When the Marvel One-Shots first debuted, they were a wonderful gift to the fans. Short mini-movies that filled in some gaps between the films and gave us a few laughs and adventures along the way. They helped solidify Agent Coulson’s reputation, taught us how Agent Peggy Carter was more than worthy of getting her own TV show and set the fans’ minds at ease about how Aldrich Killian definitely wasn’t the Mandarin.
However, in recent years plans to continue with them have stalled. While it’s understandable that the time and money to make them can take a toll, the benefits to the MCU and in keeping the fans entertained count for a lot. For a time, it seemed that the whole One-Shot concept had been abandoned, yet Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige has pointed out that they aren’t finished, Marvel just needs to find the right time and place for them.
Marvel Studios should bring back their popular MCU one-shots – as exclusive content on the Disney streaming service.
1. Return Of The King
Picking up where All Hail The King left off, we continue the misadventures of B-grade bad actor Trevor Slattery, the man who impersonated Iron Man’s legendary foe The Mandarin. Now held by the terrorist group known as the Ten Rings as punishment for making a mockery of their leader, Trevor explains about the hard work and dedication involved in being a good actor. In his usual fashion, he rambles on and simultaneously plays the victim in the whole Mandarin debacle whilst equally hamming up his questionable acting.
As he is led through their base to meet the real Mandarin, he keeps repeating his catchphrase “You’ll never see me coming” in an attempt to impress his captors, only to be called a joke. Finally, he is taken into a room to confront their leader, who remains concealed in shadows upon his throne. Trevor grovels, begging for mercy and in genuine tears. A surreal round of applause breaks out amongst the Ten Rings terrorists. The more confused Trevor becomes and the more he protests, the louder their applause becomes.
The shadow lifts from the throne, revealing that it’s empty. With a wry smile, Trevor’s bumbling facade finally drops and he claims the mantle which was his all along, revealing himself to be the genuine Mandarin. His final comment is that it takes a truly great actor to play a bad one, and that’s why the world will never see him coming.
2. Walk the Walkman
When it comes to prized possessions, nothing is higher for Star-Lord than his beloved walkman and mix tapes. It was an integral part of the Guardians of the Galaxy film and is something the fans latched on to instantly. So when Star-Lord’s walkman malfunctions and eats his original tape, it’s understandable that he’d be upset.
In a light-hearted adventure on a ridiculously small scale, he first struggles to find something similar a pencil with which to wind the tape back onto its spool and some sort of sellotape to join the snapped pieces. Being in outer space, these things aren’t easy to find and he embarks on a hunt around his ship The Milano to locate them. Drax fails to understand the concept of sellotape, although Groot is more than willing to break off a piece of himself to be used in place of a pencil.
Once the tape itself is fixed, things seem to be going well except the walkman isn’t working, since Rocket Raccoon has now stripped it for some mechanical parts. Things go from bad to worse when he tries to mend the walkman by himself, ruining it even further due to his ineptitude. With a sigh he finally tosses it away, saying that he really liked that one. Retrieving a cargo crate from storage, he opens it up and we see that he has hundreds more…
3. Hulk Out
Leaving her legal offices in New York, lawyer Jennifer Walters is shot and admitted to the hospital. With Jennifer desperately needing a blood transfusion from someone with her rare blood type, the doctors try to reach her cousin Bruce Banner. The message is intercepted at Avengers Tower, which is empty as we learn that the team are now involved in a battle against Ultron in Sokovia.
As time runs out, news broadcasts reveal that the war is over and that the Hulk has gone missing. A mysterious figure leaves several pints of blood for Jennifer at the front desk in the hospital, finally giving her the lifeline she needs. The transfusion goes ahead and is a complete success. Recovering from the surgery, she’s informed by the doctors that the speed she’s healing at is almost unprecedented. Suspicious, she asks where they got the blood from. As they tell her the story of the blood mysteriously appearing, she becomes increasingly panic-stricken as she realises the ramifications and her heart-rate monitor shows she’s losing control.
With one brief glimpse of her eyes turning green, her transformation into She-Hulk has begun. Yet in a post-credits tag scene, we’re shown a surprising reveal: The mysterious figure wasn’t Bruce Banner but Dr Samuel Stearns – The Leader – who had been storing Bruce’s blood for years and his plan is to create chaos…
4. The Road To Asgard
Thor’s friends The Warriors Three – Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg – are engaged in a drinking session inside a tavern, and exchange stories with the other patrons about their incredible adventures against frost giants, ogres and monsters from all realms. The locals seem impressed, but believe they’re lying. In between tales of their exploits, Fandral attempts to charm the fair maiden serving them.
Things get out of hand when they’re asked to pay their considerable bar tab (which includes several enormous meals for Volstagg), resulting in a bar fight. While they clearly dominate the brawl, it’s only when Lady Sif arrives and drags them out that they finally concede that the whole thing got out of hand. As they leave, one of the locals asks Sif if they’ll get home safely. This confuses her, but she does explain that their return home has indeed been taken care of.
Outside, the maiden Fandral was talking to hands him a slip of paper and tells him to call her. Sif summons Heimdall to open the Bifrost Bridge for their return, and they disappear in a burst of light. As they head skywards, the tavern below is revealed to be part of a renaissance fair, but Fandral admits it had its charms…
5. Cap’s Night In
Sam Wilson – Falcon – cancels on spending a night hanging out with Captain America, the first Avenger. Cap, grudgingly accepting that he’s alone, decides to finally experience some of the music and films which have been recommended to him in order to help him acclimatise to life in the 21st century. After an awful experience with heavy metal (which he deems to be “too Tony Stark”) and being left wide-eyed at the offensive lyrics of pop and rap songs, he finally settles in to watch some movies.
Cap’s facial expressions change from bewilderment to horror to confusion as the movies go on. His amazement at Star Wars is clear, and when it’s revealed that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father he’s genuinely shocked. Once the original trilogy is out of the way, he starts with the prequels believing that they should be amazing. Jumping ahead, we see him on the phone talking to Nick Fury about how Mace Windu looked just like him. Nick Fury’s response is a simple “Don’t ever ask me about that again!” before hanging up on him.
Cap tosses movie boxes aside, searching for something – anything – he might enjoy. Finally, he spots one in the pile and he smiles with nostalgia. As he puts the disc in, we see the cover of the box: The Wizard of Oz.
6. A Magical Place
For one of the Avengers’ newest recruits, adjusting to her new life is hard. The Scarlet Witch wanders around the streets of New York, impressed by the sights but also missing her brother Quicksilver. Walking past an alleyway, she sees a man being mugged and steps in to prevent it. Easily defeating the criminal, she turns her attention to the victim only to see that he’s disappeared.
Confused by this and sensing danger, she begins to notice strange happenings all around. Shadows appear to be following her, reflections of people appear in windows even in deserted streets, and occasionally she sees glimpses of the man she saved. Yet despite all her efforts, she can’t understand what’s happening around her. Seeing the man again, she gives chase and finally catches up with him in front of a plain building. The man stops and turns to address her, apologising for the subterfuge. The building behind him shimmers and changes.
As she questions him and what’s going on, the building is revealed for what it is: The Sanctum Sanctorum, home of Doctor Strange. The man introduces himself as Wong and informs her that his master has been waiting to meet her.
7. Marvel Team-Up – Falcon & War Machine
It’s time for two of the New Avengers to shine, getting out of the shadows of Captain America and Iron Man. The two are on a stake-out, tracking down a rogue Hydra unit. While waiting, the two discuss how they feel about being a part of the new team. While War Machine complains about playing second fiddle to Iron Man and the difficulties of being Tony Stark’s friend, Falcon admits to being envious since his suit lacks the firepower of War Machine’s and fears he won’t be taken seriously – especially in light of being beaten by Ant-Man.
Once the action starts, both hold their own and handle the Hydra goons quickly and effectively. During the battle, they find they have many things in common, primarily their military background. After the battle, Falcon wonders how War Machine can respect a man like Tony Stark, and points out that Stark will never understand the code of honour both of them – and Captain America – share.
They further discuss the merits of whether The Avengers would be better if they were all military people in some way, although Falcon admits that while it may make sense strategically it also means they could be more easily controlled. With the wrong person in charge, they could do more harm than good – something made clear after what happened with SHIELD – and that’s why Captain America is the right person to lead them. As War Machine departs, he points out that without Tony Stark backing them, the Avengers wouldn’t exist and that he knows whose side he would pick if he was asked to choose. Namely that of his friend, no matter what.
8. Legal Matters
It’s a bad day for Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s former bodyguard/chauffeur. While stuck in traffic, he’s on a call to Pepper Potts and complains about how he feels unnecessary these days. His job as head of security at Stark Enterprises is boring, he has no place in the Avengers organisation, and despite surviving a bomb blast he’s being overlooked by Tony. Pepper tries to placate him, but he admits that he preferred things back before everything was about superheroes. He’s so preoccupied that he gets into a minor fender-bender accident with another driver.
The other driver calls him names and threatens to sue, arguing that just because Happy is driving a fancy car and has a high-paying job, he thinks he can do as he pleases. Happy protests this, stating that he doesn’t think he’s superior to anybody. To prove it he declines Stark Enterprise’s legal department wanting to represent him, preferring to handle this matter personally. Finding the nearest legal office he can find, he enters the offices of Nelson and Murdock.
Being greeted by Foggy Nelson, Happy says that their low-rent office seems like home to him, and sees a lot of himself in Foggy. Foggy reassures him that the décor may be cheap, but Nelson and Murdock get the job done. However, he’s curious why someone with Happy’s association with Stark would need them. Happy explains that he’s had enough of superheroes for a while, as Foggy’s partner Matt Murdock walks in…
9. Welcome Back, Phil
Phil Coulson, director of the now-diminished SHIELD agency, examines the various vintage items and mementoes on display in his office. There’s one empty glass case there, though: the one which once held his beloved World War II Captain America trading cards. Agent May enters, and she points out that at some point he should get those cards back from Nick Fury, who stole them from him after his supposed death on board the SHIELD helicarrier. Coulson explains to her that those cards helped the Avengers become a team that went on to save the world.
Yet May won’t let the subject drop and reminds him that they are still his cards even if they’re now on display at Avengers Tower and that he deserves to have them back. Coulson grudgingly agrees and heads to New York to retrieve them. After foiling Stark’s high-tech security system, Coulson makes his way through the quiet building. As he reaches the trophy case containing the cards, he’s shocked to see Nick Fury waiting for him and the case now empty.
Fury tosses him the cards and asks him how much he thinks they’re worth. Coulson replies that because of the role they played, they’re priceless. Fury shakes his head and says they’re worthless, nothing more than pictures on cardboard. They were just a symbol; It’s Coulson who’s truly priceless since he managed to bond with each team member in a way Fury never could. Fury advises Coulson that he should have told the Avengers that he was alive years ago, and leads him into a room from which we hear the Avengers talking. As the door closes behind them, the last words we hear are from Coulson, announcing that he’s back.
10. A Man Walks Into A Bar
Former student and Culver University newspaper reporter Jack McGee gets a hot tip on a story about a strange creature hiding out in New York. He meets his contact in a darkened bar and explains that he was the one who filmed a green giant and coined the term The Incredible Hulk. He’s mocked and told that, like a chump, he blew the opportunity to have a proper career in journalism by selling the story and releasing the video on YouTube just for instant fame. McGee says that he’s learned his lesson and that he’s tried to follow the trail of the Hulk since then so he’s perfect for this story.
His contact starts to tell him a tale about an ordinary guy going about his business, who gets suddenly transported by a freak teleporting wormhole to another world. McGee imagines the Bifrost bridge, then the wormhole over New York, but is told that it wasn’t either of those. McGee questions, if it has anything to do with the rumours of the Inhuman Monolith SHIELD, has been studying, but the mysterious figure tells him to shut up. McGee hears the rest of the story, a tale of monsters, alien abductions and an average person being an unintentional hero in a strange land. McGee hears him out, thanks to him for his time and hands over an envelope of cash.
The following day, a news story written by McGee appears on the front page of the Daily Globe. In typical tabloid fashion, it has the headline I WAS MUTATED TO BECOME THOR’S ALIEN LOVE SLAVE. The mysterious figure reads the paper in the bar’s booth and tosses it aside with disgust. The light finally comes on, revealing the figure of Howard the Duck.