Eliminating the Origin Story
An interview with [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) writer and director Joss Whedon is always a great and funny read. Sometimes it can be pretty revealing - especially when he gets to talking about the the behind the scenes business of running the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When talking to Empire Magazine about the Avengers 2 he said an interesting bit about how he decided to introduce the characters of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
They have an origin but it’s largely described. They’re already good to go by the time we’re up and running.
There's been a lot of discussion about Marvel's future and the use of origin stories going into new characters like Black Panther and Doctor Strange. The origin story can be the bane (and not the good kind of bad Batman Bane) of the superhero movie - especially for superheroes that tend to get rebooted over and over again. Yes, I'm looking in your direction, Spider-Man.
Moving Forward at Marvel
A while back there was some strong indications that Marvel was done with the origin story all together. From here on out a superhero would be introduced as being just that - a superhero. Not a mild mannered guy or gal who gets dosed with radioactivity, struck by lightning, accidentally touches the third rail, or whatever gives you superpowers these days. This is great news - especially given Marvel's new Spider-Man situation.
So when we meet Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Black Panther or Doctor Strange, we won't have to worry about having to sit through half the movie waiting for them to cast their first spell or kick that first butt. This is one of the only reasons I'm wary about the new Fantastic Four movie - the trailer looks like it is creating a cool atmosphere and I'm digging the tone, but I'm really worried that the movie will be 75% set-up and origin story and 25% Fantastic Four being the Fantastic Four.
More Time For Destruction
When talking about the beginning of Avengers 2, Whedon said:
My instinct was, 'Let's just come out of the gate saying there is an Avengers.' So we can have more time to pick at them and tear them apart and hurt them and ultimately destroy them. I've been working on a lot of Ultron scenes, so I’m very anti-Avengers right now.
The more times these stories get told, the less time you need to spend on these how-did-they-get-made details. Yes, this is largely how sequels can get sometimes improve upon the first movie by not having to deal with the origin story but it doesn't have to only be for sequels. In a way, if you're creating a cinematic universe, this starts to become more natural for all of your characters.
In [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973), we're already told that Doctor Strange is out there and we can simply get to know bits and pieces about these characters just as the other superheroes and people in the MCU do. It's the same setting up it looks like Marvel will be doing with Black Panther. You can start to feel like the idea of an origin story, which would have to happen in a flashback in these cases, would be a waste of everyone's time since what's happening in the now and how the character is involved in the current plot is what is really important.
Phase 3 Rules
[Ant-Man](movie:9048) should be a cool example of how you can introduce a Marvel character in their own movie and already have the Ant-Man technology in place and established. The passing of the torch scenario might be a bit of a cheat in this case, but I get the sense that the audience will be thrown right into the Ant-Man world just as Paul Rudd's character is. We're not going to spend half the movie dealing with how the technology is developed and tested - let's just get into the Yellowjacket story at hand, shall we?
Spider-Man is going to be the real test of [Marvel](channel:932254)'s anti-origin story stance. I really hope they stick to it and find a cool way to introduce Spider-Man as a known entity to everyone involved. Make the audience finding out about Spider-Man the same way Iron-Man or your average citizen would. There are so many better Spider-Man stories to tell rather than the one about that spider bite.