Today, I explain why Secret Invasion being so “skippable” is such a major threat to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.
Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of pop culture history that interests me that doesn’t quite fit into the other features.
Right off the bat, let me get a very important point across. NOTHING SHOULD MATTER ABOUT A MOVIE OR TV SHOW EXCEPT WHETHER IT IS GOOD.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that across, let’s look at the real world, where obviously a ton of things matter beyond strictly whether a movie or TV show is “good” or not (quotes just for the inherently subjective nature of the word good). And clearly, a big selling point of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, both in film and on Disney+ has been the concept that “you can’t miss anything.” In other words, there is a perception, heavily driven by Marvel, that you “need” to check out each film or TV show, because it is going to “matter” in terms of overarching story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And to a certain extent, the first couple of Phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe really sort of DID achieve that sort of sense that it all did “matter.” A film like Captain Marvel, while a cool film in and of itself, was clearly aided by the fact that it “mattered” to the blockbuster Avengers: Endgame, which was coming out a month later.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was mostly forgettable, but it both A. introduced Sam Wilson as Captain America, and B. introduced Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina “Val” Allegra de Fontaine, as well as Wyatt Russell as USAgent, who will both play parts in future Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Both of those things felt like they “mattered.”
Interestingly, I think What If…? was probably where the cracks started to form a bit. It was a cartoon, and it was alternate realities, so it really didn’t feel like it mattered at all. However, it was still well-received, and even though it was a cartoon, it felt like Marvel was at least putting its all into it.
But then the shows kept coming, and the concepts became weaker, until we landed on Secret Invasion, a major superhero crossover that was done as a streaming series specifically WITHOUT superheroes, something that almost screamed, “What? Why are you doing it like this?” It almost felt like a cocky sort of, “Yeah, this makes no sense, but you’ll watch it anyways.” The thing cost over $200 million to make, while seemingly having worst effects than Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future did back in 1987.
But worst of all, it’s become SKIPPABLE. People are just not watching it. And that leads us to the next MCU Disney+ series, Echo, which appears like it will debut like smoke in the wind, as it feels like it is being practically PRE-skipped.
Why this is such a major threat is that, just like “Marvel Zombie” comic book collectors, once you convince the audience that you can easily skip content, they’re GOING to do that. It is very hard to get them BACK once you’ve hit that point of having them skip things.
However, Marvel at least appears willing to cut back on the production of its MCU properties, which is probably for the best in terms of convincing the audience that these films and TV shows are still “special.” In terms of shared pop culture universe content, less is typically best.
And, of course, it doesn’t hurt if they’re good, as well (heck, maybe Echo will be amazing. I really don’t mean to knock its quality, just noting that it has zero buzz, and seems like it is being set up to fail, whether it is good or not. It seems like it is a show that never would have been greenlit had it not already been in production a while ago).
If anyone has any pop culture bit that you’d like me to discuss, drop me a line at email@example.com