In August 2011, fans all over the world were delighted to hear that Marvel would be beginning a series of 'one-shots,' short stories released direct-to-Blu-Ray as bonus features accompanying a movie. The last one, All Hail the King, was released back in 2014, which means we unfortunately haven't seen a one-shot for three years now.
In an exciting interview with Uproxx, though, the loose-lipped #TomHolland happily revealed that he'd love to star in one — and then revealed that Marvel is thinking about bringing them back!
"I want to do a short. That’s what I want to do. I want to do a 20-minute short with me and Paul Rudd… I think they are planning on doing [them] again. I probably just spoiled a big spoiler. Kevin Feige’s probably going to be furious."
A 20-minute one-shot featuring Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Paul Rudd's Ant-Man? I think it's safe to say that every Marvel fan in the world is up for that!
Why Do Fans Want To See The Return Of The Marvel One-Shots?
There are a lot of ideas in every Marvel movie, and the studio can't develop every single one of them. Last year, Marvel visionary #KevinFeige was asked about the one-shots, explaining how he viewed them as a chance to tell these lost stories that never received their time to shine:
"We talk about that a lot actually, because when you have tables like that (lots of potential storylines, most unexplored in the finished film), and we go, What are we going to do with Howard [the Duck]? What are we going to do with Cosmo? We should do a one shot with Michael Pena. I mean, the universe is big."
It's no coincidence that several of the one-shots can essentially be seen as a proof-of-concept for Marvel TV shows. The earliest one-shots — The Consultant, Item 47 and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer — revolved around S.H.I.E.L.D., and the first two even featured Clark Gregg's Agent Coulson. Meanwhile, the Agent Carter one-shot — now unlikely to be canon, as it mildly contradicts the TV show — whetted fan appetites for more of Hayley Atwell's Agent Carter. Of course, with Marvel Studios and Marvel Television separated during an organizational restructure in 2015, there's no real incentive for Marvel Studios to continue developing one-shots in a bid to test audience reactions.
That said, both The Consultant and All Hail the King served other rather interesting purposes too. The Consultant was created to fix a minor continuity problem in the nascent MCU; the end-credit-scene of The Incredible Hulk had suggested the Avengers would be forming to hunt down the Hulk, but the ongoing narrative swerved in another direction. The Consultant reframed the conversation between Tony Stark and Thunderbolt Ross, suggesting that it was set up to antagonize Ross and ensure S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't forced to draft Blonsky into the Avengers initiative.
Meanwhile, All Hail the King was essentially an apology to fans for Iron Man 3's unpopular Mandarin twist. It suggested that the real Mandarin did still exist somewhere in the MCU, and wasn't best pleased with actor Trevor Slattery for impersonating him. That's another reason why fans love these one-shots — There's a sense in which they felt Marvel was engaging in a conversation with audiences, carefully responding to their criticisms. Even when the studio mis-stepped, the one-shots helped fans believe that #Marvel was still listening and learning.
With the MCU's timeline becoming ever more complex, the potential for further continuity errors is only increasing — as was signposted when James Gunn recently rendered an official prequel comic non-canon. Not only could these one-shots allow Marvel Studios to explore the wider concepts they hint at in their films, they could also provide Marvel with a useful tool to ensure continuity in the shared universe doesn't break down.
Although it's not a one-shot, it's worth noting that we will see similar bonus content from Spider-Man: Homecoming in the form of the Captain America Public Service Announcements. Director Jon Watts has revealed that he recorded a lot more of these than are used in the finished film, and they're going to be included as a special feature on the Blu-Ray.
It's been a long time since we've seen a new Marvel one-shot, and frankly, fans are really missing them. These short films added extra layers of depth to the main movies, resolving character arcs and tying up loose ends. They were a valuable tool for Marvel Studios, and it would be good to see them return. Hopefully then, Tom Holland is right when he says Marvel Studios is planning to bring the one-shots back.