In the future, when we settle down to watch a superhero movie from Marvel Studios will the main feature be proceeded by a short film starring another one of the numerous heroes that the studio has access to?
It’s possible, at least according to a story from Film School Rejects today that cites unnamed sources “on the periphery of Marvel Studios” as saying that the studio has some writers working to develop short films around a number of characters in the Marvel Comics stable. The ultimate goal would be to use the films as a way to gauge public interest in various characters to see if they warrant either placement in an upcoming film as a secondary character or as leads in their own blockbuster.
The source also states that Marvel has already produced two short films featuring Clark Gregg’s SHIELD agent Paulson character to be included on the DVD/blu-ray releases of Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger.
If this story sounds a bit familiar it is because this rumor floated around about a year ago. At the time Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige denied that they were working on any short films, but that the studio did “like the idea.” Is this just a resurrection of that rumor or has Marvel gone from just liking the idea to actively developing it.
Personally, I like the idea of short, live-action superhero films running before a feature-length movie. PIXAR has had much success with the shorts that they attach to the front of their feature films, which have also served as a way for them to develop directorial talent for a future feature. Ratatouille co-director Jan Pinkava got his start with the company directing the 1997 short Geri’s Game, which was featured before A Bug’s Life.
Additionally, Marvel’s superhero rivals over at Warner brothers have been getting positive reaction from fans with animated short films featuring some of DC Comics’ second-tier heroes that have appeared on recent installments of their direct-to-home video animated features. Perhaps the time is right.