With WandaVision set to kick off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+ next month, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige knows which way the wind is blowing in terms of public media consumption.
Speaking with Emmy Magazine, the Hollywood executive (who also serves as Marvel's Chief Creative Officer) stated that "streaming is 100 percent the future and where consumers want to watch things." And while the COVID-19 pandemic completely upended movie releases this year (providing a massive boost to streamers as the world's population was driven indoors), the comic book maven isn't giving up hope on the struggling theatrical business.
"You go to movies for things you can't get on streaming, and you go to streaming for things you can't get in a theater. And of course, everything in a theater goes to streaming eventually," Feige said. He also conceded that the MCU's "long-form narrative series" — like WandaVision — provide experiences "you can't get in a movie."
Of course, this was already Disney's pre-COVID plan: introduce new characters and stories on the small screen before tying them into the bigger, cinematic projects.
That said, it sounds like the studio isn't fazed by the uncertain theatrical industry. For example, Cate Shortland's standalone Black Widow film was recently pushed to May 2021, causing all subsequent Marvel features to be postponed and leaving 2020 as a year devoid of fresh MCU content for the first time in over a decade. Unlike Warner Bros. — which sparked both surprise and outrage after announcing its dual rollout plan earlier this month — Disney, it seems, will not circumvent established practices by sending all upcoming tentpoles to its in-house streaming service, with Mulan and Soul remaining obvious exceptions to the rule.
In other words, the Mouse House (and by extension, Marvel Studios) is staying the distribution course for now, while receiving an "adrenaline boost" (as Feige put it) from its decision to let the MCU bleed into the world of television. WandaVision is just one of many comic-inspired shows making its way to Disney+ over the next few years. Loki, What If...?, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and Hawkeye have all been confirmed for over a year now. Thanks to a recent investors day livestream, fans also learned about hitherto unknown projects like Secret Invasion, Armor Wars, Ironheart, I Am Groot, and The Guardians of The Galaxy Holiday Special.
Consisting of six, one-hour episodes, WandaVision arrives on Disney+ Friday, Jan 15. Like The Mandalorian, the show will air its episodes on a weekly basis.