With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier dropping on Disney+ today—review of episode one coming Monday—the Marvel machine now turns to promoting Loki, which will premiere on June 11. That seems a long way away, but the marketing department must be bored since they are holding off on promoting Black Widow until the last possible moment in case they end up pushing the release back again. (They’re going to have to call it soon, though, because they’re approaching the advertising threshold when they’ll have to start promoting the current May 7 date for maximum saturation.) At least they know for sure Loki will come out on June 11, so it’s full steam ahead. The latest is new key art showing Loki in his Time Variance Authority prison clothes. I was thinking how the clock behind him is positioned to halo his head like how Renaissance artists used gold halos to highlight important figures in paintings, but then Lainey said he looks like a Boy Scout so now, of course, that is all I can see, too.
I know we’ve only done one of these new Marvel TV shows, but I have a sneaking suspicion something will be true of all of them, at least for the first generation of series. Throughout WandaVision’s run, fans speculated about a possible cameo in the series from another major character. Some of that was down to Paul Bettany running his mouth about working with someone he’s “always wanted to work with”, which turned out to be himself, as Hex Vision and White Vision. But even before Bettany’s fateful comments, fans were wondering if, say, Benedict Cumberbatch would show up as Doctor Strange. Bettany’s fan-baiting comments aside, MCU films have conditioned us to expect crossovers, like Bruce Banner popping into a Thor movie, or the Guardians of the Galaxy stopping by a Thor movie, or Doctor Strange appearing in a Thor movie… You know what, maybe it’s just Thor having all the crossovers.
But no, it’s more than just Thor having crossovers. Benedict Cumberbatch will be in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Elizabeth Olsen is even now in London filming Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. The MCU was built on the promise of comics-style crossovers, and the movies have, especially in the last few years, delivered on that promise. But these TV shows feel a little resistant to crossovers to me. Like, don’t get your hopes up for Chris Evans popping into The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as Old Man Cap, or for Doctor Strange to appear in Loki (everyone suddenly wants Doctor Strange to be everywhere, did this character get really popular without anyone noticing?). I think the point of these first shows on Disney+ is to take fan-favorite characters who got short shrift in the films and finally give them their due. Like, fans were shouting for a Loki movie the day The Avengers opened in 2012, and now it is, more or less, finally here. Why spoil the thing fans wanted for so long by taking the spotlight OFF Loki?
Maybe in the second-gen shows such as Moon Knight and She-Hulk, marquee heroes will show up to support the newbies. There is already a rumor Mark Ruffalo will appear in She-Hulk (another rumor has Marvel casting a younger version of the character, presumably for childhood flashbacks). With the established characters like Wanda Maximoff, Loki, Bucky Barnes, and Sam Wilson, the marquee heroes pull focus from characters we’re already invested in exploring on their own, but once Marvel starts introducing new characters into the MCU via Disney+, I fully expect to see A-list Avengers showing up to help boost those characters, much as would happen in the movies, where Tony Stark shows up to support the new Spider-Man or Nick Fury rides along with Captain Marvel. Basically, don’t get all het up on potential cameos in the Disney-Marvel shows for now, because that way lies almost certain disappointment. Just let Boy Scout Loki have his moment to shine.