An actual surprise drop on Super Bowl Sunday was an unexpected teaser for the first slate of Marvel TV shows coming to Disney+. “Marvel-Disney+” and “Marvel Studios TV” are both a mouthful, so let’s agree to call this new venture “Marvel+” and move on, yes? This is not the first time television shows have been made that, ostensibly, connect to the MCU. But the film side of Marvel was always very stingy with allowing film stars to appear in TV shows, and after a while, the TV shows stopped referencing the movies except in the vaguest way, and the movies just never acknowledged the TV shows. But now, with all of Marvel film AND television production under the aegis of Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige, the big and small screen stories are finally merging. Marvel+ is the first time Marvel will use TV shows to meaningfully grow the MCU. On top of the three Marvel movies a year we’re used to getting, we’ll now have two or three television shows to keep up with, too. Unrelated fact: One of the most intimidating things about comic books to non-readers is the sheer volume of story, and just how MUCH there is to keep track of. (Lainey: confirmed.)
The teaser shows brief—VERY brief—clips of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Loki. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the first show due on Marvel+, set to come out around August of this year. WandaVision will be released “sometime” this year, and Loki is due in spring of 2021. Let’s start with Loki since it is literally one line in the teaser, just a shot of Tom Hiddleston in a prison jumpsuit with “TVA” on it as he says, “I’m going to burn this place to the ground.” The important thing here is the “TVA” on the jumpsuit, which stands for “Time Variance Authority”, basically the time cops who make sure the Marvel universe doesn’t get too wonky with timey-wimey nonsense. Since Loki stole the Tesseract in Endgame, he has undoubtedly been up to some timey-wimey nonsense and run afoul of the TVA. Now, Lainey, we can talk about time travel in the MCU.
We also get to see some brief scenes from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, including a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him glimpse of Wyatt Russell suited up as the new Captain America. The show is going to deal with the government deciding to name their own Captain America, a complete tool named John Walker, instead of backing Sam Wilson as the new Cap. I like this glimpse in the trailer because Walker, also known as US Agent, is exactly the kind of hyper-patriotic propaganda monster Steve Rogers refused to become, and Cap would never f-cking run out on a football field like that. This is pulling from a GREAT comic book run that really digs into what it means to represent America, to be patriotic, and to whom, or what, Americans owe their patriotism. This teaser also shows a split second of Daniel Brühl returning as the villain Zemo (I smell the Thunderbolts in the air), and more of Bucky With The Short Hair. This all looks fine.
What I REALLY want to talk about is WandaVision, a show that only ever sounds more insane and potentially cool the more I hear about it. Not unlike The Eternals, WandaVision has a lot of room to play, as it will touch on the multiverse and the staggering, extraordinary power of Scarlet Witch, who can literally create alternate realities in her mind. WandaVision looks like it’s mashing up a couple comic storylines, one in which Wanda creates babies for her and Vision, the twins Wiccan and Speed, and another, The Vision, which is about Vision trying to live that Norman Rockwell life.
WandaVision looks bonkers, but it also looks like it is bringing us Wanda and Vision’s twins and that is MAJOR for one reason: Their son, Wiccan, is gay. If the twins are really coming, then Wiccan might be the long-promised gay Marvel superhero. Also, Wiccan is a badass character with immense cinematic potential, and between the fact that Cassie Lang is now a teenager, Wiccan and Speed might be arriving through WandaVision, and the Hawkeye show will feature Kate Bishop, there is only conclusion to be drawn: the Young Avengers are assembling. I have not been super excited by the promise of Marvel+ so far, but if it gets us to the Young Avengers, count me in. They are the diverse, angsty, queer, dimension-hopping heroes the 2020s need.
Attached - Sebastian Stan at The Last Full Measure Atlanta red carpet and on the set of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in January.