Marvel Studios does not have a series premiere like The Mandalorian, but the makers of the world’s biggest franchise are still playing a big part in the launch of Disney+ today. In addition to 16 of the studio’s feature films appearing on the service, Marvel is offering new deleted scenes for Avengers: Endgame and previews its upcoming original series on a new special, Expanding the Universe.
The 12-minute special uses footage from Marvel Studios’ appearances at San Diego Comic-Con and D23 Expo to help hype up the series. There are also concept art and new revelations from the filmmakers behind the upcoming series. We’ll summarize our key learnings below, but this comes with a SPOILER warning.
There are no spoilers from the series, obviously, but if you want to learn these things for the first time by watching Expanding the Universe on Disney+, then please, read no further!
Marvel Studios’ first Disney+ series has only just started production, so there was no footage. There was, however, fresh concept art of Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) sporting new costumes, along with Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) and newcomer John Walker (Wyatt Russell), who was wearing his U.S. Agent costume.
“We don’t want it to be all action, all the time,” explains executive producer Malcolm Spellman. “We need to go home with these characters. We need to spend time really unearthing who they are. We need to spend time really unearthing who they are and since we’ve got great actors, put them in situations where they really get to show what they can do.”
The spectacle will still be there, however, with supervising producer Zoie Nagelhout adding that “exciting, high-end action sequences” along with the deeper character dives will make the series “the best of both worlds.”
We have already heard that the series will be a network sitcom mixed with MCU spectacle, but it there is still so much we do not know about this series. That mystery is all part of the appeal. “So much of the fun in watching the show for fans will be the unexpected discovery of where and when in the MCU this series takes place and how it all fits into that larger picture,” says supervising producer Mary Livanos.
It seems like this series would take place after Avengers: Endgame with some sort of resurrected Vision (either in reality or in Wanda Maximoff’s mind). With Livanos teasing the “when” as a fun part of the mystery, however, perhaps some or all of this series might be in the two-year gap between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, it could also take place in the distant future, or in the distant past, if Wanda and Vision are using time-space GPS devices.
A comic book cover shown during the WandaVision segment offers another clue. Vision and Scarlet Witch #4 pops up on the screen and right below the characters names are the words “Are having a baby! But…”
Fans have speculated and Wanda and Vision having kids in the series, as they did in the comics, and it looks like some form of that is in play for this series.
The biggest takeaway for this series comes from executive producer Stephen Broussard. “There’s a huge time travel component,” he reveals. “There will be a man on the run quality to it and we get the chance to explore more human sides of Loki.”
We already know this series stars the Loki who escaped with the Tesseract in Endgame, but the Space Stone within that relic isn’t known for time travel. It sounds like Loki will discover an additional application for the Space Stone that may overlap with what we know the Time Stone can do.
This is the only series preview that includes actual footage, as Marvel Studios has already been working on the animation for many months. Various clips show Captain Carter (Peggy with the Super Soldier Serum), Steve Rogers in an “Iron” suit from Howard Stark, T’Challa as Star-Lord, and Bucky battling zombie Steve Rogers.
There wasn’t much that was new here if you went to D23 Expo back in August, but most people didn’t. As someone who was at D23, it’s still cool to be able to watch it all again (and again).
This preview has a generous helping of concept art, with multiple looks at Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, who will make her MCU debut in the series. There are even bigger plans for Bishop after we meet her on Disney+.
”She’s a new, young mentee that [Barton] can train to eventually take over the mantle as Hawkeye one day,” says executive producer Trinh Tran.
There were no new revelations for Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk, but Expanding the Universe provides highlights of Marvel Chief Creative Officer announcing each series at D23 Expo.
Expanding the Universe is a really exciting special that gives us a few fun pieces of information to enjoy speculating about. It’s definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it (and ignored the spoiler warning to get this far). Now, I really can’t wait to see this expansion, starting with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier next fall!