The standard half-hour sitcom and one-hour drama runtimes have changed dramatically over the years, from the standard broadcast/commercials arrangement to the shifts made once basic cable started becoming a standard. Then streaming came along and blew up the runtime dynamic completely for one simple reason: no commercials (or limited depending on a streamer's membership levels). With that in mind, if there was one criticism some had about an otherwise well-received second season of Disney+'s The Mandalorian is was that some of the episodes had shorter than expected runtimes. During the recent WandaVision media weekend, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige was asked by Collider what viewers can expect when it comes to runtimes for the studio's upcoming slate.
"Well, we're looking a little differently. We're looking at it as developing them as either six hour-episodes, or nine or 10 half-hour episodes," Feige explained. "So, for instance, 'WandaVision' started that way and 'Falcon and the Winter Soldier' as 30 minutes, but because it's streaming, it's Disney+, and the rules have blurred over the years, yes. Some can be 23 minutes. Some can be much longer than that. But 'She-Hulk,' for instance, is being developed as 10 30-minute episodes. Some will be longer and some will be shorter. 'Loki,' 'Falcon and the Winter Soldier' is being developed as six 40-50-minute episodes" (with Moon Knight set to fall in the six, 40-50 minute episode range, and no mention of runtimes for Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, or What If…?).
Last summer, Feige announced three Disney+ live-action series: Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk. Since that time, we learned that The Umbrella Academy series creator Jeremy Sister was tapped to develop and lead the writers' room on Moon Knight, Emmy award-winner Jessica Gao (Adult Swim's Rick and Morty) is developing and leading the writers' room on She-Hulk, and Bisha K. Ali (Hulu's Four Weddings and a Funeral) was on board to write and serve as showrunner on Ms. Marvel. Disney+ also has a number of other live-action series coming up, including the previously-mentioned WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier with Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie (set for March 2021), the Tom Hiddleston-starring Loki, (set for May 2021), and animated anthology series What If…?, (set for later in 2021). Feige also announced series such as Samuel L. Jackson's return as Nick Fury in Secret Invasion and Don Cheadle's return to the armor for Armor Wars, while the next generation gets the spotlight in Ironheart.
Speaking of some of those upcoming Marvel Studios series, here's a look at Loki, What If…?, and Ms. Marvel:
Set for May 2021 with Michael Waldron (Rick and Morty) as head writer and executive producer (with a possible second season already in play), and Kate Herron (Sex Education) directing and also executive producing, Loki finds Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief on the run and on a mission during his unexpected, time-traveling walkabout. Joining Tennant on the series are Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, and Richard E. Grant.
Marvel Studios' "Loki" is set to debut on Disney+ in May 2021, featuring the God of Mischief as he steps out of his brother's shadow in a new series that takes place after the events of "Avengers: Endgame."
From Paul Rudd and Natalie Portman to the late Chadwick Boseman and Hayley Atwell, a multiverse of possibilities is set to unfold during Summer 2021- all under the "watchful" eye of Jeffrey Wright's (Westworld) The Watcher (as well as head writer Ashley Bradley and director Bryan Andrews). Based on the popular and continually "reincarnated" comic book series of the same name and originally announced in April 2019, the series looks at key main and supporting characters from Marvel's film and television worlds through an "alternative history" lens.
"What If…?" flips the script on the MCU, reimagining famous events from the films in unexpected ways. Coming to Disney+ in summer 2021, Marvel Studios' first animated series focuses on different heroes from the MCU, featuring a voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their roles.
- Ant-Man: Rudd as Ant-Man and Michael Douglas as Hank Pym
- Black Panther: Boseman as Black Panther and Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger
- Captain America: Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, Atwell as Peggy Carter, Toby Jones as Arnim Zola, and Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Karen Gillan as Nebula, Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Michael Rooker as Yondu, and Djimon Hounsou as Korath
- Thor: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Portman as Jane Foster, Taika Waititi as Korg, and Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster
- Marvel Cinematic Universe: Josh Brolin as Thanos, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark.
With Bisha K. Ali (Hulu's Four Weddings and a Funeral) serving as head writer and executive producer, Ms. Marvel stars newcomer Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan. First introduced in the comics in 2012, Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teen who juggles being a teenager with being a superhero while fighting against the prejudice she receives for her Muslim faith- all while attempting to forge her own path. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed earlier this year that Khan will play a much larger role as the MCU enters into its next phase.
Marvel Studios' "Ms. Marvel," launching on Disney+ in late 2021, is a new series that introduces Kamala Khan—a 16-year-old Pakistani-American growing up in Jersey City. A great student, an avid gamer and a voracious fan-fiction scribe, she has a special affinity for superheroes, particularly Captain Marvel. But Kamala struggles to fit in at home and at school—that is, until she gets super powers like the heroes she's always looked up to. Life is easier with super powers, right?
Joining Vellani on the series are Aramis Knight, Saagar Shaikh, Rish Shah, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Laith Naki, Azher Usman, Travina Springer, and Nimra Bucha. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life), Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness), and Meera Menon (The Walking Dead, Titans) are on board to direct- with the series scheduled for a late 2021 premiere.