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Will a Disney+ Subscription Be Necessary to Understand the Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Short answer: yes.

Tom Hiddleston as Loki in The Avengers

We’re still buzzing weeks later about the news Marvel revealed during San Diego Comic-Con: new movies, five upcoming shows on Disney+ … It’s a great time to be a Marvel fan. The creative team has also implied that the shows and movies will be deeply interconnected, a bold new frontier for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considering how it hasn’t really worked out for them previously. While they’ve had plenty of shows before that exist in the same universe, there’s been minimal overlap between the two mediums.

Marvel has already said that these shows would be interconnected with the films, promising that projects like WandaVision would directly tie into Wanda’s appearance in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. There are rumors flying that Loki will directly tie into Thor: Love and Thunder. Hawkeye will introduce Kate Bishop, and we can all expect The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to set up Sam Wilson’s future appearances as Captain America. Even the least connected, Marvel What If…?, could possibly play into future film projects.

This means that the television shows will probably be required viewing for understanding the MCU going forward. This is both a wildly cool way to further the franchise’s future and, also, probably a bit of a cynical ploy to get those Disney+ subscriber numbers up.

The creative element means that the shows can really dive into the characters without the condensed runtime of a film. Take Loki, or The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The former can finally give Loki the room to get a redemption arc that feels real and not quite as rushed, and develop his character more than just having him play a supporting role in the narrative. The latter can explore Sam and Bucky outside their relationships to Steve Rogers, which is something both characters sorely need if they’ll continue on in expanded roles in Marvel movies.

But these shows will only be accessible via a subscription to Disney’s streaming service, rather than any service people may already be subscribed to, including cable TV. Disney+ will put these shows behind an additional paywall, and while that paywall is cheaper than a movie ticket every month, it still seems sort of troublesome to make part of the MCU relatively inaccessible to audiences.

And this is all about the shows we know right now. There will definitely be more shows produced in the future, which could be even more key to understanding what’s going on at the movie theater. This isn’t going to be a short term project, but a long-term part of Marvel’s strategy going forward.

It just seems somewhat unfair to have something that will be key to the MCU going forward be only available if you shell out for the Disney+ service. Of course, Disney is desperate to get all of our money, and therefore doesn’t care about putting key info behind paywalls. We’ll pay, and they’ll continue on towards world domination, but the shows should be good, at least.

(image: Marvel)

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Kate (she/her) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions she has. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, she is now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for her favorite rare pairs.