Once Marvel started the MCU and kicked it off with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk with the promise of a team up in the form of The Avengers, they turned a lot of heads. One of them was the animation powerhouse that we call Disney. As a result, Mickey decided that it was high time he bought a new subsidiary. In 2009, Disney bought out Marvel and the two have been united ever since. While the extra funds and support have helped the MCU become one of the biggest franchises in movie history, the deal came with some downsides as well. After all, being owned by one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world isn’t going to come without a catch.
Over the years, the MCU (and Marvel as a whole) has had to do some weird things at the request of Disney. Having no other option, Marvel has to agree to whatever the House of Mouse tells them. That’s just the way things work now. Disney wants to make a profit, and that will reflect on how they treat Marvel. It has led to 15 of the weirdest rules that they make the MCU follow that likely won’t go away anytime soon.
15. APPEAR IN DISNEY WORLD
Touted as the “happiest place on Earth,” Disney World is one of the most-visited vacation spots in the entire world. Having access to a colorful cast of characters, families can go and experience a sense of theatricality and wonder as they interact with Mulan and Buzz Lightyear at the same time. It’s a nearly flawless model that leads to an insane level of profit.
However, Disney is prepared to bring in more people along the way — that’s why part of their acquisition of Marvel means that the Avengers can appear in Disney World.
14. CRANK OUT MOVIES
The MCU is going on 10 years now, and they already have three other movies in the pipeline. Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Avengers 4 are all set to come out after Avengers: Infinity War. Introducing new characters with each film, it seems that there is no end to the sheer amount of movies and TV shows that Marvel will create.
Now that Disney is heading up the charge, they’re not going to let one of their most profitable subsidiaries just stop making movies. Disney will ensure that Marvel continuously cranks out big budget blockbusters until the medium is no longer bringing any money — especially now that they bought their properties back from Fox. Some people might be upset by that news, but that’s the nature of business.
13. SUBTLE REFERENCES
Disney does get a share of the money made on big Marvel movies, but they also thought that those films would be a great place to promote their own animated classics. Now that the two companies are linked, you can guarantee that the MCU will contain more references to Disney films as it continues.
The biggest example of this is in Avengers: Age of Ultron. One of his biggest lines is when he says, “There are no strings on me.”
This is a clear reference to Disney’s Pinocchio, which had a song of the same name. Another memorable reference is when Star-Lord compares Yondu to Mary Poppins in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, to which the blue alien responds with the meme-worthy line, “I’m Mary Poppins y’all!” which went viral.
12. CAMEOS IN DISNEY CHANNEL SHOWS
While the MCU is extremely profitable among adults who grew up with comic books, Disney also saw a golden opportunity to appeal to a younger generation that had never picked up a comic in their lives. Because of this, they have largely promoted the newest Marvel movies on Disney Channel to encourage a younger audience to beg their parents to see the new movies.
On top of that, Marvel characters have also appeared in Disney Channel shows. One particular crossover brought the Avengers and Spider-Man together with Phineas and Ferb. The two brothers then had to team up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who was working with other villains like Red Skull, MODOK, and Venom. It was about as off-the-wall as you might expect, but that’s the result of being owned by a bigger company.
11. PROMOTION IN COMICS
There is a lot of cross-promotion happening with Disney and Marvel. Disney, having a large stake in the advertising industry, is extremely good at making sure the entire world knows weeks in advance that a new Marvel movie is coming out.
However, they’ve taken the opportunity to get Marvel to do the same for them, but in an entirely different medium.
Having their history in the comic books, Marvel has, at times, promoted Disney within their pages. The two companies worked together to create the Disney Kingdoms comic series that brought all the whimsical magic you’ve come to expect from Walt Disney with the expert art design and illustration by Marvel’s artists. The two certainly don’t have a one-sided relationship. That said, comic reading hasn’t gone up in a long time.
10. BE PULLED FOR THE STREAMING SERVICE
There are a lot of people who can’t afford to go the theaters every time a new superhero movie comes out. They also don’t want to spend the $20 it takes to buy a movie when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray. Because of this, many people wait until it gets released on Netflix. As it stands now, Disney and Netflix have a good relationship. Films like Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 have all appeared.
However, that partnership is set to end. Disney is seeking to create their own streaming service with all of their properties, including Marvel and Star Wars. This means that the MCU has to pull their properties from all other streaming services if Disney tells them to. However, not all Marvel properties will disappear. The Netflix shows will still remain on Netflix. For now.
9. UPDATE CHARACTER COSTUMES
To be fair, this is something true about the comic book industry as a whole that has factored into comic book movies as well. From the early days, artists have been updating their heroes’ and villains’ costumes to have the opportunity to create more merchandise.
People are more inclined to by seven different Batman figures if they are all wearing varied costumes as opposed to the same design.
This is an area where Disney likely saw the dollar signs flying in the air with the MCU. Each new movie has shown a different look for many of our favorite heroes (how many suits does Iron Man have again?). Coming into Avengers: Infinity War, many of the heroes will, once again, have several new costume changes along the way. Captain America is wearing dark colors after all, so anything is possible.
8. AIR TRAILERS ON DISNEY CHANNEL
Disney Channel and Disney XD have proven to be profitable mediums to advertise Marvel movies. Because of this, Disney has decided to fully capitalize on it. There are entire segments during the commercial breaks dedicated to going into the details of a new Marvel movie. They’ve also been known to drop new footage for an upcoming film on the network.
The most recent example of this is that Avengers: Infinity War will have new footage debuted on Disney Channel. Avid supporters of the MCU will likely be tuning in just to see what Marvel’s new team-up film has to offer. Likewise, kids who see it after they get out of school will be begging their parents to see the movie when it comes out, and will likely be talking about it for a long time.
7. REBOOT THEIR ANIMATED SHOWS
The ongoing battle with Marvel and DC isn’t as simple as stating which one is better than the other. Marvel is certainly dominating in the film industry, but DC has the upper hand when it comes to animated shows. Marvel has had some standout cartoons, like Spectacular Spider-Man and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but those stories weren’t long for the network.
After Marvel’s shows were moved to the Disney Channel, there have been several reboots of their cartoons.
It was likely a mutual decision by Disney and Marvel to release cartoons that were more akin to the MCU than being stylistic stories of their own. Needless to say, the fan response hasn’t been quite as good as Disney would’ve liked, and there’s potential that Marvel cartoons could be in some hot water.
6. CONSTRICTED RELEASES
Remember when Marvel could drop a movie on whatever month they wanted and it wasn’t so big a deal? Well, it wasn’t long before that went right out the door. After being bought by Disney, Marvel had to learn to work with the House of Mouse rather than against it. This means that a Marvel movie cannot come out in the same range as any Disney, Pixar, or Star Wars movie. Considering how large each of those companies are, that makes it extremely difficult for Marvel to drop a movie when they want.
That said, it’s a move that makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. Disney would stand to make more by spreading out their releases. If they had movies drop out within days from each other, they’d essentially be competing with themselves, and that’s a silly thing to do when they can easily prevent it.
5. TEAM-UP IF REQUESTED
With all of the characters that the MCU has in their roster, it makes sense that some of them would appear together in movies outside of The Avengers. However, if Disney were to tell them that certain characters needed to team-up, Marvel wouldn’t be able to do much to stop it.
It’s arguable that the reason that this hasn’t been an issue is because Marvel has had a solid long term plan on what to do with each hero.
That said, things could easily change now that they’ve acquired Fox. Disney has stated that the X-Men will appear in the MCU at some point, but no one is sure how that will work yet. It’s clear that if they were to come to Kevin Feige, state that they want Evan Peters’ Quicksilver in Avengers 4, he’d have to agree to it or there could be some serious repercussions.
4. BIG HERO 6 IS OFF LIMITS
Marvel is very good at taking obscure characters that nobody knows and making a movie with them that turns out to be excellent. However, Disney wanted to try the same thing for themselves, and decided to pull from a comic much more obscure than Guardians of the Galaxy ever did. Of course, we’re referring to Big Hero 6.
This movie is loosely based on a Marvel comic where a team of the same name worked with the Silver Samurai to fight crime and save the day. While there were several changes made for the animated movie adaptation, Big Hero 6 is no longer on Marvel’s list of heroes they can use for their films. That said, with the addition of the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man, they won’t need to use Hiro and Baymax anytime soon.
3. DON’T BE TOO SERIOUS
With the MCU, there is a specific tone that Marvel and Disney have been aiming for. After being a powerful subsidiary of the House of Mouse, Marvel has to abide by the tone that Disney prescribes to them. As a company that is largely family-friendly, Marvel also has to release their biggest projects to fit this image.
You won’t ever see an MCU movie with the tone of Netflix’s Daredevil because Disney doesn’t want that.
This thought process has permeated through their upcoming streaming service. Disney has openly stated that they will not have any R-rated content on it. Instead, those properties will be distributed through Hulu and Netflix. They want to keep their streaming service filled with movies and shows that people of all ages can watch and enjoy.
2. ACTORS UP FOR GRABS
Marvel is really good at pulling popular actors for use in their movies. From big names like Kurt Russell and Vin Diesel to renowned names like Michael B. Jordan and Benedict Cumberbatch, there seems to be no end to who Marvel will snag for their films. That said, those who appear in the MCU have an instant connection to Disney.
As the company creates new movies, they will often look to actors who have appeared in the MCU to voice or play their characters. Scarlett Johansson played Kaa in The Jungle Book by Jon Favreau. Cate Blanchett was the evil stepmother in Cinderella. Robert Redford was in Pete’s Dragon. The list goes on. The point is, Disney won’t hesitate to snag actors for their properties as well as the MCU.
1. ALWAYS KEEP IT CONNECTED
Marvel started something with the MCU, but it seems that they’re also doomed to continue it. While they have plans to continue through the year 2020 (according to several reports), we’re not sure what their plans are past that. Furthermore, all things must come to an end, and Marvel will eventually run out of ideas, or people will get tired of seeing superheroes on screen in general.
Now that Disney holds ownership over them, they certainly won’t let Marvel just start releasing projects that aren’t connected in any way.
The entire draw of the MCU is that all of these movies take place in the same universe. Without that draw, there’s no doubt that the movies would lose a lot of traction. Disney isn’t about to let that happen either. They’ll milk it as long as they can.
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