For years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced new characters through films. Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor were the first three Avengers to be introduced, each with their own solo origin story. But, Disney+ changed the game and allowed new characters to be presented outside of the movies. Television shows creating origin stories have given alternative and organic ways to introduce new characters, stories, and lore to the MCU without struggling to fit so much new information into a two-hour movie. Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight succeeded in uncharted MCU territory, bringing brand-new characters and lore to the overall universe, even if they are two drastically different stories.
Hawkeye may not have been an origin story for Clint Barton, but it was for Kate Bishop, who uses most of the series to show how well she fits into the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe. Falcon and the Winter Soldier works as an origin story for Sam Wilson as he grows to accept the responsibility that comes with stepping into Captain America’s role. By giving several episodes to do so, the audience gets a better understanding of the conflict Sam goes through before taking on the commitment. Although many Marvel movies have wonderfully created an origin story, Disney+ has shown the potential in what it can look like if spread out amongst more episodes.
When wanting to comprehend a character’s origin story, more time spent with them can lead to a greater understanding of their personality, motivation, and relationships. Moon Knight uses all of its episodes to portray Marc Spector’s and Steven Grant’s complexities. Marc and Steven are distinct individuals in their personalities. By the time Moon Knight reveals that Steven Grant came to be through Marc Spector’s Dissociative Identity Disorder, the audience has already understood the similarities and differences between Marc and Steven.
Kamala Khan’s character arc develops more because Ms. Marvel has several episodes to explore her personality, friendship with Bruno, and relationships with her family while exploring her new powers. Ms. Marvel shows Kamala as a person in addition to understanding how she becomes a hero. Understanding Kamala as a person before she is brought into more MCU projects gives her an opening to develop while allowing the audience to know what she is capable of and what she went through to achieve it.
Every superhero has a backstory of how they entered the job of world-saving. Had Kate Bishop appeared in a movie with less time, the film may not have been able to devote as much time to understanding where she came from, how she became a great archer, and what led up to her meeting Clint Barton. However, Hawkeye, being a several-episode series, creates the chance for Kate to develop as a fighter, character, and friend to Clint.
As Sam Wilson carries on Captain America’s legacy, something similar could be said for him. Falcon and the Winter Soldier gives an in-depth look at Sam’s struggle to accept Steve’s gift of the shield and wondering if he should be the next Captain America. Devoting more time to it gives the character a more fleshed-out arc and the audience more time to understand his emotional journey.
Although Doctor Stranger in the Multiverse of Madness addresses the aftermath of Wanda’s time taking over Westview in WandaVision, the series gives a far better insight into Wanda’s emotional journey. Wanda is emotionally drained in the aftermath of losing Vision to Thanos. After losing so much and not even getting to give Vision a real goodbye, Wanda snaps, taking over the town of Westview to create an alternate reality where she and Vision live happily and eventually have children. However, in the conclusion, Wanda must let go of her fantasy and allow the residents to return to their lives. Still, she learns more about the power she possesses and what she is truly capable of.
Loki develops the title character without going through the events that led to his redemption arc. Loki had grown a lot throughout the movies, but by taking a version of the character that appeared fewer times in the MCU, the series gains the chance to develop Loki instead. Through working with the TVA, Loki learns secrets about the universe and the importance of the sacred timeline and evolves into a new version of himself.
Would a film have been able to produce the same mystery and intrigue Loki creates when it comes to the TVA and sacred timeline? Could a movie have had enough time to develop all the new lore and details from Marc and Steven’s experiences in Moon Knight? Could a film about Ms. Marvel have explained everything going on with her in a shorter time? Perhaps. However, television shows give more opportunities to explain things and expand on them, giving the audience more chances to grasp what is occurring without worrying if they are too behind in the plot.