Now That Disney+ Exists, Fans Demand Marvel Revives Its One-Shot ‘Short Films’

The ability to watch short films still has its place, something the streaming service Quibi is about to start. At one time, Marvel used to do one-shot mini films, something they’ve given up, possibly due to challenging distribution.

Now with Disney+ a mainstream streaming outlet with almost comprehensive Marvel content, audiences are hoping Disney revives this format.

The platform already has some short films, mostly select Pixar shorts. However, the “Marvel one-shots” as they were called are nowhere to be seen, despite five of them that were made between 2011-2014.

After six years, some MCU fans might have forgotten about these brilliant little stories. Originally, they accompanied MCU features on Blu-ray and seemed relegated to physical media only.

A look back at the Marvel one-shots and the stories they told

Fans have to go back nine years to find the first Marvel one-shot produced. The Blu-ray short from 2011, The Consultant, included some interesting sideline characters. The film originally accompanied 2011’s Thor on DVD.

Set in-between the events of Iron Man 2 and Thor (plus a coda to The Incredible Hulk), the plot involved Phil Coulson and Jasper Sitwill coming up with a plan to keep Emil Blonsky from joining the Avengers Initiative.

Having a canonical story taking place between MCU movies allowed for more details for those curious things occurring during the wait between movies. The first was such a hit; Marvel made another for the 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Blu-ray release. This one was titled A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Thor’s Hammer.

Three more shorts followed using everyone from Iron Man to Peggy Carter in various intriguing one-scene scenarios. Each progressive short ran slightly longer than the last, but they never went over 15 minutes. The first two ran only four minutes each.

Should Disney+ bring the one-shot Marvel films back?

Fans on Reddit have been all over the idea of Disney+ bringing the one-shot films back to accompany the features they were originally paired with. Why Disney+ hasn’t is a bit of a mystery, especially when they have no aversion to having other shorts in their media library.

On top of it, Disney+ has been great at adding bonus features at the end of many of their newer and older classic movies. Adding these shorts as bonus content wouldn’t be hard. Maybe only rights issues would be to blame if they happen to have certain creative restrictions.

Currently, they do have different writer and music credits from the creative team seen later in the movies. No doubt this is a big factor since music rights alone are a big expense for media companies.

Not that Disney couldn’t afford to pay for any licensing rights. Considering public demand and also the advent of shorter media coming from Quibi, it’s inevitable Disney will listen to fans. One of the great things about Disney+ is how the studio listened to complaints and took action.

Hayley Atwell next to an 'Agent Carter' promotional poster
Hayley Atwell attends the Marvel One-Shot Comic Con | Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Disney

Would Marvel make new one-shot films?

About five years ago, Kevin Feige said he was considering bringing the one-shot films back to reference other characters. He and other writers wanted to reference other offbeat characters ranging from Loki to Howard the Duck.

Later on, Feige said because of the particular movie schedules involved, it made creating one-shot movies a little more challenging. Nevertheless, he’s never ruled out making more. Some rumors persist Disney+ is asking for more, if maybe not practical.

After the high bar of Endgame was set, Marvel fans may no longer mind long-form storytelling. Once Quibi proves ten-minute short films are very viable with today’s audiences, the one-shot films could come back virtually overnight.