Marvel Studios will give a solo spotlight to both Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, with each getting a TV miniseries to be offered exclusively through the Disney streaming service that is expected to launch in late 2019.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will oversee the new initiative, which would use limited-run television shows (typically six- to eight-episode story arcs) to dig into the stories of fan-favorite Marvel characters that don’t have their own film franchises.
Disney has made the streaming pipeline a major corporate focus and will be stacking the service with high-profile projects to entice subscribers. There’s the new Star Wars television series (which will be set three years after the death of Darth Vader) from executive producer Jon Favreau, the director of Iron Man and The Jungle Book. There’s also a High School Musical series as well as a remake of The Lady and the Tramp that mixes live-action and CG effects and includes cast members Justin Theroux and Ashley Jensen.
Marvel, no surprise, is a big part of any Disney strategy, and in this case the miniseries approach will create a new outlet and fresh opportunity to secondary members of the ensemble. Hiddleston has portrayed the mischievous demi-god Loki in five Marvel films (three Thor films and two editions in The Avengers franchise), but many observers assumed the actor would be leaving the role — after all, Loki’s valiant death early in Avengers: Infinity War seemed like the end of the line for the scheming half-brother of Thor.
Marvel has a reputation for its high-impact use of short-form filmmaking, such as the studio’s trademark after-credits vignettes. The studio also made several short films (later included on Blu-ray releases) about Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) that became the proof-of-concept pitch for the ABC series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which returns in July 2019 for its sixth season.