The minute Disney announced that a slate of new Marvel shows was coming to Disney+, Marvel diehards became future subscribers. With multiple series focusing on more minor members of the Avengers and another, What If?, that looks primed to reward deep knowledge of the MCU, there’s going to be a ton of content for those completists out there.
But most of the people who, say, saw Avengers: Endgame in theaters are probably more casual fans, people who like a night at the movies watching a superhero movie but aren’t necessarily trading fan theories on Reddit. Would Disney+ be a must-subscribe for those folks?
According to Marvel Entertainment head Kevin Feige, admittedly a biased source, the answer is yes. In the middle of a long piece about the genesis of Disney+ in Bloomberg, Feige said that you’ll “probably need” a Disney+ subscription in order to understand everything in future Marvel movies.
As an example, the piece cites Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Scarlet Witch, from the series WandaVision, and Loki, from the series Loki, will both play prominent roles in that film.
“I’m not sure we’ve actually acknowledged that before,” Feig said of the connection. “But it does.”
None of this is exactly shocking. Disney has been aggressive in building a massive content library with acquired Marvel, Star Wars, and Fox titles and promoting Disney+ with a bunch of different promotions designed to appeal to the widest possible audience. By predicating understanding future films in its biggest ongoing franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, on subscribing to its streaming service, Disney thinks it will increase the audience for both.
There’s a certain level of danger in this strategy—what if people decide to skip the next MCU movie because they’re not caught up on the TV shows?—but Feige and Disney are betting that the benefits to the company will far outweigh the risk. And judging by their recent track record, they’re probably right.