Marvel Studios’ ‘Legends’ Is Good, But It Can Be Better
Yes, I used a tagline from Wonder Woman 1984 to discuss Marvel Studios’ latest addition: Legends. I can’t help myself, as the title was just too perfect. The first Disney+ original show produced by Marvel Studios is an interesting one. Technically speaking, WandaVision will be the first actual show, but this is the first series released by Marvel Studios. It even is categorized as a documentary series interesting enough. The idea is perfect for any Disney+ subscriber who doesn’t have a categorical memory of Marvel Cinematic Universe history. I enjoyed watching the premiere episodes, but it felt like something was missing. It wasn’t until I saw a tweet by @RICHARDLNEWBY that my gears started to turn. So, I started to ponder ideas that could’ve made this good series even better.
Right now, Legends is an official supercut of each character’s history in the MCU. The first episodes highlight the moments that defined Wanda and Vision’s journey so far. The series exists to build up the release of WandaVision and every subsequent franchise. It is no longer than seven-minutes per episode and re-uses existing assets to highlight their journey to this point. It works well and is a great idea to help those that haven’t actively memorized every moment or just needed a pick-me-up after the year-long hiatus.
Yet, it feels like there was an opportunity here to do more. As Newby pointed out, there is no mention of the character’s comic origins, no interviews with the actor, or even highlighting their transition from concept art to live-action. It would’ve been the perfect opportunity to showcase all the artwork and ideas that never made it to the screen. Especially now, as specific entries in Marvel Studios’ Art Of book collection aren’t easy to purchase.
However, I want to go one step further and highlight what I believe to be the truly missed opportunity of this base concept. Legends could’ve been an actual show with its cast. I think it should’ve been the MCU’s version of Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross‘ iconic Marvels mini-series. The Daily Bugle has already gotten introduced in Spider-Man: Far From Home, so it would’ve been the perfect time to introduce Phil Sheldon.
We see all these events unfold from the perspective of a regular news reporter. In each episode, Sheldon works on a case that revolves around one of the characters. For example, he could’ve explored Wanda’s sudden disappearance. It would lead him to retrace her steps, visit the remains of Avengers Headquarter. He may interview people that worked there and their impression of the former Sokovian. In a way, his existence allows Marvel Studios to fill in the blanks that occur between each film’s release. We get witness accounts of various events and gain a new perspective.
It probably is an unrealistic expectation that this show would exist to fill in the blanks. The route they chose was the financially most viable option, as you don’t need to cast people, write scripts surrounding each episode while also mapping out productions so it’ll be ready in time. Still, I would love to see this concept explored as a Disney+ series at some point. It is the reason I started the podcast series LockeDown, as it was just such a fun idea to explore the MCU beyond the heroes we know. The Legends concept is good as it is, but I believe there is a lot of potential here to make it a great and memorable addition to Marvel Studios’ library of content.