Yesterday it was announced that for the first time since Disney+ launched, a major Marvel series will be dropping all of its episodes at once, instead of the usual weekly drop-rate. All of Echo will be releasing on November 29th in 2023. But why suddenly this change in tactics?
Too much butter on too little bread
It’s probably not a big secret that many people find the MCU to have been a little overkill in terms of the amount of projects they’ve been pushing out. There have been some very fun and engaging projects since Endgame came out (and thank the Maker, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 turned out to be fantastic) but it seems clear that a lot of enthusiasm for the MCU has been dampened. The latest Doctor Strange and Thor movies weren’t received as well as Marvel probably hoped, and in addition to that the series-side of the shared universe has had a bumpy road so far.
Where in the first 3 phases of the MCU we’d get about three movies every year, ever since the Infinity Saga ended audiences have had to keep up with those same movies and a new slew of series made for Disney+. These shows air new episodes weekly, which generally helps to create hype and speculation for what’s going to happen next week. However, this also makes it more difficult for general audiences to consistently keep checking in on what’s happening in a universe that used to only rely on a fun time at the cinema. Hell, even some of my more hardcore MCU-enthusiastic friends haven’t finished all of the shows. Although, that might also have to do with the quality of said series.
Generally most of the MCU shows suffer from the same problem: They needed more time to tell their stories. The finale of these shows are generally overstuffed because they need to resolve all the plotlines that started the series, along with what the story picked up along the way. Ms. Marvel for example started out incredibly strong in my opinion, but the finale failed to leave the show with any lasting impact to me. The same can be said about basically all of the other shows, except maybe Loki, but that had it’s own list of problems (which I won’t get into now, or we’d be here for way too long, but maybe Season 2 will fix some of them? It’s coming out on October 6th).
Why is Echo dropping everything all at once then?
Why exactly Marvel Studios has opted for this release strategy with Echo is pretty much up in the air, but there are some educated guesses to be made. In the worst-case scenario, they’re not confident in the show and just want to have it out as soon as possible. The spin-off of the character, who was introduced in 2021’s Hawkeye series, could definitely offer something new and exciting to the street-level corner of the MCU, but if Marvel isn’t really willing to commit to that, it might be another disappointment.
However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case! Marvel Studios seems to be a bit more willing to explore different genres, themes and concepts lately and to let the creators they bring in inject their projects with their personal style. Look, again, at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but also Eternals, the amazing Werewolf By Night special, and the upcoming Secret Invasion series seems to go even deeper into the spy-thriller vibe that made Captain America: The Winter Soldier so intriguing (also, Andor if we’re looking over at the Star Wars side of Disney+). If the showrunners made this show in a format that doesn’t work as well when viewed on a week by week basis, it’s only great that the studio is listening to their creatives to make the best show that they possibly can.
Is Marvel testing the waters?
What I also believe to be reasonably likely, is that the studio wants to see how well these binge-drops would be received to possibly help with the abundance of content that they’ve announced for the next few years. While Echo isn’t exactly an A-list character, if this release strategy proves successful it might lead a more anthology-focused show like What If…? also being dropped all at once. The releases will become less overwhelming to audiences. If you ask me, that’s kind of needed with the amount of series Marvel currently has in its pipeline.
So no, I don’t think the binge-release of Echo is a definitive sign of the studio not having faith in the show and wanting to rush it out as soon as possible. But nothing is certain as of now, since we haven’t seen anything from the show so far, and it’s release date of November 29th is still a while away.
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