Two-dozen movies, several television shows, and 12 years of hype have made the Marvel Cinematic Universe a convoluted mess for anyone who’s just now hopping aboard.
While Disney wants everyone to look at the backlog, they also know that sometimes a refresher is necessary. With WandaVision premiering on Disney+, however, the company debuted a new series to help people catch up without having to delve into a decade of history, too.
In many ways, the MCU is unlike anything the film world has ever seen. Cinematic universes are nothing new, after all. The concept can be dated back to the Universal Monsters of the 1930s. However, while several other franchises have built their own universes, none have done so the way Marvel has. For that, it is extraordinary.
Premiering in 2008 with the wildly popular Iron Man, Marvel showed that you didn’t need a household name to spearhead such a project. Not yet attached to Disney, Marvel set out to make a series that stood out as a more grounded take on Marvel comics that introduced people to several of its biggest names. As the universe expanded, however, so did the cast.
Now, dozens of heroes, villains, and side characters with intertwining stories can be a chore to catch up on. While the series does a remarkable job at keeping things relatively easy to follow, the sheer scope of it means that even the most well-versed fan of the franchise needs to catch up on some things every time a new project drops.
Youtubers and podcasters have done this for years. However, Disney+ will now have its way of helping people play catch up.
What is Marvel Legends?
In Legends, Marvel will showcase characters through their on-screen journey. With WandaVision on the way, they premiered the first episode in the early days of 2021, which highlighted Wanda and Vision’s journeys. However, while Marvel fans across the world often inundate such projects with backstory from the comics, Legends serves as a high-production highlight reel that tells their individual stories as they appeared on the screen.
There is no narration, no talking heads divulging behind the scenes secrets, and no homages to their comic book roots. Instead, Legends provides Marvel fans an easy way to play catch up without combing through hours of related movies.
Now, one can’t help but wonder if a series along these lines as cinematic universes reaches a level that they’ve never seen before.
Are more to come?
In a thread on Reddit, user u/Abelardthebard commended Marvel for giving fans a minimalist approach to a concept that’s been around for years.
“By using just the actual music, dialogue, and visuals from the stories themselves to compose these Legends episodes, I find that the character arcs are being conveyed in a much more emotionally resonant way that yields much more investment than watching a recap being explained by a narrator, the user wrote.
The bite-sized pieces of recap aren’t meant to bypass the viewing experience, but give people a taste, so they are not going in ignorant, blind, or forgetful. As u/Abelardthebard put it, “These are quick bites that are more effective than narrated recaps, meant for viewers who haven’t rewatched the MCU obsessively. Some of those in-depth recaps are so uninspired you’re better off rewatching the movies.”
With a growing slate of cinematic universes and ever-growing franchises with too many sequels and spin-offs to keep track of, Legends might be the jump-off point to similar ideas. Whether Disney copies this with its upcoming slate of Star Wars media or DC and other companies respond, Legends gives a simple, enjoyable way to precisely know the type of context needed for every new project.
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