Those with used, grimy Comic-Con tickets in their top office drawers will be aware of the new “Avengers” inspired short-film “Item 47” that Marvel Studios has produced for the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of the superhero juggernaut. Marvel Studio’s President Kevin Feige, out stumping “The Avengers” DVD and Blu-ray, tells us a bit more about the nifty short and why the company has gotten into the business of making spin-off shorts for their DVD’s and Blu-ray’s.
“We started a tradition on the release of the original Thor and Captain America Blu-ray discs where we created a Marvel one-shot, which is a short film that takes place in the Marvel cinematic universe. One of the Marvel one-shots helped tie-up Tony Stark’s cameo at the end of The Incredible Hulk. It’s called The Consultant and it can be seen on the Blu-ray disc for Thor. The other Marvel one-shot dealt with a tiny misadventure involving Agent Coulson. This gave fans a peek into Coulson’s life on his way to Thor’s hammer. The one-shot for The Avengers is much bigger. It’s called Item 47 and it’s directed by Louis D’Esposito, who is co-president at Marvel Studios and an executive producer on all of our films. He did an amazing job. ”
“Item 47” doesn’t actually feature any of The Avengers themselves, explains Feige.
“At the end of The Avengers, the aliens leave behind a lot of guns and artifacts, as well as a lot of carnage. S.H.I.E.L.D. does their best job to collect all of the alien material so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands – but one gun is left behind. This gun falls into the wrong hands when it is found by a 20-something newlywed couple that decides to use it to their own ends. Agent Sitwell – who was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Thor, The Avengers and the Marvel one-shot The Consultant – is the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in this film and it’s up to him to get the gun back. ”
Fiege says “The Avengers” Blu-ray was quite an undertaking; it’s packed with stuff – besides the new short film.
“Blu-rays are an incredibly important part of the movie process. We finished the big-screen release of The Avengers on the Tuesday and we started working on the Blu-ray on Wednesday. It was very immediate. There are a number of deleted scenes and a few storylines that fell by the wayside during the editing process for the big-screen release. However, we are very proud of these scenes and [“Marvel’s The Avengers” director] Joss Whedon is very proud of them, too. That’s why we’re excited that fans will be able to see them on Blu-ray”, he says, noting that we’ll see a “a few more scenes with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, played by Cobie Smulders” and “some slightly different versions of Maria Hill and Nick Fury’s interaction with the World Security Council, which are great to watch – but there are a number of other fun scenes, too.”
Also due for release, the limited edition Blu-ray collector’s set, ”Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled”.
“Every movie we’ve made, in particular The Avengers, all started with a group of people – including executive producers Louis D’Esposito, Jeremy Latcham, Victoria Alonso and myself – saying, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do this? And, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that?” We’d sit around and say, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do an Iron Man movie? Wouldn’t it be cool if we could make a Thor movie? Wouldn’t it be cool if we could make a Captain America movie? Wouldn’t it be cool if they all led towards The Avengers?” Every decision we make starts with a question, and talking about this collector’s set is something we’ve been talking about and planning for years – just like with the movie itself.
“We have had a lot of fun coming up with ideas for the collector’s set. We’ve been talking about things like, “Oh, we’ve got to create a Marvel Master Timeline that showcases all of the events in all of the movies for the collector’s edition.” Well, that’s definitely in there. Also, I always love collector’s sets that look like a cool prop from a movie, which is why we decided to make the collector’s edition look like the silver case from our movies. It’s the silver case that Nick Fury shows Dr. Selvig at the very end of the Thor movie, after the end credits. It’s the same silver case that Nick Fury puts the Tesseract inside; that Loki ends up stealing at the beginning of The Avengers.
“We’ve always said that our movies have to standalone; Marvel movies have to be their own experience. But for the fans that want to pay attention and are following along, there’s a wealth of connectivity between the movies. There’s a wealth of Easter Eggs and there’s a wealth of connecting the dots – and we want a collector’s edition that allows people to dig as deep as they want to go. That’s why we are including a number of files containing memorabilia and prop reproductions of various items from each of the movies in the collector’s set, all of which track the connectivity between the movies. The six movies – Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor and Marvel’s The Avengers – are all going to be in their own custom, original artwork slipcases. Plus, when you open up the collector’s edition case, there’s a glowing Tesseract inside. It’s going to be great! We’re really excited about the collector’s edition. In fact, we can’t wait for everybody to see it.”
Feige, currently prepping a sequel to “The Avengers” with original writer/director Joss Whedon, says he’s rapt with just how well “The Avengers” came together and even happier that they’ve now got Whedon on a retainer.
“You have to make sure that it doesn’t seem utterly ridiculous that a guy from outer space, a billionaire with a suit of armor and a guy who turns green when he gets upset could all fit into a movie together for people who have never read the books – and that’s where Joss Whedon came in. He was able to weave together their stories in a really great way.”
“The Avengers” is on DVD and Blu-ray August 29