A couple of years back I broke the story that Marvel would be making short films. At the time it seemed like they would make shorts featuring lesser known characters, or as intros to movies (I was told a Hawkeye short might play in front of Thor). It turns out Marvel decided to make sort of lame promo shorts instead, where Agent Coulson runs around in between movies tying up continuity strings. What had seemed like an interesting concept had been turned into straight marketing.
Now Marvel looks to be steering their shorts into more intriguing territory. The Avengers home video release will come with a short called Item 47, which looks to be more than advertising for the next movie. In this short two civilians in New York City find a discarded Chitauri gun... and decide this is a sign for them to rob some banks. Lizzy Caplan is one half of the Marvel U Bonnie & Clyde, with Swimfan's Jesse Bradford as her partner in crime. There are two SHIELD agents tasked with hunting them down, one of whom is playing by Titus Welliver, ie The Man In Black from Lost.
Item 47 is 12 minutes long, much longer than the last set of shorts. And it looks to begin a new age of Marvel short films; apparently home video releases of the in-production sequels will all have similar tie-in shorts. What I like about this one is that it captures some of the feel of the Marvel Universe, the idea that there are other people impacted by the events and that the consequences of a story don't end on the last page of the comic.
Louis D'Esposito, Marvel Studios co-president and director of Item 47, confirms my old scoop, by the way: “There’s always a potential to introduce a character. We have 8,000 of them, and they can’t all be at the same level. So maybe there are some that are not so popular, and we introduce them [with a short] – and they take off. I could see that happening.”
Item 47 will premiere at Comic Con.