Since 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued to expand on both the big and small screen. Ever since Jon Favreau’s Iron Man introduced audiences to this newly established world of these iconic comic book characters, it seems that Hollywood has tried to replicate their own shared universe franchises thanks to the critical and commercial success of the MCU.
Of course, there is a lot of hard work put into bringing each film to the screen. Obviously, the movie has to stand on its own, but given the episodic nature of this franchise it makes sense that there are particular methods into unifying each film together in a cohesive manner. Even if they follow similar heroic archetypes, seeing these different types of heroes such as Ant-Man and Doctor Strange co-exist within the same universe is both odd, but exciting.
Crossing over these different characters works effortlessly in the comics, but assembling them together can be a really difficult balancing act. Production designer Charles Wood, whose Marvel credits include Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange and the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War recently spoke with comicbook, to which he explained the unifying thread that brings the ever-expansive MCU together in the long run:
The only unifying thing I would say is that these characters, these larger than life characters, our unifying thing is trying to settle them into whatever worlds we find them in, in a way which is viable. In a way that an audience can look at Captain America, in a Captain America outifit, put him into a farmhouse in upstate New York [in Avengers: Age of Ultron], and believe that guy could exist in that world. Or putting Doctor Strange [in full costume] in a townhouse in New York… The biggest challenge that you take from one Marvel film to another is to try to make these worlds realistic, tangible, viable.
The thing about a Marvel film, and I suppose many films, is you can confuse an audience very quickly, and you have to try to delineate one world from another very clearly, without making it feel too delineated.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will open in theaters on May 5th, Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into theaters on July 7th, and Thor: Ragnarok will hit theaters on November 3rd.