I had an idea several years ago when Disney started releasing the standalone Star Wars movies. I thought, wouldn’t it be fun if they took these movies as opportunities to do something way outside of the normal Star Wars genre in terms of tone. Because the Skywalker saga movies have a definite look and feel to them, you know? Very serious, often melodramatic, grandly epic… With Rogue One and Solo there were finally opportunities to tell smaller, more intimate stories with lower stakes. There were also opportunities (missed ones, sadly…) to play around with different genres.
For instance, as much as I loved Rogue One, I think it would have been great to see it made as an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist film. Solo might have been better as a When-Han-Met-Chewie buddy cop type of thing. And you will never convince me that the world doesn’t need a Fast and Furious-style movie about pod racing on Tatooine…
So when Disney announced all of the upcoming movies and especially the TV shows that will be part of the MCU, my mind immediately went to the same place. MCU movies have their own default tone, and have largely fallen into two broad categories: grand, epic, and mostly serious (Iron Man trilogy, Avengers films, Captain America movies); or irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, and mostly light-hearted (Guardians of the Galaxy, Ragnarok, Ant Man).
Interestingly, the TV shows in Disney’s MCU thus far (I’m leaving out the Netflix Marvel shows, which I believe are no longer canon…) have been all over the map in terms of tone and genre. With WandaVision, of course, it was by design. Wanda is processing her grief through reliving decades of sitcoms she watched as a child.
But then, with the Agatha Harkness reveal (and also with some of the strange moments in the early episodes), the show veered into something close to the horror genre before resolving into a standard MCU epic flying battle with glowing things fired from hands. The whole thing blended slapstick comedy, touching family moments, some genuinely creepy aspects, and the epic action that is the MCU’s hallmark, and did so very well.
We’re only two episodes into The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, but so far it seems like it’s going to have some of the same types of action elements, along with Sam’s family drama and Bucky’s crippling PTSD and guilt over his former life. Of course like WandaVision, it could end up almost anywhere.
But I wonder what could be, if Disney decides to really dive into genre bending and blending with more of the upcoming movies and shows.
There will definitely be vampires in the Blade movie. Deadpool 3 will, I’m sure, continue that franchise’s tradition of irreverent hilarity. The Loki show will reportedly take place in the past; how amazing would it be to see Loki as kind of an Asgardian version of a slightly more benign Joker type of figure?
The Hawkeye show will reportedly introduce the character Kate Bishop, presumably as Hawkeye’s protege and successor; wouldn’t it be incredible to see that show turn into a one-last-ride passing of the torch story like Logan? Is the world ready for a gritty, world-weary Clint Barton to face down the storm one last time?
What I’m really trying to say is that I’m loving the MCU TV shows on Disney+ so far, and I’m hoping that Disney will feel the freedom to continue to explore genres outside of the stereotypical superhero story that they have cultivated over the last decade plus. I think it could be awesome.