This year marks a first for Marvel Studio.
While we’re used to getting quite a few superhero movies each and every year, 2017 is the first time that the main Marvel studio will attempt to film four movies in a nine month period.
This is, of course, not including other studios, such as Fox, who use the Marvel logo without any connection to the MCU’s production team.
January marks the start of filming for Avengers: Infinity War and a second, thus far untitled Avengers movie. By February, filming will have also commenced for Black Panther. Marvel intends to film parts of all three movies simultaneously, dramatically reducing the time, effort, and cost that is incurred with such large blockbuster movies.
Now, we’ve been given details of Ant-Man and the Wasp, and when Marvel’s producer Kevin Feige will be overseeing a studio filming schedule again. You might think that, after producing three movies at once, Feige might like to take a bit of a break for a while.
Instead, though, Ant-Man and the Wasp will begin production in June, just a few months after work on Avenger 4 will have wrapped.
This unprecedented stacking of movies is a lot for a single producer to handle, and is even more hectic than last year, during which Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and Spider-Man: Homecoming were all shot within a few months of each other, in some cases on different sides of the planet.
So with Marvel Studio pumping out films so quickly, is there a danger that these movies will lose some of their quality?
After all, Batman v Superman producer Charles Roven has stepped down from several of the upcoming DC movies, amid concerns over an increasingly busy production schedule. He won’t be producing Aquaman, blaming the long commute from Toronto to London for his inability to lead the project (although if he’s trying to “commute” from Canada to Europe, he might be misunderstanding the meaning of the word).
So if Charles Roven can’t manage to be at two movie sets a year, how can Kevin Feige and the Marvel team manage four? This is probably a big part of why two Avengers movies and Black Panther are all being shot together in one big go – it dramatically reduces travel challenges.
That said, as a trade off, a stacked production schedule means an intense period of work for Marvel Studios, and it still doesn’t address the challenges of leaping from shooting two movies a year before 2016, to four a year in 2017.
It’s difficult to determine how much this sudden, rapid increase in work will affect the quality of these movies. Audiences haven’t even yet seen the films that were produced last year, so we have no way of knowing whether the additional strain on Marvel will have weakened its three movies for the year.
Still, there are some educated guesses that can be taken. With so many movies coming out at once, it’s safe to say that the result might look a little less distinct.
Marvel has always been accused of cookie cutter movies, but with three films in production at once in the coming months, a lot of decisions of tone and direction will end up being made in a blanket fashion.
This is likely good news for fans of the Russo Brothers, who’ll be calling most of the shots, but for anyone who wanted to see a more distinctive, stand out movie from Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, it’s probably best not to get too excited.
It’s no accident that Ant-Man and the Wasp is the sole Marvel movie that will be shot alone this year – the studio has learned lessons from trying to cram Scott Lang and Hank Pym into a traditional Marvel mold that doesn’t really fit such a wacky premise.
This movie will have more room to breathe than any, indicating that Marvel is probably hoping that Black Panther will feel more like an Avengers movie than anything else, and suggesting that we might just get to see a little more unique quirkiness from the second Ant-Man film than we’d get otherwise.
But, of course, it’s really too early to tell what we can expect from these movies. With a wait until 2019 to see the second Avengers movie that’s about to start filming, there’s plenty of time before we can get a full picture of what’ll be going on over the coming months at Marvel Studio.
All in all, though, there’s no way of knowing if Marvel doubling their number of active projects in post-production will actually make a difference.
No way of knowing, that is, except watching the movies, and hoping for the best.