Marvel Cinematic Universe Canon Is Becoming Less Important

Marvel Cinematic Universe Canon Is Becoming Less Important

Over the past five years, new Marvel movies may have been confusing if you didn’t watch the streaming shows. Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was basically a direct sequel to WandaVision. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania had its roots in Loki. And The Marvels featured main characters from Ms. Marvel and WandaVision. Some think those are factors in why a few of those films weren’t huge hits, and now things are changing.

Speaking to Variety, Marvel’s head of streaming, television, and animation, Brad Winderbaum, explained that a new rebranding will aim to make it less important that fans watch everything to understand the next thing. “The characters still live and breathe in the same universe, but the interconnectivity is not so rigid that you need to watch Project A to understand Project B,” Winderbaum said. “The hope is that, like the comics, you can just pop in anywhere and have a satisfying experience. We’re trying to dispel the idea that you need to do any kind of setup work to watch anything else.”

To do so, not everything will be just plain “Marvel Studios” anymore. Now there’s Marvel Animation, for shows like X-Men ‘97 and What If…?. There’s Marvel Spotlight, for shows that are part of—but not as intricately important to—the main narrative, such as Echo and the upcoming Wonder Man. Werewolf by Night was a “Marvel Studios Special Presentation” which seems to be a whole other thing. Then there’s the newer Marvel Television—which will be in front of new shows like Agatha All Along, Ironheart, and Daredevil: Born Again. Those seem to be the ones that you’d watch to keep on top of the main overall MCU, though maybe they’ll be less important than shows have been in the past.

“There was a lot of pressure post-Avengers: Endgame on the public to feel obligated to watch absolutely everything in order to watch anything,” Winderbaum said. “Part of the rebranding was a signal to the general audience that we’re creating a lot of options, and you can follow your tastes within this brand. Some will be more comedic, some will be more dramatic, some will be animated, some will be live-action. Marvel is more than just one thing—it is actually many different genres that just happened to coexist in a single narrative.”

After over 15 years of the MCU, this is probably a smart decision. There’s just so much content out there you can’t expect every single person to watch every single thing. However, is a simple rebranding enough? Does anyone actually pay attention to the banner before a show? They go to their streaming service and press play. Ultimately, the success or failure of this initiative will come down to how each of these stories both live on their own and cross over, or don’t, with the MCU we’ve come to know and love.

That all starts next with Deadpool & Wolverine in theaters on July 26, a movie that’s sure to kind of blow all this up anyway, followed by Agatha All Along on September 18.

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