The MCU currently has 9 projects scheduled to be released in 2023 – but they’d be better off making a few of them one-hour specials
It’s no secret that the MCU has been one of the largest franchises of the past 15 years, but Marvel has been producing content lately on a scale that even they couldn’t have matched just a few years ago. The first three phases of the MCU contained 23 projects over 11 years – phase 4 alone had 17 projects that spanned barely two years, with phase 5 and phase 6 scheduled to have just as many.
The MCU has made it perfectly clear that they won’t stop mass-producing content anytime soon, nor should they since fans still flock to theaters to watch their movies and eagerly await every new show that arrives on Disney+. But with the different projects the MCU has begun to incorporate into their vast universe, the screen has gotten a little crowded, and audiences are finding it harder and harder to find the time to sit through 8-9 movies/shows a year.
As it’s scheduled, 2023 will be no different, with the MCU slated to air three new movies and six new tv shows by the time 2024 rolls around, and they’re all meant to kick off the start of Phase 5. But after the success that Marvel had with their one-hour specials last year (Werewolf By Night, Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special), it might be to their benefit to lean further into that entertainment area. After all, one-hour specials are easier for audiences to find time to watch and Werewolf by Night and the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special were arguably two of the best projects to come out of Phase 4.
With that in mind, which projects is the MCU scheduled to release in 2023 that would be better served as one-hour specials rather than full-fledged movies or tv shows?
Agatha: Coven of Chaos
With the conclusion of WandaVision back at the beginning of 2021 – the series that kicked off phase 4 – several questions were left unanswered about what would happen to some of the characters introduced during the series. Wanda’s story was wrapped up at the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, audiences are still curious about what happened to the rest of the characters… and for some reason, out of all the possibilities, Agatha Harkness was chosen to get her own show.
Don’t get us wrong – Agatha was a great character, and the fate of Wanda leaving her trapped in a magical illusion was an interesting enough plot line for fans to want to revisit – but it wasn’t the most interesting one that fans were hoping for. There still hasn’t been a trace of White Vision since his disappearance. However, Paul Bettany’s Vision is rumored to return in the upcoming Disney+ series Vision Quest. Marvel has yet to confirm the Vision Quest series, though we’ll keep our eyes peeled for updates. Meanwhile, Wanda’s twin boys are still rumored to reappear at some point in the MCU’s future, and Monica Rambeau, it seems, won’t get any more screen time until The Marvels debuts later this year.
As it stands, Agatha was a very intriguing villain and played masterfully by actress Kathryn Hahn, but it seems like the MCU has bigger questions that it could have addressed. Not only that but any questions audiences might have about Agatha’s character could probably be told in a one-hour special rather than sit through an entire series. One final point is that Agatha’s ties to being a witch would have made her a perfect fit for another Halloween special.
It hasn’t yet been revealed what the story of the Echo series is going to revolve around. Still, with the announcement of Daredevil being revived for an 18-episode season, it seems like the Echo series will lean toward an unnecessary origin story. Again, this isn’t a critique on the Echo character, as Maya Lopez was an absolute scene-stealer in the Hawkeye series, but that’s exactly why this show (if it’s going to be origin related) should really be a one-hour special instead. We already got a ton of her backstory in the show, and it was explained succinctly enough through exposition so audiences would not have to be walked through it again.
If it isn’t origin-related, fans must remember that the Hawkeye cliffhanger of Maya shooting Kingpin in the face is taken directly from the comics. It’s highly speculated that Kingpin will return as the main antagonist of the Daredevil show – which also most likely means that Echo will be making an appearance in the show. So, suppose the Daredevil series will arguably continue the events that occurred at the end of Hawkeye. In that case, it seems as though the Echo series could be another excuse to showcase Daredevil before they throw him right back into his own series.
In other words, this series feels like it will be more of a filler to potentially showcase other MCU characters rather than give Echo the storyline she truly deserves. A one-hour special would be the perfect length to help remedy that potential situation.
Let’s be clear – we aren’t hoping or expecting the Agatha or Echo series to be stains on the MCU’s history, and all signs point to the shows being successful additions to the Marvel lineup. After all, Agatha and Echo are now firmly established characters who gained massive popularity as side characters in prior shows, and they’ve earned themselves more screen time. However, as stated earlier, the MCU has been producing a massive amount of content lately, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to find the time to watch every show and movie they crank out.
Also, remembering that the one-hour specials from last year were considered the best projects that the MCU has produced since Endgame, then it shouldn’t be that outrageous a claim to consider taking minor established characters such as Agatha and Echo and giving audiences quick 60-minute glances into their lives, rather than take us on multiple-hour journeys every time a new popular character is introduced.
One final thing to consider with these projects is that neither has a concrete release date. They’re both scheduled for “late 2023” – which means that these shows will have to follow up projects like Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3, The Marvels, Secret Invasion, as well as the second season of What If…? and Loki. In other words, they will have big footsteps to follow, and one-hour specials might make it an easier task.
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