It helps to build those character dynamics, which, as they’re established, can go on to blossom into engrossing development for these heroes over time.
Hopefully, given all the changes going on at Marvel Studios behind the scenes (such as substantial movie delays and massive resets of projects), more of the Multiverse Saga can satisfyingly fall into place over the coming years.
The Marvels is now playing in theaters worldwide.