Marvel Developing Short Films? Could The Live Action Short Film Return To Movie Theaters?

In April, I recorded a video blog with Steve from Collider in which we discussed the future of Marvel feature films. In the video, Steve pitched the concept of a live-action television series called Marvel Heroes where the comic turned movie studio could introduce third tier comic book superheros to mainstream audiences. The idea being that the characters that connected with audiences could be developed for the big screen. That idea might never happen, but it looks like Marvel/Disney could be planning something similar.

Latino Review is reporting a rumor that Marvel is developing a series of 10-minute short films to introduce secondary characters like Black Panther, Luke Cage, Dr. Strange, etc. No other information is known at this time, but this would definitely be a much less costly way to introduce perspective new franchise characters without investing tens of millions on a feature film. Through these short films, it would be easy to see what is working/connecting with audience.

Nothing is confirmed yet, consider this a rumor for now.

But would these short films be released online or would they be attached to future Marvel big screen releases. Pixar seems to have brought back the concept of short films before theatrical releases. Disney has even picked up the practice. Recently it was announced that Warner Bros would be producing a series of new 3D Looney Tunes shorts to be attached to future releases. But why must short films stop at animation? Film festivals often group their feature film selections with short films which compliment each other thematically. And of course, live action short serials use to be the norm back in the day.

The following is just completely speculation on my part — an idea, not even a rumor:

It seems to me that in the computer effects heavy cinematic future, movie studios are going to commission a lot of test shorts before they officially greenlight a project. These test shorts help the studios realize the vision of the filmmaker and movie property. It is a test short like the one that commercial director Joseph Kosinski produced for Tron: Legacy which allowed Disney the confidence to give the first time feature director a sequel with an estimated $150+ million budget.

Now imagine if movie studios commissioned test shorts for some of their new original properties in development. Imagine if they released the best of these test shorts attached to features? Some of them might get traction from the audiences, while others might work as a short film and nothing more. It's just an idea.